REPORT—For a U.S. Economic Recovery: A Third National Bank Now Indispensable
The argument of this Report and Workbook, conclusively established by the data presented below, is that the abolition of our current Federal Reserve System and the establishment of a Third National Bank is absolutely indispensable. It is impossible to rebuild the U.S. nation and economy otherwise.
This report undertakes a comprehensive review of the physical U.S. economy—of both the current status, and the urgent needs of the most important components of that economy. It will identify the type and amount of investments now required to begin the process of rebuilding that economy as the productive engine which is needed for the future of the nation and the people.
For purposes of providing the reader a quick overview, each category of major investment presented below estimates the dollar equivalent of initial Third National Bank credits which we believe are required. The reader can use these figures to explore for more detail, as desired. We also invite comments from those working in each of the productive sectors of the economy we are addressing here. Have we missed something vital? What additional aspects of production need to be taken into account?
I. Banking & Credit
II. Requirements for a Recovery
V. The “Fourth Law”—Science and Technology Investment
VIII. Educating Our Youth—a Space CCC
IX. Reconstruction of Our Cities
I. BANKING & CREDIT
1) A National Bank Is Required to Finance Our Entrepreneurs!
We cannot just wave a magic wand, declare that X amount of dollars in national credit is to be made available to finance a U.S. physical economic recovery, and expect that a recovery will automatically be produced.
Much of our in-depth productive capabilities have been destroyed, and we must take on the task of rebuilding and modernizing them in a systematic way.
For example, there are still large, vertically integrated heavy industries and industrial manufacturing enterprises, but they are, generally, not the kind of vertically integrated corporations that once existed. The responsibility of a National Bank, therefore, cannot leave off with announcing a flow of targeted credits to large corporations, or merely accede to the demands of their armies of self-serving lobbyists inside the Beltway.
We must begin with the rebuilding of national networks of what are now called “supply chains” (including those that can be reasonably “on-shored”). These must be redundant networks of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs)—many now existing but struggling and atrophied. They must be re-capitalized, or otherwise called now into being. Their capabilities certainly no longer exist in-house, or as closely held by the big industrial firms. Wall Street demanded they be sold off, and/or their roles “off-shored” to achieve market efficiencies. That is now part of our national predicament. We must now rebuild a “full set” national economy, that can once again do it all—from soup to nuts. We need therefore, an expanding mix of enterprises across the entire nation, and those enterprises will serve their role in rebuilding our communities—large and small.
The large money-center banks have largely abandoned productive investment into the real economy and have demonstrated little commitment to building our nation’s industry, manufacturing, and infrastructure. In particular, small and medium-sized productive companies have been hung-out to dry. Equity funds, and hedge funds have looted productive companies for decades now, utilizing other people’s money, including via the money-center banks. This destruction all occurred under the Federal Reserve-approved policy of “financialization.”
Only national banking, by means of a Third National Bank, combined with the re-enactment of Glass-Steagall bank regulation, can rebuild the U.S. banking system top-down. National banking is the means by which we also create and multiply resources and opportunities for community and regional banking, as we simultaneously grow “grassroots” nationwide demand for productive lending. A vibrant system of regional and community banks is essential for the creation and support of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), as well as local communities.[i]
Despite grievous mistakes by the Federal Reserve, the basis for a sound financial/banking infrastructure still exists. The over 4,000 community banks, as well as the dozens of regional banks, still act as the backbone of lending to small and medium-sized companies and communities. In many states today, such as Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico, community banks ARE the branch banking system, and hold the majority of the local deposits. A regional bank is a bank with a primary market in a regional or metropolitan area, which takes deposits from throughout the state in which it is located. Some are even larger. While definitions vary, there are 28 to 60 regional banks around the nation. The critical importance of the community and regional banks is seen in the statistic that, banks with less than $10 billion in assets hold some 50% of small loans to businesses, even though they represent only 17% of all banking-industry assets—this according to the FDIC’s 2020 small-business lending survey.
With a Third National Bank to provide expansive credit to build productive enterprises and communities, it is these regional and local community banks, in particular, that can rapidly expand lending—perhaps on a 50/50 or similar targeted basis with the National Bank. They are situated to share knowledge and responsibility in promoting productive lending that will build the productive capacities of our nation. (The potential role of community banks was on display with the Paycheck Protection Program, as they stepped up to actively lend to private companies slammed by COVID, when the money-center banks could not be bothered.)
A National Bank is not an attack on privately-held commercial banks. Quite the contrary! With Glass-Steagall, with plentiful national banking credits available and flowing through the economy, new banks will very naturally, “pop up” as new private capital is organized to take advantage of ever-new opportunities for productive investment. Contrast that to the “consolidation” in the banking industry in recent years, which resulted in fewer options for companies seeking smaller loans. Between the end of 2007 and September 2020, the number of FDIC-insured banks fell 41% to 5,033.
Who Are the Entrepreneurs?
There are now more than 30 million SMEs, accounting for nearly two-thirds of net new private sector jobs in recent decades. But when it comes to accessing capital—whether they’re looking for a loan, seeking an equity investment, attempting an acquisition, or even the sale of their company—they’re left struggling. Machine shops, tool & die shops, small science research labs, machine tool design specialists, fabrication shops, HVAC & plumbing, welding & electrical, small manufacturers, home builders, transport companies, to name a few. They are small corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships, and are generally defined by an individual who creates, organizes, and manages an enterprise with considerable initiative (and considerable risk to themselves and their families).[ii] So, if these firms are supported by a national Credit System, just imagine what can be unleashed!
In industry and manufacturing, these SMEs are led by innovators and problem-solvers. Most of these businesses self-fund. Family businesses finance expansion with cash-on-hand, and borrow from friends, contractors, and relatives—or the local bank. However, a commitment to investment into future technologies and future products, requires non-volatile, forecastable markets—the opposite of what Wall Street and the City of London financial predators maximize.
Consider that small businesses rarely have more than a few weeks of cash on hand, yet many have considerable accounts receivable—often representing 60 to 90 days of sales that are yet to be collected from customers. A small business with $4 million in annual sales—and terms of 90 days—has nearly $1 million trapped in accounts receivable. In addition, having limited borrowing choices compared to larger companies, middle-market companies often pay higher rates for loans. Many lenders require personal guarantees from company owners, but then also charge higher interest rates. Another factor is that many “middle-market companies” engage commercial loan brokers to seek out the best borrowing terms and conditions, and these brokers take a 1% or 2% commission.
The Major U.S. Banks Today—What Banks?
The money-center banks, appendages of the global central banking system, are today largely addicted to derivatives speculation—financing such speculation by hedge funds, and running trading floors engaged in currency, commodities, and other futures markets. Shortages and volatility are their friend—particularly if they can front-run it. Yet they also present themselves as banks making loans. But this now-unwanted “exposure” to lending has been profoundly minimized.
The major banks now primarily “syndicate” big, increasingly risky loans for insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, equity funds, etc. The banks thereby externalize the risk, and care little about what happens in the aftermath. They don’t have time to waste on vertically integrated productive enterprises, the flyover states, or small and medium sized companies anywhere. As Jesse Jones of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) already experienced in the 1930s and 40s, the major banks will not lend into building the real economy.
In the last decade, their institutional syndicated leveraged loans outstanding increased from $100 billion in 2000 to $3 trillion(!) by 2021. These loans also serve to outline the domain of “zombie” corporations: those still walking the earth only because they can borrow new money to maintain interest payments on the principal of their existing loans—but no more. These leveraged loans are not held by the banks, but are primarily held by non-bank companies (insurance companies, finance companies), asset managers (in a loan mutual fund), or are sold as collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) as investments.
A leveraged loan is a type of loan that is extended to companies or individuals that already have considerable amounts of debt, or poor credit history. Leverage is the use of debt (borrowed capital) in order to undertake an investment or project. The desired result is to multiply the potential returns from a project—if you are gambling with other peoples’ money. At the same time, leverage will also multiply the potential downside risk in case the investment does not pan out.
With the Fed/Central Bank policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) and near-zero interest rates, these “investors” were driven into increasingly unhinged investments—short term financial paper promising returns. This is a perfect storm, long in the making. The message: forget the real economy and maximize financial assets.
All loans to corporations, including leveraged loans, have dramatically shifted out of banks over the past 60 years, as corporations have increased their use of debt securities—when a corporation issues a bond and sells it to investors—to fund their businesses. The most notorious example of this is so-called junk bonds, the rough equivalent of the banks’ syndicated leveraged loans. Again, at near-zero interest rates, “investors”—including institutional investors like pension funds—were stampeded into these increasingly risky investments.
The Fed reported, “Over the past ten years, non-financial corporate debt securities grew from $4 trillion in first quarter 2009 to $6 trillion in first quarter 2019. Non-bank investors hold the majority of outstanding financial and non-financial corporate bonds . . . . Driven by the Fed’s zero interest and quantitative easing bailout policies, investors sought out high-yielding leveraged loans and corporate debt securities, accepting greater risk in the hope of returns. To help satisfy the demand, underwriting standards deteriorated in this market and lenders issued loans to riskier corporations. The share of leveraged loans that lack strong covenants grew from near zero percent in the early 2000s, to 29 percent in 2007, and to 85 percent in 2018. The leverage of the borrowers also increased over the same period.” The inevitable seizing up and collapse of this bubble was, in fact, why the Fed’s $3 trillion in purchases of bonds and commercial loans was required, under the cover of responding to the COVID pandemic.
The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department committed trillions of dollars to purchase these corporate bonds and syndicated loans, managed by BlackRock, and billions more to support the market for commercial paper, a kind of short-term corporate IOU. This has all been the lawful follow-on to the practices which created and sustained “zombie corporations” throughout major sectors of our economy, as first detailed in the now-famous (or infamous) 2008 report on “zombie corporations,” published in American Economic Review.
National banking and national credit—a Third National Bank—is required to cut through this entropic, predatory, self-dealing system. We must get credit into the hands of our productive entrepreneurs and agro-industrial firms, just as you would get your sick loved one to a doctor! As a consequence of the “Lords of Easy Money,” the U.S. physical economy and its agro-industrial entrepreneurs have been denied, looted and destroyed. Yet, many are still hanging on for dear life! Now, we must rebuild, and this won’t get done, if left to global central banking and its Wall Street extension.
This section of this Report has presented the bare-bones overview of what has to be said about the banking side of business. Now, let’s get to the meat. Let us examine where national banking and national credit must step in.
II. REQUIREMENTS FOR A RECOVERY
1) Tens of Trillions in Credit Required Now to Breathe Life into a Starving Real Economy!
A National Bank will once again establish the mission. It is not nationalization. The mission that we are accepting is to actually launch, and carry-through that launch, a new vibrant, expanding physical economy for our nation. That mission must have a 25-50 year minimal perspective—an arc.
Here are presented major areas of the economy, and a semblance of what national banking and national credit—through a Third National Bank—can and must accomplish. A Capital Budget could also be the starting point in implementation, although not discussed here.
A National Bank can adapt and utilize a wide range of tools. In addition to its primary function of acting as the depository and prime lender of U.S. Treasury Notes, it could be empowered, like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), to buy bonds in an approved water development project, or to buy stock to capitalize tech investment into machine tool design and machine tool production companies. It could sell those bonds and shares of public works projects to provide credit, and only later, as the economy expands, sell those bonds off at a profit.
It should become clear that federal Anti-Trust laws and other American System policies must be utilized. Tariffs and similar protectionist measures will also be required, and federal re-regulation of not only our banking system, but our rail, air, and transport systems as well. This will involve overturning policies rightfully associated with the hated Carter administration and Paul Volker’s reign at the Federal Reserve. Perhaps most important, a stringent enforcement of new Glass-Steagall legislation will be applied to remove the destructive influence of financial speculation within the productive economy. These measures can all play their role—in the context of a new Third National Bank system.
Above all, a long term investment commitment must be made to extend trillions of dollars equivalent of credits—not to incur debt—but to build up the productive power of the economy. That increased productive power will pay for itself. These National Bank initiatives over a period of the coming decade will be authorized by a newly elected President and a transformed Congress—a Congress transformed in the elections of 2022 and 2024. The commitments then made must be carved into stone, and subject to no modification or change by the Congress and President, except under condition of national emergency or war. Our actual national emergency can be witnessed now, in the crisis of our broken down factories, crime ridden cities, spreading deserts, and challenged youth. It is our youth, unleashed from the tyranny of woke culture and Malthusianism, who will make us great again! Only tens of trillions of dollars in national credits can re-launch our nation—reflecting a new resolve and national intention, and utilizing the principles and practices of National Public Credit. The outcomes will not cost us a dime.
