THE END OF COMMON SENSE
A Statement On the Economic Utility of Merchant Marine Subsidies

by William R. Carr

Senator Wesley L. Jones, in 1913 said: "Since 1885, foreign ships have carried over $50,000,000,000 of our foreign commerce. Estimating the freight at 15 per cent, we have paid them over $7,500,000,000 for getting our products to their markets and supplying our own. Of what benefit is a balance of trade in our favor if we pay out most of it for freight?"

TODAY FOREIGN SHIPS CARRY WELL OVER A TRILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF OUR FOREIGN COMMERCE, AND THE FIGURE IS GROWING, AS OUR MERCHANT MARINE CONTINUES TO SHRINK TO ALMOST NON-EXISTENCE.

ANY NATION THAT DOES NOT CARRY AT LEAST HALF OF ITS OWN TRADE IN ITS OWN SHIPS IS GETTING SHORT-CHANGED ON EVERY TRADE ITEM THAT CROSSES ITS DOCKS. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO AN ECONOMY WITH $1.5 TRILLION WORTH OF FOREIGN TRADE IN WHICH ONLY ABOUT TWO OR THREE PERCENT IS CARRIED IN ITS OWN SHIPS? THE ANNUAL LOSS TO THE ECONOMY IS CALCULATED IN THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

A MARITIME NATION WITHOUT AN ADEQUATE MERCHANT FLEET TO CARRY OUT ITS FOREIGN TRADE IS NOT ECONOMICALLY OR STRATEGICALLY INDEPENDENT. SUCH A NATION HAS COMMITTED ECONOMIC AND STRATEGIC SUICIDE.

THE WORLD'S GREATEST SUPER-POWER PATROLS THE HIGH SEAS WITH THE WORLD'S GREATEST NAVY DEFENDING THE SEA-LANES FOR EVERY OTHER MERCHANT FLEET IN THE WORLD. YET ITS OWN MERCHANT FLEET HAS ALL BUT DISAPPEARED FROM THE HIGH SEAS.

AS HENRY GEORGE ONCE WROTE, "WE CANNOT SAFELY LEAVE POLITICS TO POLITICIANS, OR POLITICAL ECONOMY TO COLLEGE PROFESSORS."

FREE TRADERS AND FREE-MARKET ECONOMISTS (WHO NOW HAVE THE EAR OF OUR ADMINISTRATIONS AND CONGRESSES), DEPLORE MARITIME SUBSIDIES. THEY ASSURE US THEY ARE ANTI-FREE MARKET, AND ARE NOTHING LESS THAN "CORPORATE WELFARE." THEY INSIST THAT THE FREE MARKET ALONE SHOULD RULE. CONSEQUENTLY, CURRENT MARITIME SUBSIDY LEVELS ARE WOEFULLY INADEQUATE, AND THE SIZE OF OUR MERCHANT FLEET IS AN INSULT TO A GREAT NATION, COSTING THE ECONOMY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALLY. THIS IS A CLASSIC CASE OF BEING PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH.

IF ANY GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY EVER MADE ECONOMIC SENSE, A GENEROUS SUBSIDY FOR THE MERCHANT MARINE DOES. QUITE ASIDE FROM VITALLY IMPORTANT DEFENSE AND STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS, ONLY WITH A LARGE AND VIABLE MERCHANT FLEET CAN WE REALIZE THE FULL POTENTIAL ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF OUR HUGE VOLUME OF FOREIGN TRADE. WITH OVER $1.5 TRILLION IN TRADE, OUR ECONOMY IS LOSING BILLIONS ANNUALLY, AS FREIGHT REVENUES GO TO THE COMPETITION. AMERICAN SHIPS NOW CARRY ABOUT TWO OR THREE PERCENT OF OUR TRADE. THAT MEANS NINETY-SEVEN CENTS OF EVERY FREIGHT DOLLAR GOES ELSEWHERE. WHILE SOME OF IT MAY TURN UP ON WALL STREET, VERY LITTLE TURNS UP ON MAIN STREET.

NOW ANOTHER UNBELIEVABLE TRAVESTY HAS OVERTAKEN THE "AMERICAN" MERCHANT MARINE. IT'S INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE ABOUT NINETY PERCENT OF OUR SUBSIDIZED MERCHANT FLEET (WHICH ONLY TOTALS 47 SHIPS!) IS NOW FOREIGN OWNED! SO, NOW, EVEN THE FREIGHT GENERATED BY THOSE TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED SHIPS SERVES FOREIGN CORPORATE INTERESTS! THE SUBSIDIES MAY PAY A FEW AMERICAN SEAMEN, BUT PROFITS PAY THE FOREIGN COMPETITION! HOW CAN THIS MADNESS BE? BECAUSE CORPORATIONS HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE LEGAL STATUS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS, AND THOSE CORPORATIONS THOSE AMERICAN CITIZENS CAN BE, AND INCREASINGLY ARE, FOREIGN OWNED! OUR TRUSTY CONGRESS HAS LITERALLY TURNED THE NATIONAL ECONOMY OVER TO THE STEWARDSHIP OF FOREIGN OWNED MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS. (SUCH CORPORATIONS ARE CALLED Section 2 "documentation citizens" eligible to document a vessel under Chapter 121 of title 46, United States Code.) TALK ABOUT BEING SOLD DOWN THE RIVER BY OUR ASTUTE MIS-REPRESENTATIVES!

IT ISN'T AS IF NOBODY HAD EVER FIGURED THINGS OUT, AS THE FOLLOWING QUOTES DEMONSTRATE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ECONOMIC WELFARE OF THE NATION HAS BEEN PASSED FROM AND BY OUR INEPT REPRESENTATIVES TO GLOBAL CORPORATE BOARDROOMS. ECONOMIC ACADEMICS AND "THINK TANKS," FUNDED BY CORPORATE INTERESTS AND LARGE FOUNDATIONS, NOW DO THE THINKING FOR CONGRESS. THE VERY CONCEPT OF NATIONAL ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE IS NOW CONSIDERED AS ANACHRONISTIC AS THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, CONSTITUTION, AND BILL OF RIGHTS (WHICH LIVE ON ONLY AS ARCHAIC SYMBOLS TO PROVIDE ONLY AN ILLUSION OF THE NATIONAL FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE, WHICH HAVE BECOME A FICTIONS)!

YET, EACH AND EVERY CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR, AS WELL AS EVERY PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT, WHEN SWORN IN TO OFFICE, TAKES A SOLEMN OATH TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION! 

President Ulysses S. Grant, in a message to Congress said: "A nation of the vast and ever-increasing interior resources of the United States must one day possess its full share of the commerce of these oceans no matter what the cost. Delay will only increase this cost and enhance the difficulty of attaining the result. . . . Building ships and navigating them utilizes vast capital at home; it employs thousands of workmen in their construction and manning; it creates a home market for the products of the farm and the shop; it diminishes the balance of trade against us precisely to the extent of freight and passenger money paid to American vessels, and gives us a supremacy upon the seas of inestimable value in case of foreign wars."

