It is so refreshing to read Michael Hiltzik's explanation of how Congress' ill-timed obsession with deficit reduction actually retards economic growth. Other priorities, especially job creation, deserve much greater emphasis.
But Hiltzik makes another valuable point that merits wider discussion: With current interest rates so low, this is an ideal time to start digging ourselves out of our backlog in infrastructure maintenance.
In its "2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure," the American Society of Civil Engineers gives America a "D+" for the state of our dams, levees, roads and schools, among others. Just one of many distressing examples: The National Park Service struggles with an $11 billion maintenance backlog.
To create jobs, grow the economy and remedy this shameful underfunding, we need investment in infrastructure now.
Shame on the governor, the Legislature and, frankly, The Times' editorial board. The dismantling of the California legal system, our third branch of government, continues with the new proposed state budget. Your editorial makes no mention of our courts, where citizens wait too long for justice.
The California courthouse infrastructure, especially in Los Angeles County, was built from decades of prudent decisions, and now many locations are being closed down. We have a transportation infrastructure built over decades with billions of dollars. Would we shut down the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine to save money? Of course not; that would be stupid and silly.
So is the closing of our courthouses.
The International Energy Agency, "an independent research group established by the world's most-industrialized nations," has sounded a warning on the perils of climate change if greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked. The lying, greedy conspiracy of climate scientists has obviously gotten to them.
Congress remains uninterested, but a miraculous reversal in interest would suddenly manifest if only the scientific community could outmatch the fossil fuel industry's kickbacks to lawmakers loyally blocking any action. What a sad caricature our democracy has become.