And today, he has this to say in this post Bush bails out unions: Will Obama invest in the future?
Even though our current President chose bailing out unions and electric vehicles, startups, solar power, and building electric vehicles that would revolutionize logistics in the army, we get the same GM+UAW team that has hurt us so much.
Hopefully President-Elect Obama will be brave enough to stand up to ignorant and misguided environmentalists, and continue to support both ethanol, biodiesel, and other alternatives to gasoline.
I am sceptical of the ability of GM and Chrysler to have the guts or the UAW to have the decency to make the cuts to be able to make the product competitive. While pondering this end run around the will of the people as to how their tax dollars are spent I read something from Galrahn at Information Dissemination. His suggestion at first could be understood as a call by a naval centric website for more money to be devoted to shipbuilding. Don't Bail Out Automakers, Invest in Shipbuilding.
Canada is discussing an interesting idea for an economic stimulus package, they are directing money directly into shipbuilding programs as part of the package. I'm personally not a big fan of government stimulus packages, they don't work very well normally because bureaucracy gets in the way of building effective packages. The New Deal was a good example. As an often politicized project to stimulate the economy during a depression, depending upon your politics one can find arguments suggesting it was critical to the country overcoming the economic challenges of the time, or it was a failure because it prolonged the depression. Such massive government investment projects are never as simple as the political rhetoric allowed, a more detailed review notes some of it worked, some of it didn't.
What didn't work was investment in the service sector. If you look at spending as a tree, the services sector becomes a stick, output with no tangible product that builds larger networks of economic growth. The New Deal investments in manufacturing on the other hand tell a different story, that tree branches out in a number of ways as a manufacturing facility networks with suppliers, subcontractors, and science to produce products. In many way the manufacturing investments of the new deal led to high production rates and more efficiency, was successful in building economic stimulus across several sectors, and ultimately put the US in position to be highly competitive industrially just as WWII arrived. The New Deal sealed the deal for the United States before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
He closes with this:
I'd rather invest $35 billion into shipbuilding over the next 4-8 years of the Obama administration fixing that industry to be globally competitive than spending the same amount just to keep the automobile manufacturers in Michigan on life support for another year. The Coast Guard has extremely old ships is stretched thin right now, and could use the investment towards homeland security. The Navy has not retooled since the cold war, and is shrinking at an extraordinary rate.
In a time of global climate change on a planet covered 70% with water, in a time where the world will soon be competing for fresh water, in a time when the worlds population is growing at a huge rate but most people live in the littorals, and as world trade by sea has become the lifeblood of the global economic system it seems to me that investment in the nations maritime sector has never been more important to our long term national interest. The shipbuilding sector could also be the solution to the automobile industry problems as it relates to the workforce soon to face major cuts, after all the nation needs more than just frigates, and the need for ships like new ice breakers is just the tip of the iceberg, pun intended.
This got my history juices flowing and I decided to take a look at some of the New Deal shipbuilding that Galrahn referred too.
The follow link takes a look at Shipbuilding in San Francisco during and before World War II.
The Bay Area was fortunate in one respect; two major local shipyards, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation and Moore Dry Dock Company, had gained valuable experience in large-scale rapid production during World War I, and had on hand core management and labor groups when needed for World War II. Lessons learned during the first wartime shipbuilding program (1917-1922) had demonstrated to management what to do and what not to do. These two yards had long histories in steel shipbuilding and had managed to survive the depression years of the 1930s, a period when American shipbuilding all but ceased. In addition to these yards, Mare Island Naval Shipyard and Hunters Point Dry Docks provided well-established repair and shipbuilding facilities when the need arose. Navy contracts in the 1930s kept Mare Island capable of producing modern warships.