Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Which do taxpayers prefer to fund?

A freeway bridge over the Mississippi river collapsed in Minneapolis last night. Not only did this interrupt the Minnesota Twins' baseball season, but four motorists are confirmed dead, with up to thirty missing. Perhaps it is a good time, then, to reassess priorities and refocus our collective attention:

Spending so far on the war in Iraq: $448,593,276,851

Spending on inspecting and maintaining the I-35W bridge: ?

Number of deaths in Minnesota history caused by terrorists: 0

Number of deaths in Minnesota,
caused by the collapse of the I-35W bridge: Up to 34

Before continuing to venture abroad to fight bogeymen who are either figments of the national imagination, or created only by our aggression itself, perhaps the US should begin to tend its own garden. And stop public funding for the construction of billionaire Carl Pohlad's new Twins stadium immediately. Minnesotans need the money for a new bridge.


Richard Cretan said...

Great post, Michael. And a very apropos comparison of spending.

I completely agree it is time we tended our own garden in America rather than interfering in those of others.

With huge chunks of I35 under water, Minnesotans now must ask themselves if absentee landlord government is all they thought it was.

Disengagement from the common good has rewarded them with tax cuts, a course cheered on by butch reactionaries like Katherine Kersten and the mad Taxpayers League.

But as it happens, there is a society, it does have needs, ignore them long enough and they will noisily collapse, and no, cutting taxes so more shit can be hauled behind the SUV on weekends at the cabin isn't sound public policy.

Gifting stadiums to the likes of Carl Pohlad isn't, either. In the face of huge want, the petty old Scrooge now should be taxed to his very marrow.

This tragedy is a bitter referendum on Minnesota's sense of entitlement, its decline under right wing leadership, the unsustainable sprawl that has made its public infrastructure groan under excess traffic, and the misshapen priorities that put stadiums ahead of public welfare.

Time for a new civic creed: "It's the bridges, stupid."

Michael Blaine said...

Thanks for the comments, Richard. My hope is that this disaster will jolt Minnesotans into re-thinking our priorities.

Michael Blaine

Jen said...


I read your comments about disliking the Democratic and Republican Parties on another blog in a post about Dan Seals. If you (or anyone else) lives in Illinois' 10th Congressional District, check out:


This is the website of Green Party candidate and Navy veteran Dave Kalbfleisch. I've heard the guy speak at Iraq Veterans Against the War speaking events, and your views seem similar to his.

Michael Blaine said...

Thank you, Jen.

Yes, the current political duopoly is really hurting our nation.

I'll check out the website.


Anonymous said...

Life is not always a matter of preferences, but one of imposed obligations. Adults attend to their obligations first.