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rojo's avatar

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma says the US wasted trillions on warfare instead of investing in infrastructure. Do you thing he might have a point?

Asked by rojo (24066points) April 10th, 2017

The article. So, instead of blaming China and the rest of the world for our bad decisions, should we perhaps be looking at what are our priorities and whether or not they make sense?

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22 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Telling that you are uncertain whether or not the obvious is true.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I would agree that the US wastes trillions, on warfare.

The infrastructure is in poor shape…..

cinnamonk's avatar

Well, apparently around 10 percent, or 58,000 bridges in the United States are structurally deficient. So, yes.

tinyfaery's avatar

Is this even a real question? Of course we waste money for our constant state of imperialistic wars.

CWOTUS's avatar

I would contest the numbers, certainly.

Even going by the possibly-inflated numbers in the Wikipedia article on the financial cost of the Iraq War, that’s still just over one trillion dollars. And I think there was some necessity in fighting the Afghan War – even if I disagree with how that was prosecuted – so that cost wasn’t entirely “wasted”. (In a larger philosophical sense, of course, ever dollar spent on warfare is “a waste”, when it wastes the dollar or successfully lays waste to the “enemy”. But I don’t want to get into that philosophical discussion here.)

And I also do not agree that maintaining a strong military is a waste, even if I don’t agree with the expense of every trillion dollars or so that it costs us. If that cost prevents would-be enemies from attacking because they see the ruinous short and long term results, then it’s not a waste, is it? Money spent on defense – which defense doesn’t have to be “used” in anger – is money well spent, I think. Again, we could argue over specific weapons platforms, pay rates to the troops, and sourcing protocols that necessarily cost more in order to secure key votes in Congress, but I’m not getting bogged in that level of detail here.

So, if you agree with me that the Iraq War was a stupid option that we should not have exercised, and if you agree that that war has cost over $1,000,000,000,000, then okay: In that case, “We wasted a trillion dollars.” But where does anyone find the multiple trillions?

Obviously, we can do anything better than it has been done, and better than it will be done, but I’m going to disagree with the fundamental premise of the criticism here.

cazzie's avatar

I’d like to add the very observant and reflective…. Duh!

flutherother's avatar

China hasn’t been involved in a major war since Mao founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, (apart from the Korean War.) The United States on the other hand has been involved in numerous wars including the Korean War and the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone are estimated to have cost America $2.5 trillion.

China has a fabulous system of high speed trains connecting its major cities. They are clean, punctual and travel at 200mph. Most cities also have an extensive metro system allowing cheap and fast travel within the metropolitan areas. If America had spent money on infrastructure rather than misguided foreign wars it could have done the same and with fewer bridges and dams on the point of collapse into the bargain.

kritiper's avatar

Communist propaganda. He’s not an American so what does he know?? We made our bed all by ourselves and we can sleep in it, if we must, all by ourselves.

kritiper's avatar

And who was around (at the time we chose warfare over infrastructure) to tell us otherwise??

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You guys have no idea of how sorry the state of our infrastructure is.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^A lot of our (US) bridges are about to just fall down… We have hundreds, where I live. From big,to small. Most in poor condition.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Wait until dams, levees and locks start to fail.

kritiper's avatar

I’m aware. But that’s the way it is. It’s not “cost effective” to fix or replace anything until something fails and people get killed.

cazzie's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I was thinking about the bridge problem, but the data available doesn’t stack up. We spend shitloads on infrastructure but in 2013, 2 people were killed when an overpass under construction fell and killed two in a car. I don’t remember what happened with the inquest, but I think it was a fail with the concrete mix in the pillars holding it up.

It’s sort of an easy thing to say and a no brainer to that money can be better used on things other than war. I mean… that is a really easy thing to say. Infrastructure is more than bridges, though. Public transport. Internet Access. The National Power Grid. I think those things need some serious work in the US. As well as the obvious, Health and Education.

kritiper's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I don’t think anyone here is doubting that our infrastructure is and has been needing repair. Sure, the money spent on our possibly questionable (moot) international affairs could have been better spent on infrastructure, but it is more than a little too late to be squawking about it now. What was done was done.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s certainly no too late to start funding things at home rather than spend it elsewhere.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@cazzie . Charleston, SC used to have the Cooper River Bridge. For decades, they were (there were two,side by side) what a lot of people thought of, when they thought of Charleston. The symbolic icons were in amazingly terrible condition though. Anyone who was ever stuck in traffic, on them could see the giant rusty holes, and missing bolts.

The area is otherwise known as “the low country.” It is vast and flat. The bridge towered over the surrounding cities. When you were on them, you could see for miles in every direction. There is a new bridge now, that they built about 10 years ago. Because of our harbor, the new bridge is also very tall, to allow large cargo ships, and Navy vessels.

The entire area is built on top of marshlands. So , all of our highways, and interstates, and lots of roads here have at least small bridges over salt marshes.

When any local roadway is being considered for construction, or repair, the vast number of bridges is always brought up, as a cost escalator.

I’m aware that infrastructure is much more than bridges. But given their iconic, local importance, and the difficulty they bring to most road projects, they loom as the most obvious issue in my area. (Note, others brought up dams.)

Yes. Everything needs addressing here.

That’s what used to kill me, when people talked about no jobs. If the government would reallocate funds to infrastructure, there would be lots of jobs. I know there are state,and federal issues. But look at how quickly Trump is changing things. Surely other things can be changed as swiftly, if it were made a priority.

Maybe when the next bridge, or dam gives, Trump will see pictures of dead children, and make sweeping changes….

Currently, most funding comes from things like gas taxes. I would like to see that changed. Many say,“we’ll make those who use the roads pay for them.” But, if you buy groceries, or ride the bus, we all use the roads. They aren’t just for joy riders. They are vital to shipping, and trucking. Someone needs to get it modified. We have pot holes, and pieces of steel sticking out of the damn roads around here. Good thing we have nice scenery, so people don’t look down much…

kritiper's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I think we are. At least, we are here in Idaho. I don’t know about where you are…

rojo's avatar

We don’t have many facts about how Trump is planning to repair the infrastructure of the US but this Article from The Hill states that ” Under that model, known as a “public-private partnership,” firms would bid on a project, build and maintain it for a set amount of time and recover costs through tolls or set state payments.”

I can tell you that here in Texas where they hired a Spanish firm, Cintra, to build new toll roads (whatever happened to keeping the money here in the US?) and then the taxpayer gets left holding the bag once they decide it is no longer feasible for them to maintain and manage them.

There is also the concern that, as taxpayers, you end up paying twice for the same road when private companies build them using tax dollars then charge you to use them. article.

So I guess, just like we were told in the olde tyme fairy tales, we need to get used to the idea of Troll bridges and Ogre Passes.

Get out your pocket books and spread them cheeks wide.

cazzie's avatar

@kritiper magnifies a point. It’s not their problem, so why the fuck should they care?

si3tech's avatar

@rojo I think Jack Ma has a point. Our infrastructure is is need of repair.

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