In­fra­struc­ture mat­ters too

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Spend money where it’s truly needed,” Col­umn, June 7

Steve Lopez cor­rectly cites the slow phys­i­cal decline of John Mar­shall High School in Los Feliz as a mi­cro­cosm of the na­tion’s crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture.

This is sim­ply his­tory re­peat­ing it­self. Through­out recorded his­tory, dom­i­nant so­ci­eties have gone through cy­cles in which they decline af­ter their peak in­flu­ence and go on to play much smaller roles on the global stage.

What Lopez de­scribes is part of the decline of the Amer­i­can em­pire. Other signs in­clude a di­vided and dys­func­tional po­lit­i­cal estab­lish­ment and the in­abil­ity of our mil­i­tary to ad­e­quately po­lice our global em­pire.

Past em­pires weren’t able to stop their de­clines, but per­haps we will be the first in his­tory to stage a turn­around. If it is any con­so­la­tion to Lopez, he should know that other pre­vi­ously dom­i­nant so­ci­eties are still try­ing to re­pair their in­fra­struc­ture.

Th­ese things take time to cor­rect.

Ed Hieshet­ter San Diego

Lopez has given us a false choice be­tween de­fense spend­ing and in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing.

Ev­ery­one agrees that our in­fra­struc­ture is do­ing poorly. But we should look into the var­i­ous mech­a­nisms al­ready en­acted to ad­dress that is­sue, in­clud­ing the gar­gan­tuan $800-bil­lion stim­u­lus sold to the Amer­i­can peo­ple by Pres­i­dent Obama in 2009, largely on his as­ser­tion that “we’ll put peo­ple back to work re­build­ing our crum­bling roads and bridges.” Less than 10% of the money found its way to such in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Now, rather than de­cide which is more im­por­tant — de­fend­ing our coun­try or fix­ing our roads — why not look at what has hap­pened to money we al­ready granted to our gov­ern­ment to ful­fill its im­pres­sive po­lit­i­cal prom­ises?

Dave Mul­nard New­port Beach

I agree with Lopez. The United States has about 40,000 troops in Ger­many alone. The need for our troops in West­ern Europe ended long ago.

We are bet­ter off spend­ing that money on schools, roads and other do­mes­tic needs.

Michael Pol­lak Los An­ge­les

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