LaHood: Kudos To China

A few days prior to America’s Independence Day (July 4), DOT Secretary Ray LaHood offered a brief interview with “The Cable,” as reported by Josh Rogin.  In that interview, LaHood said, “The Chinese are more successful (in building infrastructure) because in their country, only three people make the decision….. ….In a country where only three people make the decision, they can decide where to put their rail line, get the money, and do it. We don’t do it that way in America.”

To be fair, LaHood did also say that the US has the best system of government because people have a say in decisions.  Yet, his frustration with the US system apparently had him thinking of how things could be….

LaHood’s frustration level is a direct result of his and President Obama’s inability to work with Republicans.  In the same interview, LaHood said, “Two years ago, between 50 to 60 Republicans were elected to the House of Representatives to come to Washington to do nothing, and that’s what they’ve done and they’ve stopped any progress. Those people don’t have any vision about what the government can do. That’s been a real inhibitor in our ability to think outside the box and think big.”

Do these statements bother anyone else?  They sure do bother me.

Remember, for the first two years of the Obama Administration the President’s party controlled both the White House and the Congress.  As US Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, reminded everyone on July 6, “…..with significant majorities in both the House and Senate, and (Obama) failed to enact transportation legislation. On June 17, 2009, the Obama Administration intervened and stopped in its tracks a six-year transportation proposal and opted for an 18-month extension of the expiring law.”

And, is China really the country we want to hold up as the shining example of success?  Consider these facts:

Reuters reported on July 18, 2012, that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is concerned about its economy. He said, “”Currently and in the future, China’s employment situation will become more complex and more severe. The task of promoting full employment will be very heavy and we must make greater efforts to achieve it.”

According to Amnesty International, about 500,000 people are being detained in China without being charged with a crime and no trial set.  “Harassment, surveillance, house arrest, and imprisonment of human rights defenders are on the rise, and censorship of the Internet and other media has grown. Repression of minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians, and of Falun Gong practitioners and Christians who practice their religion outside state-sanctioned churches continues.”

Learn more about China’s abuses from Amnesty International.

Information on Labor in China from China Labor Watch suggests that wages are low, hours are long, working conditions are poor, and discrimination and abuse are prevalent.

So, yes Mr. LaHood, one way to address your inability to get the job done is to emulate the Chinese system.  Yes, Mr. LaHood, President Obama’s leadership has been ineffective, even when his party controlled the Congress, but if he was the leader of China he might have more success. 

Personally, I found your statements, just a few days prior to Independence Day, to be appalling, misguided, off base, and very telling.  I prefer to continue flying the American Flag!

Obama: You Need The Government

It was at a campaign even last Friday (July 13) that President Obama let his true feelings about small business be known.  In his speech, Obama said, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”  “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

If you are an owner operator or small fleet / large fleet owner, stop right here and think about that – according to the President, it is NOT your hard work, money, and initiative that made your business possible, it’s the government.  WOW!

Many of you have already heard the comments, and there are some out there that defend the President suggesting he was simply saying that it’s because of government programs that individual imitative leads to success.  Well, I take issue with that.  Government only exists because of the personal initiative of our Founding Fathers.  It’s the taxes government collects from those who are successful that allows government to exist.

For trucking, not that he was addressing trucking specifically, Obama said, “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.”  Does he forget that it’s the fuel taxes, tolls, license fees, and other taxes from individuals and corporations that pay for those roads and bridges?

Interestingly, on July 11, FMCSA Deputy Administrator William Bronrott testified before the House Committee on Small Business.  In his remarks, Bronrott comments on how the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program is impacting small business.  He commented on how cognizant the Administration is of needing to minimize the impact on small businesses – but why does he care, if as Obama suggests, government is the source of all things good?

Whether it’s the large trucking carriers like JB Hunt, Swift, or others that were started by individuals, or the many small fleets and owner operators (FMCSA’s database indicates 85% of registered carriers have 5 or fewer units), Obama wants you to send him a thank you letter and more money to fund the government. 

From my perspective, it’s time for this administration to move out so we can get new leaders who value the American way of life, which includes recognizing the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit that helped found this country.  It’s NOT the government that founded the entrepreneurial spirit.