In all of 241 years, the United States of America has risen to become the greatest economy, and greatest power, ever. The equity and assets built since the industrial revolution and furthermore, since WW2, have shaped this country into a leader and innovator.
That being said... The United States aren't without their problems and perils. The financial position of the USA is eroding, in part, due to developing nations increasing their wealth and adding to the global economy. Although the wealth of the USA is growing, in terms of GDP- gross domestic product... it's at a slower rate than other, developing nations. Coupled with slower growth, are increased liabilities or debt.
You could point to countless inefficiencies and problems along the Federal, state and local governments. Most of the time, when it comes to sorting out the problems, it all comes back to $$$. Where are the tax dollars going??? Spending, spending, spending is always on the lawmakers lips and goverment budgets seem to be a daily headline. Whether it be funding for a new public high school, resurfacing for a major highway, social security, medicare, etc... We hear about budgets and taxes all the time. As Tip O'Neill famously once said- "All politics are local"
Infrastructure: roads, bridges, railroads, utilities, airports and ports, are the veins and arteries (literally) that keep our country alive, and hundreds of millions of Americans depend on them everyday. Maintaining these infrastructures relies on a a stream of funding from all different sources, from taxes and tolls, to ridership fees.
I bring to light, the impressive assessment of NYC Subway, by the NYTimes- How Politics and Bad Decisions Starved New York's Subways
Now, without going into all the details regarding the disrepair of the system, (one of the oldest and largest in the world), one of the first paragraphs struck a chord with me:
Signal problems and car equipment failures occur twice as frequently as a decade ago, but hundreds of mechanic positions have been cut because there is not enough money to pay them — even though the average total compensation for subway managers has grown to nearly $300,000 a year.
This theme keeps popping up in stories about public transit - Employees (mostly union) salaries and compensation are through the roof, while the services are in the gutter, pun intended. The next paragraph goes onto say that:
Among all the news/noise Americans hear all day, everyday, about current events and the likes, the most subvert situation nobody has challenged effectively are the cost, salaries and compensation of public works and their impact on the areas they serve.
Now how is it, that a manager for the MTA (metro transit authority) makes $300k, the same amount, or more than a highly trained, licensed, and experienced shipping pilot (Captain), who him/herself is unionized too.... Public works and "fare wage" rates have gone through the roof and it's about time somebody stepped up to the mic to keep these fools accountable. BRAVO New York Times #NYTIMES for a great piece on the nation's most critical transportation system, and it's fleecing by it's employees, directors, unions and the likes.