Tom Toles by Tom Toles

Tom Toles

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  1. braindead08

    braindead08 GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago

    So what if our highways, freeways, bridges, neighborhood streets, etc. have serious problems?

    Our patriotic multinational corporations are doing just fine. as are the 1%.

    That’s what’s really important.

  2. Doughfoot

    Doughfoot said, over 2 years ago


    Just think of the economic model of strip mining. (1) Buy property in a resource-rich area; (2) Consume the resources there with the help of the local inhabitants, whom you are “giving” jobs; (3) When the region is sucked dry and is pretty much ruined for any other economic activity, move on to the next region, leaving behind the people now dependent on you to fend for themselves.
    The important thing here is not to tie yourself down to any of these places, so that whatever profits are actually derived from this “enterprise” are spent elsewhere, so that there is no need for you to reinvest the money in the region that you are exploiting. This way, you never have to face, or even consider, the consequences of this system: as long as you can continue to find pleasant places to live far from the wastelands you are creating.

    Absentee landlords do not generally take the care of their property that residents do. When the owner and operator of a business are the same person, and when he lives in the same community in which his business operates, his attitude about that community and its institutions is likely to be quite different from that of an owner who lives hundreds of miles away and is ONLY concerned with the return he get on his investment.

    In short, the people who benefit most from being Americans, the so-called 1% (more accurately the 0.1%) really have no interest in the declining value of American human and communal capital (the infrastructure of the nation). Why should they? As long as they can keep shifting their capital to places with high rates of return, and they can continue to move themselves to gated communities, to islands of peace and beauty, why should they care about the spreading blight that their mode of operating creates?
    They don’t actually even know they are doing it. It’s “just business”, just “part of the game.” They aren’t evil. They don’t intend to harm anyone. This is just the consequence of the way the game is presently designed. We seem to be literally consuming our own country: living off the investments in the nation made by previous generations, while we ourselves contribute nothing.

    A friend of mine used to do home repairs, but he living in an area with a highly transient population. No one wanted to repair anything properly, because no one expected to be in the house more than a year or two more, so a cheaper repair that would hold that long was good enough. For each homeowner, it made perfect sense. Why invest in a house that you were not going to live in? The cost of actually improving the house would never pay off at resale time. But take it all together, and it was a sort of Russian roulette. Someone eventually was going to pay for all those slipshod makeshift repairs. But each owner expected it to be the next guy.

    In the end, it is not the “moral character” of the poor or the rich that is at the root of our national disease; it isn’t “greed” or “laziness”: it is our inability to see the larger picture, and to see that the “rules of the game” have to change or people, all of us, will go on playing the game in the same way: and that is what is unintentionally and unwittingly destroying us.

    The collapsing bridge in the cartoon is a fit symbol of all this.

  3. Respectful Troll

    Respectful Troll said, over 2 years ago

    Excellent comment, Doughfoot!
    Thank you.
    I read that if the gas tax was raised 18 cents a gallon, something that hasn’t happened since the 90s, the road/bridge infrastructure repairs would be paid for, but since road repairs apparently come from gas taxes, and there has been no increase to match cost of living, we are seriously behind. I did hear Mr. Boehnor say he would not allow a vote to raise the gas tax. He does seem to be willing to allow for Corporate Inversions to take place so that US companies can move overseas and pay little or no tax here at home.
    How is a gov’t supposed to provide vital services if no one is willing to pay for the benefits of a gov’t that provides services?
    The cost of freedom isn’t free, whether on the battlefield, or in making sure clean water gets to the faucets, or your bridges are safe enough to drive on.

  4. meetinthemiddle

    meetinthemiddle said, over 2 years ago

    One of the failures with “shovel ready projects” 5 years ago is that not having the money ready to do the actual project, states and localities didn’t want to spend the money on architects and civil engineers to plan the projects. Takes more than a 1-time dump of cash; it takes a concerted effort.
    And with the increasing fuel efficiency in cars, the gas tax may no longer be the most effective way to raise infrastructure cash. I’ve heard some states are considering “Prius taxes” to tax people for not buying more gas.

  5. Simon_Jester

    Simon_Jester said, over 2 years ago

    Boy they sure blew that scam, since most of that infrastructure is decades old at least.

    ( Any more fairy-tales you wanna parrot back? )

  6. ARodney

    ARodney said, over 2 years ago

    It’s comments like this that reveal conservativism for a big con. Does the truth not even matter to you? Contracts on road repairs are done through bids. You’re thinking of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton deals on Iraq.

  7. JudeTheObtuse

    JudeTheObtuse GoComics PRO Member said, over 2 years ago


    And Benghazi!!!!

