Spread the Wealth

Interesting perspective in an article I read in workboat magazine.
<span style="font-size: 8pt; font-family: Arial;]<span style="font-size: 10pt;]"We’ve managed to steer clear of politics in this space, but many of the controversies swirling around at this time touch the marine industry. For example, one of the hottest topics of the moment is the question of “socialism.” The Republicans, especially Sarah Palin, have labeled the Democratic presidential nominee as a socialist following his comment about “spreading the wealth.”

Truth be told, we spread wealth all the time. Anytime a federal grant is given, relatively few people are getting something paid for by taxes collected from everyone. When a sheriff’s department in, say, Mississippi, gets a new fire/rescue boat courtesy of a Department of Homeland Security grant, this is something that I helped pay for — and I live in Washington state, not Mississippi.

Yes, of course, the fire/rescue boat is important. But why should I help pay for that? It’s because we all operate under a social contract that, ahem, spreads the wealth. I pay taxes, you pay taxes, we all pay taxes, and that money gets spread out from Alaska to Florida to pay for stuff that sometimes we approve of and sometimes we don’t. If this is socialism, then we’ve been doing it for a long time.

Speaking of Alaska, Sarah Palin’s state gets a pretty good chunk of our collective wealth. In fact, Alaska gets more federal spread per capita than any state in the union. As one small example, take the Federal Highway Administration’s Construction of Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Program. Under SAFETEA-LU, Alaska is eligible for $10 million a year from 2006 through 2009 for its marine highway system. And that’s on top of two very expensive, high-speed passenger/vehicle ferries already paid for by you and me.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. Alaska needs ferries because much of the state cannot be connected by pavement. We collectively fund federal highways in the Lower 48, so it seems fair to collectively help pay for the blue highways up there.

Washington state and New Jersey also benefit from the same program. Is this socialism?

Actually, socialism is usually defined as an economic system in which the state owns and controls the means of production and distribution. Right now, the federal bailout of the financial system, which has bipartisan support, would appear to be the most immediate example of state control, but I don’t hear any of the candidates referring to that as socialism.

Very soon, the political name-calling season will be history. Whoever gets elected will face enormous challenges both at home and abroad. Let’s hope we can find a way to put the acrimony behind us and get back to work on real problems."</span></span>

“Steering clear of politics is always good when politicians are involved”

Political opinions are better kept to yourself. If you feel the need to express yourself there are plenty of left or right wing blogs out there. It would be nice if we didn’t have to read it here. My opinion.

I f you can’t resist posting political thoughts, try doing it at “Gulf Chat”, http://gulfchatoffshoreforum.yuku.com/ , you’ll find like-minded individuals there and that forum has already been flooed with it.

here’s one that no one seems to know anything about from http://www.coltoncompany.com/


With all this talk of the “bridge to nowhere”, there’s been surprisingly little talk of the “ferry to nowhere” that replaced it. It’s being built by Alaska Ship & Dry Dock, which has a long and distinguished shipbuilding record, consisting of precisely one boat. It’s being paid for by us, via the Office of Naval Research, which never requested the funds but got $84 million for this, courtesy of Senator Ted Stevens. The design is an ice-class version of good old cost-conscious Lockheed Martin’s SLICE, configured to carry up to 26 cars and 150 passengers. To put the price tag in perspective, the Hawaiian Superferry, built by Austal USA, carries up to 230 cars and 836 passengers, and only cost $75 million. The route is the 3-mile, 15-minute crossing from Anchorage north and a touch west across Cook Inlet to Port Mackenzie, a community so small that you can’t Google it. The contract was signed in August 2005 but delivery is not scheduled until August 2009, almost as long as it takes to build a destroyer. September 16, 2008.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I would have been much happier if the $$$ went to the proposed Alaska Region Research Vessel (http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/arrv) which has been in the planning stages for almost a decade. A real ship with a useful mission but Uncle Ted and his gang of thieves wanted this one instead so no hope for the ARRV now. Obviously, the UNOLS leadership must be sick over this but it is their own fault for not having any voice in the Congress.

What a shame…that ARRV would have been a fine ship to be on!

For all of you cool aid drinkers, I’m not interested in your political BS. The last time I checked, this was a maritime web site.
Ship Mate 1

<font face="georgia, bookman old style, palatino linotype, book antiqua, palatino, trebuchet ms, helvetica, garamond, sans-serif, arial, verdana, avante garde, century gothic, comic sans ms, times, times new roman, serif]Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.</font>

Censor??!!?? Who? Me!!? I just tried to hip those that might be interested to a Mariner’s blog that is almost completely political stuff. Take a cold shower “Cheng”, then visit GulfChat.

The current state of our maritime industry is the result of years of politics. You can’t seperate the two. In an effort not to offend the politically sensitive, maybe there should be a catagory specifically for politics. Then those that are not interested in the subject can steer clear of discussions that may have an impact on the future of their industry.