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(Time)   Ten bridges in America that are ready to kill you at any minute   (nation.time.com) divider line 134
    More: Scary, Federal Highway Administration  
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23403 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 May 2013 at 4:26 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-27 06:34:37 AM

sendtodave: We're still ahead of China in bridge collapses, right?


Sure, but their collapses are on new bridges. We have to settle for collapses on boring old bridges that everyone expects to come crashing down soon anyway. So while we have China beat on quantity, they have us beat on quality... well, sort of, if you count newness as quality rather than staying up for half a century before collapsing.
 
2013-05-27 06:34:58 AM

miss diminutive: LordJiro: tinfoil-hat maggie: OgreMagi: Obama had proposed shovel ready jobs to upgrade the nation's crumbling infrastructure.  This was a good thing and long overdue.  Unfortunately, the feminist groups hated the idea because shovel ready jobs meant work for "burly men" (their words).  So Obama gave in to the political pressure and sent most of the money elsewhere.  It didn't matter that this was work that needed to be done.  It didn't matter that 80% of the jobs lost in the recession were "burly man" types of jobs.  Political correctness must be obeyed.

So when a bridge collapses and people die, you can thank NOW.

I was under the impression that woman can do any job a man can do.  So why did they complain about these physical jobs?

What? citations please and most road crews I see have women as well as men.

And in fact, implying that ONLY men are capable of doing these jobs seems very..out-of-character for "the feminist groups".

Maybe they were implying that women can do these jobs but aren't hired by employers because of their perceived lack of burliness?

/straw grasping here


Well I could introduce you to some girls but,well...
 
2013-05-27 06:39:15 AM

tinfoil-hat maggie: Well I could introduce you to some girls but,well...


So could I, I'm just trying to make sense of his assertion that feminist groups were up in arms over increased shovel ready jobs. It just doesn't really compute.
 
2013-05-27 06:43:01 AM

miss diminutive: tinfoil-hat maggie: Well I could introduce you to some girls but,well...

So could I, I'm just trying to make sense of his assertion that feminist groups were up in arms over increased shovel ready jobs. It just doesn't really compute.


Me ,I'm going with he got really drunk and should have stepped away from the keyboard an hour or more ago, I've been there and I generally like him but well I just don't know.
 
2013-05-27 06:56:28 AM

GT_Frog: Lake Charles Louisiana I-10 bridge; without a doubt a terrible bridge about to collapse. 99% of trucks take a longer route to avoid this aging death trap.


This.
 
2013-05-27 06:58:48 AM

RexTalionis: I'm surprised the list doesn't include the Tappan Zee - that bridge was anchored in the riverbed mud with wooden support anchors made out of untreated wood. And the wooden anchors have been rotting to a degree that pieces of it has been floating to the surface for years.

That bridge is a catastrophic disaster waiting to happen.


Don't forget about the chunks that routinely fall out, thus leaving potholes in which you can see the water below.  It's always terrifying when the tractor trailer ahead of you moves the metal temporary cover off the hole and you see the 2+ foot hole in the middle of the lane.

/according to the history of the bridge, when it was built in 1957, it was only supposed to be used for 40-50 years.
 
2013-05-27 07:01:13 AM
The origin of the "burly men" thing:

With Senate Democrats complaining that Barack Obama didn't put enough bricks and mortar into his stimulus package, one of Obama's top economists on Sunday said why - to create jobs for women and not just "burly men."

Further detail on the Great Estrowharr of 2009 here.
 
2013-05-27 07:01:58 AM

Gulper Eel: RexTalionis: The Tappan Zee is built at the widest point of the Hudson river. Its replacement is going to take the better part of a decade to be built. It's currently estimated to take 5 years to finish construction, but knowing NY state, there will be massive budget over-runs and delays. It will take at least 8-10 years to complete.

