“Just think …” (A timely reprint of Vol. IV, Art. 18)
Here’s something to think about. Suppose, just suppose, that U.S. voters/taxpayers had a chance to determine the future of our nation’s shipbuilding industry. One option would be to build, in a single shipyard, another $ 3.5 billion nuclear aircraft carrier for the Navy, and the other option would be to build, in a number of smaller shipyards, for about the same $ 3.5 billion, about one hundred small-to medium-sized container ships. The voters/taxpayers themselves would bear the full cost of the Navy’s carrier, of course, because U.S. citizens are always required to pay for warships. The container ships, on the other hand, would be sold to real, live customers. These container ships, believe it or not, wouldn’t cost us taxpayers one red cent. You don’t need a calculator for that one.
• Just think of the number of additional employment opportunities that would be created if a number of struggling U.S. shipyards were to be expanded and refurbished for the construction of these highly flexible and astonishingly profitable vessels.
• Just think of the ease with which these shallow-draft vessels could utilize the many forsaken smaller and forgotten U.S. seaports.
• Just think of the number of employment opportunities that would be created at those presently under-utilized seaports.
• Just think of the billions of taxpayer dollars that would no longer be required for dredging projects in those huge, so-called hub-and-spoke ports.
• Just think of the billions of dollars that would be saved in unnecessary transportation costs from those distant “king ports” to end-users.
• Just think of the billions of dollars in road repairs that would be saved by reducing that unnecessary transportation between the “king-port” and the end-users.
• Just think of the diminished air pollution resulting from the reduction in truck traffic.
Before you raise the objection that the U.S. worker cannot compete with foreign labor, let us remind you that U.S. workers at Kvaerner’s shipyard in Philadelphia are doing just fine, thank you. And an even more important consideration is the fact that these patented container ships of ours are … ours. No one could come in with a competitive price because the U.S. owner of the worldwide patents would exclude foreign shipbuilders. Who would be the beneficiaries of this economic cornucopia? All those behind the protective shield of the Jones Act. It amounts to a win-win-win situation.
And before you raise the objection that this program would weaken our first line of defense — the Navy — think about this:
• Our shipbuilding capabilities will be greatly expanded as a result of the stimulus our patented design gives to our struggling U.S. yards.
• The number of trained shipyard workers will be significantly increased because of the employment opportunities generated by our revived commercial shipbuilding program.
• The resulting boost to the nation’s economy will allow more taxpayer dollars to be assigned to our national defense … and for the first time ever, the construction of new carriers, submarines and DDXs will be quite affordable … and quite welcome, thank you.