We’re NOT diggin’ this!

Before our children attend the dumbing-down institutions in our public schools, they show a natural and surprising ability to think. It’s only when they’ve been subjected to the nonsensical country club atmosphere of our grammar and high schools that their diminished capacities for logical thought are developed.

Lately, and consistently, our port authorities are being scolded by Panama Canal officials because of our reluctance to speed up our dredging projects. So, what business is it of theirs, anyway?

Remember the little girl we interviewed a half-dozen years ago? The one that became suspicious of the amended price tag of the Panama Canal project? She recalled telling us back in Volume XII, Art. 32 that Panama authorities were now discussing a $ 10 billion price tag for the expansion project, and that’s when she and some classmates smelled a rat – long before we did.

“Is that $ 10 billion a misprint?” she wondered. “Two years ago I remember them estimating that the cost of expansion would be at least $ 15 billion. It seems to me,” she said, “that if they’d just go back to smaller ships and deliver at more ports, their problems would go away.”

She was right, but what that little girl didn’t know is that it’s not the officials down there who have the problems – it’s the end users in the U.S. who have the problems.

Now the Panama Canal Authority would have us believe that the project will cost only $ 5 billion – not the $ 15 billion initially quoted, or the revised $ 10 billion. The new figure of $ 5 billion, of course, was put forth so that U.S. consumers and taxpayers would drop their guards, go back to sleep, and never give this recently revised estimate another thought.

We thought those youngsters were kinda naive. “They actually thought,” we wrote, “that Nippon Yusen, Wal-Mart and those other countries pressing Panama were the ones that should be funding the canal expansion. They just don’t understand the ways of big business. Even a professor warned Panama that if it didn’t knuckle under to the demands of those advocating the use of megaships, the shipowners would take alternative routes such as the Suez Canal to reach ports along the Atlantic Coast. Just to be spiteful.”

So just who are the dumb ones? Not the Panamanians. They’ll never foot the cost of expansion. They’re among the poorest of the poor.

And not “Nippon Yusen, Wal-Mart … those other countries pressing Panama” or the “shipowners”. That’s not the “ways of big business”. The U.S. consumer/taxpayer will pay. That has always been the way “big business” plays the game. The dredging – which we’ll pay for – will theoretically allow megaships to use the expanded Canal to service U.S. ports and wealthy (?) U.S. consumers – and Canal officials will benefit big time. They think. But they’re wrong. They’ve killed the goose that lays the golden egg. The gullible U.S. consumer/taxpayer is being strangled. The jig is up.