There was a time when events like the collapse of that bridge over the Mississippi would have been taken in stride.
Yes, it was a tragedy, a mature nation would have said, but like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and bolts of lighting hitting folks on picnic grounds, these are "acts of God." Even in a good life and a great country, bad things happen.
But today, there has be someone to blame, someone to be held accountable, someone who could have prevented it, someone whose head must go on a pike. And it is the job of the journalist to give us the guilty. And the modern journalist relishes nothing more than standing before a TV camera passing moral judgment on failed mortals.
After Katrina, it was President Bush, who neglected to send in the 82nd Airborne at once, and "Brownie," the FEMA chief. Yet, all concede Brownie had done "a heckuva job" in the Florida hurricane.
We are now told there are 70,000 bridges in this country that are "structurally deficient," whatever that means, since collapsing bridges are a rarity. One recalls the crumpling of a slab of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco a few years back, but few others. Yet, a clamor has arisen for hundreds of billions of tax dollars to repair our crumbling infrastructure of roads, sewers, bridges and electrical grids.
Fine, but where are we going to get the money?
We are bust. We consume all we earn. We save nothing. We borrow $2 billion a day to finance our trade deficit and buy all those goods and gadgets at the mall. The Chinese save between 35 percent and 50 percent of all they earn.
Though dependent on OPEC for 60 percent of our oil, we haven't built a refinery or a nuclear power plant in more than 25 years, and we are not permitted to drill in much of Alaska or off California or Florida. We don't build dams anymore, like Hoover and Grand Coulee, we tear them down. We were once the greatest road-builders since Rome, as Ike's Interstate Highway System was built in two decades, not two centuries.
Barack Obama wins standing ovations from liberal Democrats by pledging to double foreign aid. Thus, under President Obama, the U.S. government will borrow from China and Japan $50 billion each year to subsidize regimes in Africa, putting our kids in hock forever, so we can feel good about ourselves.
Wake-up call: This is not the 1950s. We are not the world's greatest creditor nation anymore, but the world's greatest debtor.
Credit card debt, mortgage debt and corporate debt have never been higher. The fall of 800 points in the Dow the last two weeks resulted from defaults on home mortgages, bundled up and traded like stocks in the Grand Casino of Wall Street by the boys at Bear Stearns.