I’ve wanted to pose this question for awhile. What do you think is America’s future? Exactly what kind of life will our great grandkids inherit in 2101? That’s only ninety-one years from now.
This article focuses on Camden NJ. I’ve seen similar articles on Detroit.
I haven’t really formed a strong opinion. I really want to hear what other people think. For my own kids sake, I hope we can turn this thing around. Find the will and national pride to restore what was the greatest industrial country in the world. But, I’m also a realist and I’m just not seeing leadership at the congressional or presidential level. Mostly we have two parties battling each other and doing very little substantive work.
A few comments for the discussion. Again, these are simply talking points. I’m not trying to beat a drum that the sky is falling.
In my mother’s lifetime there has been a major shift in this country. Especially the loss of our industrial base. America’s industrial might helped win WWII. Since then the steel mills have closed, many of the great factories are gone. Many major industrial cities have been left to ruin. Poverty and crime are rampant in what were great cities. Camden NJ and Detroit are simply two of the most shocking examples.
Over regulation is another major problem. At one time, this country encouraged men with vision and determination to literally make things happen. The men who built and owned the transcontinental railroad. The oil barons and other major industrial giants. The great bankers like David Rockefeller and Chase Manhattan Bank. These were unique, (often) ruthless men that had the vision and leadership to build this nation. Yes, in many cases there were major abuses of that power. Some regulation was needed. But, I would argue in todays world there’s a straightjacket of regulations. Could we build a Hoover Dam today? How about the TVA that transformed Tennessee from a backwoods, poverty stricken state. The TVA is still generating power and creating jobs 80 years later. Is it possible to launch any major construction project today without it being mired in over regulation, planning and ineptness?
I was always very impressed with the man who built the Liberty ships for WWII. At the time the shipping industry was wringing their hands and claiming it would take many months to build even a single ship. At the time, ships were built in one dry dock. Henry J Kaiser had no experience at ship building. But, he was a man of vision and a industrialist. A man that didn’t accept excuses that something couldn’t be done. He brought modern assembly line methods to ship building. Liberty ships were built in sections all over the country. Then assembled in a central location. At the peak of production they were building Liberty ships in an average of 42 days. 2,751 Libertys between 1941 and 1945. The ships had design flaws, the weren’t perfect. But, they got the job done. Critical cargo moved to support the war and that’s what mattered.
I’d argue America has to find men like Henry Kaiser. Men with vision and determination to make changes and fix the decay we are facing. We can’t rely on the older generation anymore. Lee Iacocca used a early bail out to save Chrysler. He put it back on a soild footing twenty-five years ago. The auto industry was given a similar bail out in 2011. Who’s stepping up today? Are we seeing any signs of vision or leadership in the auto industry? David Rockefeller used Chase Bank to fund much of New York’s greatest buildings in the 1960’s. He’s getting very old and so is Warren Buffett. Who will step up and replace these men?
I think this country still has the potential of resuming it’s place in the world. There are still great men of vision out there. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were recent examples. We have to loosen regulations and let them rebuild this country. Government can’t fix Camden NJ. Only capitalists can do that. People that can go in and create the jobs needed to revitalize the economy and rebuild the city.