Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watching the Ripples


Frank Rick puts a moral spin on the crisis, invoking both "Our Town" and Jon Stewart. That CNBC rant from last week has made quite the splash on The Internets.

It's longish...but a good read.

It does fail, ultimately, to inspire me though. There seems to be too much depression era symbolism going around. We can't dig our way out of the mess we're in now by playing the same notes FDR did. I mean we can borrow from the melody...but the country needs different things now.

"Build Roads"...is that the best we can do? "Build schools". Look to playwrights from 3/4 century ago? Evoking the imagery of rural New Hampshire in contrast to the moral rot of modern (at the time) Wall Street...is that really what we need?

I think there is a set of NEW problems today. FDR didn't look at all of the stuff around us in the 30's that was 50 years old and put a new coat of paint on it. He built NEW things...MODERN things. Giving electricity to the Ohio Valley and the Appalachians must have looked completely INSANE at the time. Why not improve the thriving ports in NYC where all the commerce was? Surely the Erie Canal could have been modernized.

Transcontinental highways? Nobody lived in California for chrissakes...and if you did you were just as likely to get around on horseback in the early part of the 20th Century as you were during the goldrush in some places. Nevermind the land in between Chicago and Denver (if you could even find it on a map).

I look even at the proposed High Speed rail map and shake my head. You dont connect two things that are already built up and fully developed. Put some rail between Minneapolis and Omaha....then down to Wichita and Oklahoma City. Connect NEW things and watch something different happen.

Rebuilding WWII America isnt the answer now any more than rebuilding the America of the Gilded Age was then.

Just my two cents.

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