We must also compare these needed investments in our nation’s future to the costs of the Bush and Obama “endless wars.” The Brown University’s Costs of War Project estimates that $2.313 trillion went into the disastrous Afghan War, and at least $6.4 trillion by 2020 into the full-scale war on terror. And that doesn't even include the estimated future costs of caring for American veterans of those conflicts. In the end, that total goes beyond the $8 trillion range.
Instead, we will now build our real economy and restore our nation. Herein is a preliminary summary of a number of key areas that together require tens of trillions of dollars of credit, uttered by a Third National Bank, providing national credits—not creating debt—to set in motion long-term investments and new cycles of capital investment and increases in labor productivity.
2) Energy Development: $2-3 Trillion in National Credits Required Now!
Without energy we cannot double and triple U.S. basic industry and manufacturing, a requirement to “make the U.S. a manufacturing superpower.” Our reference should be proximate to U.S. industry and manufacturing levels in the 1960s—as measured by the portion of the workforce so employed. Therefore the construction of new baseload nuclear power plants, and the inclusion of the rapid development and deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), will be critical in developing new domestic industries. This will necessitate the promotion and development of an expansive, highly productive, workforce. As one can see in the chart below, electrical consumption for industrial use has been collapsing. This is one measure of the deindustrialization of the U.S. economy that must be reversed. And it has occurred over decades, even as our population has grown.
Baseload Electricity, for new industrial and manufacturing capacity—At least 200 Gigawatts of nuclear power, at current levels of electrical consumption per worker in industry and manufacturing, are required if we are to double and then triple U.S. industry and manufacturing output. Just as an example, 40% of the cost of making aluminum is in the electricity.
200 gigawatts is roughly 200 nuclear power plant units—although units as large as 1,400 megawatts are now built. 200 gigawatts is required, minimally, to make the U.S. a manufacturing superpower again. If we use an optimistic figure from China, we would say that 200 GW will cost about $600-800 billion to build—perhaps less. Who, besides our nation as a whole, operating through a national bank, could mobilize the credits and resources necessary? This can then be coordinated with existing public and private utilities.
It is clear that we are going to need many more coal and natural gas generation plants built to bridge our current shortage, but the priority must be to advance the energy-flux density of our technologies, and we must also push forward the scientific and technological skill levels of our national workforce and its workforce culture. Nuclear, transitioning to fusion, is therefore required. There is no substitute.
Building the Skilled Workforce of a Nuclear Age
Of course, U.S. costs of nuclear plant construction are now much, much higher, and timelines are much longer, than for Russian, South Korean or Chinese companies.[iii] This is because we have lost the production capabilities and trained workforce we possessed in the 1960s and 70s. The current construction of the Georgia Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear power units—the first new U.S. nuclear power plants being built in over a decade—are now coming in at more than $30 billion—for two units. Virtually all major components had to be imported from abroad. The management skills and labor skills no longer existed for building these technically complex plants. Federal government funding was also required—and provided—by the Trump Administration.
If the 7,000 skilled constructions workers and engineers working on the current Vogtle nuclear power project in Georgia were to be then deployed to train additional management and workers in the process of building additional nuclear power plants, these construction costs per unit can be brought down. So, to build out in ten years: a minimum average of $40 billion a year in resources and skilled labor must be put to work. We must move dirt now.
The Existing Electricity Grid—The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) uses an estimate that for electricity, including generation facilities and T&D (Transmission & Distribution) infrastructure, the cumulative investment gap between 2016 and 2025 is estimated to be $177 billion—at least $20 billion a year. The gap has not been reduced, and the overloading of existing systems is well known. The system is at capacity. We should double—to $40 billion/year—the rate of expenditure on our existing grid system to catch up. This, emphatically, means not subsidizing the “externalized” real-world costs of wind and solar, but building the healthy arteries required for energizing a productive economy again. We will also need a new grid.
The cost of Ultra High Voltage (UHV) transmission lines for the nation, AC or DC, can reasonably be put in the range of $1-2 trillion dollars over perhaps a decade. This is certainly required if we are going to triple manufacturing, and add hundreds of additional gigawatts—including 200 GW for manufacturing—to the grid. UHV will also reduce energy lost in transmission. This will require national credits to expedite, providing the financing that utilities and contractors will need. The costs can be readily repaid through utility budgets and power use over time.
Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)
The spreading drought in almost all of our states west of the Mississippi, is no minor matter for our nation. If NuScale, and other similar SMR companies were to be drafted into building-out half or more of the desalination plants needed on the West Coast, there would need to be some $200-250 billion dollars in credits advanced—minimally. This financing must be front-loaded in hard contracts, to guarantee that supply chain organization and manpower requirements are fleshed out in cadence with advancing projects. Time is of the essence, and the situation militates for federal support for modular reactors and their short construction times, despite their novelty. This is a “crash program” situation, comparable to war. The NuScale modular reactor design has been certified by the U.S. Department of Energy.
NuScale currently reports that a max 12-module plant (approx. 900 megawatts) would cost $3.3 billion. Southern California and Central California need an estimated total of some 60 plants; plus additional plants are required for Oregon and Washington. (The number of modules per plant could vary, of course, and be added later. Modules in plants can produce electricity to the grid, as well as otherwise be used for desalination.) This need does not take into account desalination requirements for other inland states or the Gulf Coast.
NuScale has stated that the first SMR assembly plant would cost $3 billion to build. That was a 2018 figure, and costs have gone up. Also, it may be overly optimistic. Yet this is an example of the kind of project that a National Bank could invest in, rather than indebting such a company through loan obligations.
In promoting the development of SMRs, NuScale has stated:
“. . . Compared to large nuclear plants, our simplified SMR design results in greater use of “commercial off-the-shelf” items that need not be supplied under stringent and costly nuclear standards.
“NuScale has undertaken detailed studies of capital, operating, and decommissioning costs for its 12-module VOYGR-12, 924 MWe plant design. Based on the overnight cost estimate of an nth-of-a kind plant built in the southeast U.S. at a generic greenfield site, the levelized cost estimate (LCOE) is in the range of approximately $40/MWh to $65/MWh depending on the financial profile of the customer.”
A practical consideration is whether we have available empty plants with the requisite floorspace which could be adapted, or will we need to build greenfield plants for the construction of SMR assembly plants? The U.S. auto industry is converting to EVs and EV trucks—even in the Detroit area. An inventory must be taken. Perhaps, we will need to build new capabilities and a labor force in Montana or the Dakotas, closer to the Idaho National Laboratory where the first NuScale reactor is being built, and the first large commercial modular system will then be created.
A total annual cost, in terms of manpower and resources, into SMRs should be perhaps $30-60 billion a year, in credits, loan guarantees and/or grants, in such deployed resources and labor, ramping up to maximize development and overlapping production schedules. Such loans, credits and grants can also be indirect, as in supporting utilities in the placing of actual contractual orders for SMRs.
3) National Banking
Therefore, dedicated national credits, via a national bank and capital budget, will be required for this national effort, committing a trillion dollars—now!—toward the construction of the nuclear power required for the nation, to be built over one or two decades. The private sector cannot do this; utilities cannot do this alone.
National, dedicated, credit lines can and must be made available to collaborating public and private utilities. As well, dedicated private as well as public credits must be promoted to build up the producer supply chains—particularly those of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It is mandatory to expand and develop the SMEs and their workforce capacities to supply the components for hundreds of nuclear power plants. We will clearly need new heavy forging facilities that no longer exist in this country. Existing forging companies have stated they would build what is required—if there were a reliable market. There are many other requirements.
Given what has been stated above regarding the nation’s energy requirements, the growth of industrial manufacturing now can be seen as mission critical. Industrial manufacturing is the processing, fabrication, and preparation of products from raw materials and commodities: mining, steel and other metals, concrete, chemicals and fertilizers, milling, heavy machinery, turbines, tool & dies, electrical equipment, and heavily earth moving equipment. Trillions in commitments of credit are required if industrial companies are to produce much of the muscle and sinew that, in turn, goes into the new nuclear power plants, as well as the new coal and natural gas-fired plants, that we will need. Many of these industrial manufacturing companies still have the semblance of vertical integration, but Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) must be empowered to play a greater and creative role alongside, and in collaboration with, the vertically-integrated large firms.
This is basic industry, and major investment into our nation’s industrial manufacturing is required. We provide examples of this below. We are utilizing a National Bank to change the paradigm, to recreate a not-entropic process of real physical economic development. Trillions of dollars equivalent in physical resources and—most importantly—human capital are now required. Left to atrophy for more than fifty years, our productive economy is a shadow of its former self. Much of that productive capacity was deliberately destroyed.
National credit is the means by which we commit, and make known our firm—signed-on-the-bottom-line—intention, to invest our national resources and capacities for the sake of our posterity. This means expanding working capital as quickly as feasible. As the recovery takes hold, additional incoming orders and requirements can then further drive expansion, providing confidence in additional credit—public and private. The WWII mobilization will provide many lessons, including through the critical role of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), then an expedient substitute for a Third National Bank in the 1930s and early 1940s.
For starters, at least $100 billion in resources must be committed to rebuilding just our metals producing sector, and it will not happen without intention and national credit. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
1) The Steel Industry
We are going to need steel, not more of Wall Street’s predatory steal. We are going to need new, modern integrated steel mills to move ahead with re-industrializing our nation. There are only nine integrated steel mills today in the U.S.—with the last one built in 1969! In 1970 there were 40, and 20 were left in 2000. We need to plan for doubling our steel making capacity. This at a very rough cost of some $75 billion dollars in resources and manpower that must be put into motion by a National Bank. How much must come from a National Bank itself as credits? Here we must say, “Whatever it takes.”
Integrated steel mills (coke oven, to blast furnace, to basic oxygen furnace, to casting and rolled product) are producing about 30% of U.S. steel today. The rest of our steel is produced from scrap metal, by 110+ “mini-mills (electric arc furnaces)—and we now are scouring the world for scrap! We then additionally import approximately 20% of our steel to meet even current needs.
Nor is the steel industry static. Steel is not just steel. Technologies and materials science change—as with new technologies for producing pig iron for steel-making. New steel alloys are as well being developed on the International Space Station. There is steel plate composite (SC) construction. If we don’t integrate these new technologies, we will lose, and other nations will pass us by, as they discover new spin-offs, advance their workforce, and then multiply the new discoveries that flow from applying these new breakthroughs to the production process.
And we will need a lot more steel! Just 200 one-gigawatt nuclear power plants would require approximately an additional 8 million metric tons of steel. Each new nuclear plant utilizes more than 20,000 tons of high grade steel and other metals in plant equipment, and more in the containment structure itself. (Steel and concrete are approximately 90% of the total energy input into materials for a nuclear power plant.) Rebuilding and modernizing our Rail System—freight and intercity passenger—will require 175 tons of steel per mile (“1084” hot rolled steel). That is just for the bare rails.
The North American Water And Power Alliance, originally proposed during the Kennedy Presidency, brings a river of water south from the Arctic, from Alaska, through Canada and down through the Western states.
It could play a critical role in solving our drought crisis. But it would require an estimated 300 million tons of steel. The U.S. currently produces a total of 90 million tons of steel a year, which cannot support a major expansion of infrastructure construction and industrialization.
By one professional estimate, each new medium sized integrated steel mill would cost at least $5-6 billion (not including land costs) in today’s dollars. There is not a steel corporation now in existence, operating in the U.S., that would build such a mill without government guarantees. Wall Street has ruled! The private sector only finances electric arc furnaces that recycle scrap metal. As a consequence, as previously noted, were are now scavenging the world for that scrap. See our LaRouchePAC short: The World Runs on Steel.
2). The Aluminum Industry
The story is even worse with aluminum, which is critical for a multitude of applications. We need dozens of primary aluminum (including both alumina refining and secondary smelting and alloying of aluminum), and growing downstream production capabilities in rolling and extruding.