President Theodore Roosevelt, in a message to Congress said: "Ships work for their own countries, just as railroads work for their terminal points. From every standpoint it is unwise for the United States to continue to rely upon the ships of competing nations for the distribution of our goods."

OUR UNCONSCIONABLE TRADE DEFICIT (WHICH IS, ITSELF, THE PRODUCT OF SHORT-SIGHTED, PERVERSE, AND CONVOLUTED NATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY CALLED GLOBALISM IN THE GUISE OF ENLIGHTENED LONG-TERM POLICY) IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD. FIRST, WE HAVE BECOME THE WORLD'S DUMPING GROUND FOR FOREIGN-MADE CONSUMER GOODS. THEN WE PAY THE FREIGHT TO FOREIGN SHIPPERS TO GET THE FOREIGN-MADE GOODS TO OUR SHORES! THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY DISASTROUS ECONOMIC COMBINATION FOR THE NATION. THE NATION'S ECONOMIC AND TRADE POLICIES LITERALLY COURT AND INSURE EVENTUAL ECONOMIC DISASTER! WE NOW NOT ONLY RELY UPON THE SHIPS OF COMPETING NATIONS FOR DISTRIBUTION OF OUR GOODS, WE RELY UPON THEM TO KEEP OUR CONSUMER MARKET SHELVES STOCKED WITH JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR SURVIVAL! AS PROBLEMS ARISE AND CONTINUE TO UNFOLD, THE ONLY SOLUTION EVER ARTICULATED IN THE HALLS OF POWER IS "MORE OF THE SAME!" "WE MUST BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE IN GLOBAL MARKETS!" WE HEAR, "WE MUST EXPORT MORE."

THIS MEANS FOREVER CUTTING THE TAKE OF AMERICAN LABOR WHILE MAINTAINING AND INCREASING THE WALL STREET GRAVY TRAIN.

INDUSTRIES THAT PRODUCE FOR EXPORT CANNOT REPLACE INDUSTRIES THAT PRODUCE FOR DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION, AS GENERATORS OF NATIONAL WEALTH. IN EXPORT INDUSTRIES, LABOR IS MERELY ANOTHER COST TO BE CUT AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, UNDERMINING THE PURCHASING POWER OF LABOR. THE PRODUCER MUST ALSO BE THE PRIMARY CONSUMER OF HIS OWN PRODUCTION IF LABOR IS TO BE JUSTLY REWARDED. ONLY THEN ARE HIGH WAGES MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL TO BOTH EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE.

A RICH COUNTRY CANNOT SELL ITS PRODUCTS INTO A MUCH POORER WORLD AT A PROFIT UNLESS THE WAGES OF LABOR ARE CUT TO POORER WORLD STANDARDS.

AND WHERE IS THE PROFIT IN TRADE, UNLESS ONE OR THE OTHER DOING THE TRADING GETS CHEATED? SOMEWHERE, SOMEBODY GETS CHEATED WHENEVER THERE IS PROFIT IN TRADE. ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, THERE CAN BE NO PROFIT IN A "FAIR" TRADE. USUALLY IT IS LABOR THAT GETS SHORT-CHANGED, SINCE EVERYBODY ELSE PROFITS.

HUGE TRADE DEFICITS DON'T CUT INTO WALL STREET PROFITS (THUS ECONOMISTS WITH A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE DOWNPLAY THEIR IMPACT UPON THE NATIONAL ECONOMY), THEY CUT INTO THE WELFARE OF THE AMERICAN LABORING CLASSES. MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS PROFIT ON GLOBAL TRADE NO MATTER WHO ELSE GETS SHORT-CHANGED AND THEY HAVE THE POWER TO MANIPULATE GLOBAL MARKETS TO THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE. THEY HAVE NO NATIONAL LOYALTIES, AND CERTAINLY NO LOYALTIES TO WORKING PRODUCERS, NO MATTER WHERE THEY MAY BE LOCATED.

TRADE, IN ITSELF, DOES NOT GENERATE WEALTH, AND ONLY PROVIDES INCOME TO THE MERCHANT CLASSES THAT PROFIT THROUGH EACH TRANSACTION IN THE EXCHANGE CHAIN. FOR THE CONSUMER, TRADE ADDS SHIPPING COSTS. IT CAN NEVER BE THE GENERATOR OF NATIONAL WEALTH IN A INHERENTLY WEALTHY, ECONOMICALLY VIABLE, NATION. EXAMPLES OF MERCHANT NATION SUCCESS STORIES, SUCH AS JAPAN AND SINGAPORE, CANNOT BE REALISTICALLY COMPARED TO THE UNITED STATES. LACKING SUFFICIENT NATURAL RESOURCES TO BE "VIABLE, SELF-SUSTAINING, ECONOMIES," THEY LITERALLY MUST TRADE TO SURVIVE, AND MUST PROFIT FROM THE WEALTH OF THEIR TRADING PARTNERS TO MAINTAIN VIABLE AND PROSPEROUS NATIONAL ECONOMIES. IN ORDER FOR THIS TO WORK, PROSPEROUS NATIONS MUST OPEN THEIR MARKETS TO FOREIGN IMPORT INVASION, AS WE HAVE. THE RESULT HAS BEEN OUR CURRENT OBSCENE, AND TOTALLY UNNECESSARY, TRADE DEFICIT WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD.

THE UNITED STATES LABORS UNDER NO SUCH HANDICAP AS NATIONS LIKE SINGAPORE AND JAPAN. OUR POLICY MAKERS, HOWEVER, HAVE AGGRESSIVELY HANDICAPPED US THROUGH THEIR VISION OF GLOBALISM MAKING US AN ECONOMICALLY DEPENDENT NATION WHEN WE CAN AND SHOULD BE QUITE ECONOMICALLY INDEPENDENT.

FOR AN ECONOMICALLY VIABLE NATION SUCH AS OURS, FOREIGN TRADE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A LUXURY, RATHER THAN A NECESSITY. WE SHOULD PROVIDE OUR OWN NECESSITIES INSOFAR AS OUR RESOURCES PERMIT.

HOW COULD AN INCREASED DEGREE OF ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE HELP THE MERCHANT MARINE, IF TRADE WOULD BE CURTAILED TO ANY DEGREE THEREBY? PART OF THE EQUATION OF ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE, OF COURSE, WOULD BE TO CARRY AT LEAST HALF OF OUR OCEAN BORNE TRADE IN AMERICAN FLAG SHIPS. (THAT MEANS AMERICAN BUILT, AMERICAN OWNED, AND AMERICAN MANNED SHIPS.) ITS GOAL WOULD BE BALANCED AND FAIR TRADE, WHICH IS THE ONLY WAY TRADE CAN BE CONSIDERED BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED.

