Drowning the Beast

For some time now it’s been fashionable in Republican circles to describe tax cuts as a strategy for "starving the beast"–preventing government from growing by depriving it of the funds necessary to do so.  The Minneapolis bridge disaster demonstrates the risk of this strategy: infrastructure gets ignored and eventually breaks down.  And that sign telling you the local Kiwanis club has adopted a stretch of roadway assuredly does not mean club members are out there spreading macadam.  So much for voluntary associations standing up once the public authorities have stood down. 

The schools and culture and health-care parts of our infrastructure long since slid into the rising water–that same tide that was supposed to lift all boats–but it was harder to notice because there was no dramatic footage of the collapse. 

Ask yourself how many of these catastrophes you’re prepared to see versus how many of them you’re prepared to pay taxes to prevent.  I suspect you’ll discover that you’d rather feed the beast that lights your streets and puts out your fires and constructs your schools than leave it ravenous, with nothing to chew up but the people it’s supposed to be serving. 

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5 Responses to “Drowning the Beast”

  1. Sam Davis Says:

    I am not a Republican, but a libertarian, and believe higher taxes are a really bad idea because if money were the answer, we would have long ago solved the education crisis, poverty and any number of other problems. And this doesn’t even get into the billions wasted on pork barrell projects and trillions of unfunded entitlements that will cripple the nation’s economy in future decades.

    Infrastructure rebuilding should be financed through bonds, and where possible, by allowing private investors to buy, repair and maintain roadways and similar structures and charge user fees. The latter would not, under this scenario, benefit from tax subsidy.

    I am not prepared to allow politicians – Democrats and Republicans – who have shown no qualms over recent decades about burdening Americans with confiscatory taxes and spending the money wildly on everything from social engineering projects to immoral wars – I certainly am not prepared to allow them greater access to my money through taxes on the promise they’ll fix the roads, bridges and the like.

    They have not fixed anything else, but mostly ruined it.

  2. Nonprofiteer Says:

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this. I don’t think the lowest taxes in the developed world qualify as “confiscatory;” I don’t think private enterprise has demonstrated its ability to provide public services more effectively or inexpensively than the government (private health care and for-profit schools being only two examples); and I’m not prepared to go back to the 18th century when even police protection was privately provided (hence the need for servants–bowing and scraping being only collateral benefits to protecting the master) and therefore unavailable to the majority of the population.

  3. Walter Says:

    Last year there was a transportation bill of ~$263 Billion dollars. Lots of money was sent so that the Minneapolis bridge could have fixed. But the state spend the money on other items (check out the earmarks for light rail that took priority over bridge repairs [some of which have been known since 1990]).

  4. Nonprofiteer Says:

    Thanks for the clarification. What a shame the choice had to be made between light rail (which could be the energy-saving transportation system of the future as it was of the pre-World War II past) and bridge safety. Perhaps even Minnesota, with its Democrat-Farm-Labor/public service/good government tradition, has been injured beyond repair by the Jesse Ventura “Taxes? We don’t need no stinking taxes!” approach.

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