RUSH: Now to the bridge collapse. You are going to hear me read this, excerpts of it. You are going to be dumbstruck. Again, Ken Shepherd at Newsbusters.com where I found this: ‘Chicago Tribune’s E.A. Torriero breathed new life into the Bush-caused-it meme in the I-35W bridge collapse story by adding a new twist. The bridge collapse, suggested Torriero, is insult added to injury for mostly Muslim Somali immigrants already angered by American foreign policy. … portrayed the collapse as insult added to injury for Somali immigrants, weaving in suggestions that America under President Bush is becoming akin to a third world country, unable or unwilling to build and maintain safe infrastructure … suggested that the Minnesota bridge collapse is just another way which America under President Bush has victimized Muslims: The collapse too adds to uneasy feelings among Somalis who say they have felt a federal backlash since Sept. 11, 2001 not only because of their Muslim faith but also because Somalia has been accused of harboring terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden. The bridge collapse has added jitters for Somalis who in recent years regrouped and rallied around one another. ‘This all adds up to be very painful,’ said Omar Jamal, a Somali who directs the Somali Justice Advocacy Center that fights for Somali rights.’ I kid you not.
‘A grim irony for many of the 20,000-plus Somali refugees who came to this city in America’s North Country seeking peace and safety, at least two of their own – a pregnant mother and her 20-month-old daughter – are lost in the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge. They are among about eight Minnesotans officially listed as missing almost a week after the disaster that killed at least five and injured scores. … To the Somalis who live near the bridge, the picture remains unfathomable. After all, they said, bridges collapse in underdeveloped African nations not in metropolitan Minneapolis. … the collapse was something Somalis never expected to witness in their new homeland. And it has some wondering if the American government has misplaced its priorities by ignoring a decaying national infrastructure in favor of its costly foreign policy.’ The Chicago Tribune.
The reverend Jackson in the Chicago Sun Times, headline: ‘A lot more than one bridge could crumble under GOP — What happened at both ends of the Mississippi and is happening in cities across the country are tragedies, but they aren’t random accidents. They are the direct price of the right wing in power. Scornful of government, intent on cutting taxes and slashing spending, they systematically have shorted public investment in our basic infrastructure — in bridges and roads, in rail lines and air systems, in parks and schools.’ All this is nothing but lies. ‘As citizens from New Orleans to Manhattan to Minneapolis have discovered, we are all more vulnerable as a result,’ of the right wing being in power.
A companion story from the Associated Press: ‘Bridge Disaster Could Mean Gas-Tax Hike — The Minneapolis bridge disaster that suddenly is the symbol of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure…’ We do not have a crumbling infrastructure! It is not a symbol of anything! You idiots in the media are trying to make it a symbol of crumbling infrastructure. We don’t even know why it happened yet. Anyway, it goes on to talk about how this is going to tip the scales in favor of billions of dollars in higher gasoline taxes for repairs, coast to coast. This is written by a drive-by reporter by the name of Jim Abrams. Mr. Abrams, we have been paying gas taxes for decades. There was supposed to be a transportation trust fund, tens of billions of dollars for infrastructure. What happened to it? Where is that money? They probably just wasted a bunch of it on pork barrel projects, if you’ll remember. In fact, I went and looked it up, what is highway trust fund? I have it right here. There is a little website you can go to explain what the highway trust fund is.
‘Created by the Highway Revenue Act of 1956, primarily to insure a dependable source of financing for the national system of interstate and defense highways. It also was the source of funding for the remainder of the federal aid highway program prior to the creation of the HTF, highway trust fund, federal financial assistance to support highway programs came from the general fund of the treasury. While federal motor fuel and motor vehicle tacks did exist before the creation of the highway trust fund, the receipts were directed to the general fund and no relationship between the receipts from these tax and federal funding for highways.’ There is now because of the highway trust fund. ‘The Highway Revenue Act authorized that revenues from certain highway user taxes could be credited to the HTF to finance a greatly expanded highway program enacted in 1956. How was the HTF funded? Well, tax revenues are derived from excise taxes on highway motor fuel, truck related taxes, truck tires, sales of trucks and trailers and heavy vehicle use. The mass transit account receives a portion of the motor fuel taxes usually 2.86 cents per gallon, as does the leaking underground storage tank trust fund.’ The leaking underground storage tank trust fund! ‘The general fund receives 2.5 cents per gallon of the tax on gasohol and some other alcohol fuels. Plus, an additional 6 tenths of at least 10 percent ethanol. The highway account receives the remaining portion of the fuel tax proceeds.’
