Thursday, March 5, 2009

America's Economic Situation & The Solution

There comes a time when the obvious becomes obscured by a fog of distraction, disinformation, and good old fashioned ignorance. There is no doubt that the current economic climate is more frozen than Pluto (even during the summer months) and that the American public is desperately searching for solutions to bring America back to the forefront of economic and global leadership.

The reasons for this current economic situation are well documented. It covers all party lines, and is pretty much the result of lazy partisan lawmakers, greedy bankers and wall streeters, people who bought way more than they could afford, and a general gambling mentality of "let it ride". Well, the ride is over. Was it fun for you?

However, this economic catastrophe gives us an opportunity to change America's direction, from a service based consuming nation into a powerhouse producing nation once more. Isn't that how it used to be? America became the leading nation in the world because of what we produced, not what we consumed.

We didn't technically invent the automobile, a historical error stated by President Obama in is Congressional Address a few weeks ago, but we did revolutionize the mass production and manufacturing process for the automobile, and shortly thereafter we improved the car to where America was the gold standard in the automobile industry. We are the fathers of aviation and basically developed the current commercial and military aircraft industry. We are also the fathers of space exploration and development, albeit for the purposes of cold war competition, but nevertheless pioneered the challenge of space in a way that no other nation could or has.

Yet over the past 20 years, we have become a nation where it's more profitable to do business elsewhere than to do it here. There are so many laws and taxes in place that doing business in America is irresponsible. Additionally, we are so focused on "fairness" and "political correctness" that is serves as a detriment to reasonable progress. This is real life, and not everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season. There are winners and losers, and the losers, if they have any self-worth and pride at all, will pick themselves back up and try again until they succeed. THAT is the American way, a way which we have lost sight of.

Every time America has faced the dragon, we have slain it. We always find the means to produce our way out of seemingly catastrophic circumstances. This case should be no different and now is the time to take the lead once more. So the question then becomes, what should we do?

The 19th century marked the Industrial Revolution. The 20th century marked the Technological Revolution. The 21st century should be marked by the Space Revolution, led by the United States. Invention, production and development is what will propel America out of our current economic condition and give us a new solid base to build on for years to come.

America needs a focus, not on flipping houses or trading invisible money in the hopes that profits will be made, but a focus on making something, doing something, producing something tangible for the benefit of the country, and in turn, the world. Privately driven space exploration and development is the answer! Companies like SpaceX, Bigelow and Virgin Galactic have already started. The government would help by manipulating laws, taxes, etc. to make it enticing to get into the space business, thereby creating more companies, more competition and more advancement for the benefit of all.

Imagine a United States with 10+ spaceports throughout the nation, where companies employ (directly and indirectly) tens of thousands of people. Now factor in the companies competing against each other for the development, production and maintenance of spacecraft (manned and robotic). Factor in the scientists doing research to make space travel better, or learn more secrets of the universe as a result of numerous spaceflight opportunities. Consider the engineers designing, manufacturing and improving systems. And factor in the countless other ancillary industries that would be involved in such a massive, long term, long range national endeavor.

Consider how much costs would drop as mass production makes space travel considerably more cost effective and affordable. Imagine trips to LEO hotels that are as common place as trips from NY to LA right now, or trips to the Moon or Mars for science and recreational purposes. Imagine living in a United States where WE are the world leader in building and maintaining spaceships launched around the world; a United States where we build things, do things, learn things, and help advance the human species to the stars?

One cannot possibly argue that a direction like this would not save and grow the American economy, fortify and expand our educational base, and provide the kind of foundation for America to grow on indefinitely. Space does not stop. Space is the one place where innovation, development and advancement have no bounds. There are no borders to space, there are no limits to space, and there is only the opportunity for growth and expansion.

If America wants to save itself, and in doing so save the world, then we should embrace a direction that has no finish line, that has no limitations and that offers constant growth and opportunity. And that up.

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