EVEN IF OUR FOREIGN TRADE WERE CUT BY 75%, TO CARRY HALF OF IT WOULD REQUIRE A FLEET DOZENS OF TIMES LARGER THAN THE ONE WE CURRENTLY HAVE. IF WE CUT OUR TRADE TO 25% OF ITS PRESENT VOLUME, THAT WOULD ALSO MEAN THAT AMERICAN INDUSTRY AND AMERICAN WORKERS, MAKING AMERICAN WAGES, WOULD HAVE TO BE EMPLOYED TO PROVIDE THE 75% OF CONSUMER GOODS PRESENTLY PRODUCED ELSEWHERE FOR OUR FALSE BENEFIT AS CONSUMERS. OF COURSE, THIS WOULD RESULT IN HIGHER CONSUMER PRICES (SINCE WE'D NO LONGER BE EMPLOYING SLAVE AND SWEATSHOP LABOR), BUT IT WOULD ALSO RESULT IN THE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL INCOME AND PROSPERITY TO OFFSET THEM.

HISTORY PROVIDES THE BASIS FOR THIS ARGUMENT AND THESE CONCLUSIONS. WE PROSPERED AS A NATION, AND ATTAINED OUR ECONOMIC GREATNESS, PRIOR TO THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION AND FREE INTERNATIONAL TRADE. WE ALWAYS MAINTAINED A ROBUST, BUT LIMITED, TRADE WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD TRADE THAT DIDN'T COST AMERICAN JOBS, BUT RATHER INCREASED THEM. DURING FORMER TIMES, WE CONSISTENTLY ENJOYED A FAVORABLE BALANCE OF TRADE. WE PROVIDED FIRST FOR OURSELVES, AND ONLY TRADED AS A SECONDARY ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.

AS FOR THE MERCHANT MARINE, A GRAPH WOULD SHOW THAT THE RISE OF GLOBALIZED FREE TRADE HAS BEEN INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL TO THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN FLAG FLEET. AS THE TRADE CURVE HAS GONE ALMOST STRAIGHT UP, THE AMERICAN FLAG PRESENCE ON THE HIGH SEAS HAS GONE ALMOST STRAIGHT DOWN. THE CORRELATION AND REASONS THEREFORE OUGHT TO BE OBVIOUS. IN ADDITION TO A SHRINKING PORTION OF OUR OWN ECONOMIC PIE AS WE ADOPT GLOBAL STANDARDS (FROM WAGES TO SAFETY), WE ADOPT LOWER STANDARDS IN THE FALSE GUISE OF HIGHER STANDARDS. THIS IS A FUNCTION OF GLOBALIZATION.

TRADE DOES NOT PRODUCE WEALTH, IT ADDS SHIPPING COSTS. IT CAN AUGMENT WEALTH AND ROUND OUT ECONOMIC ROUGH SPOTS, BUT, IN AND OF ITSELF, IT IS NOT AN ENGINE OF WEALTH GENERATION. AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION IS THROUGH THE GOOD OFFICES OF LABOR! THE TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION, WITH ALL ITS MANY WONDERS, HAS NOT CHANGED THIS MOST BASIC ECONOMIC TRUTH ONE IOTA.

VOTERS DO NOT GO TO THE POLLS IN ANY GREAT NUMBERS, AND IT'S JUST AS WELL THAT THEY DON'T, SINCE THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THEM HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE AS TO WHAT IS GOING ON. CONSUMERS DO VOTE EVERYDAY WITH THEIR BUYING HABITS, HOWEVER AND, OF COURSE, THEY VOTE (AS INTENDED) FOR THE FOREIGN COMPETITION AT STORES LIKE WAL-MART. CORPORATE CHAINS LIKE WAL-MART HAVE ALREADY DISPLACED MOST OF THE BUSINESSES ON AMERICA'S ONCE THRIVING MAIN STREETS AND CITY CENTERS. CONSUMERS LOVE IT (AND VOTE FOR MORE OF IT IN THE MARKETPLACE), BUT IN SO DOING, THEY UNWITTINGLY VOTE THEIR OWN JOBS TO FOREIGN SHORES.

THERE IS A CURRENT, AND ONGOING, FLAP OVER FARM SUBSIDIES, JUST AS THERE IS AN ONGOING DEBATE OVER MERCHANT MARINE SUBSIDY LEVELS. THERE ARE INTERESTING PARALLELS TO THESE SUBSIDY ISSUES. FIRST, AGRICULTURE IS THE BEDROCK OF ANY VIABLE ECONOMIC SYSTEM, JUST AS A MERCHANT MARINE IS THE NATION'S BASIS OF GLOBAL COMMERCE. BROAD-BASED LAND OWNERSHIP BY LARGE NUMBERS OF FAMILY FARMERS WAS ONCE THE FLY AND BALANCE WHEEL OF THE ECONOMY, AS IT SHOULD BE. BUT DECADES OF SUPPOSED INTERNATIONAL FREE TRADE IN FARM COMMODITIES HAVE PUT ABOUT 98% OF OUR FARM POPULATION OUT OF BUSINESS, JUST AS FREE TRADE HAS PUT A SIMILAR PERCENTAGE OF OUR MERCHANT FLEET AND MERCHANT SEAMEN OUT OF BUSINESS. BUT IN BOTH CASES IN DEBATE, THE REAL CAUSES OF DECLINE ARE NEVER PUT UP ON THE RADAR SCREEN FOR EVERYBODY TO SEE.

IN BOTH CASES, THE PROBLEM IS ROOTED IN THE FACT THAT AN ECONOMY AND SOCIETY WITH HIGH LIVING STANDARDS CANNOT TRADE IN LOW-WAGE GLOBAL MARKETS AND COME OUT WINNERS UNLESS MACHINERY IS PUT IN PLACE TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD. THE ONLY WAY FOR AMERICA TO COMPETE IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE IS BY ELIMINATING THE AMERICAN WORKER FROM THE EQUATION, THROUGH AUTOMATION AND THE EXPORT OF PRODUCTION. AND THIS IS WHAT IS BEING DONE NOW IN ALMOST EVERY MAJOR PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY. FARMS CANNOT BE EXPORTED, FARMERS WERE NONETHELESS SENT PACKING. YET, AS FARMERS WENT BELLY UP, THE INTERNATIONAL COMMODITY TRADERS NEVER MISSED A DAY OF PROFIT. THE SO-CALLED "FARM LOBBY," OF COURSE, LOBBIES HEAVILY FOR LOWER INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING RATES, THUS HAS BEEN VERY MUCH AGAINST AMERICAN MARITIME SUBSIDIES. MANY REMAINING FARMERS ACTUALLY BELIEVE THE "FARM LOBBY" SPEAKS FOR THEM. FEW FARMERS AND SEAMEN REALIZE THEY ARE (OR SHOULD BE), ON THE SAME TEAM. IN ANY CASE, BOTH ARE SIMILARLY AMONG THE NATION'S MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES MUCH TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE NATION.