Then it goes on to talk about how the taxes are collected. They have more trust funds to fix infrastructure and so forth than anyone knew existed. And yet, where’s the money? Is it like the social security trust fund? It isn’t there? Remember in the previous campaigns we needed a lock box? We need a lock box! The social security trust fund is an accounting gimmick. But, despite all of that, I think Minnesota got $12 million in federal funding, $10 million of it is going to a light rail system. Do not ever fall for this silly notion that we don’t have enough money, that we are not paying enough taxes, and that we need to raise taxes. Folks, these imbeciles in the Drive-By Media are doing more damage with their own closed minded ignorance than they can possibly imagine. Two million being spent for that light rail system is being spent to avoid walking paths. Minnesotans like to walk out there in this excruciating heat that caused the bridge to collapse and of course from the freezing cold that cause the bridge collapse because of global warming. We have $2 million to reroute the light rail system around walking paths. We don’t have enough money?
RUSH: Fort Collins, Colorado. This is Dave. You’re next on the EIB network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. A real pleasure to talk to you. Thanks for taking my calls.
RUSH: You bet, sir.
CALLER: We talked about several of these issues during the course of the program today. The big issue I have is our national debt is about to hit $9 trillion and several years ago, you told us to stop worry about it. I think $9 trillion is big enough that we should start worrying about it again. It should be a big issue in the presidential campaign. By the way, one of the reasons that it is so big is that about $2 trillion of that total is money that is owed to the highway construction trust fund, the Medicare trust fund and the social security trust fund. That is where the money went. The money to build highways and fix bridges, that was declared surplus. Bill Clinton declared it surplus. He borrowed his budget surplus out of the trust funds. Most people don’t realize that. You need to tell people to be concerned about our $9 trillion national debt.
RUSH: Well, were you, by any chance, listening to yesterday’s program?
CALLER: I’m sorry I missed that. But, no, I didn’t hear the program itself.
RUSH: Well, it’s fascinating because this subject came up yesterday in an unrelated way. I forget specifically how, but I’ll tell you what I said yesterday. A guy wanted to know what I thought the future of the country was with the housing market in a slump right now and these mortgages that are unfunded going south and so forth. I said, well, you know, I’ve been alive 56 years and of the 56 years I’ve probably been paying attention to things for 40. When I turned 16 is when all this stuff started clicking and paid real close attention to it. And I’ve heard, all my life, of these calamities that are going to destroy us. For 40 years of my life I’ve heard about the national debt and we got to fix it. It is a big problem and we’re going to go under. I’ve heard about annual budget deficits and how they are going to wipe us out, kill us. Horrible, rotten, terrible.
We’ve been through Jimmy Carter’s presidency which was a disaster with inflation in double digits and unemployment in double digits. We’ve been through gas lines. We’ve been through skyrocketing gasoline prices in the ’70s. We have been through periods of time where we are told to keep a thermostat at 68 in the wintertime and turn it off in the summertime. We have been through layoffs, downsizes. We’ve had all kinds of economic calamities and yet the country today is in better shape than ever before. Every day in America is better than the day before. So I’ve heard all of these horror stories about the national debt and I’ve heard all these horror stories about the deficit and so forth. The national debt, if it is bad, it is bad. I don’t remember what it was 30 years ago, but as a percentage, I betcha it was pretty high, too.
CALLER: When you said it wasn’t a problem ten years ago, it was five and half trillion, now it’s up to nine trillion.
