FiredUp! quotes GOPer Ann Wagner, a probable contender for Todd Akin’s House seat, to the effect that “the Republican leadership and Paul Ryan are some of the only leaders in Washington, DC right now.” Of course, that begs the question about where these “leaders” plan on taking us.
In that regard, a post on ThinkProgress about the failed levee and resultant flooding in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, suggests that we may not like the GOP’s preferred destination all that much. Think Progress notes that:
The levee’s failure is a tragic reminder of the sorry state of America’s infrastructure. This particular levee failed a federal inspection in 2008, receiving an “unacceptable” rating from the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. In the U.S. patchwork levee system, many local communities are responsible for levee upkeep, and this particular community couldn’t afford the cost.
Put this into the context of:
–The false GOP narrative about a looming deficit crisis that has been used to justify harmful, ideologically driven budget cuts (admittedly, with the active collaboration of opportunistic Democrats like our own Claire McCaskill). In fact, we are not, as Republicans like to claim, broke, nor is the deficit our most pressing problem (although dealing with our aging infrastructure probably ought to be pretty high up there on the priority list).
— GOP squawking about relatively small amounts of government spending that could have been used to address crucial infrastructure needs. In fact, the best way to address the long-term deficit is, arguably, to create the jobs that will continue to fuel an economic recovery. Infrastructure projects do just that.
— The GOP refusal to restore fairness to our tax system, which would go a long way toward addressing the long-term deficit problem – without necessitating cuts in spending used to insure that vital parts of our basic infrastructure – like the levee system – is maintained.
In short, those Republican leaders that Ann Wagner hopes to join in Washington are hellbent on taking us down a path that will guarantee that the levee breech that happened in Poplar Bluffs could become a commonplace occurrence. As ThinkProgress points out:
Projected federal spending on levees in the next five years is expected to be just $1.13 billion, leaving a $48.87 billion shortfall in needed funding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “there are 881 counties – or 28 percent of all counties in the United States – that contain levees or other kinds of flood control and protection systems.” More than half of the U.S. population resides in those counties.
Today the citizens of Poplar Bluff have tangible proof that somebody’s priorities somewhere (those GOP leaders in Washington, maybe?) are sadly out of whack. And Ann Wagner expects us to send her to Washington so that she can make sure that we get more of the same?