IBJOpinion

MARCUS: No statistics on death by pothole

Morton Marcus
April 9, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Morton Marcus

Nothing stirs the imagination like a near-death experience. Last Saturday, I am driving north out of Columbus on Interstate 65. I am obediently in the right-hand lane at 70 mph. On my left is a sport-utility vehicle passing me slowly. Suddenly, a blue car is passing to the left of the SUV. There is no third lane and only a minor shoulder on the left.

The SUV driver avoids being rammed by pulling sharply in front of me. Now, with a vehicle directly in front of me, I look into the rearview mirror to check on the tractor-trailer right behind me. 

I pull sharply to the right onto the right shoulder before pulling just as sharply left, straddling the rumble strip. The SUV does the same and then eases back into the travel lane. I also return to the travel lane. The blue car is far ahead of us. No physical damage. No deaths.

This outcome is not unusual. Automotive and highway engineers design cars and roads to protect us. Each time we drive on a two-lane Hoosier road at 55 mph and see another vehicle traveling toward us at the same speed, we witness the miracle of survival.

Those who drive recklessly are roadway terrorists. They endanger others as they race to some reward or away from some punishment. They speed through red lights and ignore stop signs. They contributed to 43,000 American highway deaths last year.

Yet we must wonder how many of those deaths are caused by potholes and our fellow citizens who believe virtue lies in cutting government spending by cutting taxes.

Thus far this year, I have replaced three tires destroyed by Indiana potholes. What other damage have potholes caused? There are no records kept of accidents resulting from swerving to avoid a pothole. Damage to the steering mechanism is not obvious, and a pothole may cause a death many miles from its location.

There are streets in my town I no longer drive on. I avoid certain direct routes because of horrendous road conditions. I will not accept, however, the excuses of my mayor that this was a bad winter.

No. The problem is that politicians insist on ignoring our roles as citizens and thinking of us only as taxpayers. It is not the cold of winter that withholds funds from fixing the streets. It is the cold in the hearts of too many voters who deny our communal responsibilities.

We live or die because others are careful or reckless. The tragedy is that a growing number of Americans, including many Hoosiers, believe we are or should be independent of one another. The result is that elected officials pander to this view and do not act responsibly.

When government cuts services to the disabled and ignores potholes, it claims insufficient revenue. But why is revenue insufficient? The blame rests on those who will not support the primary functions of government with higher taxes at the expense of less consumer spending. Instead, they focus on an agenda to appease the radical fringe passionate about abortion and gay marriage.

Killing people with potholes is not a sin to these enemies of liberty. Destroying the lives of afflicted families by withholding assistance is not a social virtue. How do we rouse our fellow citizens to understand the linkages of modern life and the need to be our brother’s keeper?•

__________

Marcus taught economics for more than 30 years at Indiana University and is the former director of IU’s Business Research Center. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at mmarcus@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!

ADVERTISEMENT