My Turn: Nation needs an 'infrastructure bank'
By Victor S. Farrah
More of our military members are coming home - will it cause more unemployment?
Our infrastructure is in poor condition. We need to rebuild our airports, railways, bridges and roads. Our rivers need to be dredged and cleaned up. But the No. 1 need is our roads, which are a disgrace. In North Carolina, the roads desperately need attention because they are deplorable.
The United States has been busy rebuilding other countries, including those we destroyed with our war machine. Japan, India and South Korea have the most efficient steel mills in the world because we have spent billions of dollars rebuilding them. We have not built a new oil refinery in the United States in the last 25 years, yet China has 26 new refineries, and we are exporting crude to them to be refined. We must examine our energy policy.
How do we fix these problems? First, American should not engage in future wars unless we are attacked in America, and not to defend some other country. The wars in the Middle East are costing us $2.5 billion a week. We cannot afford to take care of Britain, France, and NATO because we are the main contributor of money to sustain this group.
I have an idea that would upgrade our national infrastructure while providing jobs for veterans. Congress should pass a profoundly different law to create an "Infrastructure Bank," which would be independent of all other banks including the Federal Reserve Bank. It could sell bonds and CDs, using the funds to repair our infrastructure. It could be operated with congressional control. It could invite donations for the purpose of rebuilding the infrastructure.
The results would be amazing! There could be millions of jobs created in the private sector of our great economy. It would be a terrific role for Congress to do something that would do away with unemployment. In the Depression of the 1930s , the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) was created by Washington to use the unemployed to create state parks, build roads and plant thousands of trees which created new forests. They also started the WPA (Works Project Administration), which built roads, bridges, dams and levies, which are in need of repair today.
President Eisenhower after retiring from politics cautioned our leaders about the military and industrial complex that he feared would want to continue expanding our defense until it became a "continuous war department." Needless wars are a tremendous waste of innocent lives, and have a tremendous financial cost, including taking care of the wounded veterans for many years to come. Wars are not fought in heaven and we should not fight war on Earth since it is against Christian rule, "Thou shall not kill."
Congress must take the road to peace and realize charity begins at home. We live in the greatest country in the world. We, the people should take the challenge and org,anize the New Infrastructure Bank to rebuild America and return it to the great country it was.
Victor S. Farrah lives in Salisbury.
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