WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

An Italian journalist looks at the U.S.'s deteriorating infrastructure from Beijing

Perhaps Delaware's I-495 bridge woes - with the resulting gridlock on I-95 & even Route 141 during rush hours and beach traffic - will produce perhaps one benefit: An appreciation for the need to repair and replace America's infrastructure and understand how some other countries have left the U.S. far behind.

Bluntly, from literal transportation infrastructure to cyber broadband speeds, some other countries are leaving the U.S. in the dust.

Forget the literal gridlock on our highways in northern Delaware; it could be argued the unique collision of economic, regulatory, and political forces in the U.S. is producing another kind of gridlock.

For an outside perspective on this, check out this article from Italian journalist / columnist Francesco Sisci in The ASIA TIMES on line.

Whether you're conservative, centrist, liberal, libertarian, or something else, you're not going to agree with everything in this piece - I don't - but you get a sense of how the U.S. is perceived...


Posted at 7:33am on June 9, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 12:33pm
This quote was very revealing....

"Foreign affairs remain mainly alien to most Chinese, for centuries self-centered, whereas Americans, a nation of immigrants and settlers, keep a keen eye on the "old countries". "

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 12:47pm
He is correct in slamming the Tea Party for America's demise, and although also correct somewhat for deeming Obama was not leading fast enough, he, from his distant perspective, absolutely fails to account for how the Republican Party can, will and did, delay and destroy any progress forward whatsoever....

Just remember the Grand Bargain back in 2011, when the Tea Party Republicans torpedoed America's great chance to move forward.... Like roaches, the complete extermination of Republicans as was accomplished under Roosevelt, is the only way America can improve.... when that party's extreme conservative elimination gave us 60 years of prosperity. If the Republicans won't compromise, at all, they need to be eliminated... Just like Germans, Japanese, North Koreans, Red Vietnamese, and Saddam's Iraqi's.... Eliminated because they have only one way, and it is the wrong way.......

So, Obama can be faulted for not risking all, and now completely carrying the message that Republicans, and only rRepublicans, are the reason America sucks...

Without them all our dreams are reached !!! It is way past time to start squishing the roaches....

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 1:01pm
...Wow, you sure sound like a loyal "brown shirt" for das Fuhrer... read much history?

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 1:32pm
No Earl.. Tea Partiers are Fuhrer worshipers. What you hear above is nothing but the average American's frustration over one sick element of our society, intent on ruining the rest of our lives so those perpetrator can still envision themselves as important in some aspect of their own impotent lives....

Republicans in power are like having an abusive parent who is allowed to continue, over and over and over and over and over and over to abuse its children with impunity and everyone is either too timid to step in and interfere, or too cowardly and doesn't want to get involved.,... the above is an expression of expressed truth similar to how every abused child hopes that their parent somehow gets run off and is never heard from again....

The real Fuhrer is Ted Cruz... just read his policies...identical to Mein Kampf ..... and as proof, watch Pizza rush to defend him.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 9, 2014 1:34pm
Some good points made in the article:

The main point I believe is:
"But something is structurally changing and getting much better outside of America. In Asia, which some newspapers believe is the new frontier of the world, one lands in science-fiction airports and moves around in a network of seamless super-fast trains. The future looks at hand, life can be improved, and millions of Asians know it and see it.

In the US of the 1870s, the east-west railway made America perhaps more than the war of secession. It was the link to California, the leap to the Pacific Ocean, and the great opportunity to settle huge swathes of rich continental land in between. In the 1950s and 1960s, the US reached for the moon and, more concretely, it conquered the skies, setting up airplane routes that for the first time made traveling long distances easy and fast.

Now, 50 years later, US airports are crumbling for lack of maintenance and innovation; railways are so slow and inefficient that they look almost like caricatures of the Disneyland choo-choo trains. The United States needs new airports, new harbors, new fast trains. Without them, the US is doomed in the economic race with Asia - or with anybody.

