Peggy Whiteneck, Freelance Writer

PO Box 303
East Randolph, Vermont 05041

Blog initiated 1/28/17

The High Cost of Deferred Maintenance

President Joe Biden's first legislative victory was the passage of the Covid 19 rescue bill at a cost of $1.9 trillion. Now, he is following up with an infrastructure bill that has a price tag of $3 trillion. Predictably, fiscal conservatives are already screaming about the deficit, which, by the way, expanded significantly under Donald Trump with tax cuts whose benefits largely served the already-haves rather than the have-nots. A Republican-dominated Congress during the Trump years passed these tax cuts with its usual glee not only at helping its wealthy campaign supporters but also starving what it considered an overgrown federal government.

I am struck that Trump promised a focus on infrastructure in his own campaign for the Presidency - but, after the campaign, never mentioned it again. So it's doubly ironic for Republicans to resist Biden's efforts to focus on infrastructure now.

Meanwhile, the potholes that used to be the annual axle-breakers on local and county roads have now become high-speed bone-jolters on the nation's interstates. Because the nation lacks equitable access to high-speed internet, millions of families were unable to participate in work and school during the pandemic's stay-home economy. The electrical grid is so fragile that every wind that blows or branch that falls or wire that ices up causes widespread and increasingly longer power outages. Fires burn the West down while floods drown the East and record and unprecedented cold freezes the Southern half of the country.

Republicans are inclined to style Democrats as "tax and spend liberals." But a less partisan read on what's happening here is that the bill has finally come due - as sooner or later, it inevitably must - on decades of deferred maintenance on a variety of material and social problems: from the U.S. ability to respond to pandemic threats to the nation's crumbling infrastructure, from racial justice to climate change, and from runaway health care costs to the growing income gaps between the 1% at the top of the income pyramid and those stuck at its base. There is almost no issue facing the nation that hasn't been affected by underinvestment in alternatives. There are material and social costs to kicking the can down the road as America's main political strategy, and those costs dwarf whatever price tag is required to deal with them now - because, don't we know by now, the price of deferral will just keep getting higher.

More Peg's Blog Posts

 · The Unacceptable Cost of Deferred Maintenance
 · American Voters and the Cult of Celebrity
 · We Have Met the Enemy and the Enemy Is Us
 · Wanted: A Working Government
 · The National Divide: Immediate Gratification vs. Future Gain
 · The Trouble with That Anonymous Trump-Circle Editorial
 · What "Telling It Like It Is" Really Means
 · Breaking News: We're All "Values Voters!"
 · Monuments Flap Is Not about the Monuments
 · Have We Always Been the Disunited States of America?
 · A Humble Defense of the Constitution
 · The Trump Presidency: Bigotry's Cause or Only Its Effect?
 · Race, Class, and Access to Women's Health Services
 · Trying to Learn from the Holocaust

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