Gut Rumbles

August 20, 2005


Check the comments on this post I wrote yesterday. Damn! I kicked the top off an anthill.

I'll give the government credit for doing a few things well. Our military has the best training and the best equipment in the world. (And I'm not saying that just because I'm some kind of super-patriot. I was Manager of Training for six years at the chemical plant and I went to a LOT of "Train the Trainer" seminars that the US military conducted. They knew their shit and they taught me a lot.)

We wouldn't have an Interstate Highway System today if the government didn't build it. (But I DO have one question to ask--- WHO started it and WHY did government build it?)

What I DON'T like is dealing with assholes at the DMV or the post office who seem to think that a customer is nothing more than a pure annoyance to them. I saw my father deal with Social Security and that wasn't a pretty sight, either.

Plus, when I fly now, I've learned to wear sandals anymore. I don't give a damn what kind of shoes I wear to the airport or what kind of weather we have outside, I sit down in the terminal, take off my street shoes, stick them in my bag before I check it and put on a pair of sandals.

They are easier to slip off and put back on when those fucking idiots at Airline Security make me walk through the metal detector barefoot. Hell--- I'm getting to the point now where I'm thinking about not wearing shoes AT ALL when I fly, just to make these overworked government employees not have to stress themselves.

Here's a Golden Rule that even hard-working government employees need to understand. Government does NOT "create" wealth, nor does it "give" anything away. Whatever government spends, it stole from somebody else first. Government TAKES wealth. It doesn't make it.

And don't even get me started on the IRS, the EPA, OSHA, DNR or the other similar government agencies I've been FORCED to deal with in the past. I'll just say this, because I don't want to piss any of them off for fear of going to jail.

They are GREAT people. Skilled in what they do and ALWAYS POLITE to a taxpayer.

And fucking pigs fly, too.


As I understand it, the interstate highway system we enjoy today is largely the work of Eisenhower. He saw during WWII how well Germany's Autobahn worked to transport large masses of men and material across the country, and realized we needed something like that here.

Posted by: Kevin Baker on August 20, 2005 05:35 PM

Correct, Keven. Did you know that PARTS of the Interstate Highway System are thick enough to land and launch B-52 bombers?

Yep. Ike did that. Just in case we ever needed it.

It's amazing how many people don't know such trivial facts.

Posted by: Acidman on August 20, 2005 06:01 PM

Actually, Ike saw it well before WWII. He made a 1917(?) sea-to-sea crossing as part of an Army truck convoy. If I recall correctly, it took them several months. Not good for supplying a defense.

Posted by: Seppo on August 20, 2005 06:09 PM

Dam*, why stop at going barefoot ?

Go nekkid :)

Posted by: Misty on August 20, 2005 06:35 PM

Part of specs on any bridge built in the interstate system is that it support the heaviest of military vehicles. Something our train infrastucture can no longer do. Moving tanks must by by highway today.

Posted by: Dishonorable Schoolboy on August 20, 2005 07:14 PM

My father wrote a novel about building an interstate
(not his best, unfortunately). In his researches he turned up the following, which I always took with a grain of asphalt, but it could be true.

As defense highways, the Interstates will be closed to the general public during a national emergency and the military will move upon them. Several thousand overpasses had been built before it was discovered they were two low for the Army's prime movers. There fore, a demoltion team will move ahead of the column, and blow the overpasses. So much for the citizenry using the secondary roads.

My point about government was yours; what the government spends it takes from those who earned it. That is why a limited government restricted to protecting our rights to life, liberty, and property is best--it takes the least and applys the revenue to the purpose of "securing our rights," as the Declarers put it. Everyone else's dreams belong on their own dime, usually cooperating with like-minded citizens.

It is the erroneous expansion of the definition of "life, liberty, and property," that has led to the clear consciences with which we have voted in such huge government.

Posted by: Brett on August 20, 2005 08:07 PM


Ya keep gittin closer . . .

Posted by: jb on August 20, 2005 08:59 PM

It is no oddity that the Interstate Highways were created under the National Defense Highways Act.

Somewher in my collection of maps I have a Defense Highways Map that I got from my Grandfather. It showed all of the major decimal routes as well as the substitute routes like I-75 replacing the Dixie Highway.

Now I've got to clean the basement to find it.

Posted by: The Thomas on August 20, 2005 09:40 PM

Brett, the thing is, the government is in an ideal position to render the public alot of other services they want, primarily infrastructure. If the public decides it wants roads, or sewers, and votes in politicians who promise to provide those amenities, and then vote for taxes to pay for them, you can't really go and say that the government has just overstepped its bounds and stolen money from you. The public decided it wanted more out of the deal, they payed for it, and they gotit.

