Rev. Jesse Jackson's Post: America must renew its infrastructure or face decline

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

Most of you know that I'm a huge fan and follower of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  I have been ever since my days in college when he emerged as a young civil rights activist.  He has dedicated his life to trying to enlighten Black people - ahead of the game - about issues that directly impact us, and with solutions that may ameliorate them.

The other reason is that there is nothing more attractive or compelling than a Black man with brains - and the Rev. Jesse Jackson is one of the smartest Black men on the planet and has continuously proven this to be the case.  

He never takes his eyes off the prize, but he's also keenly aware of the issues that are tangential to those goals and how they affect us now and in the future.  He deals with it from varying standpoints - politically, economically, educationally, physically, mentally, spiritually - and each and every time he's focused on an issue, or pinpointed a  problem - or a problem yet to be - he has been totally on target. 

I'm totally in awe of this brother's uncanny capacity to assess the problem down to the last little period - but he suffers from one major problem - Black people are too brainwashed to believe him unless what he says is co-signed by recognized whites that they either fear or respect; and white people who know he's right, hate that he's right and that he figured it out before they did.  

And then there's me and members of the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, who try to make sure that we heed the wake up call before it's too late, and that we do something proactive about it so that it benefits us as a people - individually and collectively.  

I'm re-posting his weekly article, which appeared in the Chicago SUN TIMES on May 17, which warns of an impending infrastructure meltdown across the US - the evidence of which can already be pinpointed in places like Flint, MI, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, and other major areas. 

He takes us through his reasoning, and some of the solutions to the problems that could prevent this melt down - if we can get away from the political machinations of the repuglycons who are trying to block Obama at every turn, hoping to drag things out until the election.  They show a total disregard for the well being of the country and the American people they pretend to represent.  While lining their pockets with under the table deals, the country goes to hell in a hand basket - they tout a "global economy."    Ever wonder why it was that manufacturing and fabrication industries were sent over seas under the Bush I & Bush II administration (further exacerbating a massive economic down turn)?   When President Obama tried to bring them back by cutting the tax incentives to the greedy investors, who would rather pocket their profits by using cheap labor outside the US, and let  skilled US workers go starving or end up on welfare, the Koch brothers, and the Repuglycons were vehemently against it, and shut down the government to stop him.  

For those of you on the East Coast,  do you  ever look at the ghosts of vacant, dilapidated, decaying manufacturing plants  that surround your neighborhoods, and wonder why someone doesn't do something about them; or why neighborhoods that should be receiving renovation and upgrade funds, are allowed to fall through the cracks through egregious deferred maintenance policies, while colleges and universities are given billions of dollars in funds to encroach more and more into your communities.  It's funny that they don't have the money to help you; but the colleges can tear down your homes to make way for a stadium, or make a jogging park for their students, and relegate you to living even further below the poverty line - wonder why that is?  

It's because the construction and contracting industry are no longer primarily Americans; they are imported from overseas, and are paid less than what the skilled journeymen would earn, but more than what they would make in their own country; and have absolutely no say, concern, interest,  or involvement whatsoever in the upgrade of the infrastructure.  They are only here for  the Yankee Dollar - while those of you live here can't even get an apprenticeship!!  While Unions are all but being busted on the one hand, or have corrupt leaders on the other that lock out able bodied African Americans because they're having a difficult enough time getting basic contracts - either the jobs are either sent over seas, or are imported here from other countries - and there are only crumbs for the locals.

It's so ridiculous,  and wide spread, but it didn't start yesterday.  This has been in the mix for quite some time.  When  essential classes in Vocational and Technical education, which used to be part of the junior and senior  school curricula, were no longer being offered, hundreds of thousands of students were left in the lurch. 

Meaning students who graduate from high school, and don't go to college - because not every body does - don't come out with out marketable skills, and have to watch on the sidelines while those from other countries come in and take the jobs that would rightfuly have gone to them in the first place.  The pride in work has been literally destroyed by the desecration of a balanced educational system, greed, and the callous disregard for the well being of American citizens - Black, white, Latino.  [And, no, this is not an anti-immigration piece - this country is made up of immigrants from all over the world - this is about making sure that opportunities are available across the board].

Add to that the issue that this egregious neglect has now impacted the infrastructure in such a fierce manner that whole structures are crumbling, or threatening to do so, right under our feet, means that something needs to be done about it - immediately, if not sooner!  

