Morning Must Reads: Yes Bridges Need Repair & Little Old Ladies Are Homeless But Ask Yourself Have We Really Done Enough for the Top 1%?

With unemployment in the construction industry at record highs, interest rates low and a deep backlog of thousands of structurally deficient bridges in need of repair, now is a great time to spend money to fix stuff do nothing!

Actually, it is not really that bad; it's worse. The Pennsylvania Legislature is spending time debating changes to the state's prevailing wage statute, even though a large body of empirical research demonstrates that changes to prevailing wage laws do not lower construction costs.  Anyway, if you find yourself in Pittsburgh, make sure your car seat also doubles as a floatation device.

A report to be issued today says the Pittsburgh metropolitan area has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. ...

[James Corless, the director of the Washington, D.C.-based Transportation for America, said:] 'These metropolitan-area bridges are most costly and difficult to fix, but they also are the most urgent, because they carry such a large share of the nation's people and goods.'

A key state lawmaker is quoted in the Post-Gazette story saying that the chances of passing a transportation funding plan diminish with each passing day. Only 19 scheduled session days remain this year, and it is far less likely a revenue-raising plan will be enacted next year, an election year.

The United States of America is one of the wealthiest, most technologically advanced countries on the planet!

USA! USA!

The United States of America is also a place where a 90-year-old woman who lost her home in a storm doesn't earn enough on Social Security to afford an apartment, and so she remains homeless because there is also a shortage of subsidized housing for the elderly. 

...crickets...

It has been four weeks since the back wall of [Evelyn] Barnes' North Philly rowhouse collapsed after a rainstorm...

For now, Barnes is staying at the Red Cross House at 40th Street and Powelton Avenue, a clean and bright hotel-like facility where a caseworker has been working with her to find permanent housing. It has been an impossible mission.

Barnes' $713 monthly income, her late husband's Social Security benefit, can't cover rent, food and utilities. So she needs a subsidized apartment.

But senior-housing counselors I've spoken with say there is such a shortage of affordable housing for the elderly, Barnes will likely wait two years for an opening.

'I might be gone by then,' says Barnes. 'Maybe I'm supposed to jump in the river.'

Don't worry, Herman Cain has a simple tax plan that will help people like Evelyn Barnes find a home pay more in taxes.  Repeat after me 9-9-9.

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