The next US revolution could restart its infrastructure backbone to help common people, ideas, and goods to move around the country and generate wealth and well-being for everybody."

"When some Tea Party people present themselves as the blessed holders of the truth of American forefathers, they forget that those fathers and forefathers were first of all empiricists, pragmatic, and down to earth, like the vast majority of Americans. They forget they should represent all Americans, not a happy, blessed few."

My thoughts:
The prosperity, etc, that happened from the 1940's - 80's [The New Deal Era] of America. That all stopped and started going into decline in the 1980's when the Reagan Administration convinced folks that government was evil.

The balance should have been that we need to control the size of government, but not throw out the baby with the water. Instead, we're starving the government programs, etc, rather than fixing the problems with the programs, while we make sure the wealthiest 2% make insane amounts of money, yet pay little or no tax. This is America's Achilles Heel.

The other point made in the article:

"But also when a president blames the opposition party for all the problems in his administration, he presents himself as only the leader of the Democrats or the Republicans and not as the leader he should be of all Americans. He should be the commander in chief of both Democrats and Republicans, the leader of his supporters and his opposition."

Sadly, both Bush Jr. and Obama have been President ONLY for those who voted for them. Some of our great Presidents worked for all the people: FDR, JFK, yep even Clinton, Eisenhower, and T. Roosevelt.

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 1:35pm
(Wish I added this above). Earl... look at facts... Forget about "what you want.." Try looking at simple facts for a change.... Start with the Federal Reserve reports and see just what "not taxing enough" has done to this once great nation of ours...... Time to get out of your dream world.......

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 1:39pm
Mike brings up a great point... it is about balance. A stool in which all the legs are not the same length, is wobbly and not stable....

The great times of our nations history have been when both government, We, the people (the robust economy) and business have all be prosperous at the same time....

We had policy centered on growth... and all prospered. Now, policy is all aimed from the Supreme Court down to Markell's admin. to protect corporate at the expense of "We the People "(strip our rights, and government......

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 2:23pm
kavips: Your loyalty to Hillary and our current president is impressive. I have read the policies of Cruz, 0bama, and Hillary...Cruz is not the next Adolph. But, I also do not place complete faith/trust in any man/woman...in government.
Hitler used the educational system (similar to Common Core), the State, the Church, nationalism, and uninformed masses to take over the churches, the military and the country of Germany.

As for the Fed and more taxation...I think that President Jackson answers quite well the reality of the Fed.
"Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, I will rout you out!"~President Andrew Jackson

End the Fed!

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jun 9, 2014 3:25pm
Kavips makes my point even clearer with the stool having legs not the same length. Excellent image.

EarlGrey: part of the Andrew Jackson quote makes me think of a similar situation today, I'll change a few of the words to fit today's world where Wall Street, Corporations, and yes the Banks are doing as Jackson laments: "used your [corporate funds] to speculate in [the growing your business]. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you [come and want the tax payer to bail you out]. I'll add, even though you pay little or no tax as the wealthiest 2% or as many corporations have also managed to pay no tax.

This is why we do need government regulations and regulators to insure the Robber Barrons don't steal the entire economy and put it into their pocket.

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 7:46pm
Unfortunately, the government has frivolously spent trillions of dollars that could now be used to fix infrastructure if only they hadn't squandered it.

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 8:00pm
Wow! It sure amazes me how Kavips continues to blame the TEA party for all of mankind's problems when none of them are even elected to public office. Yet if Obama walked into a night club with an automatic weapon and fired it into the crowd killing masses of people and then threw a grenade in there to finish them off, Kavips would intellectually explain it away with some BS about how he had to do it to save all the other people that weren't unfortunate enough to be there.

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 8:16pm
I'm also amazed at Mike from Delaware who sounds just like a stuck record: 2%..2%..2%..2%..2%..2%..2%..

