Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Gowny Guy
From the think tank:

A way to feed the economy in ways both parties will accept is to restart the GI Bill in terms of giving returning personnel a shot at some new walk of life, perhaps related in the sense of involving heavy equipment and/or large scale engineering projects (repairing infrastructure, Old Man River City maybe?).

My friend Arthur tells a story of Vietnam vets returning home, having been through hell, only to find the local unions were possessive about jobs, not eager to share, even when federal programs were earmarked for their benefit. Racism was also a factor.

The University of Washington served as a backdrop for the altercation, in which protesters took control of the construction site, unarmed thanks to Arthur, with the public understanding their plight. This was quite a long time ago, Arthur with AFSC at the time (before mine), working both Seattle and Portland.

With close media scrutiny and lots of clear data on government websites, we could have some of these military units transition to a more Army Corps of Engineers style of living, with domestic bases providing continuity in terms of family life and schooling, medical services. These "bases" could be existing suburbs, mortgages purchased with government bailout money and converted to campuses.

Allowing the government to compete as a model business is not a socialist concept, in the sense of "preparing to nationalize all competitors". On the contrary, you compete with private sector competitors. The fact that you're tax subsidized means you run open book (more like open source). People learn from your example, you set a standard, provide a role model.

The government rental car agency might fall between Hertz and Dollar, in terms of customer satisfaction. The government cooking school, housed in recycled navy assets (good kitchens), isn't here to put all the others out of business. But nor is it here to encourage slackers to just goof off all the time. Have some pride in your work, set a high bar. Think Ney.

The public school system
is our best example. Here's something the government runs, but not in such a way as to shut down all competition.

It's something of a white lie that capitalists sometimes tell, that only socialists believe in government jumping in and getting its hands dirty.

Sure, have a national airline. We actually already do -- so many routes kept alive by Congressional mandate alone. So what's the problem? If Uncle Sam wants to play too, why not? Other governments get to play. No fair having both hands tied.

Another kind of campus we need, again made from existing communities in some cases, will provide accommodations for students and faculty in our international charter schools network. Again, some of these might be government run, with limited spaces available.