Thursday, August 02, 2007

Conservatism and the bridge collapse

The Minneapolis bridge collapse is clearly related to the anti-tax ideology that has been so dominant in U.S. political discourse. Among anti-tax adherents is Tim Pawlenty, the Republican Governor of Minnesota. As this NPR snapshot says:

The hallmark of his administration has been his decision to sign -- and stick by -- the Minnesota Taxpayers League no-new-taxes pledge.

This blog posting by Rick Perlstein links this to the bridge tragedy:

The bridge-collapse tragedy is a teachable moment: This is your government on conservatism.

This year two Democratic Minnesotan legislatures passed a $4.18 billion transportation package. Minnesota's Republican governor vetoed it because he had taken a no-new-taxes pledge, Grover Norquist-style. That's just what conservative politicians do.

The original bill would have put over $8 billion toward highways, city, and county roads, and transit over the next decade. The bill he let passed spent much less.

Now four people are dead, and counting.

Taxes and high quality public services matter to us all. These occasions need to be recognized and marked.

Update: As tragic as this accident and the injuries and loss of life has been, consider this: monsoon rains in South Asia have caused 60 bridges to collapse and 12 million people have been left homeless.

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