Remedial steps …

From UPI’s Washington Bureau (March 29, 2006)

“The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced widespread cutbacks in federal spending today and a retreat from the nation’s aggressive but costly efforts in the international movement and transport of goods.

“Dane Shelby, assistant secretary of entitlements and procurement, told an assembled group of representatives from the National Association of Freight Transporters that necessary budget cuts required a reevaluation of this country’s participation in the global scheme of production and distribution.

“Mr. Shelby released the findings from a five-year study conducted by the Bureau of Logistics, and revealed that a 10-year developmental program, begun by the bureau in 1995, had failed to attain predicted and desired levels of economic development and that a new round of talks had been initiated with the nation’s leading trading partners.

“‘Early in January of this year,’ Mr Shelby said, ‘an assembled group of analysts within the OMB began to program fast-track remedial efforts to regain lost ground in the field of international trade. Agreed upon steps included a moratorium on federal funding for infrastructure development, including highway upgrading, bridge replacement, and non-maintenance waterway dredging’.

“With emphasis upon the reluctance of cash-strapped communities and the voting public to support transportation bond legislation, Mr. Shelby produced graphic evidence of the economic downturn experienced by most of the country’s retailers, along with a projected decline in purchasing power during the years 2006 to 2010. The unavailability of public funding and the gradual and unexpected reduction of sustaining consumer funding in the upcoming months would serve to produce an even greater negative effect on the declining curves, Mr. Shelby pointed out.

“‘In a move to create more than 250,000 new employment opportunities,’ he said, ‘ Bureau analysts have issued the following 5-point recovery program:
1. Restructuring of existing but underutilized U.S. seaports for the accommodation of container ships, in accordance with a Master Plan to be unveiled by the Department of Transportation.
2. Revitalization of U.S. shipyards for the construction of manageable container ships.
3. Imposition of vessel size and depth restrictions in U.S. seaports.
4. Implementation of Coastal and Inland Waterway Short Sea Shipping programs.
5. A moratorium on non-maintenance port and waterway dredging.’”

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[Gotcha! “Dane Shelby” and the above “report” are completely fictional … it’s all too logical to be true. If we had any foresight, however, we’d embark upon such a program before it’s too late.]