THE REASON I BRING UP FARMERS IS THAT, LIKE MOST SEAMEN, I HAVE MY FOOT IN TWO WORLDS. I'M NOT A FARMER, BUT I DO OWN AND LIVE ON A FARM, AND RAISE A FEW HEAD OF BEEF CATTLE. AS A SEAMAN, I'VE WATCHED THE INDUSTRY IN WHICH I WORK ALMOST DISAPPEAR. I'VE ALSO WATCHED THE AMERICAN FAMILY FARM, AS A VIABLE SMALL PROPRIETORSHIP, ALMOST DISAPPEAR.

I'VE ALSO NOTED THAT, WITH A MUCH LARGER INVESTMENT THAN HILLARY CLINTON, MY BEEF CATTLE VENTURE WILL TAKE ABOUT A CENTURY TO PROVIDE THE KIND OF FINANCIAL REWARD SHE MANAGED TO REALIZE IN A SINGLE YEAR IN CATTLE FUTURES TRADING. NOT THAT I BEGRUDGE HILLARY HER JUST RETURNS BUT, ACCORDING TO MY FEEBLE REASONING, THIS TENDS TO INDICATE THAT SOMETHING IS A LITTLE HAYWIRE IN THE WAY FINANCIAL REWARDS ARE DEALT IN OUR SYSTEM.

MY QUESTION IS: DID SOMEBODY GET SHORT-CHANGED IN ORDER FOR HILLARY TO ENJOY HER "JUST RETURN?"

IF ANYBODY GETS SHORT-CHANGED IN OUR MODERN, GLOBALIZED, ECONOMY IT IS LABOR. OF COURSE, THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE, BUT, UNDER GLOBALISM, IT IS CARRIED TO EXTREMES, GLOBAL IN SCOPE. THE SHEAR SIZE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY TENDS TO OBSCURE LOCAL IMPACTS, AT LEAST UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE FOR EASY REMEDIES. THE ECONOMIC MACHINERY AT WORK IS TOO VAST FOR THE ORDINARY PERSON TO FOCUS ON OR GRASP.

THE MACHINERY TO LEVEL THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE PLAYING FIELD, OF COURSE, IS KNOWN AS "PROTECTIONISM" EQUALIZING PRICES AT THE WATER'S EDGE (WITH AN ENLIGHTENED TARIFF STRUCTURE, CALCULATED TO PRESERVE NATIONAL ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE). ASIDE FROM PROTECTING DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES FROM FOREIGN COMPETITION, MORE IMPORTANTLY, PROTECTIONISM PROTECTS AMERICAN LABOR FROM BEING UNDER-BID BY DOLLAR A DAY LABOR ABROAD. THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW CHARGES GIVEN GOVERNMENT BY THE CONSTITUTION. AFTER ALL, WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF A LIMITED GOVERNMENT BUT TO PROTECTION ITS LAND AND CITIZENS FROM THE FOREIGN COMPETITION? ISN'T THAT WHY WE HAVE NAVAL AND ARMED FORCES IN THE FIRST PLACE? IMPORT INVASION IS JUST AS DANGEROUS TO AMERICA IN THE LONG RUN, AS MILITARY INVASION. THE SAME CAN BE SAID FOR IMMIGRANT INVASION WE'VE PASSED THAT POINT WHERE WE ARE AGGRESSIVELY TRYING TO POPULATE A VAST UNSETTLED CONTINENT.

CONGRESS, HAVING FORGOTTEN ITS DUTY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND NOW SERVING INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL, HAS ALLOWED WHOLE INDUSTRIES INVALUABLE AND NECESSARY INDUSTRIES TO BE EXPORTED, BECAUSE THE PRODUCTS THEY ONCE PRODUCED DOMESTICALLY CAN BE MORE CHEAPLY IMPORTED. THE MERCHANT MARINE IS SUCH AN EXPORTED INDUSTRY. PROTECTION FOR THE MERCHANT MARINE, BY NECESSITY, MUST BE IN THE FORM OF DIRECT GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES. THE ARGUMENT AGAINST THIS, OF COURSE, IS THAT SUCH SUBSIDIES ARE CORPORATE WELFARE. BUT THIS IS A MATTER IN WHICH A BROADER VIEW MUST BE TAKEN NOT OF CORPORATE BALANCE SHEETS ALONE, BUT THE NATIONAL BALANCE SHEET. (OF WHICH THE TRADE DEFICIT IS A MAJOR FACTOR.) THE MERCHANT MARINE IS NOT ONLY A BUSINESS, IT IS AN INVALUABLE AND NECESSARY NATIONAL ECONOMIC ASSET (STRATEGIC AS WELL AS ECONOMIC). TO SAVE A FEW HUNDRED MILLION IN MARITIME SUBSIDIES, WE LITERALLY PAY HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS TO THE FOREIGN COMPETITION. THIS DOESN'T MAKE REAL ECONOMIC SENSE.

UNDERSTANDABLY, THE TAXPAYER  RESENTS SUBSIDIES THAT APPEAR TO BE NOTHING BUT CORPORATE WELFARE. BUT, IN THE CASE OF THE MERCHANT MARINE, AND A FEW OTHER IMPORTANT INDUSTRIES, THE PUBLIC IS NEVER GIVEN THE FULL PICTURE. WE DON'T QUESTION SUBSIDIZING THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT, WHICH NOT ONLY PRODUCES NOTHING, BUT GOES OUT AND DESTROYS THINGS, RETURNING NOTHING OF VALUE AT ALL TO THE ECONOMY (EXCEPT MAYBE NATIONAL SECURITY). THE MERCHANT MARINE (WHICH IS ALSO A NATIONAL DEFENSE ASSET), NOT ONLY RETURNS ITS SUBSIDY DOLLARS TO THE NATIONAL ECONOMY, BUT GENERATES INDUSTRY PROFITS, WHICH ARE ALSO INJECTED INTO THE NATIONAL ECONOMY. THE NATIONAL ECONOMY GAINS, RATHER THAN LOOSES THEREBY, WHICH ULTIMATELY BENEFITS THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC BY BROADENING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN A RAFT OF RELATED DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES.

WHILE WE INCREASINGLY WITHHOLD SUFFICIENT SUBSIDY DOLLARS, AND OTHER FORMS OF PROTECTION, FROM CRITICAL PRODUCTIVE DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES, WE NOW SUBSIDIZE A WHOLE ARRAY OF NON-PRODUCTIVE INDUSTRIES, PROVIDING CORPORATE WELFARE TO SOME OF THE MOST PROFITABLE CORPORATIONS NOW UNDERMINING OUR DOMESTIC PRODUCTIVITY. THIS CORPORATE WELFARE IS EXTENDED WITH THE PURPOSE OF ENHANCING THEIR GLOBAL MARKET SHARE AND EXPANDING INTERNATIONAL FREE TRADE. IN OTHER WORDS, WE ARE SUBSIDIZING OUR DIVE INTO MORE NATIONAL DEPENDENCE. ADDITIONALLY, WE CONTINUE TO DIRECTLY SUBSIDIZE THE GLOBAL COMPETITION IN INNUMERABLE WAYS, THROUGH DIRECT AND INDIRECT FOREIGN AID PAYMENTS TO FOREIGN NATIONS.