  8. emptc12

    emptc12 said, over 2 years ago


    Wow, that was a good comment! Many of your thoughts are similar to my own, but much better expressed. If I may add the following:
    With all great empires their glamour fades and dissipates, as if it was a natural spiritual resource itself. The metaphorical paint is chipping on ours, and also needs basic reinforcement. Instead, we squabble like savages living in shells of museums built in times of former glory.
    It’s analogous to slash-and-burn agriculture. We came to prefer generating affluence rather than real value, moving on to new fields rather than maintaining those we have. As a result, energy money and innovation opportunities have spread into other parts of the world, manufacturing jobs are being sucked out into countries that were starving 50 years ago. Russia has arisen again; and if not yet an evil empire again has an evil emperor.
    Even when wealth is generated, it goes where international corporations see fit. They are modern conquistadores that plunder and destroy. Instead of taking their plunder back to a specific country like Spain, they stash it in specially formed accounts through which they avoid paying taxes .
    We have become an empire dominated by big business interests. Like all business empires that operate on the present profit model, we depend on growth in acquisitions that are hard to distinguish from bloat. Businesses on this model depend on access to resources that require increasing degrees of difficult to find and develop. Governments are convinced through sly blandishments to sell their natural legacies.
    Our present situation reminds me of something in a National Geographic article (“Unburying the Aztec,” Robert Draper, November 2010) about the end of the Aztec, as their accumulating weaknesses contributed to a final downfall inflicted by the Spanish and neighboring kingdoms the Aztecs had formerly oppressed. The Aztec had their war and nature gods – we have our gods in the form of business and misapplied political philosophies. Someday, archeologists might write something similar of the American empire as they try to understand why it fell:
    “Every finding is a huge boon for Mexico since so many fine artifacts were seized by the conquistadores and brought back to Spain, where they have been dispersed throughout Europe. Beyond their aesthetic value, the new discoveries highlight the Aztec’s attention to detail—a preoccupation owing to the high stakes involved. For the Aztec, the appeasement of the gods—and thus the world’s survival—depended on an ever growing, ever demanding empire that ultimately could not be sustained. As Carrasco says, “The irony of empire is that you push to the periphery and you push too far, until you become the periphery. You’re so far from home that you can’t support your warriors with food and transport and you can’t protect your merchants. The empire becomes too expensive. And the Aztec couldn’t manage it.”
    That seems to me to rather represent our present situation.

  9. PocketNaomi

    PocketNaomi said, over 2 years ago

    Unions don’t get no-bid contracts, cubefarmer — corporations do. The unions just support the people who work for those corporations. I’m all in favor of cutting out the no-bid contracts (although “always give it to the lowest bidder” has its problems too… can’t we please select for quality for a change?). But let’s get it right about who’s getting those contracts… the companies who line the pockets of the congresspeople who demand them.

  10. I Play One On TV

    I Play One On TV said, over 2 years ago

    I wonder how many people have a similar view of what you do for a living, and how caring you are to do it. Large-scale assumptions are often inaccurate.

  11. I Play One On TV

    I Play One On TV said, over 2 years ago

    Maybe your position is correct, but I would like to have you think about another possibility:

    Like anything else that needs maintenance, you can use proper materials after proper preparation (which costs money), or you can use duct tape and spit (which doesn’t). Although repair costs continue to rise, localities refuse to raise taxes, so they have less and less that needs to go further and further. So they use duct tape and spit. Surprise! the repair doesn’t last as long as it should.

    Doing it over several times is more costly than doing it right once, but it’s cheaper each time…..

  12. TripleAxel

    TripleAxel said, over 2 years ago

    This would have been a better use for the Stimulus money, even if the projects required a bit of time to plan and execute.

  13. I Play One On TV

    I Play One On TV said, over 2 years ago


    Well done.

  14. I Play One On TV

    I Play One On TV said, over 2 years ago

    Well stated. Thanks.

  15. I Play One On TV

    I Play One On TV said, over 2 years ago

    Localities are strapped for cash.

    Plus, for many years there has been a structure where the federal government takes federal tax dollars and gives them back to states and localities for projects such as infrastructure improvement. Should the feds stay out of it, and let the local governments raise their taxes accordingly? Would you, your family, and your neighbors be willing to watch your local taxes go up significantly to make this happen?

    These days, any politician knows that raising taxes is political suicide. So, as costs go up, and things continue to get ignored, problems mount. Until we are willing to pay for what we get, we will get less and less.

    Maybe if we stopped spending quite so much money preparing to kill people, we’d have some left over to improve our safety and quality of life. Maybe?

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