A 2018 Wood McKenzie report called for some $60 billion to be invested in aluminum capacity, plus the costs ($75-150 billion?) of building 15 gigawatts of dedicated electrical power capacity. To put that into perspective, that would be approximate to a ten-fold increase in U.S. aluminum production from current levels. They did not identify the required “deep pockets,” and did not identify the country where the plants could or should be built:
“We estimate the total capital cost of the required 10 megatonnes new smelter capacity needed by the second half of the next decade could be as much as U.S. $30-40 billion. Producers will also require up to U.S.$15-20 billion in order to build new alumina refineries, not to mention the investment required to build an additional 15 gigawatts of power to support the smelters.”
Siting of at least a significant portion of that capacity should have been obvious, and the necessary mechanism of Third National Bank credit would be sufficient to capitalize development. In the U.S., currently there is only one operating smelter capable of producing high-purity aluminum required for military and aerospace applications—and it is “the only one in a NATO country.” (Comparable smelters are located in the United Arab Emirates, China, and Russia.) As a nation, we now produce only 2% of the world’s total aluminum output, down from 30% in the 1980s. Iceland now produces as much or more aluminum than the U.S.
The situation was actually worse, until President Trump intervened. The London Metals Exchange market price of aluminum fell 39% between 2007 and 2016. This in an industry with high fixed costs—particularly in terms of electrical power. Most domestic producers were unable to weather this long-term sustained price collapse. Between 2000 and 2017, 18 of 23 domestic smelters shut down, and more than 13,000 domestic production jobs disappeared. In spring 2017, the U.S. aluminum industry was “in a precarious position,” prompting the U.S. Department of Commerce to initiate a Section 232 National Security Investigation—authorized by the Trade Expansion Act of 1962—into threats posed by aluminum (and steel) imports.
On March 8, 2018, President Trump used Section 232 authority to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. After implementing Section 232 import measures, U.S. employment in primary and downstream aluminum industries are reported to have increased by 1,200 employees on net by February 2020—at the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Employment in the industry overall increased by a reported 5,570 jobs, created by restarted primary aluminum production and then-expanded secondary rolling and extrusion mills. By 2021, six more smelters were operating—still just a fraction of our prior capacity.
However, despite benefiting U.S. aluminum producers, and having little negative impact on aluminum consumers, exclusions to Section 232 import measures that have since been implemented have weakened the efficacy of the policy—particularly for downstream products, according to industry reports. These reports, however, while well meaning, miss the forest due to the trees. There is a larger national issue here: we require a much greater and expanding primary aluminum (alumina refining and secondary smelting and alloying of aluminum) capacity to meet growing requirements as we rebuild the nation.
Aluminum is not “old hat.” It is critical to the future of construction, aerospace and marine industries, refrigeration systems, and any area of production dealing with electrical conduction. Unlike steel, which becomes brittle in extremely cold temperatures, aluminum actually becomes stronger in cold weather—providing durability. Aluminum is also non-magnetic, and can be used in high-voltage applications, and in other products where magnetic fields are used, or where sensitive magnetic devices are required. Again, if we don’t work in the development of the new aluminum alloys and their applications, we will not discover new spin-offs, our workforce will be denied development, and we will not be the nation multiplying new discoveries—flowing from breakthroughs occurring in the course of actually implementing new production processes.
Other metals (copper, titanium . . . ), concrete, and fertilizer production could be added to this list of mission-critical areas of industrial manufacturing. All require national credits, directly or indirectly, to insure rapidly expanded production capacity. Only time and space do not allow that further discussion here.
3). Manufacturing in Total
More than a trillion dollars are required in investment into the manufacturing sector. In 1997, U.S. factories accounted for 25% of global manufacturing. Today, the U.S. share is just 17%. And that’s despite years of attempts to counter the downward trend. It has been said that the United States at most meets just 71% of its final demand with domestic goods, a smaller share than in Germany, Japan, or China. Our trade deficit in goods was over $1 trillion in 2021 and we need to consider this with clear eyes.
According to a 2016 Manufacturing Alliance Foundation report, “domestic manufacturing accounts for only 22% of the value chain of manufactured goods for final demand. Non-manufacturing value-added is 53% and imports are another 25%.” Further, “60% of manufacturing imports ($1,024 billion) are final goods; these directly enter the downstream sales chain. The other $694 billion of manufacturing imports enter the value stream in the upstream supply chain of domestic manufacturing.” So our dependence on foreign manufacturing is significantly higher. There is no reason to believe that these ratios have significantly changed for the better.
Capital access is critical. Our “world class” consultants have admitted that more than $115 billion a year must be spent on aging U.S. manufacturing plants (see below). And this does not even address the problems inherent in an aging workforce.
A Third National Bank is therefore indispensable to reversing this process—as London’s City and Wall Street have starved capital investment in industry. Only a National Bank can promote the required investments needed now into domestic U.S. manufacturing—including into Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)—in the manufacturing area. Since 1997, more than 15% of SMEs have shut down, creating growing gaps in critical domestic “supply chains.”
By comparison, overseas manufacturers can usefully access long-term capital through national institutions like Germany’s KfW and Japan’s Japan Finance Corp. The United States has nothing comparable. Other countries also subsidize upfront costs in strategic industries, so that private capital can earn a return. A National Bank and the extension of credit, and not debt, is key.
Available to readers of this Report, by request, is an earlier research report on “transformative investments,” done by this author in September of 2020, titled, “U.S. Spending on Advanced Manufacturing, Part II.” That report, and the materials referenced therein, can be critical in understanding the manufacturing process. The critical issue is our ability to spur the applications of U.S. patents and other scientific and technological breakthroughs in the U.S. manufacturing sector itself. Today, many of these “orphaned” breakthroughs find homes only on the other side of the world. How does U.S federal funding of manufacturing R&D then compare to its competitors? As is reported, “Germany’s and South Korea’s public manufacturing R&D budgets were nearly 5 and 7½ times bigger, respectively, even as the U.S. economy is 5 and 12 times bigger.” (Figures on China’s public manufacturing R&D budget are not readily available, but certainly would compare favorably with those of Germany and South Korea.)
When we look at the physical economy, it is important to recognize that it is through the “Machine Tool Principle,” as elaborated by economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche, that scientific discoveries of physical principle are “transformed” into prototypes, and then scaled up into arrays of new manufacturing processes. The process is continuous, as discoveries are made all along the process—most emphatically including by the increasingly skilled workers who are wrapping their minds, and hands, around new concepts and imagining their applications. We have almost killed this process through the “outsourcing” of production to other nations. We have collectively “shot ourselves in the head.”
Even a less penetrating analysis, a 2021 study by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), identifies, “16 of 30 U.S. manufacturing industries where timely investment could boost U.S. GDP by $275 billion to $465 billion annually, while adding up to 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs and making the nation more productive, competitive and resilient.” In alphabetical order, those 16 manufacturing industries selected out were: aircraft and defense equipment, autos and parts, basic metals, communications equipment, electrical equipment, electronics, fabricated metals, general machinery, medical devices, other transport equipment, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, precision tools, semiconductors, special-purpose machinery, and specialty chemicals.
This will actually require major investment way beyond what McKinsey Global (MGI) reports. The 2021 report suggests $25 billion a year. Yet Mckinsey Global reported itself, in an earlier 2017 study, that the average U.S. factory was 16 years old in 1980, but 25 years old in 2017! Inside these plants, McKinsey Global reported, the average piece of equipment was seven years old in 1980 but is nine years old in 2017 and “Production assets are even older in metals, machinery, and equipment manufacturing. MGI estimates that upgrading the capital base would require $115 billion in annual investment . . . .” As the McKinsey Global study itself states:
Investor expectations and the relative costs of capital have added to the challenge. Simply put, U.S. manufacturing companies are expected to produce higher returns on capital than their competitors in the OECD and China. The largest have managed to do so, but often through cost cutting that has depressed capital investment and wage growth, squeezed suppliers, or shifted production to lower-cost areas . . . .
All this concurs with a 2006 survey which already found that nearly three-quarters of U.S. plants were more than 20 years old. The survey was done by Industry Week and the Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI).
It is useful to mention ship building briefly, here. It is hardly ever seriously mentioned, but can tell us so much. What will we invest to rebuild our shipyard capacity, and rebuild a national maritime fleet? The United States is an inherently maritime nation, as we are surrounded by water on (almost) three sides! Yet, U.S. flagged vessels make up only 0.4% of the world’s vessels (yes, that’s 0.4%, not 4%). As of July 2021, that’s about 180 ships out of a global fleet of more than 43,000. In Congressional testimony in 2020, then MARAD Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby (ret.) noted that in the 1990s there were seven large shipyards in the United States building commercial vessels. Since then, three of the yards have closed. Of the remaining four, only one builds commercial vessels and the others do only repairs and maintenance.
While the chart above is dated, it can be used to present an intriguing picture. On national security grounds alone, the necessity for tens of billions of national banking credits to be advanced to the mining sector, will become clear.
In December, 2017, an executive order (EO) was issued by President Trump for the purpose of spurring U.S. mining companies to increase exploration for, and excavation of critical minerals. But that effort has languished. The U.S. currently still has but one lithium mine in Nevada, and one rare earth mine in California.
Likewise. regarding nickel, there is one U.S. mine. The proposed Tamarack Mine in Minnesota, would be developed by Talon Metals and mining giant Rio Tinto. Although it’s yet to go through the permitting process, Talon has already secured a supply deal with Tesla to get Tamarack nickel into EV batteries. But the Eagle Mine in Michigan is the nation’s only primary nickel mine, and it’s expected to close in 2025.
Of course, U.S. iron ore mining is dominated by the Precambrian banded iron formation deposits around Lake Superior, in Minnesota and Michigan. For the past 50 years, more than 90 percent of U.S. iron ore production has been mined from these deposits.
It has been clear for decades that investment into mining has to be massively increased. The failure of the Trump effort to date indicates that such will not happen without the role of a Third National Bank to spur overall private investment.
Suddenly, with the Ukraine crisis, the Biden collective’s “green” policies and their economic sanctions against Russia, U.S. natural resources and their development (or lack thereof) are front page news. Prices of metals are skyrocketing. Domestically produced minerals and metals are perhaps now more important to our manufacturing industries than ever. Meanwhile, the rising prices and the ginned-up shortages of basic commodities are blamed on “Putin.” But the record of decades-long criminal neglect is irrefutable.
In 2020, imports made up more than one-half of U.S consumption for 46 non-fuel mineral commodities, and the U.S. relied entirely on imports for 17 of those. And those prices were shaped, if not set, by the modern-day British Empire’s network of futures and spot markets, such as the London Metals Exchange.
While the Biden administration recently announced $3.1 billion to spur lithium development, and at the end of March Biden signed a Defense Production Act executive order to spur the development of rare earths and lithium, the Biden collective has left insane environmental mining regulations in place. It can easily take ten years to get a hard rock mining permit, if the seeker prevails at all.
U.S. total metal mine production in 2020 was estimated to be a mere $27.7 billion, and that is 3% higher than in 2019. Yet the U.S. is the second most wealthy country when it comes to mineral resources, including rare earths!
As of 2019, there were some 13,000 active mines of all kinds in the U.S., and in 2020 these produced $82.3 billion worth of “non-fuel minerals,” but that includes industrial minerals (limestone, clays, sand, etc.) and natural aggregates, as well as ferrous and nonferrous metals. The principal dollar value of metal mine production in 2020 came from gold (38%), copper (27%), iron ore (15%) and zinc (6%).
At the same time, 50% of U.S. land in the West is owned by the federal government and largely undeveloped. That is largely courtesy of the anglophile Teddy Roosevelt, the City of London, and their environmental movement. While the federal government predominantly owns public lands in the West; state and county governments own most of the public lands in the East. The federal government owns around 620 million acres of land (about 27 percent) of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States with around 92 percent of federally owned acres located in 12 Western states. It is roughly estimated that between $1-4 billion dollars a year is hard rock mined from federal lands, under the General Mining Law of 1872.
Note that the lockup of land is certainly not saving natural resources; rather a significant part is being left to burn down. The FY 2021 fire season saw over 7.6 million acres of forests and other lands burned in wildland fires—with over 4.1 million of those acres occurring on National Forest System lands. This occurred during a critical shortage of lumber for home building. Timber harvests on our national forests have fallen from 10-12 billion board feet/year in the mid-1990s, down to between 1-3 billion board feet/year, due to “red tape and litigation.” In another irony, more than 9.5 million acres across thirteen states in the American West were identified as landlocked (by private lands)—having no public access to them at all.
