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.