We will start hearing about these massive budget overruns and delays about one week after Cuomo is re-elected next year, and then, gosh - it'll be unavoidable to raise the (already the nation's highest) gas tax, even though the gas tax money goes into the general fund and only winds up invested in the roads if the party bosses say so. Legislators who displease the bosses find that what the state has budgeted for their district pays for one guy with a wheelbarrow full of dirt, plus $130,000 for the state senator's niece DOT spokesperson who will write three press releases a week about what the guy with the wheelbarrow full of dirt is up to, five weeks after he finished it.


You didn't mention the 48% commission that D'Abruzzi Labor Pool gets on the Wheelbarrow guy's wage.
 
2013-05-27 07:07:06 AM
Isn't it funny how we have enough money, intelligence and dedication to develop the technology to show a picture of every bridge in the US from different angles but we don't have the money to actually fix them?
I'm looking forward to Google providing live pictures of the collapses in a couple of years. But, whatever you do, DO NOT FIX THOSE BRIDGES.
 
2013-05-27 07:22:53 AM

hinten: Isn't it funny how we have enough money, intelligence and dedication to develop the technology to show a picture of every bridge in the US from different angles but we don't have the money to actually fix them?
I'm looking forward to Google providing live pictures of the collapses in a couple of years. But, whatever you do, DO NOT FIX THOSE BRIDGES.


Oh we have money.  Bridges are just a lame thing to spend it on.  I mean... ok, its like you've got $100 in your pocket... do you pay the power bill thats already late and is more than $100 anyhow, or do you get yourself a fat sack of weed and a 40 and enjoy your weekend?

Obviously the correct choice is clear.
 
2013-05-27 07:26:50 AM

Gulper Eel: The origin of the "burly men" thing:

With Senate Democrats complaining that Barack Obama didn't put enough bricks and mortar into his stimulus package, one of Obama's top economists on Sunday said why - to create jobs for women and not just "burly men."

Further detail on the Great Estrowharr of 2009 here.


So that was a thing? I guess I couldn't here it from all the noise of states saying they weren't gonna take that money, weird.
 
2013-05-27 07:30:22 AM

crawdadhead: GT_Frog: Lake Charles Louisiana I-10 bridge; without a doubt a terrible bridge about to collapse. 99% of trucks take a longer route to avoid this aging death trap.

This.

Add me to the list of I-210 users. Wouldn't use that bridge on  a bet.
 
2013-05-27 07:37:18 AM
Might suggest adding the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on NC-12 over the Oregon Inlet.  Driving over it you always wonder if it will collapse with you on it.

media.hamptonroads.com
 
2013-05-27 07:39:06 AM

chuggernaught: Found this randomly on the web.  Seems like it belongs here:

Under Eisenhower, top bracket taxes were 77%...they fell to 70% under Kennedy, Nixon, & Carter...
Reagan dropped them to 28%, then realized he didn't have enough money coming in, even after raising taxes on the middle-class and borrowing a ton of money, so he raised them slightly.

Clinton raised them slightly more, to 39%, but he also signed the WTO trade agreements that destroyed our tariffs and allowed our industry to move to slave-wage & pollution-friendly shores, and although we saw a period without a deficit, the damage done by the WTO agreements would build slowly, devastating our revenue even more.

Bush then lowered the top bracket taxes to 33% while he borrowed an insane amount of money starting two wars.

Obama allowed the Bush tax cuts to expire, and they went up to around 40%, but neither the Republicans nor Democrats have done anything about our lost industry (& the corresponding lost revenue), because the people that own our so-called "representatives" through PAC money have ordered them not to.

Our infrastructure was built at a time when the top tax rate was 77%, and we protected our industrial base & domestic jobs with tariffs.

NOW, with all of that lost, how do you suppose we can maintain that infrastructure? We are already borrowing money like crazy, and have been since Reagan, and the more we borrow, the more inflated our money becomes, & the less our money is worth.

You CANNOT have your cake and eat it to. If you want an infrastructure that is not falling down, you have to pay for it.