RUSH: The point is we are here. We are here.
CALLER: Do the arithmetic math, please, Rush. The baby boomers are pouring into the government when they retire in a few years they will need to suck all of this money back out. It is not there.
RUSH: I have to take a break here. They’re not going to retire because they’re not going to be able to afford to and they’re not going to want to because they’re still 25 in their heads.
RUSH: This light rail situation in Minneapolis. I’ve been through this. When I lived in Sacramento, they built a light rail system. Why do you think that liberals are so obsessed with mass public transit? No, it’s not because they hate cars. They may hate cars but that’s not it. They want to take us out of our cars so they can control where we go and when, and where we live. They complain about the suburban development because they can’t get mass transit out there. They can’t. They want you to have to take this rat-trap mass transit that you don’t want to take. It is just more liberal control. You don’t know how to live! You don’t know where to live. You don’t know how to drive. You don’t know how not to pollute. You don’t know anything! That is all this mass transit is. It doesn’t work, except in a few large cities like Manhattan where there is no alternative. But, in most large cities, it doesn’t work! Most of cities, period. It is a waste of money. Besides all of that, we are Americans. We are pioneers. We conquer frontiers. We are hardwired to avoid mass transit at all costs! If the American people loved mass transit, we’d each have a train in the backyard. We couldn’t wait to go out and have our own light rail car so we could put the family in it.
That’s not who we are, and it’s not going to change. You know, I have a story about what they are trying to do in Los Angeles here with urban renewal. It is stunning what they are trying to do, what they are going to force people to build out there — and mass transit is no different. Now, the Minnesota light rail situation. In the ’90s, the state of Minnesota diverted over $1 billion of state and federal infrastructure dollars into a boondoggle light rail project between downtown Minneapolis and the airport. This was brought about the ecofreaks who said there was too much pollution, too many cars, and it will be efficient. We’ll take everybody out there in light rail! It was called the Hiawatha Light Rail Corridor. They named it after Native American. Yeah, in a Viking state they named after Native American. Hiawatha Light Rail Corridor. Do you realize…? Get this: Maybe Minnesota politicians should have been tending to their existing infrastructure instead of wasting money on this stupid project that nobody wanted. When I say nobody, I mean the citizens. I mean, you’re going to have the Birkenstock crowd that will get on there because they think they’re doing good things, want to feel like they are good people and so forth. We have a light rail system down here. I swear… You pull up to the train tracks. ‘Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!’ Here comes the little red and white little thing to prevents you from going forward and this three-car light rail train goes by. They’re the ugliest painted things.
They look like they got them out of junk heaps. They are trying to paint them like blue sky and clouds. You look at this thing and you think, ‘What a piece of trash! Who would get on this?’ You look and nobody is on it. Nobody’s ever on it when I’ve seen them, maybe two people now and then. It’s just never, ever full. Anyway, using the currently stated cost to rebuilding the 35 West bridge, $250 million. For the cost of the light rail project, the Hiawatha light rail project, this bridge could have been completely rebuilt from scratch five to six times during the ’90s with the money they spent on the light rail project. Now, politicians get no credit for repairing things because you don’t cut a blue ribbon and there is nothing new, and there are no votes, but come up with a new boondoggle project — open a new sewage treatment center, a new old folks home, get grandma out of the basement or some other project where you can cut a blue ribbon and so forth — and the public swoons! ‘Oh, look! Look at our Congressman! Why, he really cares about us.’ Yet, these new project, bammo! Infrastructure problem on a bridge. They knew it was there and didn’t fix it, because no glory in that, and there aren’t any votes in that. ‘We have to do this light rail project because don’t know how to get to the airport. They are doing it the wrong way, and we are liberals are the only ones who know how to get them to the airport.’ By the way, the Hiawatha light rail project was largely the brain child of the Metropolitan Council. Either as the head of the council, or one of its most politically connected members at the time, was the son of former Vice President Walter F. Mondull, Ted Mondull. Da, da, dat! Da, da, dat! Da, da, dat! Tscht! Dingo!