It has been reported that Native American Tribal Reservations contain almost 30 percent of the nation’s coal reserves west of the Mississippi, 50 percent of potential uranium reserves, and 20 percent of all known oil and gas reserves in the United States. In 2009, the Council of Energy Resource Tribes—a tribal energy consortium—then estimated Indian energy resources to be worth some $1.5 trillion. Whether accurate or not, these figures are worth reporting. Federal control of Indian lands has been used by the city of London and Wall Street to largely deprive both Native Americans—and our nation as a whole—of the opportunity to benefit from such resources. Throughout the Indian Reservations, the vast majority of energy resources are undeveloped, with poverty and drug addiction prevalent. Indian lands are still largely managed in trust by the federal government.
While nothing is done to promote the development of U.S. mining, the federal “Abandoned Mine Land (AML)” program is authorized in Title IV of the Surface Mining Law. States with an approved program, or specific Indian tribes, are eligible for Abandoned Mine Land grants. The funds come from fees paid by active coal mine operators on each ton of coal mined. Rather than mining, under this program we ae busy filling in holes left from previous mines and mining.
V. The “Fourth Law”—Science and Technology Investment
Here we are referencing the “fourth law” in economist Lyndon LaRouche’s 2014 statement, “The Four Laws to Save the U.S.A Now! Not an Option: An Immediate Necessity.”
Mr. LaRouche emphasized the absolute necessity of a crash fusion energy development program, and the development of mankind’s role in space science and space programs as the keys to survival of the U.S. and Transatlantic economies following the collapse of 2008 and subsequent central bank efforts to save the financial system and predatory financiers instead of the physical economy and the people.
Project Artemis and NASA
Today the U.S.A requires $200-400 billion/year for science and R&D investments as part of a new Capital Budget. The Artemis program was the outcome of President Trump’s 2017 Space Directive One, to return to the Moon to stay and to prepare to go from there on to Mars.
Actually, NASA officially receives just 59 percent of the U.S. government space budget—and it might be far less than that, given off-the-books military spending. (The estimated U.S. space budget in 2018 totaled $40.9 billion, 58% of the world total. NASA received $22.6 billion from Congress for fiscal year 2020, much of which goes to contractors.)
NASA’s budget should be at least doubled to $45 billion to start. It will cost us less than nothing! If the NASA budget were the same percent of the federal budget that it had been in the mid-1960s, it might be as high as $220 billion a year. New regional centers for NASA’s broad array of work—which would also serve as education magnets for our future workforce—would be something to include. NASA Regional centers and satellite facilities would also be an important contribution to the development of a “Space CCC” program for American youth (see below).
One estimate is that, over the decades, the U.S. has spent about $30 billion on fusion energy research altogether. The same report estimates that the world as a whole is now spending about $1.5 billion a year.
The U.S., through the Department of Energy (DOE), should scale resources immediately to $30 billion a year to finance multiple approaches to fusion research—along both magnetic confinement and inertial confinement pathways. That National Academy of Sciences proposal would bring “Fusion to the Grid” by the 2030s. There are other important initiatives as well—SPARC, Helion Energy, Commonwealth Fusion, etc.—that seek federal funds.
The U.S.—publicly and privately—now spends approximately $580 billion a year in R&D. This can be divided into three 3 categories: basic research, applied research, and experimental development. The federal government spends some $140 billion/year, about 40% of all research dollars. A doubling of federal funding in basic research—an added $140 billion—would seem a reasonable target, tied to collaboration with universities and private enterprise. From there funding might be doubled again.
Likewise, there are an array of unfunded and underfunded initiatives in nuclear fission energy research—projects that will increase knowledge, advance space and medical research, and develop new more efficient power systems.
The Biden collective included funds for different forms of R&D investment in their infrastructure bill, but a lot of that has a green slant, and is otherwise oriented toward the worst aspects of “Industry 4.0.” And again, that is spread out over 8 years or more.
Several U.S. lawmakers had introduced legislation to now dramatically boost funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other agencies, so we have to sort out what actually has been incorporated, and what actually needs to be done! Prior proposed legislation had proposed giving the NSF $100 billion over 5 years; its current annual budget is around $8 billion.
This is a Sputnik moment of a different sort. (For comparison, the National Institutes of Health, for example, received an extra $10.8 billion in 2009, on top of a $30-billion annual budget, as part of the post-crash Obama spending spree.) “Optical biophysics”—research into optical spectroscopic phenomena and spectroscopic techniques in modern molecular & cellular biophysics and biochemistry—would be a potential special focus of research. While NIH makes career development awards (K awards) to researchers who have recently completed their graduate training, and post-doctoral research fellowships (F32s), only a small percentage of our young biomedical graduates now transition to a basic or transitional research career. A growing number of biomedical PhDs must find work elsewhere—often with Big Pharma.
Two Trillion Dollars Must Be Invested
To just stand still—and this would be without a major expansion of our infrastructure needs—at least $412 billion each year is needed in expenditure on basic national infrastructure. And there is a very real question about whether this is even doable in terms of available, skilled manpower. This $412 billion figure is roughly twice the investment figure proposed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2017.
To close their estimated national $2 trillion estimated deficit, the ASCE 2017 Report Card had reported: “To raise the overall infrastructure grade and maintain our global competitiveness, Congress and the states must invest an additional $206 billion each year to prevent the economic consequences to families, business, and the economy.” This includes locks, dams, schools, water, sanitation, etc., but only to sustain the existing platform. (Healthcare is not included in the ASCE reports.)
The Biden collective’s infrastructure bill, passed and signed into law (HR 3684), is fatally flawed by the entropic effects of the bill’s ‟green” totality, despite parts that might be otherwise useful, . The ASCE went ga-ga over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill, saying, “The bill addresses 17 of the 17 categories outlined in ASCE’s 2021 Infrastructure Report Card and addresses more than 40 of the solutions laid out in ASCE’s report.” However, the allocated spending is to be spread out over 8-10 years and is otherwise loaded with absolute waste. Parts will need to be defunded or reallocated.
We should take the ASCE Report as a starting point. Here is a link to projects listed in the ASCE 2021 report card. We must expedite the ASCE’s projected investments, first with those projects that are “shovel-ready” and “on the books” of the Army Corps of Engineers. We must close this infrastructure deficit rapidly, at the same time using these programs to train up our expanding workforce.
1) Fresh Water
As a nation, we have not seriously considered the future national requirements for water projects—including new dams, water diversion and urban infrastructure.
Further, but often missed, are the requirements of copious amounts of water for industrial processes, for production processing, and in-product use. This extends now from vehicle manufacturing to chip foundries. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), industrial water is used for fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product. Water is also used by smelting facilities, petroleum refineries, and industries producing chemical products, food, and paper products. Clearly with real growth comes the parallel rise in demand for clean water.
The actual urgent, and immediate, water needs for the nation are covered only in part under the ASCE 2017 report, and what they propose is wholly inadequate. Here we discuss critical additional fresh water investments that require the role of a National Bank.
The most pressing is the enabling of a massive $100-200 billion investment into desalination facilities and technology on an emergency basis.
Flood and Storm Surge Control
The Army Corps of Engineers (ASCE) required investment figures for water management incorporate projects already on the books, in terms of levies, locks, etc. However, massive flood and hurricane management systems, as required in the Gulf Coast region, and along the Atlantic coast (i.e., the lessons to be learned from “Hurricane Sandy”), are not part of those figures. This could readily be in the range of $100 billion or more a year.
Again, this is also a question of availability of manpower and contractors to complete these projects in a timely manner. The U.S. Gulf Coast storm surge program, known as the “Ike Dike,” is moving slowly toward initial implementation. At a cost of $30 billion dollars, it will be one of the ASCE’s largest projects ever, but it is now projected to take 10 years(!) to build—and this only if the requisite monies are continually dedicated over those years. Even so, the current compromise plan, scaled down from what was originally proposed, is only scaled to deal with a 25 foot storm surge. How many hurricane’s will hit in the meantime? What if there is a 35-50 foot storm surge?
Further, the “Ike Dike” legislation does not touch on the national issue of flooding, as with the Gulf Coast’s 2017 “Hurricane Harvey.” As also with New York City and many U.S. cities large and small, major new fresh water and drainage/sewer projects are required. International tunneling technology has made enormous leaps, and can now be a God-send, reducing costs and cutting project timelines. A Houston system of tunnels, to store and move flooding water, is now being studied, and would cost tens of billions of dollars. But the question is open: how will this be funded?
Large scale water projects utilizing our national network of rivers are also required, but in recent decades such projects have been ruled out for cost, environmental, and Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBY) reasons. For the development of our entire nation, major new water projects must be advanced, including the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA).
But instead of the necessary ability to “think big” as we once did, insane green “diversion projects” are being initiated. In response to the spreading megadrought, currently engulfing most states west of the Mississippi and endangering the ability of that region to support modern life, the U.S. Interior Department announced funding in April to construct water treatment plants, pipeline connections, pump systems and small reservoirs. This is merely to provide drinking water to rural and tribal communities in New Mexico, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa. It is a drop in the proverbial bucket.
Also of particular importance is the recharging of the aquifers in the Central Plains States of the United States. Dr. Hal Cooper has written about this—including projects tapping the Upper Missouri River or its tributaries. A Kansas state 360 mile aqueduct was also proposed for recharging the Ogallala aquifer. In addition, various proposals for water projects in Texas, to move water west from the Sam Rayburn Reservoir area of East Texas, or from the Mississippi River into increasingly drought stricken West Texas and points in-between, have been advanced—but no funding has been identified.
Desalination and the Western States
It is urgent that commitments are made to ensure that hard contracts can be written to deploy approximately $100 billion dollars worth of resources and manpower to build up saltwater desalination plants for the U.S. West Coast. The drought spreading across the western portions of the United States drives home the need for advanced technologies to create potable water. From all evidence, this drought is not going away, while populations in the affected states continue to grow. Right off the West Coast is a whole ocean of water named the Pacific Ocean, and we must tap it.
Based on one estimate, at least 60 large desalination plants are needed in California—each with an average capacity equal to the Carlsbad desalination plant in Carlsbad, San Diego County, CA. Carlsbad was a $1 billion dollar plant, completed in 2016, providing 50 million U.S. gallons (190,000 m3) per day. This provides water for up to 400 thousand people. A second plant, similar to Carlsbad, is planned for Huntington, California with the same 50-million-gallon-a-day capability, and its cost today, in 2022, is projected to be $1.4 billion. While even greenie Governor Newsom has now endorsed this, his green regulatory authorities are currently blocking the project.
The San Diego County Water Authority pays about $1,200 for an acre-foot of water sourced from the Colorado River and the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta—water that is pumped hundreds of miles to Southern California. The same amount from the Carlsbad plant—enough to supply a family of five for a year—costs about $2,200.
In 2019 James Conca, a scientist working in the earth sciences, wrote an article in Forbes magazine promoting desalination and nuclear desalination—including the use of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in particular. He wrote in part:
Whatever technologies are selected, southern California needs to build the equivalent of 30 desalination plants the size of Carlsbad’s to produce over a billion gallons a day, solving most of the water problems of southern California. The Central Valley would need another 30 plants to deal with its agricultural needs as its groundwater is becoming increasingly salty. Powered by SMRs, these plants would more than pay for themselves by their own revenue, although a small water tax would get them started faster.
Currently, the World Nuclear Association reports, “Large-scale deployment of nuclear desalination on a commercial basis will depend primarily on economic factors. Indicative costs are 70-90 U.S. cents per cubic meter, much the same as fossil-fueled plants in the same areas.” That could be a dated figure, but also we need to ask how much could those costs be brought down, by SMRs and other technologies? Japan and South Korea otherwise have real experience with nuclear desalination, and South Korea has worked effectively to lower nuclear power costs.
There is also a need to further develop desalination technologies and broader applications for inland water desalination and usage. As one writer put it:
“Growing water scarcity across the U.S. is also providing new business cases for desalination: While desalination is most commonly associated with converting seawater to freshwater, its biggest market might be inland: Finding freshwater—whether by drilling deeper into sinking aquifers or treating brackish water—has grown more expensive, narrowing the gap between the traditional costs for freshwater and the price tag for desalination. The cost of desalinating inland water also tends to be cheaper: The water is typically less salty than seawater, making it easier to treat.”
