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Restoring America’s Economic High -ground:Creating a Black Swan

Restoring America’s Economic High -ground:Creating a Black Swan

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Published by David Witt
A plan to improve the economic future of America.
A plan to improve the economic future of America.

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Published by: David Witt on May 31, 2012
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Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan

By David R. Witt, PhD

Copyright © 2012 by David R Witt All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other – except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the author. About the cover This is a picture of a steel mill as it fashions rails, and beams for bridges and buildings in this country. It is a symbol of the economic high-ground this country enjoyed during its first 200 years.

Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan

In the mid-1970’s there was a game called Federal Power Director. In this game the player was required to foresee and build different types of electrical generating plants that would prevent brown or blackout conditions in the United States. Building occurred at 5 year intervals for as long as possible until a blackout condition occurred, at which time the game ended. The player could choose between Hydro-electric, nuclear, coalfired, and oil fired plants, limited by economics and available resources. The goal of the game was to manage these resources and make them last 200 years to win the game. The usage figures of available resources in the game were from real reports by government and banking sources. In playing this game for many months over and over it was found that all resources would run out within a 150 years. This game made a great impression and is in part the inspiration of this book.

Since the time of that game there have been many discoveries of resources and new efficiencies in power production that have been found, but over the last two years this project has developed out of continuing concern for our future. It is hoped that the public will read and appreciate the strategic plan presented here. It will be through their efforts that a groundswell of support influences our political system to take the challenges of the future seriously.

From almost America's beginning, with the massive resources available and the type of government that supports free enterprise, this country has held the economic high ground in the world. By economic high ground it is inferred that this country is an exporter to the world, has a growing economy, and its people enjoy a general prosperity ranked very high in the world. The title of this book is restoring that economic high ground because for a variety of reasons this country no longer holds that place in the world. Many other countries now export more to this country than this country exports creating trade deficits that are growing.

Changing all of the trajectories that have created this loss of position in the world is certainly a major task. In the history of this country there have been many times when it

Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
has been necessary to make major efforts to improve our economic situation and it is time for major efforts to begin again.

If one considers the magnitude of change necessary in a project that alters the course of America in terms of economic prosperity, then the event that begins the change might be considered a Black Swan. Three characteristics inform a Black Swan event: the event must be an outlier, that is a one-time event coming out of nowhere; second, the event must have extreme impact, it must change the economics of the country permanently; and finally it must be possible to retrospectively rationalize the Black Swan event such that it seems predictable that it should have happened.

Examples of Previous challenges overcome in America can easily be found in this country's history. The Erie Canal was a major event that opened up the West and brought major advances in prosperity to America (Bernstein, 2005). The Transcontinental Railroad further opened up the West and brought civilization with it, providing markets for agriculture to the East. These events could easily be described as Black Swans that forever altered America and supported its economic high ground.

The building of the Hoover Dam was an extreme event in our countries history that created jobs, and supported agriculture, at a time when this country needed a change (Hiltz, 2010). The Interstate Highway system supported prosperity through jobs but also the future by allowing transportation of goods and services to cities large and small all over the country.

Projects such as these helped to maintain the economic high ground for this country at times of great need and sometimes peril. Take for example World War II in which the country was in great peril from the great depression as well as enemies on both sides of the world. This might be considered a Black Swan event of a second type, though certainly the manufacturing efforts required by the war restored this country to preeminence in economics as well as made the world safe through their use as tools of war.

Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan

The Goal of this book will be to describe a Black Swan event that can be created by the public through the awakening of public awareness to the challenges facing America in the future. The book presents a possible plan to restore America’s economic high ground, and create a public agenda in Washington supporting the future. No small task, but the reader may be convinced that it is necessary, and there is a way to accomplish it.

Strategic planning is a process used to plan for the future. The ABC's of strategic planning are discovering: (a) where you are; (b) where you want to be; and (c) how to get there. There are many forms of strategic planning, but all begin with an analysis of the environment to assess the macro external and internal environments. If one studies the news outlets and research works on the economics and environment they will discover a list of serious issues that are or may be preventing America from holding the economic high-ground in the world. Creating a single event that will reverse the negative consequences of them all is a major challenge, but one that will be shown is possible if a plan such as included here can reach the public agenda of Congress (Longest, 2002).

