When asked why he was not going to support Federal spending on Construction Projects President Obama said, “I’m not interested in making a bunch or engineers rich.” He then went on to create one of the biggest entitlement programs we have ever known and essentially gave people money for not working. I was flabbergasted by that thought process and decided to sit down and list all of the people that would be employed, in some capacity, in order to build, say, a freeway bridge.
First, the decision to build the bridge needs to be made, hence decision makers are employed. Next come the designers and after that the contractors and subcontractors. Material suppliers figure into the mix bigtime. This is anything from concrete to lumber to steel fabrications, to name a few. It takes equipment to build a bridge, cranes, pile drivers, backhoes, loaders, trucks big and little, and the like. It takes fuel to run that equipment, so the petroleum companies figure in. The equipment needs repair and maintenance, spare parts and new tires. We are up to thousands of people at this point and we have only started.
Each one of these categories can be broken down into their individual components. For example. A concrete form requires plywood and lumber. Employment doesn’t start at the lumber store. Trees have to be grown and harvested. They are hauled from the forest to the lumber mill where they are sawed into specified sizes. Saw mill waste goes to the plywood mills where the plywood is manufactured. Lumber is then hauled to the lumber yard where it is sold by the wholesalers and their staffs. The form is then designed and fabricated into its usable shape and then set and stripped by the contractor’s carpenters. Breaking everything down this way we are now at hundreds of thousands of people.
I have been a Civil Engineer in the Construction business for 45 years and I can tell you I am not a rich man, but I will tell you I am satisfied with my lot, I am proud of my accomplishments and I enjoyed going to the job every single day of my working life, which continues into my retirement.
Wake up Mr. President.