The Minnesota bridge collapse tragedy has everybody talking about infrastructure suddenly, how we've let it collapse in this country and how much it would cost if we decided to fix it. (Hey, don't assume we will: we haven't rebuilt New Orleans.) I've been watching the decline since 1980. I don't know that it started then but that's when I became acutely aware of it and, yes, it does correspond to the fundamentally anti-government Reagan Revolution. Right now, the talk is about bridge safety, but the context is obvious: levee systems, imported and domestic food safety, and so on.
Of course the same neglect of basics is killing higher education: Can we finally stop worrying about giving chancellors and deans Enron salaries, and start working on rebuilding a healthy institution?