Friday, April 13, 2012

Subverting the Future

Govenor Crisp Crispie of New Jersey is making wannabe VP with Richney noises, and this column by Paul Krugman suggests how appropriate that would be, as he is also a conniving liar as well as a thug.  But that's not the purpose of the column, exactly: Krugman uses Crispie to illustrate a point about how GOPers talk so much about the future, and work so hard against it.

"One general rule of modern politics is that the people who talk most about future generations — who go around solemnly declaring that we’re burdening our children with debt — are, in practice, the people most eager to sacrifice our future for short-term political gain," Krugman begins.  He names the Ryan budget as a prime national example, but also: "And you can see it in the actions of Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who talks loudly about acting responsibly but may actually be the least responsible governor the state has ever had."

Crispie cancelled work on a tunnel linking NJ to NY, lied about its costs, how it was financed, and whether it's necessary.  He did it so he could raid the funds set aside for it to apply to short-term uses.  Governors in general are good at this, Congress did it for years with Social Security, but the mendacity here is striking.  And its effect is devastating, on the future of the state he's supposed to be working for.  

Krugman's expanded point: "Unfortunately, Mr. Christie’s behavior is all too typical these days.
America used to be a country that thought big about the future. Major public projects, from the Erie Canal to the interstate highway system, used to be a well-understood component of our national greatness. Nowadays, however, the only big projects politicians are willing to undertake — with expense no object — seem to be wars. Funny how that works."  

Such shortsightedness is going to have even greater consequences as the need to apply imagination and will to big projects to deal with the effects of the Climate Crisis as well as the causes becomes acute.               

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