Thursday, August 11, 2011

What can we do to fix the economy.

So what can be done to fix the economy.  Before I dive into this question I need to reiterate my underlying theory of everything.  "The more difficult a problem seems the simpler its solution will be."

So fear not.  It's not all that bad.  But what it will take is for people to realize that they have to actually become involved.  This is a patriotic venture for all Americans that transcends politics.  We don't really have much of a choice.  We can either ride down the slippery slope while civilization crumbles around us or we can take positive action to pursue a strategy that can help fix the problems.  Why not try to save it all, I say. Forget about the dingbats in Washington arguing over budgets and tax rates.  None of that means anything anymore.  Clearly, they can't fix a thing.  It's up to us in the cities and small towns across the country.  

First, we need to eliminate waste in our consumption of gasoline to work to create a glut in the oil market to crash the price. The Government can't do that by mandates, we need every one of us to find ways to cut our gasoline consumption by say 10%. That would be enough to clog the supply chain and crash the price when the glut starts to impact production. Oil and gasoline are the lifeblood of our economy. If we can crash the price then it will be a windfall for every American consumer.  In an earlier post I wrote about why I thought gasoline ought to be treated as a public utility, and I do think that could eliminate much of the speculation and price fluctuations. To build on that, here are some thoughts.. First about reducing fuel consumption, then some other ideas to reduce the trade deficit and get more dollars rolling around inside the USA.

1) Please time the stoplights.  Every time a car or truck has to stop at a red light they waste a tablespoon of gasoline or something like that.  Why can't our municipalities time the stoplights in town so that traffic can flow without people having to stop and start every half mile or so.  Gosh, this one is so easy.  We already have the crews that can do it, they just need a plan for how to time the lights.  Some entrepreneurs could figure out how to utilize Mapquest data to calculate the travel time between the main intersections and then the optimum on/off timing of the stoplights to keep the traffic flowing along at the posted speed limits.  This will save more fuel right now than all the CAFE increases planned for years down the road.

2) Eliminate backups at highway construction merge points. When there is a highway construction project it typically involves traffic lanes merging prior to the construction zone.  This always ends up being a clusterf*ck when most drivers get over early but others wait till the last minute and have to merge in right at the end.  To fix this, there should be either a traffic guard or a row of stoplights installed across all lanes of the highway at the very point the lanes need to merge into one.  Then, one lane at a time gets to proceed to the single open lane while cars in the other lanes wait their turn.  So you stop once and wait for your lane's turn to go.  This would eliminate the ridiculous backups we have all been stuck in for miles on highways.  It would save gasoline and time.

3)  Schools need to consider converting to 4-day weeks.  This would cut transportation costs about 20% and that would help budgets in struggling school districts across the country

4) The US Mail delivery could be reduced to 3 days per week from the current 6 days per week.  Really.. Who would miss it?  Everything would still get there.  Just one day later. 

5) Promote all efforts to electrify the fleet.  Go Chevy Volt.

6) Schools and businesses should promote car pooling programs.  This could be so easy with social networking helping make connections.  Even if people car pooled just one day per week or could work from home one day per week.  Commuting is waste. 

7) Now to revitalize the cities, and to cut spending, I would close many if not most of our foreign military bases and relocate some or most resources to decaying and decayed cities like Detroit to lead demolition and recommissioning of the land. It's high time for some Nation building right here in the USA. These forces could also be deployed to natural disaster areas. Look, we are broke but still borrowing more money every month so we can operate dozens of military bases in ally territory. Bring that money back home.

8)  Look at ways to contract guest services at some National Parks to companies like Disney who could package the visit to attract more foreign and domestic tourism.  I am not saying they would disrupt nature or ruin the park's beauty, I just think they could do a better job of moving people around and extracting money from tourists than the Department of the Interior does.  Why not give them a few parks to run to help raise funds while preserving the park's beauty.

9)  Sell off major chunks of the US owned land and State owned land.  It is estimated that about 1/3 of the USA is government owned.  And the Government is broke.

10)  Eliminate tariffs on imported raw materials used in commerce and increase them on assembled products.  The trade deficit has to shrink for the US economic recovery to ever gain traction.             

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