LaHood: America is really just “one big pothole,” you know

posted at 6:41 pm on February 6, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

In the spirit of all good big-government bureaucrats, he really regrets that he just didn’t get the chance to spend enough of our money for us.

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lamented the amount of infrastructure spending that was approved by Congress during his tenure at the Department of Transportation (DOT) on Wednesday.

“America is one big pothole right now,” LaHood said in an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show” on National Public Radio.

“At one time … we were the leader in infrastructure,” LaHood continued. “We built the interstate system. It’s the best road system in the world, and we’re proud of it. But we’re falling way behind other countries, because we have not made the investments.” …

“The next decisions that will be made by this Congress, by this administration will have to be bold if we’re going to continue our efforts to fix up our roads, keep our highways in a state of good repair, to fix up unsafe bridges,” he said. “We need a bold plan, and a bold way to fund it.”

“Investments.” Ugh. Funny how all we seem to hear about from President Obama and his administration officials are ways in which they can either increase spending, or increase taxes to try to cover their spending, but rarely-to-never about ways in which ways in which they can substantively cut spending nor re-appropriate their department’s duties from the federal government to states governments or the private sector. Which probably has something to do with the CBO’s recent report that we’re all set to add at least $7 trillion to our already $16 trillion dollar debt over the next decade.

As Jonah Goldberg already opined today, one way we can really help ourselves through this mess is by encouraging a robust rate of economic growth, and whatever President Obama might say, the federal government throwing money around — I’m sorry, “investing” — in education and infrastructure are not efficient ways to get that done.

Still, you can bet that if the economy continues to contract, Obama will propose the same remedy he always has: more “investments” in education, infrastructure, and various industries of the future. …

This is hardly shocking: Building roads and schools is a big reason why God created Democrats in the first place. And identifying the Next Big Thing — and taking credit for it — is something of a vocation for many liberal policymakers.

But are these really the drivers of economic growth? …

Japan is now well into its third “lost decade.” Over the years, it has poured money into “stimulative” infrastructure projects that have yet to stimulate and protected industries that have steadily lost their competitive edge. Economic growth has averaged less than 1 percent since 2000, while government debt is now more than twice its GDP. If a highly educated work force, support for allegedly cutting-edge industries, and lavish spending on infrastructure was the recipe for economic growth (and if debt didn’t matter), Japan would be doing great.

The federal government busying itself with expensive, top-down projects (many of which would be more productively and effectively handled by the states and the private sector, by the way) that construct what they think should be the frameworks of a good economy, don’t do much good if the economy is too pitiful to fill them out.


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Shouldn’t that be “one big obamahole” ?

Pork-Chop on February 6, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Collapse the system and rebuild it closer to the hearts desire. Let’s hope the right people do the rebuilding.

tdarrington on February 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

From pothole to a-hole, adios Ray….

hillsoftx on February 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Tell you what Ray, let me re-write the contracting rules for federal government. I’ll get those potholes fixed and roads built for a lot less than you clowns can, and faster too.

JusDreamin on February 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM

So near a trillion dollars, not to mention another $4 trillion of deficit spending and they couldn’t get the roads fixed ?

Good Lord. La Hood should be ashamed of his effort.

J_Crater on February 6, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Wait a minute.
Jonah Goldberg is showing an unusual lack of historical background.
Didn’t Eisenhower trigger the Interstate system?
Also, in my home state of PA, it was Gov. Pinchot — a Republican — who had many of the state’s roads paved “to get the farmers out of the mud”. And it was another Republican — Dick Thornburgh — who made a boatload of repairs to the roads after road repair moneys were siphoned off by the corrupt Shapp administration.
These two had one thing in common — their ideas worked.
Bullet trains from Nowhere to South of Nowhere don’t work.

either orr on February 6, 2013 at 6:52 PM

“America is one big pothole right now,” LaHood said in an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show” on National Public Radio.

You got that right.

But its certainly not for lack of funding — we’re funding union labor to build bridges and infrastructure (usually involving shady politicians and backroom deals), then we’re funding the bureaucracy that do everything in their power to make sure the infrastructure never gets built. Then we’re funding the lawyers on both sides, and the engineers and the environmental studies and paying retainers for years while it battles out in court (which we also pay for.)

And with maintenance and pot holes? The town and state DOT’s are usually responsible for that. More over paid, pensioned union (with union rules) public sector employees who can’t get fired, have no incentive to work, and retire after 20 years.

But sure, lets throw more money at the problem.

Timin203 on February 6, 2013 at 6:53 PM

If a highly educated work force, support for allegedly cutting-edge industries, and lavish spending on infrastructure was the recipe for economic growth (and if debt didn’t matter), Japan would be doing great.

Trying to confuse the leftists with facts never works. There is a disconnect in their brains and facts are shuffled out at the speed of light.

chemman on February 6, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Here’s a thought : Do the jobs that are needed when they are needed. There is a roadway that was redone near my home that was done two years ahead of schedule BECAUSE they had the funds. The road was fine….what a waste.

CW on February 6, 2013 at 6:58 PM

LaHood: America is really just “one big pot a$$ hole,” you know

…what a ‘potlicker‘ this clown is!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 7:03 PM

LaHood: America is really just “one big pothole,” you know

RWM: Ray LaHood is really just “one big a$$hole,” you know?

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Japan is now well into its third “lost decade.”

It also kicked off its EIGHTH round of “Quantitative Easing” a few months ago.