It should be obvious: a Third National Bank is critical to finance the North American Water And Power Alliance (NAWAPA) as well as the desalination projects to mitigate the western drought. The construction of NAWAPA itself will be a tremendous step in rebuilding the U.S. economy. In total, it will require the construction of 1,200 miles of tunnels, 8 large pumping stations, 5,400 miles of canals, dozens of locks, 45 dams in a massive series of reservoirs and distribution systems, and an estimated 300 million tons of steel. An expanded, nuclear-powered NAWAPA, as updated by LaRouchePAC in 2013, would require new nuclear power plants to produce an additional 52 gigawatts of power. It is projected that the construction of NAWAPA would generate 7-10 million productive jobs over the course of 25-30 years, and another 10 million building the power plants to run it—making it the largest project ever undertaken by man.
2) Rail Transport
Freight Rail Expansion—With the U.S. supply chain crisis, freight rail service has now become real for a lot more people. We privatized the rail system in the 1970s, and shrank Class 1 rail by half. Now what? The freight rail system is breaking down, as recent hearings by the Surface Transportation Board has demonstrated—threatening the national food supply and national logistics.
Clearly, re-regulation of the U.S. freight rail system is required to organize a massive boost in capital and manpower investment. More manpower, more locomotives, and much more track is required, to move existing freight. We need far more double and triple tracking, even without expanded passenger rail or high speed rail (HSR). But we also need to rebuild the national rail grid back out throughout the flyover states.
What can be done by private capital, and where then does national credit come in? It is well worth looking back to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) of the Franklin Roosevelt presidency. At that time, the RFC functioned as an expedient substitute for a National Bank.
In the last 10 years, U.S. Class 1 freight railroad companies have spent more than $250 billion on infrastructure and equipment, and have laid more than six million tons of new rail. The average U.S. manufacturer historically spends about 3% of revenue on capital expenditures. This amount must be doubled, and perhaps then tripled, to somewhere in the range of $500-750 billion over a targeted period.
Freight rail trains are already longer and longer. Double stacking is already utilized, and has its own requirements. You can also run unit trains faster, but the entire system has to be built to higher standards.
Berkshire Hathaway owns BNSF, BlackRock alone has at least 11% of Union Pacific, and so-forth. They are part of the cartelized freight rail system that will have to be busted up by utilizing antitrust laws—and re-regulated. Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF and Union Pacific are effectively a duopoly in the West, and CSX and Norfolk Southern have a similar situation in the East; Canadian Pacific and Canadian National dominate Canada; the far smaller Kansas City Southern runs routes through the South and far into Mexico. Canadian Pacific is now buying up Kansas City Southern—giving Canadian Pacific a unique north-south route running from Southern Mexico and all the way up into Canada and back.
The following is from a union publication. While dated, it is overall more accurate today than in 2009:
. . . Accordingly, the railroads’ labor costs have declined by 43 percent—from 46.5 cents of every revenue dollar in 1980, to 26.4 cents of every revenue dollar today. This is because the employee headcount has dropped from 532,000 in 1980 to 236,000 today—a 56 percent decline in workers, while productivity has soared. Among train and engine service employees, the head count fell from almost 136,000 in 1980 to fewer than 70,000 train and engine service employees today. Unfortunately, none of this matters to the carriers at the bargaining table, because it is hot Wall Street dollars that set the tone of carrier Section 6 notices.
Perhaps you have noticed Wall Street investment funds have been buying up shares of the major railroads. BNSF, for example, is 46 percent owned by Wall Street investment funds. At CSX, the figure is 35 percent; at Union Pacific, 34 percent; at Kansas City Southern, 33 percent; and at Norfolk Southern, 32 percent, according to Bloomberg News . . .
The utilization of High Speed Rail (HSR) for freight is also already in service in Italy and China. Italy’s Mercitalia HSR freight service has been operating since 2018, between the South and North of Italy. In late 2020, China’s CRRC rolled out its dedicated HSR freight wagons on the line in Hebei, and then inaugurated freight runs between Wuhan and Beijing, at the accustomed speed of 350 KM an hour. This is now being used nationally for high value goods.
In considering HSR and Maglev Rail, we must ask if we are building out a national system provided by the government—like the national highway system, or the traditional concept of the U.S. Postal Service—or not? Is it to be a service (like USPS traditionally) or to be gauged as something like a profit-loss venture? What are the priorities now, in knitting our nation together? We also must answer the question whether construction of a national passenger rail system is a high priority right now?
Regarding passenger rail, the nation might be better served by leapfrogging high-speed rail and going directly to advanced maglev systems, as are now being developed in Japan and China. Northeast Maglev aims to construct the first phase of travel between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland with a stop at the Baltimore, Maryland International Thurgood Marshal Airport. This is utilizing Japan’s emerging technology. This 15 minute-long journey is the initial project that will be extended in the future to New York City. According to Transrapid, Inc., Pittsburgh has a maglev initiative. As well there have been plans for a California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project. Can we devise a plan for a national maglev system, starting with building out regional intercity networks?
Whether the choice is high speed rail, or regional maglev intercity networks, at least $1-2 trillion plus would be required, over 10 to 20 years, starting with perhaps $50-100 billion a year in initial National Bank credits—keeping in mind the gear up times, planning, engineering, and land acquisition. Credits must be firmly made in advance, for there to be confidence to commit the physical resources and manpower, including training. This could be a two decades-long process, utilizing a range of monies, and from private as well as public interests.
The World Bank estimates $1 trillion in costs for the U.S. to build a China-style 24,000 mile high-speed rail system. (The U.S. and China are roughly about the same physical size.) The California high-speed rail system, being built inefficiently, under the direction of an army of private consultants(!), would at least indicate a higher level of cost.
Some of this spills over into the legislation passed in 2021. Under the Biden collective’s infrastructure bill that was passed in 2021, AMTRAK is receiving $70 billion—a substantial part going to a build-out intercity rail among major urban areas—not only the Northeast Corridor. Here is another case where the infrastructure bill signed into law has muddied the waters. This funding is not for high speed rail. Also keep in mind that Amtrak, in large part, does not have its own rail network. Rather, it has legal and priority access to the national private freight rail systems in the U.S.
AMTRAK was created to take over and consolidate the rail companies’ unprofitable passenger rail services. Passenger rail capacity was hived off from the then-bankrupted private rail companies in 1971. As part of the deal, AMTRAK has the right to use the private freight rail track of the major U.S. rail companies across most of the country. This is a contentious area, including litigation—and more contentious if passenger rail is expanded over existing railway.
Achieving Hill Burton Standards Today
A Trillion Dollars of Investment Is Required Within the Decade.
We, in 1946, organized an expansion of the U.S. healthcare system with the Hill-Burton Act, and ensured that the combination of charity, religious, and local, state, and federal efforts—with the input of the thoughtful judgment of independent doctors—organized, and filled out, a national healthcare safety net—then the envy of the world. It was not “top-down;” it was a collaboration. There was a minimum of “overhead.”
We can do this again. We, as citizens, can and must accomplish this goal. Again, the 2022 midterm elections are a critical “fork in our road,” and we must—with cool deliberation or foresight—seize the opportunity.
- Hospitals—To bring us back up from 2.4 hospital beds per thousand souls today, to a rough national average of a needed 5 hospital beds per thousand people, we will need more hospitals, and to reopen and refurbish currently closed hospitals. If the Hill-Burton standard is used, we must go from approximately 919,000 beds today to 1,650,000 staffed beds. The cost of building an additional 5,000 hospitals to house those 750,000 more beds (an average of 150 beds per hospital, with 100 beds being a small hospital, 500 beds being very large) would cost, roughly, $750 billion dollars at $150 million per hospital. In 2020, there were some 6,150 hospitals in operation in the U.S.
These new hospitals must be built over the fewest number of years that are reasonable, both in rural and urban locales, ensuring that adequate medical care is available within a short distance of all communities.
- Doctors—To approximate Hill-Burton standards, at least 250-300,000 additional doctors are required, given the current aging of the profession. This will provide required levels of physicians to approximately 4,200 additional hospitals. At up to a million dollars a pop to train the average physician, we would need to budget an additional $250 billion, as doctors take 11 years to produce. That would be spent within roughly the next decade. Residency funding, as currently available through Medicare, would be additional.
- Nurses—There are 3.8 million nurses now. We will need at least a million additional Probably $100 billion in national credits are required, in the same time period required to produce the expanded number of trained physicians.
- Note that the above estimates leave out possible changes in healthcare delivery, such as telemedicine, advanced diagnostics, scientific and technological breakthroughs in the science of medicine, which could reduce the overall staffing requirements of healthcare workers, as well as the requirements for hospitalization. But these are, as yet, unproven, and are currently promoted as a means of criminally rationing current inadequate levels of healthcare. Beware shortcuts!
VII. AGRICULTURE: TO FEED THE NATION, YOU NEED A THIRD NATIONAL BANK
Solving the food shortages now facing our nation requires a thoughtful set of actions. Whether you focus on the shortage of baby formula, the lack of fertilizer delivered to farmers, or the ever-changing array of empty shelves in the grocery store, one thing stands out: The Biden collective has been a disaster, dramatically exacerbating an already present crisis in American agriculture.
All of the measures presented here start conceptually with the indispensable creation of a Third National Bank and its national credit directed to the nation’s productive enterprises. Only national banking, replacing the bankrupt Federal Reserve central banking system, can organize the required flow of productive credits into the real economy, to grow our population and the productivity of our nation. This is particularly true for modern, capital, and technology-intensive agriculture. In addition, vigorous anti-trust enforcement must be undertaken against the agricultural cartels which are invariably tied to the speculative practices of the City of London and Wall Street. They now dictate both farm prices and farm products.
The first step in securing the food supply involves paying the actual farmer—not the meatpacker, grain or fertilizer cartel—but the farmers. When you, or your neighbor, are paying outrageous prices at the grocery store, you are NOT paying the farmer and his family. Rather, the predatory grain, meatpacking, fertilizer, and grain cartels are stealing both the farmer’s livelihood and your paycheck.
To be clear, we require an end to financialized, short-sighted decision-making that narrows all production of essentials—even baby formula!—to a vulnerable few facilities. We require capital investment on a very, very, large scale, but not into corporate farms. We must end “just-in-time” and “lean manufacturing” gimmicks, as those schemes have also been applied to growing and raising our food.
On average, our farmers lose money every year. In nine of the last 10 years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported that the average funds generated on-farm for farm operators to meet living expenses and debt obligations have been negative. Across our nation, their on-farm toils have contributed less than 25% of the average family farm’s household income. They would starve or go bankrupt if they did not take up shift jobs in power plants, work in lumberyards, or manage a gas station. 75% of their family income has been earned off-farm, and yet they have farmed, days and often nights, to produce.
For the recent decades, our farmers and ranchers toil and produce largely out of love for what they do—reflecting the Biblical injunction of Genesis 1:28—they are productive human beings and will not “adjust” to being something else. They were paid little, and there is no bumper crop of young farmers eagerly waiting to take their place, given the sacrifices made by the present generation of farmers. That is why the average age of our farmers is now over 57 years.
Securing our future food supply requires a new generation of family farmers, but to a young man or woman, the owning and running of a farm or ranch is financially daunting—with the cost of land, the developments in agricultural technology, and new required inputs requiring investment, but now resulting in low returns. At the same time, they must learn the next wave of technology, from autonomous tractors and lasers, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial imaging with drones, and GPS technology, and somehow pay for it all.
In addition to paying farmers at a rate which allows them to farm and to reinvest in their operations sufficiently to ensure continuous advanced productivity, we must create hundreds of thousands of new family farms and ranches. Our nation requires diversified family farms and diversified crops again. We need family farms that are no longer the prey of the global futures and commodity markets, with lives hanging on the price offered for a sole commodity: that single, market-dictated “cash crop.”
Finally, multiplying the number of family farms requires more freshwater and electrical power, expanded and advanced freight service into vibrant growing rural communities, and reasonably priced inputs such as fertilizer!
Farm Demographics Today
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data shows that over the last 60 years, in many agriculturally important regions of the U.S. (much of Texas, the Eastern Uplands (see map), and the Basin & Range) total production expenditures have far surpassed production revenues. Whole regions of our nation are being ground into dust.
U.S. Farm Regions as Defined by the FDA
Overall, for the whole country, from 2015 to 2019, an average of 28.9% of counties nationally reported negative realized net farm income as compared to 1.0% over the period from 1969 to 1973. In other words, our farmers & ranchers—and their families—are subsidizing our nation’s food costs! (And these figures already include the “direct payments” to farmers from federal programs, including federal crop insurance, indemnity payments, and crop subsidies.)