The strategic issues facing the Nation today that gain the most attention in the media are easily identified and will be clearly recognized by all readers:      Unemployment that is destroying our way of life National debt heading to collapse of America’s credit worthiness Illegal immigration that threatens our borders with terrorism Illegal drug trade that fills our prisons and threatens our safety Entitlement costs that are growing

Through further research an additional list of issues that threaten America’s future and portend even further declines in position in the world are found:  Negative balance of trade that deepens our National debt

Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
        Fossil fuel scarcity that sends massive funding to our potential rivals Electric power shortage that is growing due to rising population and use Fresh water shortage that is restricting agriculture production Food cost and scarcity that is growing Global warming from excess CO2 production by fossil fuels Cost burden of a two ocean Navy (Konstam, 2010) Corporations moving assets offshore and avoiding taxes Reduced trust in government

The next step in a strategic plan is to establish an effective organizational vision. Any strategic choice considered in a plan then must address one or more of the goals of this vision. America needs three things to restore prosperity to its people and these will serve as our vision in this strategic effort:    Clean Abundant Power Plentiful Fresh Water Bountiful Agricultural Products Available for Export

One must consider many alternatives that arise out of the opportunities available in the country. These are also easily available in the media and through research:        Austerity Nuclear Power Infrastructure Project(s) Natural Gas Drilling Reduce entitlements Raise taxes


Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
There has been much debate about whether any of these are desirable or will help restore prosperity to America, but if one focuses on the goals of the vision there arises three more opportunities that address the vision of the future:    Fourth Generation Nuclear Power to provide clean power A Sea Level Canal to open up the arid Southwest Desalination to provide abundant water for agriculture

Review of these opportunities identifies a project that has extreme impact, has the potential to dramatically change the economic future of the country, and makes one wonder why it was not suggested previously; in short, it is a Black Swan! Additionally, it is rooted in our history of success with major infrastructural projects.

The Project The government announces the largest construction project that has ever been attempted on this continent to begin immediately with preliminary activities and training for hundreds of thousands of people. NASA, which needs a new challenge to occupy its excellent project managers, begins planning for a sea-level canal that is two miles wide and 200 feet deep that extends from the border of Mexico at the Gulf in Texas and extends along the border to San Diego California. Included in the canal are ports in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California that include marinas, docks, and ship building facilities. The canal will be Federal land and managed by the Corp of Engineers. Along the length of the canal are to be constructed identical liquid salt Thorium stage 4 nuclear reactors of 300 GigaWatts including desalination plants to produce fresh water. The reactors and desalination plants are to be built under contract with major corporations; using materials made in America. Steel, aluminum, pipe, concrete, electrical, tooling, heavy equipment, and many other entire industries will be revived immediately. Millions of jobs will be created overnight as the training will have to start immediately for


Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
employees to be able to handle this work, and companies supplying material and equipment will need to staff up to produce it. While safe through their design, Thorium reactors produce less than 1% of the waste of conventional reactors (Burnett, 2010; Sorensen, 2007). Still, to handle the past and future waste will require restarting the breeder program in Oak Ridge Tennessee to reprocess fuel for these systems. To secure all present and future reactors, a new TSA like agency will be formed creating even more jobs. Since the canal will be Federal land, the President only needs to rescind an executive order from 1977 to allow this all to happen. The new fresh water generated by desalination along the Arizona / New Mexico border will enable many acre feet of water to all of the arid Southwest; thus, increasing farm lands by millions of acres, allowing the US to regain its position as the breadbasket of the world. The new canal will provide a safe and convenient trade route from the Gulf to the Pacific saving months of travel for larger vessels that now travel past Argentina to reach the other side of the world. The Panama Canal is too narrow for modern ships to transverse. Obviously, this canal will also create a border for immigration control as the canal will be up a 2 miles wide and 200 feet deep. There is a 4,000 foot elevation along the border, but many open pit mines are operated removing entire mountains, so we clearly have the skills needed. There are dozens of sea-level canals in the world, and we certainly have built canals before. Again, hundreds of thousands of jobs are created overnight. Benefits Primary and Secondary A full listing of all the benefits obtained by this country is not possible due to the extreme impact this project will have on all parts of the economy, but the following is a partial list of the most obvious ones:   Hundreds of thousands of jobs starting quickly and lasting for a century Fresh water for the arid Southwest that boosts agriculture in millions of acres


Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
          A return of the balance of trade being positive from exports of grain Millions of megawatts of electric power that is clean and renewable A sound border with Mexico that is inexpensive to maintain and effective A resurgence in engineering, heavy manufacturing, and construction A source of revenue that supports entitlements for the foreseeable future Income from fees and taxes that will eliminate forever the National Debt An end to the cost of a two ocean Navy as we can project force at will Revenues from corporate taxes that will resolve most states budget crisis A halt to the drug trade coming in from Mexico and the violence it creates Corporations will have assets in this country to pay taxes on

There are an enormous number of details involved in this plan. One must use imagination to realize the enormity of this project. New cities will need to be built for the workers and their families, the service and retail industries to supply the workers, and the large agricultural industry that will be generated. Think of the new highways that will connect the harbors with existing interstates, and the railroads that will connect the ports to the existing rails. New waste disposal sites, water treatment plants, grocery stores, medical centers, it goes on and on. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and they change over time from construction to stable industry. There should be many questions that arise from thinking about this project to restore the economic high-ground of America. Certainly this is an extreme impact, that rarely happens, and it should seem logical. It has a lot in common with other monumental projects this country has completed, and bears some resemblance to the Hoover Dam Project. But, foremost is the question of how do we pay for this? The transportation route with harbors, the power generation, and the water for agriculture all will generate income. Revenue bonds are used every day to finance infrastructure projects for everything from small water districts to toll roads, schools, airports, convention centers, and most other functions of cities, states and even the Federal government (Ulbrich, 2003). Most have some form of income to retire the

Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
bonds. The canal project will generate income to pay off the bonds and pay good interest rates; generate income that will pay into the Federal coffers to support entitlements; and generate new taxes through jobs and spending to erase the National debt; and provide needed funds to states through sales and corporate taxes. The following section outlines the remainder of this book that will explore many of these details.

References Bernstein, Peter (2005). Wedding of the waters. NY: WW Norton Burnett, H. Sterling (2010). Nuclear power development: Removing roadblocks, Brief Analysis No. 700. National Center for Policy Analysis. Retrieved April 20, 2010 from http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/ba700.pdf Hiltz, Michael (2010). Colossus. NY: Six Free Press Konstam, Angus (2010). Naval miscellany. NY: Metro Books Longest, BE (2002). Health policymaking in the United States, third edition. Chicago: Health Administration Press Naisbitt, John (1984). Megatrends. NY: Warner books Sorensen, Kirk (2007). Thorium-based nuclear power: The road to green, sustaninable nuclear power. Retrieved April 20,2010 from http://rickmaltese.com/thorium/sorenson2_ppt.htm Solomon, Stephen (2010). Water. NY: Harper Collins Ulbrich, Holley (2003). Public finance in theory and practice. Mason, Ohio: Thomson South-Western Williams, John Hoyt (1988). A great and shining road: The epic story of the traanscontinental railroad. NY: Times Books


Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
Outline of the Remainder of the Book Chapter 1 The Project The Canal Nuclear Power Fresh Water desalination Trading Ports Ship Building Recreation Power distribution Rail connections Water distribution Town construction Chapter 2 Primary Benefits Jobs Now Project management Training Surveying Land acquisition Construction Electrical power Fresh Water Agriculture – Exports restore our power to negotiate global warming Chapter 3 Collateral Benefits Restoration of heavy manufacturing Reduction of the National Debt Education of workforce and nation Projection of Force Immigration control Drug Interdiction Reduction in trade imbalance Chapter 4 Questions How do we pay for the project? Is Nuclear power safe? What about Mexico? How long will it take? How soon will there be benefits? But they are widening the Panama Canal, aren’t they? That is a very long route isn’t it? How do we deal with the 4,000 foot elevation along the route? Chapter 5 Summary Public Agenda Candidates with vision


Restoring America’s Economic High-ground: Creating a Black Swan
About the Author David Witt holds a PhD in Human Services, and is an adjunct professor in the School of Public Service Leadership at Capella University. He teaches strategic planning and other public administration courses in graduate studies. Doctor Witt is certified as a professional in Project Management, Six Sigma Black Belt, and certified as a professional in Healthcare Information Management Systems. How Can You Help Research on this project has taken two years so far. If you have some interest in this plan or creating the energy that it will take to reach our politicians and put major projects on the public agenda, then please make a non-tax deductable donation to my research. Donations help me but also show support that will send a message to the news networks that you are waiting for this or another plan to reach Washington. In this way we may enjoy the future! Donate using PayPal: dwitt1@pdq.net Thank you.


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