Can you dig it? (A reprint of Vol. XXVII, Art. 25 – One year ago today.)

Let’s continue discussing Bloomberg’s story about the “$ 2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure”.

Although that recommendation was put forth by a supposedly reputable institute, the whole idea is ridiculous. In their ill-advised attempts to reduce the budget and the nation’s deficit, half-wits in the U.S. Congress are pushing to eliminate Medicare, Social Security, food stamps and other critical needs – yet we’re supposed to believe that “the nation will face long-term consequences if major investment in transportation revitalization is postponed”.

The first thing we have to worry about is that the semi-literate American public just might believe such nonsense, and our second concern should be that our greedy elected-elite just might find a way to get that $ 2 trillion sweetheart arrangement approved.

Two quotes come to mind. The first is the remark Will Rogers always made when he poked fun at his audiences. He would mumble – almost as an aside, “I only know what I read in the newspapers.” Will Rogers was well-aware of American gullibility.

Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense”, left us with the second quotation that comes to mind: “The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind,” is how he put it. Thomas Paine was well-aware of American greed.

Let’s suppose, though, that Americans weren’t swayed by self-serving “studies”, and that Congress didn’t, or couldn’t, find $ 2 trillion to throw away – under those circumstances could our “project” – and our shipbuilding recommendations – ever see the light of day?

It’s possible. If someone “with clout” could get the President to issue an Executive Order, that would start the ball rolling. So far, so good – but what about the cost? If the cost of that puny 20-mile-long Bosporus Canal is estimated at $ 12 billion, what would our 1,600-mile-long canal cost?

A simple math calculation shows that the cost would be somewhere around $ 1 trillion – but unlike the $ 2 trillion infrastructure upgrade hoax being perpetrated by our economists, the government – us taxpayers – wouldn’t have to pay a dime.

Refer again to Bloomberg’s story about Prime Minister Erdogan’s canal announcement. According to the story, “the plan would generate a building bonanza for Turkish real estate investors and developers … They are jostling for a piece of what Erdogan calls one of the biggest developments in the world: the construction of a new population center on the canal’s banks … Erdogan has praised Inan’s offer to spend $ 30 billion to construct the project; Inan predicted total revenue from building it and nearby facilities will exceed $ 300 billion in 15 years.”-

And that’s for a puny 20-mile-long canal. Our 1,600-mile-long canal would have U.S. real estate investors and developers stepping on each other’s toes in their haste to be first in line with funding.

Let’s review that business about the “1,600-mile-long canal” we just mentioned. We spelled it out in Vol. XXVII, Art. 23 (The “Project”), last May, so for those who haven’t had the chance to read that commentary, here it is:

Bloomberg’s feature story on May 12, 2011 serves as a great introduction for our “project”:

“Erdogan $ 12 Billion Bosporus Bypass Speeds Maersk Tankers: Freight Markets”

“Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to divert tankers from the Bosporus to a new canal may unclog one of the worst chokepoints for energy carriers such as A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S of Denmark and Greece’s Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (TNP) …

“At the same time, the plan would generate a building bonanza for Turkish real estate investors and developers … They are jostling for a piece of what Erdogan calls one of the biggest development projects in the world: the construction of a new population center on the canal’s banks.

“‘We’re talking about building not just a canal, but a city right next to Istanbul of three million people,’ Serdan Inan, chairman of Inanlar Insaat, said in an interview at the company’s Istanbul offices. Erdogan has praised Inan’s offer to spend $ 30 billion to construct the project; Inan predicted total revenue from building it and nearby facilities will exceed $ 300 billion in 15 years.

“Most of the money would be made from building, selling and managing apartment buildings, hotels and other facilities on the banks of the canal, Inan said. Erdogan said the project also will include a new airport, Turkey’s largest, and two new cities, one on each side of the Bosporus, to allow people to move out of crowded, earthquake-prone parts of Istanbul …

“Kiler Holding AS, which opened Istanbul’s tallest building this year … applied for rights to the ‘Istanbul Canal’ name within five hours after Erdogan announced the plan. Billionaire developer Ali Agaoglu, who’s erecting towers on London’s Canary Wharf, also supports it …

“‘We definitely hope this project becomes a reality,’ said Amit Agaelli, a manager in the ship-chartering unit of Palmali Holding Co., owned by Turkish-Azeri billionaire Mubariz Mansimov and one of the primary owner-operators of tankers through the Bosporus …” –

Sounds like a great idea, right? One of the biggest development projects in the world, the Prime Minister calls it. One of the biggest, yes, but not the very biggest. The “project” we proposed to President Reagan back in 1982 would be the very biggest. Like we said in our previous commentary, “It will be mankind’s greatest undertaking and greatest achievement.”

According to the Bloomberg report, the “Istanbul Canal” would spawn two new cities, but as we pointed out, our “project will require construction of eight new cities and fifteen new harbors in the continental U.S.”

We also made it clear that, “Every U.S. citizen and most of the world’s population will benefit from this project for an indefinite period of time.” How so?

Here’s the GENERAL STATEMENT we sent to President Reagan on March 15, 1982:

“I propose that the U.S. Government begin construction of a canal along the U.S.-MEXICAN border, connecting the GULF OF MEXICO with the PACIFIC OCEAN.

“This canal will be approximately 1,600 miles long and Ω mile wide, will provide a continuous coast line for the U.S., and will be able to accommodate the largest ocean-going vessels.

“At least eight major cities and 15 seaports will be required on the U.S. side of the canal along with similar facilities on MEXICO’s side. Fifty or more bridges will be required to handle the flow of traffic and commerce between the newly-developed regions in southwestern U.S. and northern MEXICO.

“Low-lying areas can be transformed into man-made lakes and reservoirs by means of flooding and the use of aqueducts. A rainy regime in place of the present heat regime will be the natural consequence of this action, and lush vegetation and a more temperate climate will prevail over what is now hot, arid wasteland.

“Approximately two dozen underground power plants will provide electricity and water to the U.S. communities. These dual-purpose facilities should be patterned along the lines of the nuclear desalinization plant at SHEVCHENKO on the northeast shore of the CASPIAN SEA. At least a billion gallons of fresh water each day will be provided to the region, and much of it would be used for irrigation. Thousands of acres of land will be made arable, and the coming food crisis will be postponed indefinitely.

“The availability of fresh water through such desalinization plants will make it possible for SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, and other areas, to avoid the expected water shortages in the coming years.

“The development of this region will require airports, transportation and freight terminals, manufacturing facilities, commercial and residential structures, and high-speed trains linking the new southwestern cities with those on both coasts and in the Midwest.

“This project will require the resources of several hundred of the nation’s largest contractors. Supporting facilities and firms throughout the country will be fully engaged for many years.

“The project will bring employment to millions who are presently jobless. Increased revenues and reduced welfare obligations will enable the federal government to balance the budget, amortize the national debt, restructure Social Security and maintain the nation’s defenses.” –

So that’s the GENERAL STATEMENT we sent to President Reagan. Did we miss anything? Food, electricity, water, jobs, affordable transportation facilities, a balanced budget, amortization of the national debt – every potential disaster anticipated and averted. And, yes – this “project” would have put the kibosh on illegal immigration and drug trafficking. How different life would be today!