National median farm income earned by farm households—that is on the farm—were forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.DA) to decrease in 2021 further to -$1,344 from -$1,198 in 2020. Off-farm income has been keeping farm debt low with the bankruptcy rate at 3 per 10,000 farms. The current farm debt-to-asset ratio is only 14%.
Family farms (in which the majority of the business is owned by the operator and individuals related to the operator) of various types accounted for about 98 percent of U.S. farms as of 2020. In the most recent survey, there were 2.02 million U.S. farms in 2020, down from 2.20 million in 2007. It is clear that we are losing farms and farmers. Under these circumstances, how long do you think our nation can keep producing? Is it any wonder that we have food shortages?
Where Will Our Future Farmers Come From?
To a large extent, farmers are still trained through hands-on experience and self-education—and certainly there is no requirement of a sheepskin. However, many farmers and ranchers now have bachelor’s degrees. Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in agriculture-related fields are more and more the norm, in fields such as agricultural engineering, soil science, agronomy, agricultural economics, farm management, animal husbandry, or dairy science. Aspiring farmers also learn through apprenticeships, or by working with experienced farmers.
Farmers and ranchers must continually analyze livestock and land quality, operate, and maintain complex agricultural machines and ever-more sophisticated equipment, while making hard business decisions. Successful farmers must overcome natural obstacles in weather and plant & animal diseases, and—until we change it—those obstacles created by predatory financial markets in the form of wild price vacillations. In short, our farmers are among the most sophisticated producers in our nation.
Our land-grant university system remains critical to both future farmer training and to producing the technological innovations which increase agricultural productivity. These programs require support and expansion. Additionally, we need to expand educational programs about farming throughout the nation, encouraging such organizations as Future Farmers of America and high school curricula devoted to the subject in many states.
Credit from a Third National Bank, extended to young, qualified would-be farmers, is going to be crucial in driving the productive expansion of our farm and ranch communities.
Untangling the Web of Monetarism, Deceit
Consider the City of London/Wall Street “market-driven” trend toward agricultural “monoculture” and “specialization” over the span of the Twentieth Century. This created an American agricultural sector in which one group of farmers (grain producers) essentially produce for export, for ethanol, and for inputs to one other group (livestock producers). Meanwhile, the production of produce—fruit and vegetables—has been increasingly moved outside the country altogether.
In this Agriculture Report, the beef, corn and produce (fruits & vegetables) portions of our agricultural economy will be discussed.
Just four meatpackers—Cargill, Tyson Foods, JBS, and National Beef Packing—now control 55% to 85% of the entire hog, cattle, and chicken markets. There has been noise about diversifying the meat packing cartel coming from the Biden collective, but no actual solutions. (Likewise in terms of the predatory fertilizer cartel, see below).
Beef cattle production is perhaps the most important agricultural industry in the United States, consistently accounting for the largest share of total cash receipts for agricultural commodities. In 2021, cattle production was forecast to represent about 17 percent of the $391 billion in total cash receipts for all agricultural commodities. Yet farmers and ranchers are getting a fraction of the price that citizens pay for their product in the supermarket.
Most cattle ranchers today do not generally raise their cattle and take them to sell to cattle buyers at auction. Most ranches are now cow-calf operations, or “backgrounding” or “stocker” stage operations, which sell their calves (or larger, young cattle), to be finished on the largely cartel-controlled feedlots. This year, calves were forecast to sell at about $1.60 a pound, but August Feeder futures were by May, about $1.81 a pound, compared to a futures price of about $1.58 a pound this past March.
Oligopoly in the Meat Packing Industry
The beef packing industry had a four-firm concentration ratio of 36% in 1980 (U.S.DA-GIPSA, 2006). However, already by 1995, the four-firm cartel concentration for beef packers exceeded 80% and has officially remained near or above that level ever since. (U.S.DA-AMS, 2020b; U.S.DA-GIPSA, 2006)
Price-fixing: A 2022 Iowa State University study shows that “multiplant coordination” among beef packers is actually behind the farm-to-wholesale spreads in prices. Multi-plant coordination is defined as the firm-level coordination of procurement and slaughter activities across plants by multi-plant beef packers, with the goal of maximizing corporate-level—as opposed to plant-level—profits. In short, plants are being shut down in order to force cattle ranchers to compete for access to a shrinking number of packing houses. This leads, in turn, to shrinking young cattle herds, as farmers and ranchers are squeezed out. The open scandal is that the farmer/rancher share of the price of beef sales is acknowledged to have dropped to about 37%—while the price of beef has risen spectacularly. This is shown in the farm-to-wholesale price spread, which had almost doubled. Meatpacking firms are circumventing the cattle auctions (“spot”) process that ranchers had long relied on to get the best competitive price. The meatpackers’ cartel squeezes ranchers to sell at pre-agreed prices to the packers. The packers then own the “feeder cattle”’ in advance, through these futures contracts.
70 to 75 percent of all U.S. beef ultimately comes from cattle fed in feedlots, but again the ownership of feedlots has been concentrated and intertwined with the meatpacking cartel. Feedlots with 1,000-head-or-greater capacity are less than 5 percent of the total number of feedlots, but they now market 80 to 85 percent of these “fed cattle.” Feedlots with a capacity of 32,000 head or more market around 40 percent of fed cattle. The top three feedlot states (Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas) now market almost 60 percent of the cattle fed in the United States.
Just to give a sense of the intertwined nature of Wall Street, the meatpacking cartel, and the big feedlots: In 2018, the sale of Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, previously owned by cartel member JBS U.S.A, was completed to asset management firm Pinnacle Asset Management, L.P. of New York. Pinnacle Asset Management, L.P., is “a private . . . alternative asset management firm,” based at 712 Fifth Avenue, New York. In 2022, Five Rivers Feeding had over 900,000 cattle in 11 yards in six states.
National Beef, another member of the meatpacking cartel, is owned by Marfrig, the second largest Brazilian food processing company and largest beef producer in the world. U.S. Premium Beef, LLC also has an ownership interest in National Beef and also owns/controls High Choice Feeders, LLC, a part of the feedlot business. National Beef partners with High Choice Feeders, with some 1,400 feedlots in seven states through their processing plants in Liberal, Kansas; Dodge City, Kansas: and Tama, Iowa.
The situation is no better when it comes to pork and poultry. Most pork production today is by contract farming. Foods, Inc., Triumph Foods, LLC, and Tyson Foods, Inc.—control over 80 percent of the wholesale market, and are facing price-fixing charges.
Similarly, over 90% of poultry production is contract farmed. The farmer is now reduced to a sharecropper, being told how and what he will produce. The inputs are provided and deducted from the final product. In October of 2020, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation announced that it has entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, in which it will pay a fine of $110.5 million for restraint of competition that affected three contracts for the sale of chicken products to one customer in the United States, the company said in a news release.
Corn for What, and How Much?
Today, 35-40 percent of U.S. corn is burned in making the fuel, ethanol. No kidding. More than thirty million acres of some the most valuable U.S. farm land are devoted to this—feeding the grain cartel, not people, while tying up vital productive capacity. The major commodity cartel participants in the globalized food system, including Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus, collectively known as the ABCD quartet of traders (along with Nestlé S.A.), share a significant presence in a range of basic commodities, controlling as much as 90 per cent of the global grain trade. The major traders do not just trade physical commodities—they operate from the farm to food manufacturing. They provide seed, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides to growers, and buy agricultural outputs and store them in their own facilities. They act as landlords, pork and poultry producers, food processors, biofuel providers, and providers of financial services in commodity markets. Traders are part of the post-1971 transformation of food production into a complex, globalized and financialized business. (See here and here.)
A total of over 90 million acres of land are planted in corn every year, most in the Heartland region (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and parts of Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio). Many of these corn growers say that the ethanol corn market “saved agriculture.” Almost every gallon of gas sold in the U.S. now contains 10.1 percent ethanol. It was dictated in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and upgraded in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The Renewable Fuel Standard has driven corn prices higher by 30%, and increased corn acreage by 8.7% on 6.9 million acres between 2008-2016. Archer-Daniels-Midland has prospered. (Although all grain prices are now going up, the 30% increase was there before the current Ukraine war).
99% of corn grown is dent corn (field corn), which is used in ethanol, as feed for livestock, and also made into food additives—starch, sweetners, corn oil. Less than one percent of all corn grown in the United States is the sweet corn that we eat in the unprocessed form. Corn is now the largest crop in terms of sales, accounting for 26.5 percent of total crop sales in the U.S..
Corn is also the most subsidized crop. The U.S. distributes around $20-25 billion in agricultural subsidies to farming businesses yearly. But 15 percent of farm businesses receive 85 percent of these subsidies. Almost all subsidies go to grain: corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice—with corn receiving the largest share. In 2019, those subsidies, were about 20% of all farm income. In 2020, they were 39%, due to special programs intended to blunt the effects of COVID and China’s counter-tariffs.
Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress support ethanol, particularly in the Heartland states, and particularly because of the enormous apparent importance of corn to U.S. agriculture: corn represents 26.5 percent of total crop sales in the U.S..
The subsidized nature of corn exports, also means it is arguably exported below actual cost. It beats out corn production in other countries, as do other subsidized grain exports. Take the case of Mexico. Mexico is now importing 35-40% of the corn it uses from the U.S.. The U.S., in 2018-2019, provided 98 percent of Mexico’s corn imports, and that was 25% of U.S. corn exports.
With the original NAFTA, this U.S.-subsidized corn contributed to a 413 percent increase in U.S. corn exports to Mexico, and a 66 percent decline in Mexican producer prices from the 1990s to 2005. Thousands of Mexican farmers were bankrupted and fled the land—many coming to the U.S. illegally. The once proud nation of Mexico is now dependent on corn imports from the U.S.. Utilizing now cheapened labor, Mexico now grows much of the produce (vegetables and fruits) we need in the U.S.. Neither the U.S., nor Mexico benefit in this swindle.
The fundamental question posed by current corn production practices remains: Why are we utilizing highly productive farmland and productive farm labor to obsessively produce for ethanol. Why are we growing food to burn rather than eat?
The return to diversified family farms, which produce and grow some mix of cattle, hogs or chickens; grow feed grains; and market their produce represents a return to sanity. Not only is this better for the development of soil and soil science, it portends better farm incomes—with a return to parity pricing as we outline below. This renaissance of farming is absolutely critical to regrow our rural communities, towns, and cities across middle America—to thereby multiply and diversify local businesses and manufacturing as a byproduct of meeting the needs of productive and prosperous farm families.
Vegetable and Fruit Produce and Their Importation
Under conditions of Wall Street speculation-driven policies, we now import almost two-thirds of our fresh fruit and one-third of out fresh vegetables—constituting $23 billion dollars in imports in FY2019. The same goes for nuts. Mexico is the source of half of our fresh fruit imports and three quarters of U.S. fresh vegetables. Rather than invest in capital intensive agriculture, the food cartels have moved the production offshore, where cheap, even virtual slave labor conditions predominate. The growing of row crops in the U.S. has become virtually a niche market—devoutly organic, and produced for high end restaurants and “eat local” foodies.
As of FY2019 the U.S. exported $23 billion in horticultural products and imported $66 billion in horticultural products. Of course, there are some tropical fruits that only grow to our South. There are also seasonal differences, and there is demand for seasonal produce year round in U.S. grocery stores.
However, this dependence upon foreign production of produce is not in our national interest. With capital investment available, as opposed to predatory “market efficiencies,” the further mechanization of produce agriculture can rapidly expand. Relatively good machines now exist for mechanically harvesting most fruits and vegetables for processing—including berries. You can see how these machines work online. A particularly fun video compares produce harvesting—old and new:
Farmers are squeezed by the concentrated market power in the agricultural input industries. We previously discussed the meatpacking industry regarding beef. The same goes for fertilizer, feed, and perhaps also equipment suppliers. Here we briefly discuss fertilizer. For nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, a handful of fertilizer companies control access.
Consolidated through well-known mergers, the total number of fertilizer firms shrank from 46 to 13 firms between 1984 and 2008. The major cartel is made up of CF Industries, Mosaic, Nutrien, Yara North American, and ICI Fertilizers. There has been little expansion of fertilizer production. In fact, these companies have generally proclaimed their commitment instead to “share buy-backs” and stockholder dividends since the beginning of 2022. Already in 2021, U.S. fertilizer prices to farmers increased by 60%—and in some cases by twice that amount.
