22 August 2012

National park funding problems

A article in the Washington Post details the problems faced by national parks in the United States as funding for the maintenance declines:
After more than a decade of scrimping and deferring maintenance and construction projects — and absorbing a 6 percent budget cut in the past two years — the signs of strain are beginning to surface at national parks across the country. The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, which curves along the spine of the easternmost range of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and North Carolina, has a $385 million backlog of projects, mainly in road maintenance, and has been unable to fill 75 vacant positions since 2003. For the past three years, New Mexico’s Bandelier National Monument has lacked the money to hire a specialist to protect its archaeological ruins and resources...

Phil Francis, superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, said he has lost a third of his permanent maintenance crew in the past 11 years. Staff members have gotten “a few visitor complaints” about conditions in the park, ranging from its restrooms to its overlooks...

Since fixed costs represent such a high portion of park budgets — 92 percent for Fredericksburg and 88 percent for the Blue Ridge Parkway, for example — an 8 percent cut as part of sequestration could prompt closures in as many as 150 parks, according to estimates by the conservation association...
This seems an appropriate place to post data from a 2011 article in the New York Times which showed that of all the NATO countries, the U.S. is the only one still operating with a Cold War mindset:
An examination of the latest NATO data shows that in 2010, the United States spent 5.4 percent of its gross domestic product on its military — twice as much as spent by Britain and three to four times as much as most of our NATO allies, as shown in the following table:

A crucial reason for this gap is that the United States spends almost as much today as it did during the Cold War. Every other NATO country spends substantially less...

But what about our adversaries? Don’t we need to maintain a high level of military spending to counter the capabilities of countries like Russia and China? For those data, we need to look to a different source. According to the latest yearbook from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the standard nonclassified source, Russia spent 4.3 percent of its G.D.P. on military outlays in 2009, down from 15.8 percent in 1988; China spent just 2.2 percent of its G.D.P. on the military budget, about the same as it has been since 1989.

The institute notes that the United States accounted for virtually all of the increase in world military spending in 2010.

And because the United States has the world’s largest economy, its share of world military spending is outsized, accounting for 43 percent of all the military spending on Earth — six times as much as China, which has the world’s second largest military budget and accounts for 7.3 percent of world military spending. Russia accounts for just 3.6 percent.
Res ipsa loquitur - but feel free to comment.


  1. It would be a shame if this impacts Paul Ryan's National Register-listed home. What's a millionaire to do?

    "…Paul Ryan who lies awake at night worrying that The Deficit will come and eat our grandchildren, lives in a house overseen by the National Park Service, which means that he qualifies for a 20-percent investment tax credit for the house he lives in…"

  2. You'd think that doing the repair work would be a perfect way for the government to cut into unemployment, but no...

    1. Just . . . giving away jobs? That do little but aid the public and the environment?

      Away, commie!

  3. Mainly thanks to that a**hole GW Bush and his merry VP.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...