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 9:37pm
Mike: Jackson's quote is even more relevant today as the Fed (Bank of the United States) takes and wastes OUR money...only update for his quote is that our debt is now in the TRILLIONS. Even if the top 2% were to "give" everything they own to pay off this debt it still wouldn't be enough...so please stop saying the increased taxation on those who have more than you or I ever will have would solve this problem. The only solution is for our government to stop spending our money like it's their Monopoly money to play with as they wish.

I can think of quite a few modern-day "robber barons" who are working with/pulling the strings on this administration...Bill Gates is but one example and he is the main driving force behind Common Core.

Mon, Jun 9, 2014 9:46pm
"Unfortunately, the government has frivolously spent trillions of dollars that could now be used to fix infrastructure if only they hadn't squandered it."~mrpizza

Exactly! The government should have more than enough funds to repair our crumbling infrastructure but instead the money has been spent on their own pet projects, bailouts, new wars, stimulus and energy boondoggles.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 10, 2014 8:22am
Mrpizza: Back in the day when the 2% paid a bigger piece of the tax burden in what I refer to as the New Deal Era from the 1940's -1980's this nation was in pristine shape, no crumbling infersturcture, solid good public schools where kids learned [and could read their diploma], where there were not homeless folks. Realize they didn't start showing up until the 1980's when Reagan stopped some federal program that resulted in hundreds of thousands of problem folks being pushed onto the streets [these folks were not capable of helping themselves and became our first batch of street people [bag ladies, etc,]. The so called "trickle down" approach of Reagan did not work for all, only that upper 2%, and they've been on the gravy train ever since.

So yes I mention it often because it is a major part of what started the spiral down of this nation.

Other contribitors were: the Welfare System of the 1960's that encouraged welfare families to not have a father in the home, it is far easier to collect benefits if it is a single mom with kids. So as a result many poor families have an invisible man who's rarely there, which has caused much havoc in the welfare community as a result these are families without a dad being present. This needs to be addressed as the basic building block of our society is the family. This can be laid at the feet of LBJ's Great Society, he had the right idea, just the details that need tweaking. Sadly neither GOP or DEMS have addressed this issue. Part of that problem is that folks like Al Sharpton will protest against such action so Congress not wanting to appear racist against the black community don't dare make these much needed changes. They seem to forget that most welfare folks are white, not black. So that program needs serious revisions such as: no penalty for a family needing welfare and had a father there. Also each head of household on welfare [so single mom or dad] should be required to do some sort of "government work" such as picking up trash and cig butts that line our streets, parks, etc, [America should have the cleanest streets in the world given how many folks we have on Welfare]. That head of household should be required to that "government work" three days per week in an organized group with a supervisor to insure this is done by all.

The head of household should be required to physically go and pick up their welfare check or plastic card. That way they have to get up and do something, report in to someone who can then also ask for proof that they went job hunting on the days they were't picking up trash for the government. Do these two things and my guess is many will make a better effort to find a job [not be so picky] thus getting some physically able folks off welfare.

The other thing that should be done with Welfare is, most minimum wage jobs won't support a family, so there should be a feathering in period where that former welfare family gets some money, less than when on welfare, but enough so that they are actually making more money working than being on welfare. These people are poor, not stupid, if they make more sitting around collecting welfare than working guess which path they'll take? Another reason the minimum wage for adults [18 and over] should be higher.

Problem with TEA party solutions is they generally don't address how to fix something, just let's cut something. The TEA way hurts people, the other way helps get folks working again. The 2% paying more taxes as they did back in the New Deal Era when America was the best at everything, needs to happen. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 10, 2014 8:25am
EarlGrey: Who gets the blame for starting those new wars? If you're honest, it is Little Bush, Obama inherited those two major wars [Iraq and Afghanstan]. What made this even worse is Bush Jr. didn't raise taxes to pay for them, but instead lowered taxes, especially for that upper 2%, thus creating this giant deficit. Yes Obama's Obamacare has added to it, but Bush Jr. took us from being in the Black to being in the Red in a serious way. He gets the blame for the turn-around.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 9:10am
Mike: I agree with you on Bush's responsibility for the majority of the monetary costs associated with Iraq/Afghanistan wars...but if you look at national debt you will see that it's not these wars alone that make up the TRILLIONS our current president has added to OUR national debt. Again, Bush did it too with the wars, TARP and bailouts...that's why I'm not a fan of Big Government under Republicans or Democrats.

