The Prez sez …

Here’s some advice from the President of the United States:

“Our basic trouble was not an insufficiency of capital. It was an insufficient distribution of buying power coupled with an over-sufficient speculation in production. While wages rose in many of our industries, they did not as a whole rise proportionately to the reward to capital, and at the same time the purchasing power of other great groups of our population was permitted to shrink. We accumulated such an superabundance of capital that our great bankers were vying with each other, some of them employing questionable methods, in their efforts to lend this capital at home and abroad.

“I believe that we are at the threshold of a fundamental change in our popular economic thought, that in the future we are going to think less about the producer and more about the consumer. Do what we may have to do to inject life into our ailing economic order, we cannot make it endure for long unless we can bring about a wiser, more equitable distribution of the national income.”

Imagine! Our president said that? Yet all we ever hear from him is “deficit! deficit! deficit!”? Well, yes, our president did say that, but those words were spoken, not by Mr. Obama, but by an earlier U.S. president sometime back in the 1930s. You guessed it. It was FDR who spoke the sensible words in the above two paragraphs. Our 21st Century president, on the other hand, Mr. Obama, remains out in left field somewhere when it comes to understanding our economic problems. That’s why you’ll never hear logic of that kind from him when he’s reading his teleprompter.

FDR did more than just talk about the nation’s economic malaise, however. He took steps to end the Great Depression by dealing with the “insufficient distribution of buying power”, and he taught Americans to “think less about the producer and more about the consumer”.

All efforts on the part of bankers and financial geniuses to reverse the tailspinning economy after the crash of ’29 came to naught. Then, as now, the only way to get the country back on an even keel was to create, not thousands, but millions of jobs for the unemployed, destitute masses. FDR knew this and he knew that building ships was the only possible way to create millions of job opportunities. The rest is history. A glorious history. FDR’s Emergency Shipbuilding Programs turned things around, and everyone began singing his campaign’s theme song, “Happy days are here again!”

Even if you weren’t alive in the 30s and 40s, you’ve been made aware of the achievements of U.S. shipbuilders, before, during and after World War II. As we said, it’s history. In a few short years, thanks to our miraculous shipbuilding accomplishments, the U.S. was transformed into the world’s most demanding consumer. Our employed shipbuilders turned out thousands and thousands of vessels, and just as the Phoenicians, Romans, Spanish, English and Dutch mariners of old brought wealth and international standing to their respective homelands, so did our own mariners.

But now we’re playing second fiddle to Chinese, Indian and South Korean shipbuilders?