“Just because round after round of quantitative easing hasn’t prevented Japan from entering its third ‘lost decade’ does not mean that our round after round of quantitative easing will have the same result. Clearly, we know what we are doing and there is absolutely no risk of inflation, a collapse of the dollar, or any impact on economic growth. You must trust us. Obviously, when I told you that I would never allow the Federal Reserve to monetise the debt, did I lie to you?”

- Helicopter Ben Bernanke

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Drive on any interstate highway in the country and there is construction going on and always has been.Loop 610 in Houston has construction ongoing for the last 40 years.That is why people are in traffic jams over half their working lives.We need a competent Transportation Foreman,not a Secretary, that knows how to get work finished.

docflash on February 6, 2013 at 7:14 PM

So Ray, what happened to ALL THAT GAS TAX MONEY? The money that was supposed to MAINTAIN the infrastructure?

GarandFan on February 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

We need a competent Transportation Foreman,not a Secretary, that knows how to get work finished.

docflash on February 6, 2013 at 7:14 PM

You are assuming the work is being done with the objective of finishing. What if the work is being done with the objective of continually providing work?

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Here’s bold: Repeal Davis-Bacon

Dusty on February 6, 2013 at 7:36 PM

So Ray, what happened to ALL THAT GAS TAX MONEY? The money that was supposed to MAINTAIN the infrastructure?

GarandFan on February 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

It went to the same place that all the property tax money to maintain schoolls went.

RickB on February 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Is LaHood championing all of the idiotic (and wildly expensive)signs that were posted along highways that did not even begin to need repairs?

onlineanalyst on February 6, 2013 at 7:42 PM

And Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is really just one big sinkhole:

Harrisburg officials have identified at least 40 other sinkholes around the 50,000-person city. The combination of particularly sandy soil and leaky pipes under Harrisburg’s streets make it susceptible to sinkholes, city officials say. But Harrisburg has a bigger problem: The Pennsylvania capital can’t afford to replace many of the aging pipes, some of which date back to the 19th century.

Harrisburg is in default on its debt and has been effectively shut out of the municipal-debt market, which cities and states use to finance everything from building schools to paving roads.

steebo77 on February 6, 2013 at 7:44 PM

A $787 billion stimulus was signed in February 2009, so I’m sure all the potholes have been filled.

Ted Torgerson on February 6, 2013 at 7:52 PM

If ever a politician were properly named….

viking01 on February 6, 2013 at 7:58 PM

“investments”

Progressives believe these expenditures are investments. They believe that doing these things, for any “these” you’d like, will result in receipt of more than was expended — though not necessarily in like kind.

They will take farmland and invest it in a cleaner environment and higher quality of life, and the actual return will be a more poisonous environment, hunger, and for vulnerable people, sickness, starvation, and death. They will confiscate the labor people stored up for themselves while they each had an abundance of energy and invest it in sustainable electrical energy production for everyone, and the return will be scarcity of electrical energy, and no cache of labor to spend by people living long enough to see their own strength wane. They will invest any common wealth they can identify into their dream of a universal health care mechanism, and the the return will be less medical care and more suffering.

Progressives are not dangerous because they are duplicitous. They are dangerous because they are in earnest. Like every group of fanatics before them, closing their eyes to the results of their actions and choosing their own fantasies over evidence they might have otherwise seen, they believe their actions are the only morally justifiable actions. They believe they are the good.

These people are glutting themselves on our wealth.

/stating the obvious since ’69.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Here’s bold: Build the Keystone pipeline and drill for more oil, ’cause it certainly doesn’t help to get roads rebuilt and repaired when the price of oil has doubled, like it has these last four years.

Dusty on February 6, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Here’s bold: Reform entitlements so it frees up the money we used to have to keep the roads in good repair. If we has fewer freeloaders, like we used to have when we built the interstate system, we’d be a lot better off.

Dusty on February 6, 2013 at 8:15 PM

LaHood was the rep for my district and he was fairly conservative. Then he got tapped by Obama and just like everything Obama touches… well you know how that story ends.

iceman1960 on February 6, 2013 at 8:48 PM

“America is one big pothole right now,” LaHood said in an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show” on National Public Radio.

Yes, and he is on record as saying that as SecTrans his job was to “coerce Americans out of their cars and onto public transportation”.

Leaving aside the issue of any Cabinet Secretary saying his job is to “coerce” Americans into doing anything, I would think he’d be in favor of a dysfunctional National Highway system. The less usable it is, the more people have to resort to “high-speed rail” if they don’t want to fly.

Of course, it makes moving goods (logistics) much more difficult, but in the Obama Age of Less for More that is no doubt considered good thing, too. You know, adversity builds character and obedience to your betters, and all that.

Moral; If you give a progressive what they want, they will be like Captain Renault (Claude Rains) in Casablanca; utterly shocked when the inevitable consequences of their actions, or inactions, hit them in the face.

Of course, also like the good capitaine’, they will immediately “round up the usual suspects”, i.e. blame everybody else. Which is exactly what LaHood is doing here.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Oh America!
As we say to Ray Lahood
Love it or leave it!

I am so sick and tired of the “everybody else does (fill in the blank) better than we do.” I have driven on highways all over the world, and none come close in terms of design and built-in safety to the typical US Interstate Highway. Drive down any Interstate, and look for something you can hit solidly with your car. Every pole, every tree, every bridge abutment, every signpost has extensive guarding. They really are masterpieces of engineering.

Compare that to the death trap Paris tunnel where Princess Diana met her grisly end. Huge pillars right at the roadside, without so much as a traffic cone to keep people from hitting them head-on. Even after the most famous auto accident in the history of the World, the French has still not done anything about the situation in that damn tunnel.

Haiku Guy on February 6, 2013 at 10:41 PM