And yes we will have to agree to disagree on the New Deal, "taxing the rich", and social security...if one bothers to look at the instruction book for our Republic you might notice none of those "rights" exist and none are listed as the role of government (these "rights" are listed in the Communist Manifesto). Government's role is the protection of the citizens of this country from enemies foreign/domestic, enforcing laws and representing the citizens of this country...the government based on the Constitution is not responsible for our retirement, our health-care or high taxes (there was no income tax before 1913).

Christians base their lives upon the Bible and use this holy book as our guide if we wish to live a godly life...the Constitution (also an old dusty document) is supposed to be the basis for our Republic...if we continue to ignore the Constitution our Republic will no longer exist...if we are no longer a Republic what will we be? Socialist? Communist? Monarchy? None of the other forms of government allow/guarantee freedom as a right.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:03am
I'm tired of Bush getting the blame for starting these wars... We all know it was Cheney....

And the Andy Jackson quote is more fitting to the private investors of today, than the fed...

And we can all see; capitalism is the problem... We must end the way things are done today... What we need is more competition, and less big business. I see within several years, a big push to break apart monopolies.... (the joke being capitalism is not the problem; lack of capitalism through monopolization is the problem. lol)

I think Comcast may be the first, a popular move due to the number of people that hate it...

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:08am
Earl... there is no "instruction book" to our republic!! ....

If there is, explain how you were the first person in 238 years to discover it.... Are you really... Nicholas Cage?

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:13am
Earl's statement above to Mike about the debt is untrue... Here is a graphic from the Washington Post with accurate totals outlining the truth better than Earl attempts to explain it...


Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:19am
And when you are inside that graphic I linked to above,... look at the parts on Bush's side labeled "Bush Tax Cuts" and "Other Tax (Cuts)"... Then imaging the size of the overall box with those two items missing.... and Bush's and Obama's are almost the same size.

To most sane people, that would prove Mike above was right all along..... The New Deal was better for the country than the New "Raw" Deal we got with Conservatives.....

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:23am
And not to leave out Mr. Pizza... his role has been reduced to saying... You are all crazy.... but when asked to support it, can find no other answer than... because he says so... or in his case... because Dick Morris says so...

Not that anyone has any respect for Dick Morris these days...

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:43am
EarlGrey: I agree that TARP and the bailouts added to the problem [yet we've gotten most of the auto money back], but cutting taxes along with all that and Iraq/Afghanistan only made the problem worse, not better.

So should my take away from your post above be that the U.S. should eliminate Social Security? So FDR was wrong to want to help the elderly who worked their entire lives, but who were struggling and starving to survive in old age?

That might not be a "right" stated in the Constitution, but it is a benefit that FDR and his DEM Congress in 1932 decided needed to happen to help those old folks survive.

I also believe helping the poor and elderly is something Jesus did and still would do. It is a "Christian Value". He'd not take the TEA party attitude of too bad, so sad for you, starve. Pay for your meds or die, eat dogfood or die. Ketchup is a vegetable. You old people no longer are productive and useful to the rest of us, so just die and save us some money. EarlGrey I can't believe you really believe that???

Even if your goal is to eventually get rid of Social Security [meaning you don't plan on using your benefit or you'd be a bit of a hypocrite], it would take years to accomplish.

First, you have the Babyboomers who are now crashing on the shores of old age, and need that Social Security insurance plan they faithfully paid into for over 40+ years and who do vote and will totally vote against any plan to screw them out of their Social Security.

Second, the government will still need to find a way to make it so the elderly of all incomes can survive in old age. Sure, it's easy for Rush/Hannity/Beck, but many working-class folks just don't have it to invest, or don't know enough to do it well, thus losing what they invest, so ending up with nothing for old age, yet they worked all their lives. The poor don't even have that, and the too-bad-so-sad-for-you attitude is not acceptable.