WE EVEN ACTIVELY AND DIRECTLY SUBSIDIZE MANY OF THE VERY FOREIGN FACTORIES THAT HAVE REPLACED AMERICAN FACTORIES AND AMERICAN JOBS. AMONG OTHER MEANS, THIS IS DONE THROUGH THE OVERSEAS PRIVATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION (OPIC) PROGRAM, WHICH ENCOURAGES AND HELPS "AMERICAN" TRANS-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS MOVE PRODUCTION ABROAD.

THESE KINDS OF SUBSIDIES FOR THE COMPETITION ARE SELDOM DEBATED IN PUBLIC, OR BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE TAXPAYER. THE ONLY SUBSIDIES THAT ARE REGULARLY UNDER ATTACK ARE THOSE THAT ACTUALLY BENEFIT TRULY "AMERICAN-BASED" INDUSTRIES AND AMERICAN WORKERS. IRONICALLY, THEY ARE ATTACKED BECAUSE THEY GIVE AMERICANS AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE IN THE GLOBAL MARKET-PLACE. BUT SHOULDN'T AMERICAN TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES HELP AMERICAN FIRMS AND AMERICAN WORKERS RATHER THAN MULTI-NATIONALS AND FOREIGN WORKERS?

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP), AND GROSS NATIONAL INCOME USED TO BE FAIRLY INDICATIVE OF A BROAD-BASED PRODUCTIVE PROSPERITY WITH MODESTLY EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME. NOW NATIONAL INCOME IS A MEASURE OF WALL-STREET PERFORMANCE RATHER THAN REAL PRODUCTIVITY OR WORKER PROSPERITY. WALL-STREET STOCK VALUES HAVE BEEN PACKED WITH WHAT WOULD HAVE ONCE BEEN THE WAGES OF LABOR. DOWN-SIZING AND MOVING PRODUCTION ABROAD HAS RESULTED IN A MASSIVE TRANSFER OF WEALTH FROM THE POCKETS OF LABOR TO THE PORTFOLIOS OF THE OWNERS OF STOCK.

SOME INDUSTRIES ARE EXEMPT FROM EXPORT, SUCH AS MOST SERVICE INDUSTRIES. THUS THE IDEA THAT WE ARE BECOMING A SERVICE ORIENTED ECONOMY AND THAT THIS TRANSITION IS SOMEHOW VERY GOOD. BUT THE DOWNWARD PRESSURE ON WAGES HITS THE SERVICE SECTOR IN THE FORM OF AFTERSHOCKS TO BROAD PRODUCTION INDUSTRY DOWNSIZING AND EXPORT.

THE ONCE HIGHLY PAID TRUCKERS ARE AN EXAMPLE OF THIS DOWNWARD PRESSURE IN WAGES IN THE SERVICE SECTOR. SINCE THEIR INDUSTRY ITSELF COULDN'T BE EXPORTED, TRUCKERS' WAGES HAVE BEEN DOWNSIZED.

TO KEEP FARM COMMODITY PRICES AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, FARM LABOR IS ROUTINELY IMPORTED. AND NOW EVEN HIGH TECH WORKERS ARE BEING IMPORTED FROM ASIA TO TAKE AMERICAN JOBS, DUE TO A SUPPOSED SHORTAGE OF QUALIFIED AMERICAN HIGH TECH WORKERS.

THE MERCHANT MARINE IS THE SEAGOING COUNTERPART TO THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY. THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BEING THAT THE MERCHANT MARINE, BY ITS VERY NATURE, IS IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH ITS FOREIGN COUNTERPARTS IN A WORLD WITH MUCH LOWER LIVING STANDARDS. ITS BASIC OPERATING INFRASTRUCTURE, THE HIGH SEAS, ARE FREE FOR THE USE OF THE SHIPS OF EVERY COUNTRY. UNLIKE THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY, OCEAN SHIPPING RATES ARE DIRECTLY DETERMINED BY GLOBAL MARKETS, NOT AMERICAN MARKETS. TRUCKING RATES ARE SET BY WHAT THE AMERICAN MARKET WILL BEAR. THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY'S NECESSARY HIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE WAS PROVIDED AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE ITSELF A SUBSIDY OF HUGE MAGNITUDE. BUT EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT IT IS NOT ONLY NECESSARY, BUT PAYS HUGE DIVIDENDS TO THE NATIONAL ECONOMY. THE HUGE SUBSIDY DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY BENEFITS EVERYBODY, AND GENERATES NATIONAL INCOME. WHY CAN'T PROFESSIONAL ECONOMISTS AND POLITICIANS SEE THAT SUBSIDIES FOR THE  MERCHANT MARINE WOULD DO THE SAME THING? (BUT THOSE SUBSIDIES MUST BE ONLY FOR TRULY AMERICAN FIRMS, NOT FOR THE FOREIGN COMPETITION UNDER FALSE COLORS.)

THE MERCHANT MARINE IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST A PRIVATE PROFIT-ORIENTED BUSINESS ENTERPRISE. IT IS THE SEAGOING EQUIVALENT TO THE TRUCKING AND INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM, AND NECESSARY AUXILIARY TO THE NATIONS NAVAL AND ARMED FORCES. IT IS A NATIONAL ASSET OF UNAPPRECIATED VALUE AND UTILITY. NOBODY WOULD QUESTION THE FOLLY OF TURNING OUR TRUCKING AND INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM OVER TO FOREIGN INTERESTS. BUT FEW QUESTION THE FOLLY OF LEAVING THE HIGH SEAS TO THE FOREIGN COMPETITION EVEN AS AN EVER-INCREASING PERCENTAGE OF THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE ARE SHIPPED UPON THEM.

WE TEND TO THINK OF NATIONAL VULNERABILITY IN MILITARY TERMS ONLY, BUT THE ECONOMIC REALM IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, SINCE MILITARY STRENGTH ULTIMATELY RESTS UPON ECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS.

IN ORDER TO RECTIFY THIS SITUATION OF INCREASING NATIONAL VULNERABILITY, THE IMPORTANCE OF NATIONAL ECONOMIC SELF-SUFFICIENCY MUST BE REALIZED. THIS GOES FAR BEYOND THE MATTER OF THE MERCHANT MARINE. BUT ECONOMIC SELF-SUFFICIENCY CANNOT BE ACCORDED ITS PROPER IMPORTANCE WHEN NATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY HAS BEEN HANDED TO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS WHOSE GOALS ARE GLOBAL, RATHER THAN NATIONAL, PROFITS. THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF NATIONAL ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE CAN ONLY BE REALIZED WHEN EQUATED WITH NATIONAL SURVIVAL ITSELF. AND THIS DEFINES HOW HIGH THE STAKES REALLY ARE.