The Biden collective made the whole situation far worse, with the seizure of Russian Central Bank foreign reserves, and the oil and gas embargo. Russia is a major fertilizer producer and exporter. See here and here.
Already in early February, before the Ukraine war, producers were complaining that they had difficulty purchasing crop inputs from suppliers for the 2022 crop season. Survey respondents reported difficulty in purchasing a broad spectrum of crop inputs including herbicides, insecticides, fertilizer, and farm machinery parts. Now, Union Pacific has announced a 20% reduction in available space to CF Industries, which ships scheduled nitrogen fertilizer to farmers in the West. The Surface Transportation Board has held hearings in recent weeks on this matter.
We need to bring down the cost of all major inputs—particularly fertilizer—but also the insecticides, herbicides, and seeds needed by farmers. In farming over the last 70 years, labor and land inputs declined by 76 and 28%, respectively. But the use of other “intermediate goods”—which includes energy, fertilizer, pesticides, purchased services, seeds, and feed had increased by 133% (U.S.DA ERS, 2020c). Those are the figures before the accelerated run up of these material requirements in the last 14 months. Anti-trust laws must be utilized against the cartels controlling these inputs now. Additional Nitrogen (ammonia) plants need to be built, and they can be built anywhere you have natural gas—as the nitrogen is literally in the air everywhere.
Farm Inputs, Then and Now
Parity Prices Required for Agriculture
In a parity system, farmers are paid a price for a crop that reflects the average real cost to produce that particular crop and return a fair profit. In the “parity years” of 1942-1952, the farm program achieved approximately 100% of parity or better for U.S. agriculture. Parity prices ensure not only that the farmer is paid, but that the farmer has a capacity to then reinvest into his land, and equipment, and to grow his productive capacities. Further, with parity pricing, he or she does not have to work off-the-farm to secure a living and avoid bankruptcy. The security provided by actually paying the producer for the crop, can and will attract a new generation of technologically proud farmers.
We are not discussing here the USDA’s farm loan programs, the Federal Farm Credit System, and FarmerMac—many of which came into being during the period of the U.S. farm parity program. Suffice it to say that without a floor under farm prices, they cannot effectively support a healthy American agriculture sector.
The Federal agricultural subsidies programs, in their many reiterations, were never intended to replace the Federal parity program. Because they don’t have to pay, the grain, meatpacker, and fertilizer cartels will support a farm subsidy every time—over parity. Parity, combined with anti-trust action, takes away their “Big Steal.”
The Federal ag subsidies concept aids in the consolidation of agriculture as a mere extension of manufacturing—and that under conditions in which manufacturing has been “financialized,” ruined by failing “just-in-time,” and “lean manufacturing,” computerized cost/benefit digital schemes. The consequence of City of London/Wall Street cartelization of the Ag industry has been the destabilization of our nation’s agricultural production and now growing food shortages—just as we also witness the vaporization of similar “supply chains” through the rest of our economy. Remember, a mere of 15 percent of farm businesses receive 85 percent of these Ag subsidies.
If the parity price established for field corn (dent corn) were $7 a bushel, no field corn could be sold in the U.S. for any purpose for less than $7 a bushel. Parity pricing doesn’t prevent selling at a higher price, based on quality, but it doesn’t guarantee any market at a higher price. The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains annual records of indexed parity prices (indexed to account for inflation) for a wide range of farm commodities. (https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/agpr0222.pdf, page 21)
The History of Agricultural Parity Law in the U.S.
President Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which included a parity plan for raising farm prices. (The act was struck down in 1938, but the parity program stood.) A key mechanism adopted in the plan was the “90% of parity loan rate” program. The government would advance the farmer 90% of the parity price of what he would produce; the farmer would later sell his crop and pay off the loan. Or if he didn’t find buyers, he “forfeited” his crop to the government—legally paying off the said loan. This plan also imposed acreage limitations on farmers in return for Federal benefit payments. By limiting the supply of farm products produced, the Act specifically sought to raise prices and reestablish the relative purchasing power of farmers. A fair price paid to farmers was set, based upon an agreed “base period.” As already said, farm parity was achieved in 1942-1952, which years are often referred to as the “parity years.”
There were four general parts to this parity program: 1. minimum farm Price Floors; 2. Supply Reductions, as needed, to balance supply and demand; 3. also maximum farm Price Ceilings; 4. a trigger to release stored Federal Reserve Supplies of food as needed to address price spikes due to production shortages, or for other overriding needs.
The original 1910-1914 base period for indexing current parity prices was chosen because, it was agreed, that parity-like conditions had then existed in farm prices, and rural-urban standards of living were considered roughly equivalent. The prosperous 5-10 year period before 1914 is sometimes referred to as the “Golden Age” of agriculture, and the relative price level of this time shaped the thinking about legislating “parity” farm prices.
(Starting in the late 1950s or early 1960s, however, USDA altered the parity standard with other base periods. The lower standards are often called “rigged parity” among parity supporters. We will avoid that debate here.)
However, in the 1950s, disputes broke out over several aspects of the parity pricing system in the “booming” post-WWII economy. This included opposition by farmers to limits placed on acreage that could be planted—acreage allotments that limited grain farmers in terms of what they could produce and sell.
Modern inputs rapidly increased post-WWII yields. Higher yields led to more limits on acreage allotments. More limits on acreage spurred farmers to grow more on their land that was in production. The government ended up holding large Federal stores of surpluses forfeited by farmers under the parity loan/price support policy.
Republicans, Heartland corn growers, and the Farm Bureau led the effort to throw out the parity system—seeking to end the fixed parity loan rates and the acreage controls that accompanied them. They were opposed by many farmers—especially in the South and Great Plains. This was a real brawl in the House and Senate in Washington, DC. The Agricultural Act of 1956 created the Soil Bank program (Title I of the Soil Bank Act), to take more land out of production in an effort to reduce these surpluses. Then in 1958 Congress allowed corn farmers a referendum, to be held no later than December 15, 1958, to end acreage allotments in corn production. With the option of voting to discontinue parity by voting themselves out, corn growers chose to end parity.
Another critical issue, but less talked about, centered on relative rates of scientific and technological advance. Critics argued that the parity program ignored changes in relative productivity. For instance, if productivity in agriculture (relative to the 1909–1914 base period) rose faster than in U.S. industry, the parity price would be too high, and vice versa. Further these relationships would change, and change again, over time. The original Federal parity legislation assumed there was a balance between farm and city living standards and buying power, and sought to maintain this balance. As we think through what it will take to raise farm incomes throughout our nation, and raise the economic and cultural well-being of the communities they exist in, that still needs to be seriously considered.
In an important related aspect, it seems that commodity prices, paid to farmers and ranchers, cannot simply be adjusted for inflation, for the period between 1914 and 2022. A simple inflation calculator gives the figure that a dollar in 1914 is equivalent to 29 dollars today. But advances in farmer productivity, the result of advances in soil science, farm technologies, seed and fertilizer have also tremendously increased the yield per acre of grains. Wheat yields were reportedly 16 bushels an acre in 1914. Today the average yield is about 40 bushels an acre. Thus, a parity pricing system in agriculture today would have to be structured differently than in the 1930s legislation.
Yet the principle must be the same: the farmer must be paid for his labor and his crop in such a way as to ensure continuously increasing productivity.
After 1954, the highest degree of parity for major crops occurred in 1973 and 1974—following the huge grain sale to Russia, when 91% and 86% of parity was achieved, respectively. During at least one of these two years, the major grain prices rose above 100% of parity, as did sugarcane and sugar beet prices. Soybean and peanut prices reportedly rose to just under 100% of parity.
Consider: our farmers and ranchers are the most advanced agricultural producers in the world! Despite everything, the output of our American farms and ranches nearly tripled between 1948 and 2017. That was as agricultural employment fell in absolute numbers, and as its share of total U.S. employment. From 1948 to 2017, agricultural employment (including anyone working on farms, or in the forestry, logging, fishing, and related areas) as a share of total U.S. employment, fell from 13 percent to a mere 2 percent—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has happened largely as the result of advanced technologies and advances in agricultural science being deployed by our farmers—not because they were getting paid to do this.
We recall the first Thanksgiving and give thanks. The thanks we give is truly an expression of human emotion, born of our reflection upon the bounty we have received, and recognition that from this very bounty, and the seeds we thereby harvest, we will plant again and reap again, to thus secure our posterity. This is not merely a cycle, but even in the simplest three-dimensional, draftsman-like drawing, can perhaps be best represented as a conical process upward—and outward, as in life’s self-similar growth and unfolding. Let us rebuild a diversified, sovereign, and self-sufficient American agriculture again, dedicated to building an ever better and more beautiful nation and world.
For further reading, this writer recommends Robert L. Baker’s 2019 report, “One Million New Family Farms, More Farms, More Factories, More Future!” which remains a valuable resource.
VIII. Education of Our Youth—A Space CCC
As with John F. Kennedy’s game-changing Moon Shot, we must make NASA’s Artemis program into the leading nation-building initiative that drives our entire nation toward the highest rates of scientific and technological progress. In December of 2017, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 to return Americans to the Moon, and on March 26, 2019, NASA announced “Project Artemis”—to put a man and woman on the moon by 2024, create a sustained presence on the Moon, and head to Mars in the 2030s. The Biden regime is out to kill it.
What has been inadequately discussed by most of our national leaders is the potential which exists within this revived space program to effect a powerful positive impact on both the composition of our labor force as well as the overall culture of the nation. What if a new generation of our youth, like the Apollo generation, were trained at the highest level of science and encouraged to develop the bold attitude of mind which conquers the unknown—fulfilling the promise implicit in President Trump’s Artemis program? Succeed here and there will be no limits to human progress and growth.
The shortage of labor, particularly skilled labor, is what would kill a broad build-out of a new infrastructure and advanced manufacturing platform for the United States. We have to get serious about this now, and it will not be met through pow-wows with Silicon Valley false-messiahs promoting what amount to digital rationing schemes to wish away the very real shortages. Those shortages will become otherwise overwhelming, if not addressed now, under conditions of attempting to promote the vast U.S. economic recovery we are intent on creating.
A serious effort will require $50 billion to start, to average $1 billion per state, but taking into account opportunity, need, and some basic demographics. “Tier I” would engage the millions of American youth now marginalized—“kicked to the curb”—who lack high school degrees, skills and GEDs. Campuses, many mobile, would now replace the “camps” of the original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s. Tier I funding would be rapidly scaled up to $100-200 billion per year, involving a tight collaboration with national, regional, state, and local infrastructure projects—emphatically including their respective contractors. “Tier I” of this program could grow to encompass 5,000 campuses with two million enrollees, requiring housing, staff and equipment.
“Tier II” would be directed to students graduating, and about to graduate from high school or with GEDs, with the aim of engaging them directly in community college and other public and private programs that are training in advanced skills in such areas as machining, welding, nursing, HVAC, and electrical construction and maintenance. Work/study would be a major feature, in collaboration with an expanding array of apprenticeship programs. Many would advance to engineering and equivalent-level programs. These will involve additional high tech education centers, upgraded equipment and additional teachers—many drawn out of retirement. It would involve an updated National Defense Loan program, Pell grants, and similar aid programs for its students.
Initial funding, one can assume, would come through Congress. As with the original CCC, it would then be organized under an “Advisory Council” that would this time include NASA and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as representation from the National Bank uttering national credit for large scale infrastructure projects. Under the Advisory Council, the Space CCC would again be a stand-alone agency—ensuring clear lines of responsibility within, and minimizing interference.
For Tier I, we must consider the average cost of a trade school, per student, as being approximately $33,000/year—just as a working number to start with. Within Tier I, we are talking about an average of 2 million students enrolled in a Space CCC a year, and using the rough trade school analogy, that would be $66 billion a year. (Consider that a stand-alone trade school is paying its faculty, overhead, and equipment out of its tuition.) Add to that, the building of the campuses, meals, additional staff and much equipment and transportation, and the rough cost could be $120-150 billion a year.[iv]
More Details of a Space CCC
The “first-tier” of a Space CCC program will draw inspiration directly from the CCC program of the 1930s and 1940s. The campuses or “camps” would each and all be tied to U.S. infrastructure programs, urban and otherwise. Army Corps of Engineers’ shovel-ready projects will be a priority, and we will scale up from there. (Forests are by no means ruled out, as this is a major national resource that must be cultivated, rather than allowed to burn down!)