And for all those of you mumbling "muh cuts..."
We have already cut to the point where any more cuts would not save you that much money, anyway...I know, the propagandists have been presenting it as though we could make up the difference by eliminating the rest of welfare and foreign aid, but these are really very small beer compared to what we need to spend to remain a world power...they wouldn't to ...


You realize nobody actually paid 77% right? And most people in that tax bracket actually paid less than they do now? Or is this news to you?
 
2013-05-27 07:47:50 AM
Bridges could kill you at anytime. To prove this point, here's a slideshow of random pics of bridges with absolutely nothing wrong with them and no explanation as to why they should be considered dangerous.
 
2013-05-27 07:52:30 AM
Miss me yet?

i35.photobucket.com
 
2013-05-27 07:56:41 AM

Bisu: You realize nobody actually paid 77% right? And most people in that tax bracket actually paid less than they do now? Or is this news to you?


They paid less than 11%?
 
2013-05-27 08:03:29 AM

Shadow Blasko: List is missing every bridge in PA that goes OVER the turnpikes.


That's a bit of a stretch. Quite a lot of bridges across the PA Turnpike have been replaced in recent years.
After the collapse of the Lakeview Drive bridge over I-70 in 2005, PA has stepped up it's bridge inspection program, and has replaced bridges that were of the same flawed design.
You want a scary bridge, the Greenfield Bridge over I-376 in Pittsburgh had been dropping chunks of cement onto the highway for decades so they built a barrier over the highway to catch anything that fell. It's slated to be replaced starting in 2015.
 
2013-05-27 08:05:02 AM

orbister: chuggernaught: Want to save the country? then undo everything that led to this condition. Force our industries back home with tariffs, raise the top tier taxes back to 70%, end all the corporate subsidies and corporate tax loopholes...

How many bridges could you have built for the cost of a couple of futile wars in, say, Iraq and Afghanistan?


A lot, but at this point that money's already spent. We can't un-spend it, and it's not like we borrowed the money specifically for the war so we could just default on the war bonds or something.
 
2013-05-27 08:05:10 AM

RexTalionis: namatad: RexTalionis: I'm surprised the list doesn't include the Tappan Zee - that bridge was anchored in the riverbed mud with wooden support anchors made out of untreated wood. And the wooden anchors have been rotting to a degree that pieces of it has been floating to the surface for years.

That bridge is a catastrophic disaster waiting to happen.

Which is probably why they are building a replacement.
I guess it is a race against time, will it collapse before it is torn down and how many people will die when it does.

And if it collapses, will it wreck the new construction?

The Tappan Zee is built at the widest point of the Hudson river. Its replacement is going to take the better part of a decade to be built. It's currently estimated to take 5 years to finish construction, but knowing NY state, there will be massive budget over-runs and delays. It will take at least 8-10 years to complete.


Whenever I drive over the Tappan Zee Bridge, I like to Imagine that it is maintained by a crew of stereotypical Germans with a bunch of hammers.

"Hey!  What are you guys doing up there?!"

previews.agefotostock.com

"TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE!!!"
 
2013-05-27 08:05:51 AM

OgreMagi: Obama had proposed shovel ready jobs to upgrade the nation's crumbling infrastructure.  This was a good thing and long overdue.  Unfortunately, the feminist groups hated the idea because shovel ready jobs meant work for "burly men" (their words).  So Obama gave in to the political pressure and sent most of the money elsewhere.  It didn't matter that this was work that needed to be done.  It didn't matter that 80% of the jobs lost in the recession were "burly man" types of jobs.  Political correctness must be obeyed.

So when a bridge collapses and people die, you can thank NOW.

I was under the impression that woman can do any job a man can do.  So why did they complain about these physical jobs?


[citation needed]
 
2013-05-27 08:07:41 AM
I remember the old bridge between St Louis and St Charles. You used to be able to see through it when you were driving over it and it was closed once because a bridge inspector went fishing under it.

