Socialism, Waste, and Bridges to Nowhere

Bridges to nowhere were supposed to be unique to the Soviet Union and its extensive system of wasting resources. In fact one could say in those days that the Eastern European nations produced more waste than useful products. A traveler in Eastern Europe today can still see buildings that were started and never finished, bridges that lead to nowhere (yes, I can show you quite a few in my native country, Bulgaria), roads that were built and never used, and all kinds of equipment, agricultural and construction, left to rust and rot. Eastern Europe looked like a giant redneck’s backyard, except that all the junk was newly built right before it was abandoned. China, of course, being faithful to the socialist tradition, has its own ghost cities.

But things like this only happen in those uncivilized parts of the world, right? Our own Western socialism doesn’t do things like that because our own bureaucrats are much more rational, right?

Nope. Socialism in the West is just as irrational and wasteful as socialism in the Soviet Union or socialism in China. An example of it is the “airport to nowhere” in the Castellón province in Spain, built at the cost of 123 million euros. The money was owed to Deutsche Bank who financed the construction even though there are two other airports in the neighboring provinces within driving distance. After the airport was built, the designated private operator failed to get a license for the airport which excluded the airport from the lists of the airline companies.

But this didn’t stop the bureaucratic enthusiasm for the airport. The public company that now owns the airport has decided to spend an additional 30 million euros on advertising the plane-less airport, including 2.35 million euros for including the logo of the airport on the shirts of the first-division soccer club Villareal. Another 300,000 euros I spent on building a 20-ton, 25-meter-high (82 ft) sculpture of the former provincial premier Carlos Fabra who procured the financing for the airport. Fabra, by the way, is currently investigated for bribery, corruption, and fraud. The tradition of “bridges to nowhere” is alive and well in socialist Western Europe just as it was in the socialist Eastern Europe.

Oh, an American would say, it’s good we don’t have these things here.

Think twice before you say that. And if you think socialism is wasteful only elsewhere, think of the bridge to nowhere built in Ketchikan, AK at the cost of $320 million to the tax-payers, approved and commissioned by Congress. Socialism is never rational, and it is always wasteful, whether in the Soviet Union or here in the US.

That’s why America needs to return to the Constitution, to the libertarian and small government ideology of its Founding Fathers, to its original system of county rights and decentralized decision making, and to free markets. And it needs a President who believes those things and has proven that he will vote No on any expansion of government power. Keep this in mind next time you go to the voting booth.