I know it’s a two-fer but really, I mean come on. It’s so ludicrous as to not really be believable if I told you. Today Brookline Tom at Blue Mass Group said the widespread flash floods yesterday were the result of the government not taxing enough and spending enough money. We’ve got some people that put crazy stuff like this up on Red Mass Group, but we don’t front page it. Yet that is what our friends at Blue Mass Group did.
Commonplace storms like this should not cause these kinds of problems. Local government has failed, miserably, in its obligation to build and maintain public infrastructure.
Our media has failed to convey the actual impact of decades of reckless tax-cutting and greed-driven faux-populism. Voters support elected officials who lie about the real and immediate impacts of ill-considered tax cuts in no small part because the media is unable or unwilling to publish the facts about the impact of those cuts.
While Damsel-In-Distress Rescued By Heroic Firefighters stories make great Herald front pages, the truth is that local government is failing. Yesterday’s flooding exemplifies the consequences of substituting pure greed for public policy, for decades.
We must do better. We must raise, not lower, local government revenues.
First it wasn’t a “commonplace storm” it dropped 2.5″ on the Greater Boston area in an hour. Second, if you remember your elementary school science you’ll recall that water has a hard time draining through dry soil. The drier the soil the less its permeability.
Dryness: Frequently, dry soils will repel water until they become moistened to some degree. This is
especially true of soils that have high amounts of organic matter.
We have been going through a little mini-drought period. The ground is very dry, look out at your lawn if you live in New England it’s pretty yellow isn’t it. Dry soil acts much like pavement it does not allow for water to filter down to the ground water. It thus increases runoff. Stormwater systems are designed to handle the normal runoff from surfaces with low or no permeability like gravel lots, and paved areas. They are not designed to take into account increased flow from 2.5″ of rain falling in an hour on normally permeable, but now impermeable soil.
To put it in perspective 2.5 inches of water falling on a one acre area is 67,480 gallons of water(1). There are 48.43 sq. mi. in Boston which translates to 30,995 acres. So yesterday in Boston 2.091 Billion gallons of water fell on the City in an hour, or 418 times the amount of oil that has spilled from the BP oil spill. But the reason we flooded was that we don’t tax enough. Just ask Blue Mass Group.
(1) [(One acreX6272650 sq in/acre)x(2.5 inches)/(231 in^3/gallon)=67480 gallons]