AMERICAN FARMERS, WITH INPUT COSTS BASED ON THE AMERICAN LIVING STANDARD, CANNOT SELL AT A PROFIT INTO A WORLD WITH LOWER PRICE STANDARDS. SO, UNDER FREE TRADE POLICY, THEY HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED TO INCREASE PRODUCTION WHILE CONSISTENTLY SELLING AT A LOSS CLEARLY A FORMULA FOR DISASTER. THUS THE FAMILY FARMER IS ALL BUT EXTINCT, AND A FEW LARGE FARMERS, OF CORPORATE SIZE, NOW RAKE IN THE SUBSIDIES SUPPOSEDLY INTENDED TO SAVE THE FAMILY FARM. THE SMALL FAMILY FARM IS ABOUT GONE KILLED (AND INTENTIONALLY KILLED), BY POLICIES AIMED AT LOWERING AMERICAN PRODUCTION COSTS TO GLOBAL MARKET STANDARDS. TODAY, THE MUCH BALLYHOOED "FARM LOBBY" IS NO LONGER A FARMERS' LOBBY, BUT A MULTI-NATIONAL AGRIBUSINESS LOBBY, FOR WHICH REAL FARMERS GET BOTH THE BLAME AND THE SHAFT.

LIKEWISE, NO AMERICAN MANNED SHIP CAN COMPETE WITH SHIPS MANNED BY SEAMEN WHO REQUIRE ONLY A TENTH OF THE AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL WAGE. GLOBAL FREIGHT RATES, OF COURSE, TEND TO A LOWEST GLOBAL LEVEL CONSISTENT WITH PROFITS IN THE BROADER MARKETS. GLOBAL MARKETS, OF COURSE, LOCK OUT HIGH WAGE CONTENDERS SUCH AS AMERICAN SEAMEN AND AMERICAN FLAG SHIPPING COMPANIES. THUS THE DISAPPEARANCE OF OUR MERCHANT MARINE, LIKE THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE AMERICAN SMALL FAMILY FARM.

OF COURSE, THE MERCHANT MARINE SUBSIDY THAT WE DO HAVE HAS ALLOWED A SHADOW OF THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE TO SURVIVE BUT ONLY A SHADOW. AND WHILE IT IS STILL JUST BARELY SURVIVING, THE PRESSURE IS ON TO LOWER THE COSTS OF THE REMAINING AMERICAN SHIPS AND AMERICAN SEAMEN TOWARD GLOBAL LEVELS. THIS GOAL, NATURALLY, CAN ONLY BE ACCOMPLISHED BY LOWERING WAGE STANDARDS AND MANNING LEVELS.

THIS, IN TURN, ALSO EFFECTIVELY LOWERS INDUSTRIAL SAFETY STANDARDS IN THE AMERICAN FLEET. BUT THE "WORLD COMMUNITY" IS COMING TO THE RESCUE BY ATTEMPTING TO COMPENSATE FOR THESE LOWER STANDARDS BY REQUIRING SUPPOSEDLY HIGHER PROFESSIONAL TRAINING STANDARDS FOR SEAMEN AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SHIPPING COMPANIES WORLD WIDE. BUT THE HIGHER STANDARDS, ARTICULATED IN THE IMO'S STCW AND ISM REQUIREMENTS, ARE MERELY ATTEMPTS TO LEVEL GLOBAL STANDARDS THAT ALLOW FOR RIDICULOUSLY SMALL CREW SIZES, TO SATISFY THE INDUSTRY'S DEMAND FOR MAXIMIZED EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY OF PROFITS.

OUR CONGRESS HAS SIGNED US ON TO THE GLOBAL STANDARD, BUT IN SPITE OF THIS (AND UNTIL AMERICAN SEAMEN CAN ACCEPT GLOBAL WAGE STANDARDS) A GENEROUS MERCHANT MARINE SUBSIDY (MUCH MORE GENEROUS THAN CURRENT LEVELS), WILL BE REQUIRED TO SUSTAIN AND REBUILD A VIABLE AMERICAN MERCHANT FLEET.

A PRECURSOR TO LOWERING AMERICAN SEAMEN'S WAGE STANDARDS TO INTERNATIONAL LEVELS, IS BINDING THEM TO THE INTERNATIONAL REGULATORY CONTROL OF THE INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION. THIS SIGNIFICANT NEW DEVELOPMENT IS ALSO THE PRECURSOR TO DE FACTO WORLD GOVERNMENT. AGAIN, IT WAS OUR CONGRESS THAT SIGNED US UP FOR THIS ASSAULT ON NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OR APPROVAL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. OUR NATIONAL MARITIME ASSETS ARE NOW UNDER UNITED NATIONS REGULATORY CONTROL, AS PERTAINS TO MARITIME SAFETY AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND DOCUMENTATION OF SEAMEN. THIS GRAPHICALLY DEMONSTRATES THE "DEATH OF COMMON SENSE" IN THE HALLOWED HALLS OF OUR NATION'S CAPITAL.

IRONICALLY, BUT NOT SURPRISINGLY, FEW OF THE REMAINING AMERICAN SHIPS ARE AMERICAN MADE (OR EVEN AMERICAN OWNED!). THOSE THAT ARE, ARE LIVING ON BORROWED TIME. THIS IS ALSO DUE TO OUR SHORT-SIGHTED GLOBAL STRATEGY. COMMON SENSE SHOULD TELL US THAT AMERICAN SHIPS SHOULD ALL BE AMERICAN MADE IN AMERICAN SHIPYARDS, USING AMERICAN STEEL AND AMERICAN LABOR. BUT AS LONG AS WE ARE UNEQUIVOCALLY SIGNED ONTO GLOBALISM (AND RUSSIANS CAN PRODUCE STEEL, AND KOREANS CAN PRODUCE SHIPS, MORE CHEAPLY THAN AMERICANS), WE WILL BE IN A VERY DETRIMENTAL STATE OF NATIONAL DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN MADE GOODS JUST AS THE AVERAGE CONSUMER DEPENDS ON WAL-MART FOR HIS EVERYDAY NEEDS.

(NOT TO PICK ON WAL-MART ALONE I MERELY USE WAL-MART AS A SYMBOL REPRESENTING THE WHOLE ARRAY OF GIANT CORPORATE CHAINS THAT HAVE TAKEN OVER THE NATIONAL RETAIL AND WHOLESALE TRADE IN THE GUISE OF FREE MARKET ECONOMICS AND THE ECONOMIES OF SCALE. ASIDE FROM DRAWING HEAVILY ON FOREIGN SOURCES FOR THE BULK OF THEIR MERCHANDISE, THEIR CORPORATE POWER HAS USURPED AND OBLITERATED THE INDIVIDUAL MAIN STREET MERCHANT CLASS. THE WAL-MARTS OF THE NATION, IT MUST ALSO BE NOTED, ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TRADE POLICIES THAT HAVE MADE THEM DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN SUPPLIERS CONGRESS IN IT'S SUBSERVIENCE TO BIG CAPITAL IS!)

ONLY NOW IS AMERICAN IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTION GETTING A MUCH BELATED BREAK, AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SEEKS TO GIVE AMERICAN INDUSTRY A BREAK WITH TEMPORARY TARIFF RELIEF, MUCH TO THE DISPLEASURE OF OUR FOREIGN STEEL PROVIDERS AND OUR ASTUTE FREE-MARKET ECONOMISTS. OF COURSE, MOST OF OUR IRON AND STEEL INDUSTRY HAS ALREADY DIED.

