During the New Deal, the government left a legacy of buildings, parks, and public spaces. Gray Brechin deserves great credit for documenting this achievement.
In contrast, the U.S. is engaged in wasteful spending on war and bailouts that will leave a pitifully small legacy. What king of legacy will Obama leave?
I remember when the United States was going to prosper as an information economy, based on the premise that we are either the smartest or the best educated in the world. To ensure success in achieving this vision, the country is engaged in a massive defunding of education. California, of course, is the leader in this respect.
Presumably, imposing requirements multiple choice tests and scripted teaching in the poor neighborhoods will be all we need, once we can break the teachers' unions.
In line with the steady undermining of information in the information economy, the University of California is making some questionable choices. Here is one that has not been widely publicized:
California is contemplating a $10 billion bond to finance a massive statewide water project. One would assume that the state would want to have access to as much information for guidance in such matters.
Yet the University of California is getting ready to mothball its valuable Water Resources Center Archives, which a Sacramento Bee article observed, "For decades it has served as a shrine for engineers, lawyers and academics working to understand and improve the management of water, California's most precious resource." The problem is that the school cannot afford the $230,000 annual cost, probably equal to a couple of superfluous vice presidents.
Weiser, Matt. 2009. "UC Archives on Water Imperiled." Sacramento Bee (26 October): p. B 1.