What’s Wrong With That?

Recent publications indicate that U.S. shipyards are engaged in the construction of Super Carriers, T-AKEs, Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs), product tankers, container ships and a variety of ferries, tugboats, patrol boats and tank barges. The majority of vessels being produced by U.S. yards are quite modest in size, and even the LCSs are only 377′ to 420′ in length. The aircraft carriers, T-AKEs, product tankers and container ships, however, are proof positive that, when it comes to shipbuilding, the U.S. worker is as capable as any.

What we’re paying for each LCS, however, is quoted at more than $ 200 million. What we pay for each carrier (without considering the cost of the hundreds of aircraft and thousands of trained airmen on these floating fortresses) is ‘way up in the billions of dollars … and you really don’t want to know what we’re paying for T-AKEs. That’s right, we taxpayers are paying for these warships.

The product tankers are being built at NASSCO and at Aker-Philadelphia, by U.S. workers, and although the cost of these vessels will be in the billion dollar range, they’ll be paid for by a private buyer. We taxpayers won’t be picking up the tab for a change. Aker-Philadelphia even turns out a container ship every now and then for private buyers.

Meanwhile, in that 1,200 acre Hyundai shipyard we talked about earlier, there are 25 massive vessels under construction at any given time. News reports describe these vessels as towering as high as 15 stories with lengths longer than three football fields. Hyundai, they say, launches one of these ships about every five days. That’s just about the pace we were setting back in the early forties … when our nation was threatened by maritime powers.

But what about the present? Do we need these powerful and expensive warships at a time when no other country in the world has a naval force that could challenge us? Isn’t this an unconscionable waste of money? Isn’t it obvious that the reason for this illogical naval shipbuilding program is to favor certain shipyards under a “make-work” program?

As long as billions of dollars are being senselessly appropriated for our unchallenged navy … a navy so profligate that the finest destroyers and carriers ever built are being used for target practice and consigned to Davy Jones locker … why couldn’t Congress direct these appropriated funds instead to the Title XI program? Our patented container ship design is reserved for the use of U.S. shipyards, remember, and that guarantees that there can be no competition from overseas shipbuilders. It’s a great position to be in;
• … more shipyards will be needed,
• … more jobs will be created,
• … these new container ships will be paid for by shippers rather than by taxpayers,
• … in the event of an honest national emergency, we’ll have shipyards already in operation, with experienced workers able to build whatever combat vessels might be required
[What’s wrong with that?]