This editorial appears in the November 16, 2018 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
A Bridge to the Future
Nov. 11—EIR editorialized last week, “The American People Want an Economy,” writing, “A first look at the election results shows that what was most important was not the shift in control of the House, which had been pre-discounted, but that Americans demand a full-fledged economic recovery and growth policy. . . . This also indicates that voters insist that Democratic legislators stick to their duty of governing the country alongside the elected President, rather than devoting all their time to press leaks against him. From all indications, President Trump will push the same point, making himself wide-open to collaboration with Democrats on issues where they agree—largely economic issues.”
President Donald Trump made it clear the day after the election, and likely Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi confirmed it: The key to bipartisan cooperation is legislation to fund and build new, basic economic infrastructure. Most Americans support it, demand it. Democratic “radicals” who want only to impeach or endlessly investigate the President are saboteurs. Republican “radicals” who oppose funding any government credit should be sidelined, exactly as Trump on Nov. 7 described doing that.
But to build that bipartisan bridge for legislative action, the United States needs to get in the practice of building real, new bridges—and high-speed railroads; building new power plants and power technologies; new waterways and ports; and serious technology for outer-space exploration and development such as new heavy-lift space-launch rockets.
We’re Not Building Anything Now!
In a column this week, Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, one of the Democrats with a bill for an infrastructure bank, was agog about China’s new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge-tunnel, nearly 35 miles long over the sea and built for 120 years’ life! “And we’re not building anything!” Delaney cried.
He was right. We can’t get subway or metro trains to cross a city or a river without breaking down or derailing. We have no high-speed trains. We can’t build nuclear power plants and each American now gets less electric power every year. We can’t send astronauts into Earth orbit and bring them back safely; NASA doesn’t even have an active plan any more, to build launchers to put Americans back on the surface of the Moon.
President Trump is fighting uphill just to get us making steel and automobiles again, and maybe—less likely—aluminum. These are things the United States led the world in, 75 years ago.
Is this because the United States hasn’t had good engineers or scientists? No, it’s because, since the Vietnam War, and the British destruction of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Bretton Woods monetary system, American elected officials have not provided the credit for any big infrastructure ticket unless it was an aircraft carrier, fighter-bomber or a new tank.
Today the most serious Democrats, the most committed to what Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) calls “real funding for real infrastructure,” are far short of even the American Society of Civil Engineers’ $4-5 trillion price tag just to maintain and replace the existing basic infrastructure in coming years. They are talking about funding molehills, compared to the mountainous new frontiers of high-technology infrastructure being mastered by China, Japan, Russia—in nuclear power—and India—in space technology.
The United States needs to be building the most advanced and critical projects in the world—the Kra Canal to link the Pacific and Indian Oceans; the Transaqua project to restore Lake Chad and save Sub-Saharan Africa from becoming a desert; nuclear desalination to stop desertification of our own West; the Bering Strait bridge-tunnel to link North American transportation to Eurasia. Where on the globe we build them makes no difference; they will rebuild the U.S. economy’s industrial and technological muscles.
This can be done, but only by cooperating with the other industry- and infrastructure-champion countries. Lyndon LaRouche has outlined it since the turn of this century. A New Bretton Woods—a four-power agreement with China, Russia and India, open to other industrial powers like Japan, to create credit on the scale of many trillions, for infrastructure projects that will transform economies, human productivity and living standards. Because of the informal but international reserve status of the U.S. dollar, this New Bretton Woods credit system requires United States participation above all.
Within that leap forward, a bipartisan Trump-Democratic move for infrastructure can really be a bridge that goes to somewhere. Let’s look to the President’s proposed summits with Presidents Xi and Putin in coming weeks and months and organize for a New Bretton Woods to emerge.