The point I was trying to make on healthcare and pension expenditures was that if those expenditures hadn't of been rising due to other factors that were largely outside of his control (many other states had these same problems), the state could have easily afforded to build all the new roads and what not without incurring any additional debt. Take it or leave it.
Personally, I think it's wrongheaded to say that all debt is bad. Again, it depends on the level of government and the purpose behind the debt, but generally, states are responsible for building roads. I don't necessarily think the government should be in charge of transportation (I wish the private sector was allowed to be more involved), but we live in the world we do, so we should try to do the best we can. Like I said (and you said as well), neither of us are certain as to whether or not these projects are a good idea. But, admitting that we don't know whether the projects were a good idea or were necessary simply shows that you probably shouldn't have such a strong opinion that they were unnecessary, thereby decrying the decision that the money was spent on them.
I never used the numbers as an excuse for what Gary did, what I did was use the numbers to make light of the circumstances that Gary was in. Gary's state had an aging population, so his government had to spend more money on healthcare and pensions, instead of other things like transportation. When one has a limited amount of money in the budget, increased spending on other things that are required (people were promised healthcare and pensions for the last several decades, we can't simply renege on our promises) means that there is less money for other things (even though they may be required). Again, I'm not in a position to say whether or not those things were required, and neither are you since you clearly stated that yourself. I'm not asking you to give Gary the benefit of the doubt, but you shouldn't go around spouting off like you know everything, when in fact, you really don't know that much about the circumstances at hand.
If you honestly think the states can opt out of things that they don't want to be involved in without any penalties, I think you should reconsider. There are plenty of examples of this not being how things actually work in the real world (from the past several decades). I think the states should have the right to opt out of things, but at this juncture, there are massive penalties for those that choose to do so. It's simply irrational for a state to do such a thing. Also, how do you suggest the state provide all of its senior citizens it basically promised to provide healthcare and pensions to with what they promised? Or, are you advocating defaulting on those promises? (which are likely backed by contracts)