In Our Back Yard

In this volume’s Article 2 we were able to identify more than $ 15 billion of questionable awards by the Department of Defense (?) for warship construction. If you asked an Economics 101 class to suggest a more sensible way to spend that money, here’s probably what they’d tell you:

1. Revitalize our shuttered shipyards, the way FDR did, and build our patented container ships for use in America’s Marine Highways. The Jones Act would exclude all foreign vessels, of course.

2. At about $ 50 million apiece, that means U.S. workers would turn out about 2,400 vessels for U.S. buyers qualifying under Title XI. (Do the math.)

3. When one considers that shipbuilders at NASSCO, Newport News, Pascagoula, and even Akers-Philadelphia are already up and running, and dozens of slumbering yards could quickly be upgraded, hundreds of these identical ships could be turned out every month and our “recession” would be terminated in exactly the same way FDR’s shipbuilding programs ended the Great Depression.

4. This new Emergency Shipbuilding Program would provide training and employment for many millions of our currently unemployed, and would require thousands of Navy, Coast Guard and merchant seamen to man the vessels. All Americans, of course.

5. Think about it. Billions of dollars in weekly paychecks would turn Americans into consumers again, and this economic upswing alone would justify our new Emergency Shipbuilding Program.

6. U.S. taxpayers would no longer be required to fund the construction of “carrier groups” for the world’s lone super power, US – a clear example of “overkill”. Where warships require an expenditure on the part of the taxpayer, with no financial return of any kind, our patented container ships would be sold to U.S. citizens, with enormous profits being generated across the board.

7. This national effort would enable us to develop that extra 200 small container handling ports – in the ultimate end users back yards, so to speak – as former Secretary Norman Mineta once suggested. These smaller ports would relieve the unconscionable pollution spewed out by the nation’s “hub-ports” – that have been established and maintained by greedy and uncaring port authorities – and the need for expensive “upgrading”at these giant “king-ports” would no longer be necessary.

9. When our patented storage, retrieval and delivery systems are retrofitted in those giant container handling terminals, thousands of acres of waterfront land – the most valuable acreage on the face of the earth – would be released for sale to developers, and much of the natural beauty that intrusive, conventionally-structured container terminals have taken from our communities would be restored.

[And the enormous amounts of money received from enthusiastic real estate developers for this released waterfront acreage would be enough to fund the whole shipbuilding program!]