Here, then, is Rev. Jesse Jackson's most recent post in the Chicago SUN TIMES:


America must renew its infrastructure or face decline
May 17, 2016
America is literally falling apart. In Flint, children were poisoned by the lead contamination of the water. In Washington, the subway system is plagued by fires and delays. Arlington Memorial Bridge — which connects the North to the South, the Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery — may have to be closed soon. Kennedy’s eternal flame may burn forever, but the bridge is on its last legs.

The American Society of Civil Engineers released a report last week once more warning the country of a massive investment deficit — an estimated $1.4 trillion shortfall over the next ten years — coming on top of years of underfunding and neglect.

This isn’t a matter of money. The Obama administration has announced it plans to spend over $1 trillion to build a new generation of nuclear weapons and the planes, missiles and submarines that deliver them. These are weapons that can never be used. We have spent over $2 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to date, with the final costs estimated at $4 to $6 trillion. The war in Afghanistan — an impoverished country where we have no strategic interest — is already the longest in our history and continuing.
We have the money. U.S. corporations stash trillions abroad to avoid paying taxes. If they paid what they owe — now estimated to be $700 billion — it would provide a down payment on rebuilding America. The federal tax on gasoline — dedicated to paying for infrastructure — has not been raised since 1993, even though gas prices have plummeted.

Interest rates on U.S. bonds are now so low that the Treasury could issue Rebuild America bonds, put people to work to rebuild the country — and the growth and increased productivity that results would generate revenues to repay the bonds. Even establishment economists like Lawrence Summers argue that the program would literally pay for itself. And it would respond to the pleas of the bastion of economic conservatism — the International Monetary Fund — that is pleading with the U.S. and other advanced countries to expand public investment to forestall a return to recession. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the U.S. will suffer a stunning $4 trillion in lost GDP by 2025 from the costs of decaying tunnels, railways, waterways and other basic infrastructure. It will cost us more to decay than it would to rebuild.

But Washington is frozen. The Republican Congress rejects President Obama’s modest plans for infrastructure investment, though they are supported by a massive coalition that includes the conservative Chamber of Commerce as well as the AFL-CIO. All three presidential candidates call for expanding investment in infrastructure (although only Bernie Sanders comes close to meeting the shortfall that the civil engineers warn about). But it will require a wave election — a sweeping rebuke to the obstructionist Republican Congress — for anything to happen.

This is how great nations decline. Investments that are essential to any modern civilized nation — from schools and bridges to electric grids and clean water systems — are neglected. Money is squandered on foreign adventures or lost to the tax evasions of corporations and the rich. Private speculators profit from privatizing public services. We build the most modern and powerful military in the world but are ever more crippled by decaying services that we depend on every day.

Politics as usual won’t change this. It will change only if people rise up and hold their politicians accountable. How many bridges must collapse or children must be poisoned or businesses must be shuttered before that happens?

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Now I can hear some of our cynics and militants saying, sarcastically, that it serves them right for all the horrible things that we've suffered under the racist regime.  And you would probably be justified in feeling that way.  But just remember - YOU LIVE HERE, TOO! This effects you just as much as it does any one else - probably more so, since generally speaking, most of the infrastructure and deferred maintenance problems are usually (but not always) in the Black community.  And last I checked, you are not financially, mentally, or spiritually equipped to move to another country - although many of us have paid lip service to doing so if T-Rump becomes president (yet another thing that we have to make sure doesn't happen).  So no matter how much we deny it, we are just as vulnerable as the rest of the of the folks - like it or not.  And we can't afford to sit in the corner and take a wait and see attitude about who is going to make the first move; and whether that first move is going to be in our favor or not.  We have to be pro-active and prepared.
Not only is there going to be an increased demand for skilled engineers and contractors and construction workers, but if we do what we should, they could definitely be African Americans - there are vast opportunities and options for training - even though the Department of Education is woefully behind the times - either in Junior colleges, or some of the proprietary training programs.  

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) recently cited the fact that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs are proliferating in the colleges that prepare students to become mechanical and technical engineers.

There are opportunities for our kids - and for some adults who want to retrain and learn a skill that a computer and a robot cannot replace, and pays a tidy enough sum that if you do decide you want to relocate to another country - you can do so and get paid for it.   There is a great deal of financial aid available for these programs - and, should you decide to go the college route, Morgan State in Maryland, has been identified by BEYA as the top HBCU in Engineering degrees.  

This information is to be shared and utilized - there are thousands of our young men and women out there, and those who still have not been able to re-adjust after the Bush engineered economic down turn, who can move into another field and re-group and recoup from these years of living on the financial fringe. 

So now say, "Thank you Rev. Jackson, for yet another vital piece of information."

Stay Blessed &


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