Then there was the old bridge to Alton. You would have to inhale as you went past cars and semis were a butt clenching experience.

But which bridge actually did fall? The new Chain of Rocks Bridge, with the old one happily sitting next to it waiting for the next body to be tossed off of it.
 
2013-05-27 08:07:53 AM
While the Time article is superficial and mildly interesting, here is a website that shows, by state, the percentage of "deficient" bridges. I haven't looked very deeply into the backers of the website (yet), but the list doesn't look like the concrete, asphalt, gravel, and gasoline lobby.
 
2013-05-27 08:09:42 AM
Seems odd that "Interstate 695, crosses Maryland Route 26" is listed since the span was just rebuilt over the past few years  (http://roads.maryland.gov/pages/release.aspx?newsId=677). Wouldn't it have made sense to google each bridge to see if anything has changed since the report was written or is that just too much to expect from the press?
 
2013-05-27 08:12:09 AM

Gulper Eel: The origin of the "burly men" thing:

With Senate Democrats complaining that Barack Obama didn't put enough bricks and mortar into his stimulus package, one of Obama's top economists on Sunday said why - to create jobs for women and not just "burly men."

Further detail on the Great Estrowharr of 2009 here.


How dare you provide the citations everyone was asking for you racist sexist homophobe. You know it it not allowed to question Glorious Leader St Barry.
 
2013-05-27 08:16:40 AM

miss diminutive: LordJiro: tinfoil-hat maggie: OgreMagi: Obama had proposed shovel ready jobs to upgrade the nation's crumbling infrastructure.  This was a good thing and long overdue.  Unfortunately, the feminist groups hated the idea because shovel ready jobs meant work for "burly men" (their words).  So Obama gave in to the political pressure and sent most of the money elsewhere.  It didn't matter that this was work that needed to be done.  It didn't matter that 80% of the jobs lost in the recession were "burly man" types of jobs.  Political correctness must be obeyed.

So when a bridge collapses and people die, you can thank NOW.

I was under the impression that woman can do any job a man can do.  So why did they complain about these physical jobs?

What? citations please and most road crews I see have women as well as men.

And in fact, implying that ONLY men are capable of doing these jobs seems very..out-of-character for "the feminist groups".

Maybe they were implying that women can do these jobs but aren't hired by employers because of their perceived lack of burliness?

/straw grasping here


It's a real thing for at least certain aspects of some jobs. Perhaps 1 in 20 women could hope to get as much of the larger trade sizes of conduit run in a day as I can by myself, and they physically break down sooner if they do it every day. If you respond to that by giving them the light work, then I'm more likely to be running 4" conduit every farking day, and then I break down sooner.
 
2013-05-27 08:18:31 AM

mojofriendship: Seems odd that "Interstate 695, crosses Maryland Route 26" is listed since the span was just rebuilt over the past few years  (http://roads.maryland.gov/pages/release.aspx?newsId=677). Wouldn't it have made sense to google each bridge to see if anything has changed since the report was written or is that just too much to expect from the press?


Whaaat!?  And have the list shortened by one or more bridges, that would reduce outrage at a time that outrage is the most ripe for this specific topic.  The economy is already bad and you want to risk the jobs of media personnel and that means they may have to get real jobs and could end up being your coworker.

/I am half joking
//I sometimes have to work with a former paper journalist and the statement above is something she would say with real outragey voice.
///I want her to get her old job back, so keep pretending that they matter and you won't have to deal with them on a daily basis
 
2013-05-27 08:21:04 AM
surferjerry.com
 
2013-05-27 08:25:59 AM
The most unbelievable fact about our crumbling infrastructure: America's bridges have actually gotten more dangerous since Teddy Kennedy died.
 
2013-05-27 08:30:43 AM
18.4 cents/gallon for federal gas tax plus 16.4-69 cents/gallon state tax plus various tolls and this is what we get?
 
