skeeter: compensate for volume with quality. you're doing fine and i, for one, like having you around. it's no fun for us liberals to sit around patting ourselves on the back all day.
and regarding post 21, it's not easy to compare those things, and your list is a little vague.
for example, "infrastructure" could mean transportation, which is largely block granted by the fed to the states; or it could mean hospitals, which would fall under DHHS; or it could mean the electric grid, which would fall under energy; or it could mean dams and reservoirs, which would fall under interior and/or bureau of land management.
similarly, "corporate welfare" - a derogatory term, to be sure - could mean ignoring enforcement and punishment of tax avoidance and evasion; it could mean federal pork which goes directly to businesses like conagra through subsidy (which was originally intended for smaller family farms); or it could mean the amount of access they have to our government when compared to actual human constituents.
in any case, i believe our lack of infrastructure spending has more to do with vision and political will to fight those who would maintain the status quo - for whatever agenda.
the thread i started about having a municipal fiber optic broadband network in seattle is a perfect example. comcast would surely fight such a bold, progressive move tooth and nail with a lot of lawyers and negative advertising. why? because of the way the city contracts wholesale telecommunications, they have a tidy monopoly going on here - and absolutely zero incentive to improve service or control prices. just the opposite, in fact, because they have no real competition.
this gets slightly OT, but is related to communication infrastructure and why it isn't improving:
ratepayers in seattle have stockholm syndrome when it comes to internet and teevee bills. most of us - but certainly not all - no longer blush at paying $200 or more for internet, phone, and teevee. it doesn't have to be that way, people. and comcast's service and speeds ain't that great. but i suppose when you have nothing but DSL to compare it to...
but that's a perfect example of why better infrastructure is not being built out in the united states:
call it corporate protectionism.
if we paid the government half of what we pay corporate america for things like internet access, we'd have far greater value for our money. just look at tacoma's click! network if you want to see a model where government and private business compete in a fairly straightforward manner - and without all of the ballyhoo that most conservatives claim will lead to government monopolies and such.
real, robust, honest-to-god competition scares the bejesus out of corporate america. they prefer to corner entire markets, stifle or buy all other competition, and set their rates based on profits instead of value. and it's a huge impediment to making things better.