To: POTUS today and POTUS of 2021
Should we believe that your heart is in what place is right to you; and the fumbling attention you pay to it somehow in consideration for us all, then incontestably your intention is to achieve table stakes to opportunity — for everyone to have a chance, wherever they come from, so long as they are nimble enough of mind and body.
If you really believe that this is a place for us to all have a chance at making something, every day, then let’s entertain that idea through plain allegory.
If a person is expected to deliver on their part of the social contract: rise with the sun to greet the day and prepare to contribute, show up to their place of work and craft on time, to tackle tasks large and small with vim and vigor, then your greatest responsibility to them as leader of this nation, is to furrow the path for that person and all their peers, on floors above and below, across the roads, ridges, and rivers.
Start with the sprawling and buzzing subject of this great mandate; infrastructure. Infrastructure that allows for the smooth transit from accessible housing, to this exemplary person’s workplace, to their children’s workplace, and back home.
Under the Randian precepts your party more often espouses, every day is an opportunity for one to make their mark. Then, restated, your mandate is to ensure safe and smooth passage for everyone to do that. The social contract is not reciprocal if this person cannot reasonably participate for difficulty of access. If lack of affordable housing pushes us to live so far where there is no bridge, to sleep in the cold and in want for comforts that swallows us and hinders our strength to perform as best as we know we can, then how can we uphold our end of the bargain.
This calls for homes, of all shapes and sizes, in proximity to jobs. For roads and railways and airways that help us move ourselves and information to and fro easily, in reasonable time, that doesn’t sap people of their ability to be a great peer and a great parent and community member. To use a random non-metric measure, it shouldn’t take longer to get to your place of work — remedial, secretarial, medical, custodial, managerial — than to watch a couple episodes of The Simpsons (Total 44 mins sans commercials).
If you’re so concerned about the The Moving Forward Act not having enough for rural American communities, than leverage the salient transportation parts and cater them in practice to benefiting communities from the outside in, bridging the divide between towns and exurbs and cities. With powerful resistance to increased density in cities, investing outward, in living spaces and concurrently in mobility (Physical and digital), is less politically challenging. Put the money and the people to work in concentric fashion, so that economic activity can accumulate in a sanely dispersed fashion, not stringently hub-and-spoke.
Turn those machines back on. Steer legislation, capital, and dare I say administrative power for a great enablement: the effective use of the latest advancements in materials science, machinery, and robotics, applied toward a new American industrialization. But know that the most crucial element is human.
Workforces have been decimated in the economic railroading (no pun intended), and optimists see an opportunity for a great harnessing and redirection of labor and human energy. While the signs of recovery are strong, there is still plenty of precarity to climb back from yet, and more so a chance for it to come back different. The Defense Production Act, Operation Warp Speed, tracing COVID-19 contraction and transmission, these provide near to mid-term employment for some, but we need to think beyond in this unprecedented time of pent up work supply, and start acting accordingly. Uncloud the information architecture of FindSomethingNew and build on early learnings from its use so far. Jobs programs of the speed and scale of TSA may serve as benchmark for greater public-private workforce propellant. A friend of mine stated simply: “Give me a shovel and point somewhere, I’ll plant trees for pay.” That’s an honest commitment for hard work, and you have it from many, with skills far greater than those required to dig holes.