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The GOP's Plan for America: Let it Burn

Gail Collins had a nice column in the NYTimes about how pathetic it is that we can’t find the funds to fix our crumbling infrastructure. It was motivated by the recent Amtrack tragedy which could have (should have) been prevented by the installation of a simple set of safety devices, the kind that every other industrialized country has on its rail system. To compound the frustration we all feel, Republicans in Congress reacted by refusing to fund a program that would put such safety systems in place. Their actions will postpone any installation to 2020.

You’d think that the loss of life and horrific damage done by the Amtrack wreck would have goaded Congress into action. Instead it produced a truly retrograde reaction. Many of the commenters on Ms. Collins’ piece made reasoned arguments about how to raise revenue, how to sensibly allocate government resources so that basic transportation problems can be solved, how poorly America’s transportation systems compare with other modern nations and made many other sensible suggestions.

Alas, they are barking up the wrong tree. Explaining to Republicans in Congress how desperate the state of our infrastructure is will not bring about a change of heart or an increase in funding. The degradation of the transportation system is part of the larger plan, along with the parallel moves to defund education, strip away support for science, undermine the effectiveness of agencies like the EPA, HHS, NASA, FDA and basically starve every other aspect of government except the military.

The goal is uncomplicated: make sure government cannot function. Stoke anger and frustration at the lack of services. Offer privatization as the only option. Ramp up voter suppression and gerrymandering to ensure the continued majority in DC and state houses. Enact appropriate legislation, in the form of bills pre-drafted and packaged by ALEC.

I wish this was just a paranoid rant. It’s not. Anyone who doesn’t think this is a real, consciously crafted and cleverly enacted plan hasn’t been paying attention.

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