GLOBALISM, BILLED (FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION), AS "MADE WITH PRIDE, IN AMERICA," IS MORE A EUPHEMISM FOR, AND VEHICLE OF, AMERICAN NATIONAL SUICIDE THAN THE GLOBAL PEACE, PROSPERITY, AND STABILITY WHICH IS ITS ALLEGED GOAL. THE CLOCK IS TICKING. HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE CONGRESS TO AWAKEN TO THE FRIGHTENING FACTS?

THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001, SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WAKE-UP CALL, AND IN SOME WAYS WAS. A FEW PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY QUESTIONING THE WISDOM OF OUR OPEN BORDERS AND IMMIGRATION POLICIES. BUT MUCH MORE THAN THAT NEEDS TO BE QUESTIONED. OUR NATIONAL COMMITMENT TO GLOBALISM IS BY NOW SO DEEP THAT, UNLESS OUR WAR ON TERRORISM EVOLVES INTO A MUCH LARGER CONFLICT OR WORLD WAR, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT CONGRESS WILL AWAKEN TO ITS CONSTITUTIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. EVEN THEN, THERE CERTAINLY WOULD BE NO GUARANTEE OF REMEDIES CONSISTENT WITH THE "RIGHT TO LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS." IN FACT, SO FAR, RESULTS HAVE BEEN TO CREATE MORE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACIES AND INCREASE FEDERAL POWERS AT THE EXPENSE OF LIBERTY.

I'M NOT AT ALL OPTIMISTIC. IT SEEMS NOTHING SHORT GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE OR THE CHAOS OF GLOBAL WAR WILL AWAKEN ANYBODY IN SUFFICIENT NUMBERS TO MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE. (AND HEAVEN FORBID THAT SHOULD HAPPEN!) AS LONG AS AMERICA'S YOUTH IS EDUCATED IN OUR INCREASINGLY EDUCATIONALLY BANKRUPT PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, AND ADULTS BY NETWORK TELEVISION, VOTING AT THE POLLS WILL CONTINUE TO BE USELESS, IF NOT TOTALLY COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. AS LONG WAS WE VOTE AT WAL-MART AS WE HAVE BEEN DOING (NOW ALMOST THROUGH NECESSITY), GLOBALISM AND NATIONAL SUICIDE WILL CONTINUE ON TRACK. NO, THE PROSPECTS ARE NONE TOO ROSY. THE ONLY DESCRIPTION OF THIS CIRCUMSTANCE IS "CATCH-22" DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DON'T.

IT WOULD DO LITTLE GOOD TO AWAKEN THE PEOPLE. WHEN THEY DO AWAKEN, IT IS USUALLY IN A STATE OF COMPLETE CONFUSION, CONDUCTIVE OF GREATER ERROR OF ACTION THAN WAS POSSIBLE DURING THEIR SLUMBER. THEY ARE MORE EASILY MANIPULATED IN WAKEFULNESS THAN IN SLUMBER. RIGHT NOW THE PUBLIC IS ALMOST SEMI-AWAKE AS THE RESULT OF 9/11, AND LOOK AT THE ROAD WE'RE ON.

AS FOR THE MERCHANT MARINE WAR IS USUALLY ITS BREAD AND BUTTER, INJECTING NEW LIFE WHERE OFTEN THERE ALMOST WAS NONE PREVIOUSLY. NO SUCH THING THUS FAR WITH OUR WAR IN AFGHANISTAN. OUR ADMINISTRATION APPEARS BENT ON PROVING THAT WE CAN FIGHT A WAR WITHOUT INJECTING NEW LIFE INTO THE MERCHANT FLEET. SO FAR, IN ADDITION TO OUR AMERICAN MANNED MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND SHIPS AND ITS SEVERAL CONTRACT VESSELS, APPARENTLY SUFFICIENT NUMBERS OF FOREIGN SHIPS HAVE RALLIED TO OUR CALL FOR SUPPORT IN OUR PRESENT WAR EFFORT. I SUPPOSE THIS OUGHT TO BE RATHER COMFORTING (BUT SOMEHOW IT ISN'T). MAYBE THE AMERICAN MERCHANT IS NO LONGER NECESSARY TO SUPPLY THE TROOPS ON FOREIGN SOIL AT LEAST IN SUCH LIMITED CONFLICTS AS WE HAVE IN FIGHTING OSAMA BIN LADEN AND HIS RAG-TAG BUNCH.

BUT THIS DOES NOT NEGATE THE MERCHANT MARINE'S ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE TO THE NATION IN GLOBAL COMMERCIAL TRADE. IT IS THIS WHICH IS THE REAL RATIONALE FOR A GENEROUS MERCHANT MARINE SUBSIDY. ONLY THUS COULD WE REALIZE ANY REAL ECONOMIC BENEFIT AT ALL FROM THE HUGE VOLUME OF TRADE WE CONDUCT, AND RECOUP AT LEAST A PART OF THE ECONOMIC LOSSES THAT RESULT FROM OUR LARGE AND GROWING TRADE DEFICIT. THE BENEFIT OF MILLIONS IN SUBSIDIES WOULD BE CALCULATED IN BILLIONS IN ECONOMIC RETURNS.

NOT THAT I THINK CONGRESS, OR ANYBODY ELSE, WILL TAKE HEED OF MY ARGUMENTS. OUR CONGRESS DOES NOT TAKE A MACRO-VIEW OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC BALANCE SHEET AS IT SHOULD. (THAT WOULD BE NATIONALIST, IN ANY CASE, AND WE COULD HARDLY EXPECT OUR MIS-REPRESENTATIVES TO BE AMERICAN NATIONALISTS!) CONGRESS TAKE MICRO-VIEWS OF PROBLEMS OF GOVERNANCE AND IT WATCHES WALL-STREET, WHERE THE MEANINGFUL VOTES ARE. WALL STREET VOTES NATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY WITH DOLLARS FROM MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS WHOSE INTERESTS ARE EXCLUSIVELY IN THEIR OWN BALANCE SHEETS.

SHORT OF SOME GOD-INSPIRED UNIVERSAL ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE MASSES, WISE LEADERSHIP IS THE ONLY HOPE WE HAVE. BUT FROM WHENCE MIGHT SUCH LEADERSHIP EVOLVE? WE HAVE SCARCELY HAD A GLIMPSE OF WISE LEADERSHIP IN A CENTURY OR MORE CERTAINLY NONE AT ALL IN THE LAST TWO OR THREE DECADES. UNFORTUNATELY, INSPIRED LEADERSHIP IS USUALLY CRUCIFIED LONG BEFORE ITS WISDOM MAKES ANY SIGNIFICANT INROADS.

