Why can’t we build Interstate systems any more?

Think about it.  In 1956 the largest public works project in our history was undertaken.  Today, what would be considered the unthinkable occurred: government came in and took possession of homes, sometimes whole towns as part of a plan to run superhighways from coast to coast.  People were displaced, individual livelihoods were lost, workers were let go.

But what was built was the backbone of America.  According to Wikipedia, its the single largest construction project in history.  Something only a great nation could do.  Arguably, the Interstate system is what continues to make us great.  Commerce from coast to coast is something we take for granted.  You can push “Buy it now” on ebay and your package arrives from the other side of the country in 3 days.

The Interstate project couldn’t happen now.  Legal  battles would ensue,  individuals would decry government, lobbyists would leverage special interests, “how do we pay for it” would fuel the minority party’s rhetoric, and come November, the idiots who dreamed of the Interstate system would be out the door.

Sad, isn’t it?  Today we face the same situation.  Our great country needs to remove it’s dependence on oil and switch to alternate technologies.  We have the opportunity to distance ourselves from the rest of the world and in so doing adopt technologies that will fuel worker productivity and create jobs into the rest of the 21st century.  We could be leading the pack in fuel cell manufacturing, community sized nuclear powerplants, and Solar technologies.  We could be the go-to nation for next generation energy.  We could be saving our fragile ecosystem by reducing our carbon footprint.

But “Green Energy” initiatives are dead here because jobs could be lost and governmental spending to fuel research, development and manufacturing will “increase the deficit”.  Instead America should be drilling harder, Government should be lifting moratoriums on deep water oil extraction because “drilling rigs will leave and countless support jobs will be lost all along the gulf coast”.  We should be using the hydraulic fracture process to extract more gas. Who cares about its effect on groundwater.  We need more fossil fuel damn it!

What the heck happened to our great nation?

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