2013-05-27 08:34:08 AM
I drove across a bridge an hour before it collapsed in Miamitown Ohio about 25 years ago.

/and that's all I have to say about that
 
2013-05-27 08:37:17 AM

squibbits: Bridges could kill you at anytime. To prove this point, here's a slideshow of random pics of bridges with absolutely nothing wrong with them and no explanation as to why they should be considered dangerous.


I'm honestly surprised this point hasn't been driven through the potholes on said bridges yet.  And what makes it twice as bad is that it tries loading the Google Map, THEN gives you a crappy street view.

\honestly trying to remember if the "Middlesex, Massachusetts" bridge (also known as Medford for those of us who aren't functionally retarded) was the first bridge in the Bridge 93 project or the last before it
\\either way, you could write books on the number of things wrong with Massachusetts' infrastructure
\\\93 between Boston & Woburn being a prime farking example
 
2013-05-27 08:40:17 AM
www.allspammedup.com
 
2013-05-27 08:43:03 AM
No Pulaski Skyway? Son, I am dissapoint.
 
2013-05-27 08:45:26 AM
i.huffpost.com
 
2013-05-27 08:50:59 AM
Bridge #4/12 I-25 over the south Platte, in Denver, has already been replaced. They are finishing lane realignment and putting up the signs. 

They could have picked any of the 30 other bridges, like the entire elevated portion of I-70 thru Denver, but they picked Havana?
 
2013-05-27 08:52:38 AM
Gotta love Maryland. Has two on the list.

State of incredibly high taxes, fees, and regulation. Still cannot have safe roads. I always wonder where all that money goes. For states: roads should be top priority.
 
2013-05-27 08:54:58 AM

LiberalEastCoastElitist: 18.4 cents/gallon for federal gas tax plus 16.4-69 cents/gallon state tax plus various tolls and this is what we get?


umm at least in Texas toll roads are privately owned thats why they go up so fast down here.


The primary concern leading to the moratorium was that the state was hurting taxpayers in the long run by deviating from its tollway authority model and contracting out roads entirely to private companies. Many legislators saw this as problematic, as the primary function of these tollways would not be to serve the public but to serve as an instrument of profit for private corporations. These companies could raise tolls to whatever the market could bear with little or virtually no public input and the tolls would continue long after the construction costs were paid for.


TxDOT support for tollways

TxDot is in favor of the tollways, claiming that it simply does not have the funds to provide the anticipated service requirements of the Texas populace.[2] Phil Russell, director of TxDOT's Texas Turnpike Authority Division, said in a statement, "We simply can't continue to rely on the gas tax as our sole source of highway funding. In fact, projections are that the state gas tax would need to be raised 600 percent to meet our transportation needs over the next 25 years. Texans tell us that they want relief from traffic congestion now, not later. Toll roads allow us to build roads sooner." [3]



Link
 
2013-05-27 08:58:36 AM

fusillade762: Don't kid yourself Jimmy. If a bridge ever got the chance, he'd kill you and everyone you care about!


Indeed.
i302.photobucket.com

/just ask this scientician
 
2013-05-27 08:59:04 AM

eas81: LiberalEastCoastElitist: 18.4 cents/gallon for federal gas tax plus 16.4-69 cents/gallon state tax plus various tolls and this is what we get?

umm at least in Texas toll roads are privately owned thats why they go up so fast down here.
The primary concern leading to the moratorium was that the state was hurting taxpayers in the long run by deviating from its tollway authority model and contracting out roads entirely to private companies. Many legislators saw this as problematic, as the primary function of these tollways would not be to serve the public but to serve as an instrument of profit for private corporations. These companies could raise tolls to whatever the market could bear with little or virtually no public input and the tolls would continue long after the construction costs were paid for.
TxDOT support for tollwaysTxDot is in favor of the tollways, claiming that it simply does not have the funds to provide the anticipated service requirements of the Texas populace.[2] Phil Russell, director of TxDOT's Texas Turnpike Authority Division, said in a statement, "We simply can't continue to rely on the gas tax as our sole source of highway funding. In fact, projections are that the state gas tax would need to be raised 600 percent to meet our transportation needs over the next 25 years. Texans tell us that they want relief from traffic congestion now, not later. Toll roads allow us to build roads sooner." [3]

Link


Sorry if that was off your topic but here in Texas they have the farkit mentality and basically said hey were not going to fix it. If you want to drive on a safe road you will pay for it, Cause were Bootstrappy like that.
 
