Wow factor

Here is the original article which precipitated my letter:

“Maybe the two cranes towering over First Street SE will get the public to notice the $160 million federal courthouse under construction there.

The eight-story edifice will be faced with stone and then glass that will stretch as wide as a football field from the Cedar River to Second Street SE between Seventh and Eighth avenues SE and look toward downtown.

Brad Thomason, leader of the Ryan Cos. US Inc. building team, and David Sorg, a principal with project architect OPN Architects Inc. of Cedar Rapids, scratch their heads at the lack of interest.

Sorg says people have yet to grasp the magnitude, beauty and importance of the courthouse. When complete and ready to open in fall 2012, the 330,000-square-foot building will stand a little taller than the nearby Great America Building. . . .” (More from

My Response:

Regarding “wow factor.” I can understand the architect’s enthusiasm for what sounds like an immense, complicated project. We should all take pride in our work. Perhaps I can shed some light on the public’s indifference [to which the article alludes].

I know I’m not alone in considering the new $160-million federal courthouse building in Cedar Rapids just another expression of our excessive, obscene, financially bankrupt government, which I’m required to pay for, just like I pay for bank bailouts, stimuli, domestic spying programs and foreign, undeclared wars.

Few people know that one-sixth of America’s labor force is employed directly by government (source) [and this doesn’t even include contractors].

It is the five-sixths of the labor force, the voluntary sector of our economy, that grows food, sells coffee, trims lawns and produces all the goods and services society voluntarily consumes.

Taxes on them pay for the projects, salaries and health care benefits of the government one sixth, including the new federal building’s eventual occupants, all of whom will have better health care than me.

The architect is right. My jaw will drop when I see the finished, arching, stone, glass-covered whatever, but not for the reasons he thinks. I will see only $160 million worth of goods and services that never came into existence because money was taken from the voluntary economy to build yet another gratuitous monument to our rulers in Washington D.C.


I had to cut many corners to make the 250-word limit. My first draft was about 600 words.