America has become self-destructively shortsighted in recent decades. That has kept us from acknowledging the awful long-term consequences of the tidal wave of joblessness that has swept over the nation since the start of the recession in December 2007. And it is keeping us from understanding how important the maintenance and development of the infrastructure is to the nation’s long-term social and economic prospects.
It’s not just about roads and bridges, although they are important. It’s also about schools, and the electrical grid, and environmental and technological innovation. It’s about establishing a world-class industrial and economic platform for a nation that is speeding toward second-class status on a range of important fronts.
It’s about whether we’re serious about remaining a great nation. We don’t act like it. Here’s a staggering statistic: According to the Education Trust, the U.S. is the only industrialized country in which young people are less likely than their parents to graduate from high school.
We can’t put our people to work. We can’t educate the young. We can’t keep the infrastructure in good repair. It’s hard to believe that this nation could be so dysfunctional at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. It’s tragic.