IT WOULD BE NICE IF OUR CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS WOULD CONSULT THE CONSTITUTION AND GET BACK TO THE BUSINESS OF "AMERICAN GOVERNMENT" RATHER THAN ACTING AS AGENTS FOR  WALL STREET AND INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL IN THE "NEW INTERNATIONAL ORDER."

ARTICLE ONE, SECTION EIGHT (C) OF THE CONSTITUTION CHARGES CONGRESS WITH THE DUTY TO "REGULATE COMMERCE WITH FOREIGN NATIONS, AND AMONG THE SEVERAL STATES..." IN THE INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOT IN THE INTERESTS OF INTERNATIONAL CAPITAL, OR ANY SPECIAL INTEREST, BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND NATION AS A WHOLE.

March, 2002

INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE IS THE REAL BREAD AND BUTTER (AND REASON FOR EXISTENCE) OF A VIABLE MERCHANT MARINE. BUT ONLY WAR CAN WAKE CONGRESS UP TO THE NEED FOR A STRONG AND VIABLE MERCHANT FLEET. TODAY WE SEEM TO BE ON THE BRINK OF ANOTHER WAR WITH IRAQ. UNLIKE THE CASE OF THE PREVIOUS GULF WAR, WHICH WAS SUPPORTED BY A BROAD INTERNATIONAL COALITION, IT APPEARS THAT AMERICA MAY HAVE TO GO IT ALMOST ALONE THIS TIME AROUND. THE NUMBER OF FOREIGN MERCHANT SHIPS AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT OUR SHORT WAR AGAINST IRAQ BEFORE, MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE THIS TIME AROUND. THUS, IF THE NEW WAR IS NOT AVERTED, FOCUS MAY ONCE AGAIN BE DIRECTED TOWARD THE NEED TO BOLSTER THE AMERICAN FLAG MERCHANT FLEET. IF THE WAR COMES OFF, AND IT ISN'T JUST A TWO WEEK AFFAIR, THE AMERICAN FLEET WILL GET SOME CONSIDERATION. THE FACT IS, LACK OF MERCHANT SHIPS MAY BE A FACTOR IN AVERTING THE WAR THE ADMINISTRATION WANTS. OF COURSE, THAT WOULD BE RATHER EMBARRASSING THAT WE CAN'T HAVE A WAR BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE SUFFICIENT MERCHANT MARINE CAPACITY TO TAKE A CHANCE ON IT.

OF COURSE, THAT MAY BE GOOD BECAUSE WAR IS NEVER A GOOD ALTERNATIVE. WE DON'T NEED TO GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ, AND GOING OUT OF OUR WAY TO START AN UNNECESSARY WAR SIMPLY ISN'T GOOD NATIONAL POLICY. OUR COMMITMENT HAS SUPPOSEDLY ALWAYS BEEN TO PREVENT NEEDLESS WAR. WE HAVE BEEN THE CHAMPIONS OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS, AND THE BODY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW THAT OUTLAWED "STARTING WARS," AND "PRE-EMPTIVE WARS," AND "INVADING SOVEREIGN NATIONS." WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY TOLD THE WORLD THAT ONLY VILLAINS LIKE HITLER START AGGRESSIVE WARS. WE HAVE ALWAYS GONE TO WAR ONLY UNDER THE GUISE OF "NATIONAL DEFENSE." TRY AS WE MAY TO SELL THE IDEA, A NEW WAR WITH IRAQ UNDER SUCH GUISE WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY AMONG OUR FRIENDS ABROAD (UNFORTUNATELY, ALMOST ANYTHING CAN BE SOLD TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE). SO, IT IS STILL VERY POSSIBLE THAT WAR WITH IRAQ WILL BE AVOIDED NOT BY CHOICE, BUT BECAUSE WE LACK THE CAPACITY TO DELIVER SUFFICIENT GOODS ON A TIMELY BASIS IN OUR OWN SHIPS.

THUS AN UNNECESSARY WAR MAY NOT HAPPEN, AND THAT WOULD BE GOOD. BUT IT DOES POINT TO THE FACT THAT IF WE REALLY DID HAVE TO GO TO WAR TO DEFEND THE NATION, OR OUR "REAL" VITAL NATIONAL INTERESTS ABROAD, WE ARE INCAPABLE OF DOING SO ALONE BECAUSE OF OUR LACK OF SHIPPING CAPACITY. NOT ONLY SHIPPING CAPACITY, BUT SEAMEN. WE NO LONGER HAVE THE MEN TO MAN THE SHIPS WE STILL HAVE IN RESERVE. THUS OUR STRATEGIC PLANNERS ARE NOW LOOKING TOWARD A CRASH PLAN TO ENTICE RETIRED MARINERS OUT OF RETIREMENT, COMPLETE WITH FAST-TRACT LICENSE RE-INSTATEMENT AND STCW TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION. MAYBE IT CAN BE DONE NOW, BUT IN ANOTHER DECADE, EVEN THAT RESERVE OPTION WILL BE GONE. IT WILL BE GONE BECAUSE OF SHORT-SIGHTED NATIONAL POLICY WITH REGARD TO THE VERY REAL ECONOMIC AND STRATEGIC UTILITY OF A MERCHANT MARINE COMMENSURATE WITH OUR ECONOMIC AND STRATEGIC PROFILE IN THE WORLD.

WE CAN'T DEPEND ON FOREIGN SHIPS OR FOREIGN SEAMEN TO BACK AN AMERICAN WAR ESPECIALLY ONE WHERE WE ARE CONSIDERED IN THE WRONG BY THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE WORLD'S GOVERNMENTS AND PEOPLES. ONLY AMERICAN SEAMEN WILL SUPPORT SUCH AN EFFORT RIGHT OR WRONG. THE PRESENT WRITER IS A FITTING EXAMPLE. I'M VERY MUCH AGAINST A WAR WITH IRAQ (SINCE IRAQ HAS NOT ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES), BUT I'LL BE OUT THERE SUPPORTING THE TROOPS IF I FIND MYSELF ON A WAR TRANSPORT SHIP. I WON'T MUTINY OR DEFY ORDERS TO PREVENT GETTING THE JOB DONE JUST BECAUSE I DON'T AGREE WITH THE POLICY. IT'S NOT THAT I'M SUCH AN ALL-FIRED PATRIOT, BUT MERELY THAT I'M AN AMERICAN SEAMAN. I'LL ARGUE AND WRITE AGAINST WHAT I CONSIDER BAD POLICY, BUT WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, AND A JOB HAS TO BE DONE,  I'LL DO MY PART TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. THIS, OF COURSE, WOULD BE TRUE OF ALMOST EVERY TRUE AMERICAN. ON THE OTHER HAND, I'LL BE RETIRING IN A FEW SHORT YEARS, IF THE INDUSTRY LASTS LONG ENOUGH TO GET ME THERE. ONCE I GET RETIRED, ONLY A MILITARY INVASION OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES COULD PROMPT ME TO TAKE AN ACTIVE PART.

More Quotes on the Importance of a Viable Merchant Mariner at:
U.S. Merchant Marine Org, at http://www.usmm.org/quotes.html
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