mellowtigger: (economy)
[personal profile] mellowtigger
Okay, one more depressing post, and then I'll try to get back to talking about happy bunnies and dancing unicorns.

I've read elsewhere that Soviets observed the illegal cannibalization of infrastructure as they reached the breaking point of their failed economy. During the last two years, I have kept my eyes open for signs of such activity here in America. I find plenty of it, but it's still not quite enough to reach popular attention yet. All it'll take is one big power outage in a major city for everyone to finally notice.

Here in Minnesota, thieves are stealing manhole covers and sewer grates from the streets, copper from vacant buildings, and copper wiring from park lamp posts. Around the country, similar things are happening. Thieves are taking copper wiring from parks, copper plumbing from business properties, copper wiring from live transformers, copper tubing from air conditioners, and they've even caused a power outage in a small Ohio town by taking down an electrical substation.

It's becoming a big problem. The New York Times did an article back in February. They mention that there's even a national coalition that's formed to help bring awareness and promote legislation to slow this black market activity. USA Today did their own article in April on the theft of catalytic converters.

The economic spiral continues downward. At the national level, Republicans and Obama together are still bent on reducing government employment. I said two years ago and still maintain that we need huge national government projects that put massive numbers of people to work.

In the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration provided paid jobs for millions of unemployed men and women (as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration).
Incredibly, during the current Great Depression, government employment has been shrinking (aside from temporary census hiring last year).

It annoys me that the national government continues to do things that I think are unhelpful and/or idiotic.  It seems so obvious to me what needs to happen.  Exactly the opposite of Republican strategy, I think that big wages need to end so that big employment can happen.  Tax the living daylights out of the rich and use that money (yes, redistribute the wealth!) to pay for huge public projects that give spending money back to the population and renews their job skills so they remain employable after the projects eventually end.  Much better than simply extending unemployment benefits, I think.


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