[permaculture] Investing

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Fri Sep 23 22:12:53 EDT 2005

Genest says "who can afford the revamping of dilapitated 
water infrastuctures but corporations? What politician would dare 
propose that taxpayers foot the bill for a project of such magnitude ?"

I think we have to examine how we got here. The experience of Washington, DC 
is probably typical.

Ninety years ago, when the water and sewer mains were first installed, 
responsible people realized that the system would one day grow old and need 
replacement. So they estimated the lifetime of the pipes as 75 years and, much as a 
condo board would put aside a roof fund, advised the city that each year it 
should set aside one 75th of replacement cost-- so the money would be there when 
we needed it.

Politicians can't stand looking at unspent money. So over the years every 
administration pilfered from this fund, to balance the budget. Once manhole 
covers started blowing in the streets (literally, manhole covers would pop out of 
the ground from the pressure of the pipes cracking) we found the cupboard was 

So the Water and Sewer Authority raised the rates four times in  the next two 
years, each time by 30 to 50 percent, to slap together a new replacement 

I only mention this because this is exactly what has been happening with your 
Social Security. Back in 1983 Congress anticipated that one day there would 
be a shortfall in the fund, so they increased the FICA withholding to create a 
reserve-- to draw from when disbursements began to exceed contributions.

Every cent of that fund-- $1.7 trillion-- has been spent by Congress. Every 
penny that comes in today in excess of disbursements is spent as soon as it 
arrives in the federal purse..

Libertarians point to this as being a good reason never to trust government, 
and certainly never to give them any of our money. But how much better would 
private industry be in preserving our right to drink clean, affordable water? 
Their mandate, after all, is to subsume every other person's rights and 
interests to their overriding duty to provide maximum returns for their investors. 
This is a matter of business ethics, and corporate officers could be removed for 
dereliction if they considered the rights of the consumer to be paramount.

It's something to think about.

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