The Civilian Conservation Corps ran 2,600 such camps. With their teachers and the Local Experienced Men (LEMS), they provided the necessary elements for a massive job-training skills program. Divide the approximate 300,000 enrollees a year by 2,600 camps and you get a number for each of the camps—approximately 115 enrollees per camp, plus teachers & Local Experienced Men, and staff and logistics providers.
Today, we will want to locate these campuses or “camps” near work projects. Additional training and broader educational and cultural programs would occur in the camps or nearby. Otherwise, there is too much time wasted, and attention spans are lost. So the initial mapping of prioritized infrastructure projects, urban and rural, will be important, and the logistics then worked through, for siting of camps, etc. Adequate housing on site, as well as flexible study and training/teaching facilities would be required. These camps could be created out of vacated business and government buildings—including portions of the floor space of former auto plants and other manufacturing facilities. There are also numbers of closed Army bases, vacated urban shopping center space, vacated farm facilities in rural areas, and so-forth.
Clearly, the creation of a new CCC requires that cultural programs be developed, initiating programs that work to infuse young men and women with classical culture, sparking through beauty a passion for discovery and creation. Optimally, this would require choruses in every camp with maestros, concerts, and traveling performances that involve the recruitment of well-qualified theater groups and scientist-pedagogues.
What about the numbers? For comparison, the Civilian Conservation Corps had a total of 3 million people who passed through the program—averaging roughly 300,000 enrollees per year. (The peak was 505,000 in 1935.) The enrollees each worked in the CCC for 1.5 years. To get an idea of percentages, in 1935, there were about 16,000,000 people—men and women—between the ages of 18 and 24 in the total U.S. population. In 1935 about 6% of males, between the age 18-24 were enrolled in the CCC, and over the span of the entirety of the program, the CCC provided work for about 5% of the entire male population of the United States.
Looking at the 2010 U.S. Census to get a rough approximation for today, there were 30,672,088 Americans identified as between the age of 18 and 24. So a similar “first-tier” program with a similar scope today might enroll 750,000 a year—or even encompass one million or more, if women are also duly enrolled.
One question that comes up immediately is how do you organize the logistics of such a vast living and breathing effort, created de novo? The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Army, would seem to be once again a good fit. With troops being brought home, the redeployment of some of those capabilities and manpower into the Space CCC would be both challenging and therapeutic. In the original CCC, the Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army was the agency tasked to provision the original CCC camps, and apparently did an excellent job. With CCC camps in all 48 states, the Quartermaster General provided everything, including the living facilities.
Because of the complexity of the educational and cultural aspects of a modern Space CCC, the day-to-day role of the U.S. Army in the campuses might need to be superseded. However, the need for an overall structure, including a ‟company commander” and a junior officer, who are responsible for each camp’s operation—including logistics, education, and training—will be required. Technical service civilians, including a camp superintendent and foremen employed for fieldwork in subsidiary positions will also be necessary.
An important role of the U.S. Quartermaster General, in overseeing logistics, will be in provisioning of the amounts and types of equipment that will be required for each campus. This would include complete workshops with hand tools, power tools, machine tools, specialized computers with CAD programming, 3D printers, etc., as well as basic classroom materials. Donations could be encouraged from companies, but still the management and fair distribution of these supplies needs a guiding hand. The Office of the Quartermaster General oversees the “life cycle management” of supplies assigned to the Active Army, National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve Components of the U.S. Army. Officers trained at the Quartermaster General Headquarters could be assigned to oversee similar logistical tasks for the Space CCC campuses, at some kind of regional level, or even individually, given the size of some campuses.
Our nationally envisaged Infrastructure Projects, creating a new infrastructure platform all across the country, will necessarily take a variety of organizational forms. Some projects would be clearly national in scope, starting with the space program itself. Likewise for programs like NAWAPA and the much needed, national high-speed rail system. Others will be joint federal-state projects—as with many Army Corps of Engineers programs today. Other projects would be regional and multi-state—perhaps organized to be funded through a regional consortium created for the task. Other projects might fall within a given state—such as desperately needed flood-control in Texas. Others might be better approached and organized with a major metropolitan government component—like the much-discussed and desperately needed New York City-New Jersey transport projects and major city rebuilding programs.
Therefore Space CCC campuses (and perhaps 2nd Tier skilled trades programs) would be “attached,” and working in conjunction with, a variety of federal, state and metropolitan agencies and their private contractors. However, their independence and clear lines of authority must be secured—all driven by the intent of “Opening Up” America to its new role in space and in the world.
A second tier of an overall Space CCC program will be tasked with addressing the immediate crisis we have—and will quickly have to a much larger degree—in developing a rapidly expanding and skilled new workforce.
We are going to need a federally coordinated program to both creatively develop a skilled younger workforce, and to continue to evolve and upshift that workforce over coming decades. Currently, there already exists an ongoing coordination between corporations and their apprentice programs, state governments and local community colleges, colleges, and vocational schools. However, these efforts lack a transformative Moon/Mars Mission perspective, and they are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of what is required. Even in their own terms, they are admitted to be hit-and-miss. Put yourself into the shoes of a corporate officer, operating under guidance from a chief financial officer—who was probably appointed on the advice of a hedge fund stockholder—and operating under constant threat of corporate merger or “rationalization.” How much time actually goes into working with community college representatives on job training programs? Consider likewise the pressures on a relatively small machine shop owner amid the ups and downs in manufacturing, mining, and oil & gas in today’s upside-down world.
Likewise, what is the forecast for stable employment of an aspiring electrical engineering technician, or other would-be two year graduate with a solid “associate of science in engineering” degree? We must proceed from a commitment to make the American middle class viable again. We must have the goal of enabling families to thrive, based on a single wage earner’s paycheck—or, minimally, a wage earner-and-a-half. A National Bank, dedicated to growing the physical economy as discussed above, creates exactly the new sustained demand for such skilled citizens.
Example: Machinist Training
Take for example the training for a machinist. A Machinists Mate in the U.S. Navy goes to a special school for nine weeks of specialized training, but then gets a lot of on-the-job-training as well. There is a lot to learn, as you are working in the hull of the ship, maintaining the engines, and much more. To give a sense of what the Navy is investing to train a machinist, the MM rating in the Navy, both surface and submarine, requires a 60 month (5 year) service obligation on the part of the enrollee, for those leaving for boot-camp in Fiscal Year 2018 and beyond.
At a Community College, a machinist requires at least a two year program, including the study of advanced mathematics, hands-on machine work, and work with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools. The curriculum includes the study of math, physics, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, and shop practices. This requires more than an introduction to Computer Aided Design (CAD) programming and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). In the U.S., formal training varies further, with company apprenticeship programs, and additional post-secondary programs such as additional one-year certificates and associate degrees.
The development of these sorts of skills and job opportunities is a critical component of the “second tier” of a Space CCC labor force development program. While historically considered “jobs” as opposed to “professions,” work in these (formerly) semi-skilled and skilled production areas are going to increasingly require a knowledge of material science at today’s university level (for example) and need to become proud professions. This will include machining with space-age metals, which involves physical principles and data pertaining to evolving work materials; increasingly specialized (and modular) machine tools; cutting tools & bits and related “speeds and feeds” and their cutting fluids. Theses skills and capabilities after all, are what will be taking us out into the universe!
Other Educational Programs
We need to give a major boost to apprenticeship programs in industry and manufacturing. Businesses that sign up to employ new apprentices aged 16-26 will receive an additional cash payment (amount to be determined) for each new apprentice hired. A similar program will be established for expanded labor union apprenticeship programs. (Most of the union apprenticeship programs today are in the building trades.)
Public schools must largely remain in the hands of local school districts (which under conditions of a national economic recovery, will benefit from a growing tax base) and state government, and control and initiatives should come from the parents. However, while keeping the danger of federal overreach in mind, federal support for programs such as foreign languages and science programs based on classical principles, as well as commitments to new school construction, science centers, and classical arts programs, might be useful.
There is also a need for substantial support to students graduating from high schools and community colleges—for those choosing to take healthcare and skilled trades two year programs and certifications. This is particularly the case where funds are not otherwise available. This must extend to supporting work/study programs and otherwise ensuring that students can live, without working two jobs.
Also to be considered: A National Defense Student Loan program, as signed into law in 1958, and otherwise based, perhaps, on features of the still-utilized Pell Grants program.
To make all this work, we must fast track capital funding to community colleges and qualifying trades school for healthcare and skilled trades training, to upgrade campuses, staffing, and equipment.
IX. RECONSTRUCTION OF OUR CITIES
$100-200 Billion a Year
The rebuilding of our cities is a complex multifaceted challenge, but it must include the requirements for the resiting of production facilities, educational facilities, and their energy requirements—including increasing energy-density requirements. It will also require incorporating job training and the Space CCC in this work. Any dollar figure you put on this is highly speculative.
Large scale infrastructure investments are required here. Just for New York-New Jersey, in 2018, the entire Gateway program was estimated to cost as much as $29.1 billion, while the tunnel project under the Hudson could cost nearly $13 billion. Some of this is in the Biden collective infrastructure bill, but that legislation hardly begins to cover what is needed in essentials, from fresh water, sewage systems, and rebuilding the South Bronx. There are multiple similar projects waiting to be constructed all over the country, with no funding yet identified.
What is required is close collaboration between a National Bank and existing regional umbrella groups, as well as state and local authorities, with specifically ear-marked funds allocated for the necessary projects. Much of the planning will have to be generated locally and regionally, built from the ground up, but benefiting from a newly revitalized national economy and growing tax base.
New Cities: Knitting Our Country Together
We must work to knit our country back together. The networks of small cities, vital towns, railroad, air, and trucking company services, small and medium manufacturing firms, and family farms have been whittled away by the modern day monetarist empire. A Third National Bank and national credit will free our nation from that globalist system, and allow us to initiate the flow of credits back into our economy’s arteries and veins, and so allow us to revive our nation.
We have many smaller existing cities, and many, many smaller towns—outside our now-failing megalopolises. They exist all through the Western and Central parts of our country, and they can all be qualitatively and quantitatively expanded, in conjunction with manufacturing, SMR assembly plants, new water projects, mining, and heavy industry. As already discussed, 50% of land in the U.S. western states is now locked up as Federal land. The potentials are enormous.
An estimate: $250 billion per city, for a totally new city of 500,000 people. This is measured in terms of resources deployed—human and material. New city development runs as high as up to $1 million per future resident, though more typical estimates run at around $100,000 to $500,000 per resident. But we have many small cities and populations with enormous potential and profound contributions to make. And towns. Let us start there. Let us build up our entire nation again, from sea to shining sea.
[i]It should be noted that certain Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) still have a role today in lending, and can be an important ingredient in organizing a recovery. These include Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in home financing, as well as the Farm Credit System and FAMC (Farmer-MAC). However, today these GSEs largely serve to underwrite/support/subsidize the predatory financial system of Wall Street and the City of London. The evidence of this particular swindle is in both the decades-long, still-building national housing shortage and the continuing downward economic pressure on our farmers. Under the guidance of a National Bank, these institutions can be once again harnessed to promote productive lending to home builders, farmers & ranchers. We need all hands on deck!
[ii]The Small Business Administration defines small businesses as firms with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses are the linchpin of U.S. economic growth, with more than 28 million small businesses employing 56 million Americans—nearly half of the workforce population—across the country. A U.S. “middle market” then comprises nearly 200,000 companies that employ 44.5 million people and generate more than $10 trillion in combined revenue annually. In addition to their geographic and industry diversity, these companies are both publicly and privately held, and include family-owned businesses and sole proprietorships.
[iii]In South Korea and China, nuclear reactors run about $3-5 billion per unit to build, and take 5 years to build, with standardized designs and factory production of components. For example, a contract for $20.4 billion has been signed with Korean consortium KEPCO to build four APR-1400 reactors in the United Arab Emirates. In 2020, China’s government authorized the construction of four nuclear reactors, two in coastal Zhejiang Province and two on the southeastern island of Hainan, at an estimated cost of $10.2 billion. In 2022, they have authorized 6 reactors for coastal provinces, at a total cost of $18.7 billion.
[iv]For comparison, the Peace Corps costs our government approximately $56,500 per volunteer per year. Even the 60,000 AmeriCorps volunteers cost well over $1.3 billion dollars a year in federal, private, and community funding. Another figure: The median high school costs $45 million to build, for a thousand students.