Beyond the great wall with Mexico, Trump spoke often of our crumbling infrastructure. Some of our reactions to the comments highlighting the disparity in America, “third world airports”. Bannon may be a despicable man, but it is hard to hate his push for a trillion dollars in infrastructure investment. Yet from what we know Trumpworks will be something akin to the Big Dig with favored contractors using public funds to make big profit. Though if Trump runs the country like his business maybe no one gets paid. I forgot to mention the real kicker, it will all be privatized. Any new road, bridge, you name it would have tolls that line the favored contractors pockets with us footing the majority of the cost with tax breaks. So we should we not pay to enrich the already wealthy?
Public works are about not just boosting wages and spending in suffering areas, but ensuring the quality of American life. Think of the interstate highway system. Now imagine paying your neighbor to use it after paying to build it yourself. Not only that but if it was a private road system, would the easy of mobility that allowed for the expansion of the American middle class? Roads are far from the only projects we need either. From leevees to water systems, public works make up a diverse range of public property. Can there ever be a fair market solution when we are limited by pipes in the ground? By granting private monopolies over needed resources, we invite profiteering. Coca Cola could ensure water was never cheaper than soda.
The urge to privatize is dangerous. Remember the Bundy siege in Oregon. Malhuer exists not just a home to some of America’s most varied and rare birdlife. It is a space for affordable grazing, native people’s sacred ground, and recreation use in hiking, fishing, and hunting. It has been this way for a hundred years. Those who tried to steal it from us with force did it out of greed. No different than Saddam’s foray into Kuwait. They believed that they were the only Americans deserving that land, but if the public lands were sold. I doubt they would be the new owners. No the person who pays the fortune for that price would most likely increase public useage fees. Federal land can be some eighty percent less than private land. Our public lands do not restrict our freedom as much as guarantee our ability to share the awe that is our natural wonders. The tale of the Malhuer occupation reminds me of another American class: the arrival of the Puritans to New England. When they first saw the ancient forests that once grew across the northeast They believed God prepared the land for them. The well kept trails through the elder groves usually connected to game paths made the wilderness incredibly habitual. However it wasn’t the Lord who had shaped the lands, but the Native American tribes. Those forest culled long before my birth to feed the mills that dot the rivers leaving the young woods as a memorial. The lesson for all fables contain one is we are often wrong on how much and where the help, we received came from.
In our time of division, I doubt the solution is to create new barriers between citizens and increasing the cost of living. I cannot phantom how privatizing and restricting access for profit to public works projects makes us great again. I do see how it could make a select few rich again. We must not undermine what is left of our communities by giving up the last of our connections to a new class of robber barons.
-E. C. Fiori