OK, I admit up front that the title is an oxymoron.
It didn’t take long following the 35W bridge collapse before the left, unable to bypass another “Bleed it leads” headline, started claiming that lack of funding caused inadequate inspections and thus the bridge collapse. A month had not passed when a Star and Tribune editorial ran an editorial crying that the bridge collapse proved we needed to pay higher taxes:
The need to acknowledge that, whatever the collapse’s specific cause, Minnesota has allowed its transportation infrastructure to deteriorate to a level that threatens the safety of the public and the future of the economy.
The need to comprehensively repair what’s crumbling and start building and funding a transportation system compatible with market demand and the new global realities of energy insecurity and climate change.
The final report on the 35W bridge collapse was issued by the NTSB this week. The findings, identified early in the process but naysayed by those who wanted a demon, was that the gusset plates were undersized by 50% in the original design.
Darn, that sure puts a crimp in the whole “we need your money, money, money” meme!
Not to be put off track, the Star and Tribune wrote an editorial this Sunday addressing the NTSB report. Unable to use the report to further pin the tail on the Republican Donkey Elephant, the Star and Tribune goes the next step and blames the Minnesota Taxpayers:
Last week’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearings on the cause of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse were dominated by the technical lingo of the investigators. Finite element analysis. Initiation location. Load redundancies. There was also one oft-repeated phrase combining two words rarely used together: “bridge owners.”
A heads-up to all Minnesotans: The NTSB is talking about you. And while it’s hard to think about owning bridges the same way as a home or a car, the reality is that these critical components of daily life belong to the public — not to politicians, not to transportation officials nor any other bureaucrat. Everyone owns them. Everyone shares the responsibility for ensuring they are maintained and cared for.
Can you just imagine the scene that would occur when I decide that I’m concerned about bridge X and that because I am a “bridge owner,” I’m going to stop traffic so that I can crawl around the bridge to give it my examination? OK, well maybe that wasn’t what the Strib was going for. However, their notion that we each share a responsibility for the safety of bridges is just as ridiculous.
The problem with the Strib’s thinking, and that of much of the Left’s policies are that at the first sign of trouble, if they can’t immediately pin the problem on a Republican, the next stop is that it’s “everybody’s problem!” When it’s everybody’s problem than it is the perfect reason not to be left to individual cases but must be dealt with as a blanket issue by the Federal Government. The left has no ability to deal with personal accountability. Doubt me?
Abortion – no personal accountability at all. Abortions must be available all the time for any reason.
Guns – must be banned. No one individual can be held accountable for their improper use of a gun so no one can have one.
Fairness doctrine – some one may be offended so no one can hear speech that has a different opinion.
Social programs – don’t even get me started!
Education – again, don’t get me started!
The only way that I agree with the Strib is that we as taxpayers hire people to monitor, manage and repair various functions. We call these people Senators, Congress people, Governors, Presidents etc. In some cases, like the 35W bridge collapse, it doesn’t appear that there is reason to believe that any of these folks, or the folks they hire and oversee, would have reasonably determined the flaw in the original bridge design. That said, in most other situations, these same people should be expected to anticipate and correct problems. Unfortunately, that seems to be happening less and less. In that case, we taxpayers are “owners” and we need to be more vigilant in holding our elected officials to accountability.
As I used to tell some of my people, “I’ve hired you to do a job and expect you to do it. I’ll help, coach and support you but I won’t do your job. If I have to start doing your job, then one of us is no longer needed….and it won’t be me.”