Thorner/Ingold: Time for a real builder at America’s helm

August 26, 2016

 

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold – 

Although the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams” (see film clip), as reviewed by Roger Ebert in the “Chicago Tribune” on April 29, 1989, had to do with a farmer standing in the middle of a cornfield hearing voices that tells him, “If you build it, he will come” (the voice seems to promise Joe Jackson will come and play on it), the same catch phrase from the movie reflects the Democrats’ “economic” recovery plan.  It you build roads and bridges, industry will respond by expanding and adding jobs.  What baloney!   

What about the stimulus packed signed into law by President in 2009?  In the stimulus package was $30 billion designated for infrastructure spending that was handed over to the states for shovel ready jobs.  It was thought that injecting money into transportation projects would not only put construction workers and contractors to work quickly, but it would also lay the groundwork for future economic growth and development.  Obama predicted the transportation money alone would put hundreds of thousands of workers on the job.

This report  found that states spent more than a third of the money on building new roads—rather than working on public transportation and fixing up existing roads and bridges.  As a result, states missed out on potentially thousands of new jobs, and bridges, roads, and overpasses around the country are still crumbing.

The Democratic mantra, according to “The Atlantic” in 2015, is that each dollar spent on “infrastructure” will add $1.44 to the economy. Democrat VP candidate cited a figure of $1.76, a reference which is undocumented. The economic windfall will come from the money spent on concrete, asphalt and labor, plus the money the laborers will spend on groceries and other items. In other words by planting good money in roads, money trees will spring forth and bear fruit. There are a couple of problems with this arithmetic. First, workers who would build these roads are already eating and buying things. And where does asphalt come from or the energy to roast limestone into cement?  From coal and oil Obama has pledged to eliminate.

“If you build it …” implies roads create industries and jobs, whereas the opposite is true. What business can you cite whose growth has been limited by the ability to move raw materials and goods or workers to their stations?  Add to this the fact that any business exhibiting success will be punished through taxation and regulation by Obama and his heir-apparent, Hillary Clinton. The truth is more business will create more tax revenue even without raising rates.  That revenue can be used to repair and improve the roads and bridges.

Going back to the 19th century, men like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford created a demand for roads at a time most highways were dirt (and often mud), when many were toll roads maintained by private entrepreneurs. Carnegie invested in railroads and found it hard to find steel for rails. He built steel mills to supply his railroads, as well as the framework for modern buildings. Henry Ford invented cars which were tall enough to navigate the rutted roads of the time. As people bought cars, they demanded public roads on which to drive, and cars became sleeker and faster.

Returning to coal and oil for a moment, Obama and Hillary want to replace them with “clean, renewable” energy as quickly as possible.  In 2015 the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity, which runs our homes and business.  About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum): 33% Coal; 30% Natural Gas; 1% Petroleum.  The production cost using fossil fuel is about $0.04 per kwh, compared to $0.25 per kwh for solar. In order to make the latter even remotely feasible, it is heavily subsidized by tax money (more accurately, borrowed money). Unlike fossil fuel, which is available on demand, “green” energy depends on the wind and sunlight.  There is no way, at present, to store excess energy for use when wind and sun aren’t available, so coal and natural gas provide the backup.

Trump, the builder

In a speech on August 19, 2016, in Diamondale, Michigan, Donald Trump promised to reverse The Obama/Clinton ban on coal and exploration, claiming it will produce over $6 trillion in tax revenues alone over the next 4 years, and at least 500,000 high paying jobs. Apparently Trump thinks we have enough people selling French fries and T-shirts.

Who will take these jobs? Trump has plans for education too, with a renewed emphasis on charter schools for children of depressed neighborhoods and others who want to learn skills beyond basic survival. The selection will be based on merit, not lotteries as in the magnet schools favored by Obama/Clinton and the Democrats.

Speaking of building things, there is the famous Trump Wall which Trump promises to build between Mexico and the United States to stem the flow of illegal immigration. This goal is corrupted by Democratic Spin Masters to say Trump is against all immigrants and immigration. However it is these legal immigrants who suffer the most from illegal immigration. Lacking education and language skills, new immigrants tend to occupy the lowest wage jobs. Illegal immigrants compete for the same jobs, but without documentation they must work at the offered wages without any real ability to complain.

Perhaps Mr. Trump should rephrase his statements to say that it is a metaphor for a wall which already exists – the law?  It is the law which is being ignored or usurped by the current administration. The law is not just a wall but a ceiling, which extends from border to border and beyond.

The other thing Mr. Trump can rebuild is our relationships with other countries. President Obama has pursued “deals” with our enemies and ignored our friends. It is based on the philosophy that any deal is better than no deal. Mr. Trump built his business on the principle that a bad deal is worse than no deal. In a negotiation, you can’t get the best deal if you are unwilling to walk away from the table. This is a technique well known to anyone who has bargained for a new car.  It is utterly foreign to a President and his designated successor, who have apparently never owned a car nor driven one.

 

 

 

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