2013-05-27 09:17:10 AM
bridgehunter.com

This thing was an abomination 30 years ago.

http://www.brentspencebridgecorridor.com/
 
2013-05-27 09:20:37 AM

namatad: coco ebert: namatad: But I thought that the reason that bridge collapsed was an ASSHOLE tried to cross while exceeding the height limit.

Not certain that it was the bridge's fault that it collapsed.

Wasn't it a truck that kept on going? I mean, is that supposed to make us feel better about the state of our bridges?

should you be EXTRA afraid because that one bridge collapsed when RAMMED by a moving truck? FARK NO

unless FUD is your god


The truck stopped immediately after clearing the bridge, as the bridge collapsed immediately after being touched by the load. The driver was forced into the outside lane by another semi in the opposite direction. The load was farther to the outside in that instantance than the pilot car's pole. The damage to the load was minimal, at best, but still took out a whole bridge.

Pointy Tail of Satan: The truck took out multiple cross beams from what I read.


Wrong. The load clipped one truss and the bridge folded in half. The bridge was under such a load that it collapsed immediately after being hit. One of the people pulled out of the water said he saw the load hit, it was that quickly. This bridge was a a deck of cards...It could have folded anytime in it's 60-year history. The state's engineers predicted this many times, but nothing ever got funded. That's called 'good government'

/Since it's Interstate 5, why isn't it the fed's job to fund the fix?
//I'm glad I moved to the ocean
///We'll see if Gov.Inslee can think statewide, or is he stuck in dryside mode?
 
2013-05-27 09:22:04 AM
Interstate 695 over MD Route 26 was just rebuilt as part of a Federal stimulus project.  Looks fine now.  One done, many more to go.
 
2013-05-27 09:22:09 AM
Missing: the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle.  It's a carbon copy of the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland, which pancaked during an earthquake.

/Luckily it is slated for replacement.   With a Big Dig.
 
2013-05-27 09:36:02 AM
I would think that 10 would be the number of US bridges that are safe to cross.
 
2013-05-27 09:43:44 AM
I can't believe the Key Bridge isn't on that list.  Also:

OgreMagi: Obama had proposed shovel ready jobs to upgrade the nation's crumbling infrastructure.  This was a good thing and long overdue.  Unfortunately, the feminist groups hated the idea because shovel ready jobs meant work for "burly men" (their words).  So Obama gave in to the political pressure and sent most of the money elsewhere.  It didn't matter that this was work that needed to be done.  It didn't matter that 80% of the jobs lost in the recession were "burly man" types of jobs.  Political correctness must be obeyed.

So when a bridge collapses and people die, you can thank NOW.

I was under the impression that woman can do any job a man can do.  So why did they complain about these physical jobs?


What on Earth are you babbling about?

/PS- I whipped Cho'gall like a red-headed stepchild
 
2013-05-27 09:51:36 AM

chuggernaught: Our infrastructure was built at a time when the top tax rate was 77%, and we protected our industrial base & domestic jobs with tariffs.

NOW, with all of that lost, how do you suppose we can maintain that infrastructure? We are already borrowing money like crazy, and have been since Reagan, and the more we borrow, the more inflated our money becomes, & the less our money is worth.

You CANNOT have your cake and eat it to. If you want an infrastructure that is not falling down, you have to pay for it.