Yet for the most part you're right. Most infrastructure should be done on a local scale where you'd be working with your neighbors, not DC bureaucrats. The federal government should primarily protect your rights and coordinate nation-wide infrastructure, something it has far-overstepped in the recent transportation bill.

Then again, it's our fault that we've gotta bunch of politicians in DC who would so flagrantly use our own money to bribe us in the first place. So spread the word, take action, and don't treat the government like an evil beast beyond our control.

Posted by: William on August 21, 2005 01:38 AM


Politicians love your type. But I have a better solution.

Don't vote. Eliminate the politicians, and then the market will make its own decisions.

Are you afraid of life without politicians? We have never tried that solution before.

Posted by: jb on August 21, 2005 02:06 AM

Got-damn jb, am I about to agree with you?
On one of my earliest trips to Republic of Ireland that resulted in an extended stay, the Irish government was in turmoil. ALL sides of the aisle were in a snit. Everybody was pissed, and they closed down the government for something like 16 weeks. The place ran like a 30,000 dollar swiss watch!

Posted by: James Hooker, Ace of aces on August 21, 2005 08:57 AM

Infrastructure has been a government function by traditions. That does not mean it can't be done by other means.

Those smitten by the use of government force to achieve their ends fancy it is more efficient than market solutions. They often make the error of assuming those who oppose government involvment in an a given activity are saying the activity shouldn't be done at all.

Posted by: Brett on August 21, 2005 10:43 AM

Usually it's not. But if it can be done by other means, it *must* be done by other means? In a perfect world, the Libertarian ideal is workable, and it is a system I would most certainly wish to live in.

However the Interstate Highway System is a good example of where the government activity has contributed to the wealth of this nation. Even with alternative means to transport materials and goods across this country (trains, planes), the lion's share of goods are transported by truck. I wonder why that is? It is mostly "fee for service", as OTR truckers pay the majority of the costs of maintenance. You don't want to pay for the ITS? Don't buy gasoline. That's where most of the rest of the taxes are collected that pay for it. Ride your bike instead.

You don't want to pay for the government agency I work for? Don't turn on your spigot. If you don't think that's liquid gold coming out of your faucet, making possible a flourishing economy in the midst of a wasteland, then that's your choice.

That may be the "exception that proves the rule", but it also highlights the fact that such exceptions (primarily "fee for service" arrangements) do exist, and they most certainly are wealth creating.

To state that if the exact "fee for service" were offered by a private corporation it would be wealth creating, but when it is offered by a governmental agency it is wealth consuming is absurd.

We can agree about the relative efficiency of government vs. private industry and about the preference for market solutions in general, but this "Golden Rule", as a hard and fast rule that applies to *all* government activity, is a Golden Steaming Pile of Bullshit.

Posted by: Desert Cat on August 21, 2005 11:58 AM

Another example of why it has to be the government to make infrastructure: urban development, or most any economic development.

In our city, the downtown is a wasteland because everyone vacated and a GM bought out & scrapped the trolley system so it could sell some buses (real efficient..). Anyway, it has been stuck (until recently) in a chicken/egg cycle of death. Nobody's going to open retail down there because nobody lives there. Nobody's going to live there because there's no retail there. For things to get going, somebody has to put their head out on the line, and that hasn't come from the private sector. Nay, the government has to do that, providing tax incentives for retail and condos and developping the infrastructure to make it habitable. This in turn attracts more residents, more retail, and more businesses, thus creating more property tax wealth, thus paying for the upfront government costs and leaving our city a whole lot better off than it was before. The government has been doing just that, and guess what, so far it's working.

Same rule goes for most (not all) infrastructure work. It creates tax revenues that pay for itself, and leaves society (and the economy) as a whole better off. Can you give me one piece of economic development that has not had a government project near its core?

Posted by: William on August 21, 2005 12:43 PM


Your first problem is that who says anything has to be downtown. The people have already spoken loud and clear that the downtown is not important to them. Now you want the government to go into the development business? They are already doing that - check out Kelo and see just what we can depend on the government to do. Just read today about the city of San Jose, California. They want to label a neighborhood blighted because they want to put up condos and dense housing. The neighborhood consists of renovated Victorian homes that sell for upwards of a million dollars. Wold you call that blighted? If the city calls it blighted then they can exercise eminent domain and then sell the land to private redevelopers. Sound like Kelo?

In Kelo the city wants to take over a viable working class neighborhood and have a builder put up a marina. Just what the state of Connecticut needs - another place where the super-rich, the rich, and the almost rich can park their boats and lean up against a bar and get drunk. They don't have enough of them in the state. In the meantime given the overheated real estate market, just where do you think those people who do live in the taken neighborhoods are going to go. But of course, the government is you friend. It does nothing except for the good of the people. Just ask them.

Posted by: dick on August 21, 2005 01:50 PM
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