Letter: Getting something for nothing
The bridge fell down. Things fall down. Things fall apart. That is the nature of things. It's called entropy. The second law of thermodynamics dictates that everything in nature and everything created of man will fall down unless energy and effor...
The bridge fell down. Things fall down. Things fall apart. That is the nature of things. It's called entropy. The second law of thermodynamics dictates that everything in nature and everything created of man will fall down unless energy and effort are expended to maintain them.
Bridges, roads, public transportation, education, public health, public security, and even the climate all fall down when we do not invest sufficiently in them. Nature itself is attempting to give us that lesson. Before that, Iraq fell apart. Our vaunted education system in Minnesota is slowly falling down. Our health care system is falling down. Even Minnesota's economic growth has fallen down from well above the national average among the states to below average.
We have elected and re-elected demagogic politicians, of whom Governor Pawlenty and President Bush are obvious examples; who preach the false doctrine of something for nothing. It worked. It worked for them. It got them elected and re-elected. People wanted to believe in something for nothing. Every successful con artist, or snake oil salesman who ever walked the planet knows how much people want to believe in something for nothing.
So, who is to blame? Ultimately, we are to blame. We put the fools and knaves in power. We put them in power when we didn't bother to vote, when we voted without enough knowledge of the issues, when we were single-issue voters, and when we fell for their something-for-nothing lines.
The only way to keep things from falling down is to invest in them by building them, and maintaining them. That takes money. In the case of public things, that money has to come from taxes. I hate paying taxes; most people do. Only fools believe that we can have the things that taxes buy, i.e., bridges that don't fall down, and world-class education, without paying for them with our taxes. Let's laugh the no-tax clowns off the political stage before America falls down.
John H. Burns