This was posted during the run up to the 2008 election when the Democratic candidates for president were still trying to differentiate themselves and we were filled with cautious optimism for the future. I wish it included a reference to the American Territories when it mentions Mexico, but that’s getting greedy with the issue-prediction thing it has going on. Originally posted on a different version of kreisle.com on June 16, 2008.
Assuming unprecedented peacetime control over the nation’s economic life, President Roosevelt placed in operation today his sweeping program for recovery from the depression.New York Times, June 16, 1933
It may not have been the simple, lean government that Thomas Jefferson had hoped for. But it was the beginning of a government that believed in the power to do the extraordinary. A $3,300,000,000.00 public works program (approximately $49,662,394,304.91 in 2007 dollars) designed to right the human condition after the staggering blow dealt to our country by the depression.
It would be followed by World War II, and the Marshall Plan, and it would be one of the reasons we would be able to stop the aggression of Germany and Japan, then rebuild them into economic superpowers.
What would it take to act on that kind of scale today? Well looking at the problems we face:
1. A weakening US Dollar.
2. Unprecedented levels of immigration from Mexico.
3. An aging infrastructure, including power, railway, highway, and telecommunications.
4. An overburdened military.
5. An impending global climate crisis.
6. A Social Security system at risk of failing the people who contributed to it for their entire working life.
7. A twenty year war on drugs that has done nothing.
8. A six year war on terror that is seeing tens of thousands of troops returning to US soil after deployments of up to three years.
It would seem that we simply need a new New Deal.
Step 1. Remove the border between Mexico and the United States by offering Mexico the opportunity to join the union. This single act removes immigration issues, extends the tax base, offers new opportunities for businesses to expand, raises the standard of living for a nation, adds to the ranks of the volunteer military, increases oil reserves, and pushes the front on the war on drugs to a more tightly controlled border.
Step 2. Make the United States bilingual. Immediately begin teaching Spanish and English in all schools simultaneously.
Step 3. Develop a new interstate system that reaches from Canada to the farthest tip of Mexico that includes high speed railways linking North / South and East West. Add a fiber optic backbone and a carbon nanotube power distribution grid to the interstate system, allowing data and power to be transferred anywhere in the country.
Step 4. Deploy technologies that harvest energy from the wind, sea, and sun in geographic areas that are most favorable and use the new power grid to distribute this energy across North and South America. Generate enough power to provide free resources to every country on the continents. Power drives industry and stabilizes the standard of living, and the more countries that can depend on us for energy instead of other sources the more likely we are to eliminate the threat that dependence creates.
It would be massive. It would take the cooperation of nations. It would require the elimination of prejudice. But it could solve the biggest problems we’re facing today and position us to actually bring peace and prosperity to the world instead of our current legacy.
Are we still able to do the extraordinary?