article: If I Were President…

What Domestic Policies Would I Pursue 
if I Were President?

Commentary Read on KGNU fm Boulder County Community Radio 9/20/01

By Joseph B. Juhasz

The hyper-real afterimages of the terrorist attacks upon the United States had not yet faded before the predictable clamor for vengeance and retaliation began. As if two wrongs could ever make a right! Blood feuds are surefire recipes for mutual escalation and annihilation as everyone knows.

Yet this is not a moment when a nation should be divided. How can someone, such as I, who disagrees with the current war-program of my government, make a positive gesture that is not divisive?

This commentary is an effort at such a constructive act.

The title of the commentary is: what domestic policies would I pursue if I were president.

What domestic policies would I pursue if I were president?

I would use this moment of unity and this national emergency to introduce legislation that would galvanize the country, avoid the threat of depression without wasting men and money on war and munitions, and first and foremost begin to repair the obvious domestic problems that were exposed by the effects of the terrorist sabotage that we have witnessed.

The three bills I would introduce would be:

1. The national defense transportation act.

2. The national defense communications act.

3. The national defense energy production, distribution, and conservation act.

The terrorists were able to cripple domestic public transportation by crashing four airplanes and without damaging any airfields. This is an intolerable threat to our national security. The cause of this incredible vulnerability is the fact that we have only one means of long-distance public mass transportation: the airplane. The airline system is uniquely susceptible to sabotage and is also grossly inefficient in the use of nonrenewable resources.

The national defense transportation act would be designed to develop and put in place profitable long and short-distance mass transportation systems. The aim of the act is to assure that there will be at all times three alternate means of public transportation between any two major destinations in the U. S.

This, and the other two bills will liberate the forces of American entrepreneurship, technology, capital formation, and management know-how to deal with problems of the utmost importance without waste of resources, lives, or our precious and non-renewable and ever-diminishing ethical capital.

The acts of terrorism not only crippled our public transportation system but also our communication networks. That it was not possible for citizens and public officials to communicate with one another during a state of emergency is intolerable and a grave threat to our national security. The cause of this incredible vulnerability is the fact that our communication systems are not designed to handle peak demands (as you can find out any mother’s day) and that the existing alternative systems do not provide sufficient back-up. For example the cell-phone system is not sufficient to back up wire telephones for peak demands.

The national defense communications act establishes the necessary funding mechanisms to develop profitable communications systems invulnerable to jamming or to crashes due to demand. The aim should be to provide service equivalent to one clear channel line for each customer.

Our energy production and distribution system was also unable to withstand the challenges of these recent terrorist acts. Lower Manhattan still has almost no power. The vulnerability of this system has been known and frequently demonstrated at least since the 1970’s. Neither our public transportation nor our communication systems can function effectively without a reliable and sabotage-proof system of energy generation and distribution. That terrorists, saboteurs, or blackmailers are capable of disrupting energy supplies is intolerable, and a grave threat to our national security. The cause of this incredible vulnerability is the fact that just as with our transportation and communication systems, we are over reliant on single energy sources and connections.

The national defense energy production, distribution, and conservation act, would provide government investment to develop and utilize of multiple energy production and distribution systems. We need to reduce waste and phase out wasteful transportation, construction, and manufacturing systems. We need to phase-in renewable energy supplies to free us from possible blackmail by terrorists and saboteurs.

Together, these three initiatives would do more to discourage further acts of terrorism than can be achieved by hunting down “enemies”, it would accomplish this without violence, it would be as good as, if not better for the economy than war is, and it would put us back into moral leadership in the world. It shows that one can do more than complain when one disagrees.

Next: how to pay for it?

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