This sort of attitude is what will cause folks like me to vote for the DEMS, and not the G.O.P.

Somehow it seems obscene to be in one of the richest nations in the planets' history and see homeless folks panhandling everyday, children going to school with empty bellies, old people choosing between buying needed meds or buy food, crumbling infrastructure, etc., etc. We're becoming India.

Remember the old Care Packages we sent to places like India? We see all those starving folks in TV commercials in places like New Delhi, kids with bloated bellies from not eating, flies on their face, etc., etc. Yet there are many wealthy people in India too. Heck, we're becoming that. A nation that has a small group [2%] that has it all and the rest of us who are struggling to make ends meet or is that meat? We're becoming a third-world nation. THAT is nothing to be proud of, or to desire as a party platform.

You want to end Welfare; get your TEA/G.O.P. pals to push for those things I mentioned above in my previous post, also to tax U.S. corporations that manufacture stuff overseas and then sell it here, go after the companies that hire illegals rather than legal Americans, etc., etc., and yes, tax that upper 2% more.

Instead the TEA folks simply do nothing, but bash Obama, and shut down the government costing the taxpayer an additional 2 Billion dollars. They wrap themselves in the Constitution and the Bible. Frankly I don't believe many in the TEA movement have actually read either. They definitely have not read the Red Letter Words of Jesus in their Bibles. They've got theirs, so they're happy. They have no compassion for anyone else and have that selfish attitude of too bad so sad for you. That is not the attitude that made this nation great, so yes we'll just have to agree to disagree on this.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 10, 2014 12:41pm
An excerpt from the accompanying article Kavips posted, if you're not into graphs.

"How much has Obama added to the debt, anyway?

There are two answers: More than $4 trillion, or about $983 billion. The first answer is simple and wrong. The second answer is more complicated, but a lot closer to being right.

When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.5 trillion. Today, it’s about $15.2 trillion. Simple subtraction gets you the answer preferred by most of Obama’s opponents: $4.7 trillion.

But ask yourself: Which of Obama’s policies added $4.7 trillion to the debt? The stimulus? That was just a bit more than $800 billion. TARP? That passed under George W. Bush, and most of it has been repaid.

There is a way to tally the effects Obama has had on the deficit. Look at every piece of legislation he has signed into law. Every time Congress passes a bill, either the Congressional Budget Office or the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the effect it will have on the budget over the next 10 years. And then they continue to estimate changes to those bills. If you know how to read their numbers, you can come up with an estimate that zeros in on the laws Obama has had a hand in."


Now granted this was written in 2012, so Obamacare will change that, couldn't find numbers from a non-anti Obama source, where they give Obama the numbers that were due to Bush Jr. Maybe Kavips can find more recent numbers, but Kavips' point is made, unless Obamacare really changes that balance, Bush is the debt leader vs. Obama.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 1:17pm
Mike: I have read and continue to re-read both the Bible and the Constitution/Bill of Rights... I am not an expert on either, but attempt to understand each one to the best of my ability, and live my life accordingly.

As to the social programs such as Social Security, Welfare, and others...they can't be removed because people have been promised they would receive those payments/coverages and they have paid into the system.

What I am saying is that our country is going to go bankrupt if these programs are left alone and nothing done to fix them... too many takers, not enough makers (it's not about taxing the "wealthy" more, it's about too many people abusing what was meant to be a good program for the elderly and the disabled). This outcome (makers/takers) was predicted by those who, many years ago, opposed implementing government Social "Security"... you have paid in and want what's yours and you're happy...is that selfish? I too have paid into this system but know that the reality is when I do finally reach your age I won't get all my money that I have paid in, so I want to have the option to opt out for myself... is that selfish or just common sense for people younger than you?

