Beyond the Cusp

August 13, 2011

What Will Make America Great?

After the recent downgrade in the credit rating of the United States by Standards and Poor’s from AAA to AA+ but retaining the negative future outlook, I guess it is time for the follow-up article to “What Made America Great?” Right now there is no shortage of people claiming the times of a preeminent America are over and all that is left is to watch as America declines and is eventually laid to rest. I am sure there were those who made this same mistake during the 1930s and the Great Depression. There is an urban legend of this type of thinking which claims that Charles H. Duell, who was Commissioner of the United States Patent Office in 1899, resigned claiming that, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” He obviously lacked the imagination which blinded his ability to imagine even greater inventions to come in the future. America will need to ignore such attitudes and simply pick herself up, maybe let out a sigh, and then get back to doing what made America great, working smart as well as hard. This time smart may be far more important than hard, but dedication and setting seemingly impossible goals are among the things America’s future must hold if she is to, like the Phoenix, rise from the ashes. Well, that may be a bit too drastic an analogy as America is still the preeminent world power and is still unrivaled in virtually every field, so it is more like getting back up to speed after an overly slow, disorganized, costly pit stop.

The rejuvenation of the economic engine that has proven to be the greatest producer of wealth and progress ever known to man, must first be released from the restraints and governors limiting the free spinning of invention and removing the sludge of years upon years of stifling tax code bandaged beyond recognition and removing the regulation clogged filters restricting the flow of fuel all of which have limited its output. America is not suffering from a lack of intelligent, determined, and dedicated workers. What America needs to first realize is the need to be provided with new sources of inexpensive energy independent from foreign control, boycotts or other restrictions beyond American control. This means developing every source of domestically provided energy, be that fossil fuels, green energy, nuclear power, or sources yet to be invented or discovered. Research and development of so-called green energy is important but the immediate solution is still fossil fuel based with nuclear power being the next energy source that can be brought on-line. Green energy is the power of the future and we need to plan to meet that future and not rely solely upon the sources of energy we currently utilize. Then we need to revive our stricken infrastructure. Some of it simply is in need of repair, some needs to be replaced and all of it could benefit from upgrades.

President Obama’s love affair with high speed trains is not entirely a bad idea. Trying to place these high speed trains on the same tracks as our commercial trains is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that the old rail systems would limit top speeds to under 120 MPH, which is not exactly my idea of high speed rail. We would need an entire new rail system which would be best built on an as economically feasible and done as much as possible by private industry. The initial placement of such a rail system would be between San Diego up through Los Angeles on to San Francisco. The other location where such systems may be profitable would be from Washington D C through the coastal cities to the northeast. Until we can produce a rail system that is capable of speeds that would allow trains to rival the convenience of air travel with an equal or superior safety record predicted, this will not be possible. The most promising system would utilize a monorail design powered by electromagnetic Maglev systems. Such a system could be built entirely below ground or a combination of above and below ground rails depending on conditions. The main consideration is to make such a system as fast as plane travel and considerably less expensive with the profits coming from volume which is the main strength of rail systems for transporting people from one point to another. Plus, replacing a large amount of domestic plane flights in our most crowded airspace would be a desirable objective. But such train fantasies are in the future. As the saying goes, you have to walk before you get on a Maglev.

Americans have been known worldwide for ingenuity even if one of our Patent Office Commissioners did possibly say that we had run out of new idea and all inventions were already invented. What we need is very simply for government to allow the freedom for people to dream and then live that dream and not be required to fill out forms and rules that eventually squash all the inventiveness out of even the most ingenious minds. Government, with all the regulations, bureaucrats and other blockades to productive and free enterprise is strangling the inventiveness and risk taking out of America. We need to refrain government, not people. The time has come to simplify, better to totally revamp the tax code and place a sunshine limit on all regulations so that they must be reconsidered by Congress periodically. If nothing else, forcing Congress to review all the old regulations should hopefully prevent them making new ones for quite a while. We need also to make it that only our representatives are allowed to make regulations and not some government pencil pushing careerist trying to make things impossible without their position to assist and guarantee his employment. Simply put, it is time to tell Washington, “Enough!” And this time we really mean it.

We need to push enough and support new faces and fresh ideas, especially the idea that American are still not simply a can do but a will do nation and all we need is to be allowed the freedom and opportunity to show and we will produce miracles. For my entire life I have watched as the world in the United States has slowly but inexorably closed in and shut down removing one freedom after another until America is slowly becoming unrecognizable. It is going to sound silly, but I want my old America back, with a few adjustments as we all know not everything was right, but the less regulation was correct. Perhaps we should return that which was great while keeping the progresses made towards a more acceptive and open society, after all, we’re Americans and if we can dream it, we can do it.

Beyond the Cusp

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