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(90,061 posts)
Fri Apr 11, 2014, 02:08 PM Apr 2014

Plagued by poor infrastructure, climate denialism, and a patchwork of unregulated fracking wells and

nuclear waste sites, the U.S. is poised to topple itself with self-inflicted wounds

The U.S. security complex is up in arms about cyberhackers and foreign terrorists targeting America’s vulnerable infrastructure. Think tank reports have highlighted the chinks in homeland security represented by unsecured ports, dams, and power plants. We’ve been bombarded by stories about outdated software that is subject to hacking and the vulnerability of our communities to bioterrorism. Reports such as the Heritage Foundation’s “Microbes and Mass Casualties: Defending America Against Bioterrorism” describe a United States that could be brought to its knees by its adversaries unless significant investments are made in “hardening” these targets.

But the greatest dangers for the United States do not lurk in terrorist cells in the mountains surrounding Kandahar that are planning on assaults on American targets. Rather, our vulnerabilities are homegrown. The United States plays host to thousands of nuclear weapons, toxic chemical dumps, radioactive waste storage facilities, complex pipelines and refineries, off-shore oil rigs, and many other potentially dangerous facilities that require constant maintenance and highly trained and motivated experts to keep them running safely.

The United States currently lacks safety protocols and effective inspection regimes for the dangerous materials it has amassed over the last 60 years. We don’t have enough inspectors and regulators to engage in the work of assessing the safety and security of ports, bridges, pipelines, power plants, and railways. The rapid decline in the financial, educational, and institutional infrastructure of the United States represents the greatest threat to the safety of Americans today.

And it’s getting worse. The current round of cutbacks in federal spending for low-visibility budgets for maintainence and inspection, combined with draconian cuts in public education, makes it even more difficult to find properly trained people and pay them the necessary wages to maintain infrastructure. As Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution points out, the 2015 budget fresh off the press includes a chart indicating that non-defense discretionary spending—including critical investments in infrastructure, education, and innovation—will continue to drop severely, from 3.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 to just 2.2 percent in 2024. This decision has been made even though the average rate for the last 40 years has been 3.8 percent and the United States will require massive infrastructure upgrades over the next 50 years.

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Plagued by poor infrastructure, climate denialism, and a patchwork of unregulated fracking wells and (Original Post) bemildred Apr 2014 OP
Here's the 1%'s Long-Term Goal for the United States and everywhere else: blkmusclmachine Apr 2014 #1
This is why empires fall starroute Apr 2014 #2
Yep, and it starts with all this "rule the world" bullshit after WWII. bemildred Apr 2014 #3
D+, we still have a little while longer... adirondacker Apr 2014 #4


(12,977 posts)
2. This is why empires fall
Sun Apr 13, 2014, 08:20 PM
Apr 2014

The rich people stop bothering to pay to keep up the infrastructure. It happened to Rome. It may have been what happened to the Maya. And it's happening here.


(90,061 posts)
3. Yep, and it starts with all this "rule the world" bullshit after WWII.
Mon Apr 14, 2014, 08:31 AM
Apr 2014

Like because that war came out so well (for us), then war was the way to go.

After that war, WWII, we really did bestride the world like a colossus, and we had legitimacy out the wazoo. And we have pissed that all away, boatloads of treasure, rivers of blood, years of darkness, and all in pursuit of vainglorious fantasies of eternal dominance and delusions of permanent superiority.

And since then, it's been lots of little bitty wars with unfit adversaries, where you look like a bully even when you "win", and a few big "unconventional" wars that we just lost because we were on somebody elses turf, or the war was pursued without public support, or (often) in the face of public opposition.

And our "leaders" still can't seem to figure out why that doesn't work.

Not that we are alone in that sort of folly, but we could have learned from history. We still could. Maybe we should learn to rule ourselves first.


(2,921 posts)
4. D+, we still have a little while longer...
Tue Apr 15, 2014, 07:50 AM
Apr 2014

"Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers issued its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which painted a grim picture of America’s infrastructure. The average grade for infrastructure—covering transportation, drinking water, energy, bridges, dams, and other critical infrastructure—was a D+. The failure to invest in infrastructure over the last 15 years, the report argues, bodes ill for the future and will guarantee further disasters. As political campaigns against “bureaucrats” render the federal government incapable of recruiting and motivating qualified people, these disasters appear almost unavoidable. The weakest link from the point of view of national security are the military and energy sectors"


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