And finally, if you compare our country vs. the rest of the world....WE ARE THE 1%...so should everyone in this country be forced to pay higher taxes? I know that when my family pays less in taxes we are able to give more to our church, give more to charities and give more to help others... if taxes are higher, we are forced to use that money for food/shelter/clothing of our own family. Where do you honestly think tax dollars are spent better by the government to help others? By the time you factor in government fraud/waste/abuse, add in the multitudes of programs/organizations that promote/perform taxpayer-funded abortions, and the payoffs/corruption involved in huge government bureaucracies… do you still trust government to do what’s best for those who need it most? So, neither I nor the Tea Party are trying to be selfish...we are looking out for the next generation (OUR KIDS) and not ourselves, as we want LESS government involvement in our daily lives... i.e. no more Nanny State.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 1:20pm
...and to the kavips article...that's why I'm not a fan of ANY Big Government politicians whether they are Republican or Democrat. George Bush was a Big Govt guy just like 0bama, Hillary, Jeb Bush and Christie.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jun 10, 2014 3:32pm
EarlGrey: you raise some valid points. When I made the crack about not reading the Bible and the Constitution I didn't have you or Mrpizza in mind, but there are plenty out there in TEA land who I'm not even sure if they can read much less read the Bible and Constitution and have even a basic understanding of what either says, they just repeat what they're told via Rush/Beck/Hannity/Jensen/Fox "News", etc. DEMS have their share of this type too, so it's not just a TEA problem.

Where I differ with you is the difference between Social Security and Welfare. I paid for my Social Security benefits, the Welfare folks didn't. So they ARE takers, I'm only receiving the benefits I essentially bought and paid for. THAT is a major difference. I went to the government insurance window and bought this policy back 47 years ago. I've faithfully paid my premiums and expect to receive the entire benefit at age 66 with no funny business. Now on the other hand, with Welfare the government can and should change how Welfare works as it is a gift or entitlement that wasn't purchased. As you and I have agreed prior that for old guys like me, the Social Security/Medicare systems should not be changed, but sure for you younger guys if that's what you folks want for your future then fine, change the system for you and the younger folks. It's too late for folks like me, so to make changes to it for me would truly stick it to me and many folks my age, so I'm surely not going to vote for anyone I have a doubt about protecting my hard earned benefit.

Your earlier statement today didn't have that sound to it, so that's why I called you on it. It's that lack of not hearing such, not so much from you, but the public TEA folks who get the airwaves and press that causes me to not want to vote for TEA folks, but DEMS. As I've said many times here, that is a deal breaker for me.

We just won't agree though that the New Deal Era [1940's-1980's] was a better time with more prosperity for all, solid inferstructure, America being #1 in almost everything good, etc, etc, than what we've seen since the 1980's. Now the prosperity of America is ONLY for that upper 2%. I'll take the world of Ward and June Cleaver and THAT America where all benefitted via New Deal policies where the nation did well any day over this world where Family Guy represents the "normal" American family. Where only the privledged few reap the benefits of hard work, because the deck is stacked to favor only them via the let's make government totally ineffective and say too bad so sad for anyone not a millionaire. Tough noogies for them, starve, be homeless. As a follower of Christ, I just can't endorse that plan. Somehow having conservative values should have an element of compassion which is sadly lacking in most TEA issues.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 7:38pm
MFD: I think your idea about welfare to work is an excellent one. The system does discourage incentive by paying an "all or nothing" subsidy. They need to raise the subsidy threshold to give the poor a chance to climb the ladder.

Tue, Jun 10, 2014 10:42pm
Mike: We are in agreement on how Social Security should be handled and I agree with your idea that there should be no ceiling/maximum on salary for FICA/Social Security deduction...I also agree with you that the uber-rich 1%ers continue to grow much wealthier as the Lower/Middle Class is getting crushed, we just disagree on how to handle this issue.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Jun 11, 2014 8:14am
Mrpizza and EarlGrey: If the three of us were in Congress, we'd probably be able to find a way to meet in the middle to fix these problems, taking some of your ideas along with some of mine to find a solution that would get the job done; sadly the real Congress can't seem to do this.

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