Think back …
In its just-released 2011-2012 Policy Statement, the Navy League of the United States has declared that a skilled Merchant Marine and strong U.S. shipbuilding industry are critical to America’s national and economic security. In a 32-page document the Navy League cited the benefits of the Jones Act and “other U.S. maritime laws”, and emphasized the critical importance of a strong American shipyard capacity.
“It is essential that this nation have a policy at the highest levels of government to support and sustain an adequate industrial base capable of providing and supporting a strong Navy and maritime commerce,” the report declared, but the Policy Statement added a warning that the base of skilled Merchant Mariners is shrinking. And just when we were beginning to think that the Navy League was beginning to see the wisdom in the construction of profit-generating merchant vessels in revitalized, job-creating shipyards, we were dismayed when the document went on to state that, “This critical capability must be maintained by ensuring an active commercial U.S.-flag Merchant Marine to support efficient and cost-effective movement of DoD (Department of Defense) cargo.” [DoD “cargo” contributes nothing to a region’s health and welfare, as you know.]
Although it pretends to express a proper concern for the nation’s “economic security”, the Navy League is clearly interested in the construction of warships. Another $ 141 billion has just been approved for the construction of naval vessels, but the brass, nevertheless, still loudly and persistently lobbies for an increase to a “313-ship Navy”, in spite of the fact that recent findings have revealed that more than 400 vessels are already on active duty.
On August 10th, 2005, in our Vol. IV, Art. 18 commentary, we insisted that construction of our patented container ships, as opposed to warships, would provide more benefits to Americans.
– 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.
Now. Today. Just think of the many billions (trillions?) of taxpayer dollars we failed to save and the millions of jobs we failed to create over the last six years because we didn’t bother to think.