I don’t know about you but I am sick and tired of people saying that America is on the decline and that we do not have the money to rebuild America.
We need to stop thinking so negative and tap into our natural optimism and ingenuity. I don’t accept the notion that we can’t move forward because we can’t afford it. We can find ways to save money.
The first place where we can find money is from the Department of Defense. Time magazine has a wonderful article on just one part of the military budget, the army. The military budget for 2012 was around 600 billion dollars, with the Army’s budget being around 200 billion.
Our army is still stuck in the past and is too slow to change. The army has not changed much since the Cold War with an emphasis on heavy and bigger weapons, and with a standing army designed primarily to fight a ground war.
We need, as the article suggested, to get smaller, lighter and more mobile. Our current army is officer heavy.
The biggest threats are no longer that we will be attacked by another country but rather the world faces the greatest threats from groups like al-Qaeda. What we need are more special operations forces and not a large standing army.
There will be new challenges to our collective security with mounting civil wars encouraged by the greed of corporations such as the genocide we are witnessing as a result of blood diamonds.
We need a strong air force and a strong navy but do we really need one more carrier?
We need some type of independent review boards to do a better job of preventing boondoggles, and unnecessary expenses. We taxpayers should never have to hear about $1800 hammers, or screwdrivers, or airplanes like the F-22, that cost over $100 million per plane, but can’t fly because they are too dangerous. Who could ever afford more bridges to nowhere or rainforest projects in Iowa?
I wish we could eliminate the Department of Homeland Security. We would have been okay regarding 9/11, if the existing agencies had up to date computers and if there would have been better communications between the agents in the field and the higher-ups. Gee, the fact that it was discovered. that people were learning to fly but not learning how to land might have been a clue. We need to take a fresh look at the Patriot Act and how in the process of allegedly creating more security we are in fact losing our liberty.
We have needs at home. If we are to be competitive in the world market and reverse the downward spiral of our middle class, we need to invest in America. By reducing the military budget to a common sense level we can use the savings to help rebuild our country. We won’t reduce our capacity to defend ourselves, we’ll just have to do it more intelligently and more wisely.
In this era, where some of our citizens believe that government does not create jobs, we perhaps need to be reminded of how government, the private sector and states worked together during the rise of the Industrial Revolution in our country during the years of 1865 to 1914.
To quote Samuel Hays, from his book, “The Response to Industrialism,” he talked about the role of government in the transformation of our country from an agrarian society to an industrial one. He stated, that, ” In these decades of industrial growth politics and government were called upon to be the instruments of material progress. No doctrinaire view prevailed as to the proper role of government in economic life. There was only the pragmatic assumption that the business of America was to create wealth and that government at all levels should contribute to this task.”
Today, requires another era of pragmatism where we work together for the betterment of all and work as partners to rebuild America and our middle class.The good news is that we are about to embark upon a new industrial revolution with more technological changes to look forward to.
We are witnessing the dawn of a new industrial age with new technologies that will transform our lives. Manufacturing jobs are coming back to America. Two recent articles from the Business Insider and The Economist give us reason for hope. The following information comes from those sources.
Companies like General Motors, Apple, GE, Caterpillar Tractor and DSM are bringing jobs back for the following reasons:
1. Cheap Natural Gas. Our costs are $3.25 per thousand cubic feet which is about 1/5 of what costs are in Asia.
Natural gas provides the raw material for feed stocks such as hydrogen, methanol and ammonia. As a result of our increased production, a DSM plant in Georgia now has its lowest cost of production so that they can outcompete others while they make nylon and plastics.
2. Innovation: We spend 31% of the world’s R&D and produce 1/3 of all global patents. Intellectual property accounts for 40% of U.S. GDP. The United States has 16 of the top 20 universities of the world.
3. In contract to most of the world we have laws and the rule of law to protect and enforce the laws regarding our intellectual property.
4. The gap in wages has shrunk. In the year 2000, our wages were 22 times what they were in China and now the gap is 4 times.
5. Our transportation cost are lower. We have fewer cultural differences and time zone changes than some of our competitors. Other countries have inadequate infrastructure and bad business ethics. We have more reliable quality.
6. Our public policy and our abundance of resources. President Obama has received many kudos from large corporations for his wisdom in recognizing the need to have a balanced approach to sources of energy. He has helped to have centrally located technology development centers such as the one in Youngstown, Ohio, thus emulating the successful example of what China has done well.
A great example of new technology is happening in Emmetsburg, Iowa where DSM has built a new biofuel plant. The new source of ethanol is corn stovers. They do not use the food part of corn but rather the stalk and leaves to create energy.
7. This one will probably upset conservatives out there, but the fact is that our credit and currency are advantages. As the dollar weakens our goods become more competitive. The Chinese yuan is appreciating at a 40% clip. Our consumers have cut back on credit card debt and they have paid down on their individual debt. We have low borrowing cost and corporate balance sheets are lean and ready to move forward.
In short, it is time to stop being the nattering nabob of negativity and realize we are about to enter a new era. We still need Congress to fund the rebuilding of our roads and bridges and to expand our airports. We need to work on educating our citizens so that we can fill the 3 million jobs that go wanting because we do not have the workers who are qualified to do the job. We need to have a new high-speed rail system not only for passengers but for the shipping of goods becomes faster, so that we can remain competitive.
This is America where all things are possible. We have gone to the Moon and to Mars and now we can move forward as long as we listen to our dreams instead of the doomsayers. Say no to austerity and yes to growth. Our best days can still be ahead of us. Let us rebuild America!
DSM is that Diamond Star Motors, a Mitsubishi company?
I think it is the chemical division of Royal Dutch Shell. Interestingly enough, Lenovo was mentioned in the article and that is a Chinese Company. Things are looking up actually!
Lenovo used to be IBM Computers, they spun it off. It would not suprise me that they are Chinese now.
The one area of this article that I have a problem with is the part about cheap natural gas. Even though I agree that the United States does have a very large supply of untapped and relatively inexpensive natural gas, I really hate the method they use to extract its natural gas, fracking.
Fracking has been going on since the late 70s, or even earlier. It is a process that has been shown to be very bad for the environment, and a contributor to global warming by producing a large number of greenhouse gases. Fracking basically, pumps very large quantities of water and harmful chemicals deep down under the earth, where it disturbs the aquifers and contaminates groundwater, which is the primary source of drinking water for millions of Americans.
Back in northwestern Pennsylvania, where I originally came from, there has really been a lot of badly contaminated water that is causing lots of problems for people living there. Here in California, where I currently live, people are very worried that the disruption of the Earth’s crust caused by fracking has a very real possibility of triggering earthquakes; something that we really don’t need.
I’m all in favor of using natural gas as an alternative energy source, but not until they find a better and less harmful method of extracting it other than fracking.
I agree that unregulated fracking is a problem, but we must face the fact that it is a current reality. You have very powerful interests that realize the built in advantages that cheap energy has. I am neither supporting it or against it in this article but rather I am just pointing out the factors that are out there, supporting a return of manufacturing from abroad and the seeds of further techno advances that will change our lives.
The conundrum is that an industrial society runs on energy, energy sources of different types. I am afraid that we will be unable to prevent fracking. What we can do is fight for safer fracking. Some kind of ecological disaster might have to occur before we the people, will have public opinion behind us, sufficiently, so as to be able to force new standards of protection upon the corporate interests that are behind the use of frackinng as a tool to extract natural gas.
Jobs are on the line and when jobs are up against the environment, the environment often looses.