Covering Their Assets

First it was Bear Stearns, then it was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then all in one day Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was bought out of trouble (for $ 50 billion) by Bank of America (BofA), and American International Group (AIG) was racing against the clock in an effort to find $ 75 billion in order to avert an impending collapse. AIG, by the way, has long been considered to be the world’s largest insurer and reinsurer, and has 74 million customers worldwide, most of them American, who would find themselves without insurance if the company fails.

Bailouts of these financial giants, as you know, are arranged in order to protect the assets of the rich and famous. But the little guy … this country’s average breadwinner … gets nothing but the tab. That “tab”, however, wouldn’t be too much of a problem if U.S. breadwinners had steady employment, but such is not the case. Unemployment numbers are increasing every day and none of the financial gurus have identified this joblessness as the source of our economic woes. The Wall Street meltdown and the investment portfolios of the rich and famous are getting all their attention.

See that $ 50 billion that BofA used to purchase an ailing Merrill Lynch? If that $ 50 billion were to be invested in U.S. shipbuilding efforts instead, about 100 new, or retrofitted, shipyards could have been put into operation. And assuming that each of those yards required 100,000, or more, direct and ancillary workers, a big dent would be made in our unemployment rolls.

Those shipyards, of course, would have exclusive rights to the construction of our patented container ship designs, and the construction of a few thousand of these vessels would once again restore our merchant marine to dominance. These vessels would be owned by U.S. interests and crewed by thousands of U.S. mariners. The financial benefits to U.S. households would be far-reaching.

The buying power of the millions of newly employed would be a shot in the arm to the U.S. economy. Key industries would benefit from such a transfusion and thousands and thousands of additional jobs would be created.

Well, that $ 50 billion has already been spent, rather unwisely, to bail out the elite. And that’s too bad, because that infusion of funds will accomplish nothing worthwhile. But that $ 75 billion bailout that the gurus are seeking for AIG could be another matter. That kind of money should be used to restore the U.S. shipbuilding industry, not simply to buy time for a relatively few elite. AIG should be put on hold. Like maybe Chapter 11. Why bother to save the financial interests of a few when it’s possible to put the entire country back on track? Bailing out the entire country is more important than bailing out the stockholders of a corporate entity like AIG. They’ll be better off in the end.

Because our container ship design is protected by patents in every shipbuilding country throughout the world, and because this design generates savings in time, space and money, U.S. shipyards will be positioned to build container ships for the world’s leading carriers as well as for U.S. owners. Lowly-paid overseas workers will no longer be the deciding factor in placing an order for a container ship. Those days, like our failing economy, will be behind us.