Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Krugman: why GOP won't fund infrastructure

The federal government could easily have provided aid to the states to help them spend — in fact, the stimulus bill included such aid, which was one main reason public investment briefly increased. But once the G.O.P. took control of the House, any chance of more money for infrastructure vanished. Once in a while Republicans would talk about wanting to spend more, but they blocked every Obama administration initiative. This hostility began as an attack on social programs, especially those that aid the poor, but over time it has broadened into opposition to any kind of spending, no matter how necessary and no matter what the state of the economy. [Paul Krugman, New York Times]
Where to start?

South Dakota's current governor says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration. His predecessor's office where he was lieutenant governor and his current bureaucracy have trafficked Native kids, exploited the federal EB-5 green card scam, and is quietly expanding a Medicaid safety net for those not yet voting for his party.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, infrastructure is crumbling and 20.6% of bridges are structurally deficient. Over the Missouri River, the US14 bridge between Ft. Pierre and the town to the east and the I-90 bridge at Chamberlain are imperiled.
The report, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” (pdf) was released Thursday by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report says that in 2013, 21 percent of South Dakota’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient, the fourth-highest rate in the nation. In 2012, 12 percent of South Dakota’s major rural roads were rated in poor condition. The fatality rate on South Dakota’s rural roads was 2.21 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, the 17th-highest rate in the nation and nearly three times higher than the fatality rate of 0.74 on all other roads. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
The crumbling bridge over the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and her neighbor, the putrid cesspool to the east, won't be replaced until at least 2025: how many more times do you want to go over it for free?
By 2100, Rapid City, South Dakota—in the vicinity of the Pine Ridge Reservation—will reach the average summer temperatures of Cedar Park, Texas, which means a rise from 81 degrees to 93 degrees, Climate Central reported. [Indian Country Today]
Self-reliance or moral hazard?
Officials say five electric cooperatives are using state and federal disaster funds to bury hundreds of miles of power lines to protect against widespread outages from storms. The cooperatives are burying more than 530 miles of line damaged in a powerful storm that struck 14 western South Dakota counties last year. Officials say the cost of the line-burying project is estimated at more than $32 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying 75 percent of the cost. The state provided 10 percent and the cooperatives paid the remaining 15 percent. [Associated Press]
That 10% the state kicked in also came from the feds.

The above article doesn't say how many white ranchers will get buried cables and how many tribal nations will still have storm-prone overhead lines.

After public outcry one South Dakota utility thought better and chose not to assess a fee on customers who add alternative means of electricity generation to their services while those poorly served by cooperative utilities are becoming power self-reliant.

From KSFY:
Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones said the department is asking those affected by the drought what they could the department could better. Bones says many farmers have developed a safety net for drought conditions but livestock ranchers don't have the same assistance.


Remember this? South Dakota's embattled earth hater governor wants government assistance according to the Sioux City Journal:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a preliminary assessment of damages the recent ice storm caused to public and nonprofit property in southeastern South Dakota. Daugaard says damage to rural electric cooperatives and the removal of fallen tree limbs and power lines will likely be a significant part of the cost.
Candidate Dennis Daugaard drew gasps from a State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts."
Remember, too, that these utilities are not Google or Facebook. They are not accustomed to a state of constant market turmoil and reinvention. This is a venerable old boys network, working very comfortably within a business model that has been around, virtually unchanged, for a century.--David Roberts at Grist
What a fucking surprise.

Scientists have excused anthropogenic climate change as a negligible influence in the 2013 blizzard.

So, this is how red states finance infrastructure improvements while bitching about Big Government.

Expect the same swindle next year.

The South Dakota governor has turned to Matt Varilek and the Small Business Administration after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied a disaster declaration request. The governor's political party passed a resolution at their convention to impeach President Obama.

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