Tag Archives: national security

Public works IS a national interest

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On Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama announced the largest public works program since the Eisenhower adminstration in the 1950’s.

Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.

Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.

Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.

As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.

In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.

Weekly Address

Not only will this try and jump start our crashing economy but would fix some serious problems we have with our infrastructure. The prime example of the teetering collapse was the literal collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007.

Of course some people will complain about the spending of large sums of tax payer dollars but like the Interstate Highway System, our infrastructure should be of a national interest. Good roads, safe bridges, and school buildings are foundations for a strong society.

Only the federal government can marshal the money and vision to make these things happen on a scale to help the country on the whole. The Interstate system not only helped to support the military if needed, it transformed the economics of this country and allowed for more national businesses rather than local or regional ones. With that scale came lower prices and new products and services spreading from coast to coast. Would McDonald’s be an American icon today if there had not been interstate highways?

Where is our Apollo program for energy independence?

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In the early 1960’s America was in crises.

The Soviets was beating us in the space race having put up Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, and the government worried they would win the so-called space race.

President John Kennedy proposed a massive undertaking so that the US could put be first to put a man on the Moon, which was seen as a national security issue.

In an address to Congress he said:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs

And in a speech at Rice Stadium in 1962 he said:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Rice Stadium Sept 12 1962

The goal of being first to the Moon led to a massive national project involving thousands of people and billions of dollars and on July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong officially made the US the winner of the Space Race.

The Apollo project wasn’t the first national project to develop something new in the interests of national security.

During World War II, the federal government hired thousands of people and spent billions of dollars and came up with the Atom bomb within 3 years. While the use of the bomb is debatable, the point is a massive effort led by the government help address an immediate problem.

Starting in the 1950’s, massive federal spending created the Interstate Highway System that was not only for economic development but also seen as having national security implications.

Why can’t we do the same for the dependence on foreign oil?

I’m not talking about welfare for oil companies or more drilling, but a massive research and development program to come up with a host of alternative energy systems for transportation, home, and business use.

The US uses 26% of the world’s oil production and it is much higher than it was during the gas crises of the 1970’s.

It has to stop and it can be stopped if we want to protect our country from our enemies.