Wish List

The twenty three billion dollars awarded by the Department of Defense (?) in November is a lot of money, and it’s money that just seems to disappear into thin air. What would that kind of money buy us if it were directed to America’s Marine Highway program? For sure, it wouldn’t just disappear. It would show up in the form of highly productive, and U.S.- owned container ships – and not the kind that have been tested and failed in recent efforts to revive Short Sea Shipping.

We’re talking about building our patented container ship in newly-revitalized U.S. shipyards. They’d be small and manageable – about 2,000 TEU. They’d be capable of serving not just our “king ports,” but every small port on the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast and on the Gulf Coast.

Even if they were priced at sixty million apiece, and even if the initial cost of revitalizing about fifty shipyards required an expenditure of sixty million per yard, the three billion dollars for revitalizing those yards would still leave more than twenty billion dollars for ship construction. That kind of money would get us about three hundred thirty five profit-making ships.

[The twenty three billion spent in November for weapons of war, by the way, produces not one red cent for taxpaying “investors”.]

Let’s take this idea a bit further. Those fifty shipyards need shipyard workers by the thousands. Let’s say 12,000 jobs were created at each yard. That’s 600,000 new jobs for starters, but remember, early studies showed that every shipyard worker required the support of sixteen offsite workers. Now we’ve created employment for more than ten million folks.

[The twenty three billion spent in November for weapons of war, by the way, created not one single job for taxpaying jobless.]

And think of this. More than a trillion dollars would be received in annual wages by the newly-employed who would be creating a demand for goods. U.S. manufacturing centers would be humming again in order to supply those shoppers – supply and demand, remember? And those manufacturing facilities would be putting on new employees by the millions. Massive job creation.

For several years now we’ve been advocating measures that would produce a “multiplier effect,” and that’s just what the above scenario provides.

But it doesn’t end there. Those small vessels – with our rapid and efficient loading and offloading systems aboard – generate millions in profit every year for U.S. owners, and the waterways shown in Secretary LaHood’s America’s Marine Highway program present enormous opportunities for those shipowners. 335 profit-making ships just won’t satisfy the appetites of those mariners. They’ll demand more, and more, and more ships. And more, and more, and more jobs will be created.

It’s the desperately needed multiplier effect.