And for all those of you mumbling "muh cuts..."
We have already cut to the point where any more cuts would not save you that much money, anyway...I know, the propagandists have been presenting it as though we could make up the difference by eliminating the rest of welfare and foreign aid, but these are really very small beer compared to what we need to spend to remain a world power...they wouldn't touch the shortfall.

Want to save the country? then undo everything that led to this condition. Force our industries back home with tariffs, raise the top tier taxes back to 70%, end all the corporate subsidies and corporate tax loopholes...

Then we might be able to afford to keep your bridges from collapsing from underneath you.


Your newsletter, I wish to subscribe to it.

It's sad that we don't have a political party in the US that is concerned about two things: effective governing & fiscal responsibility ( yeah, I know the 'Baggers harp on those points as well, but they were corrupted by the GOP years ago....besides, concern for the common good isn't on their agenda list..)
 
2013-05-27 10:00:35 AM

Shadow Blasko: List is missing every bridge in PA that goes OVER the turnpikes.


LOL!!  My first thought when I checked the list was OH FARK because I live in Los Angeles.  But, my second thought was WHAT the FARK as there were no bridges from PA.  I'm from Pittsburgh...it seems strange they were not on the list.
 
2013-05-27 10:07:44 AM

Alonjar: Bisu: You realize nobody actually paid 77% right? And most people in that tax bracket actually paid less than they do now? Or is this news to you?

They paid less than 11%?


The Alternative Minimum Tax was passed in the 1970s in part due to decades of public outrage at "1%er" types who were obvious high earners living lavish lifestyles but paying not one dime in income tax.  So yeah, not only were a lot of people likely paying less than 11% under the old, pre-Reagan taxation scheme, a lot of them were paying *nothing*.  There was a huge variety of investment vehicles, deductions, and loopholes that allowed high earners to reduce their taxable income to next to nothing, and a small army of accountants and tax planners to help them take advantage of it.  Unfortunately due to the nature of this scheme exact numbers are hard to come by; you can only really define "income" by what someone states on their tax returns.

One part of the Reagan reforms was to eliminate a lot of the loopholes and deductions associated with that scheme while cutting the top marginal rates.  The idea was to bring the effective tax rates more in line with the published rates, with the hope of keeping the whole thing revenue-neutral or even getting more money coming in.  Unfortunately, a lot of the loopholes and deductions have since crept back in over 25 years of both the Presidency and Congress belonging to both parties at various turns.  Then as now, most of those pieces of the tax code favored the wealthy.

Reagan's reforms also eliminated one popular form of tax cheating that was available to the middle class:  inventing fictitious dependents on your tax return.  People used to joke about listing the family dog.  After 1986 you had to list your kids by social security number.  (For a while, there was an urban legend that the SSA had grossly overestimated the number of children in the USA, and thus the number of future working adults, due to the popularity of this cheat, because they were taking their estimates in part from peoples' tax returns.  After 1987 the number of dependents listed dropped drastically.  When the SSA revised their actuarial calculations, they found they were in deep doo-doo as far as future payouts versus revenue.  Sounds bogus to me but you never know.  Anybody else ever hear that one?)

Cheating on your taxes was practically a national sport.  People who operated cash businesses commonly underreported their income, even offering discounts for cash in recognition of that fact.  It was common for waitstaff to grossly underreport tip income, too.

Speaking of tax cheating, one thing that makes cheating popular is the perception that the tax code is "unfair".  A tax code where the effective tax rate fails to match the published rate is a big contributor to perceptions of unfairness.
 
2013-05-27 10:14:17 AM

antidumbass: The 1-75 'Brent Spence' bridge between Cincinnati and Covington, KY across the Ohio River. 50 years old, sporting microcracks from the strain of supporting the weight of a constant overload of traffic. Obama used this bridge as a campaign-based bad example of infrastructure crumble at the point in the election when Cincinnati was considered a possible 'decider' city.
Nothing heard from Washington since.


I hold my breath going over that one every time. Used to have nightmares as a kid of making that loooong drop into the Ohio river.
 
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