Scene: Jordan calling JC about meeting to review a communications proposal. POTUS asked Jordan for ideas how to convince politicians and the public that it would be a good idea to fund rebuilding US infrastructure by fixing the price for gas and diesel fuel. Original conversation with POTUS Entries #104, #105.
Jordan: “JC, are you ready to review the communications proposal for POTUS?”
Jordan: “Alright, I’ll send an email later today with some of the ideas. When I get another section drafted, I’ll send that. You review. Then can we talk, please?”
JC: “I know we can talk but yes we may talk. You are finally beginning to understand how to work with other people. It’s taken a while but I guess old guys can learn.”
Jordan: “Old. If I’m old, then what are you?”
JC: “Younger than you. I’ve always been younger than you…and probably always will be, don’t ya think?”
Jordan: “OK, you win. I’ll email a draft of some ideas later today.”
JC: “OK, bye.”
Scene: Jordan begins drafting marketing-like plan for POTUS.
(Jordan finds talking to himself helpful.) “I think most people understand that infrastructure needs to be rebuilt. But will they understand why it makes sense to fund the rebuilding using a fixed price for fuel? Fixed prices, especially ones set by government, are such a foreign idea to most US citizens. Maybe the best approach is to pretend we are launching a new product or service. Then use the ‘15 P’s’ approach. The 15 P’s approach has worked well in the past. Think I’ll try that.
Now, Jordan, listen. Take your time and follow the steps in 15 P’s procedure. Otherwise, you’ll get ahead of yourself. You know it’s easy to take shortcuts. And when you do, problems inevitably occur. Remember the time you painted the room before you prepared it properly? What a mess, and it took forever to fix. Slow down Jordan and take your time.
What’s the purpose of the project? “Create a fund for rebuilding infrastructure throughout the United States – rebuild and/or expand roads, bridges, rail lines (especially for public transit), water treatment facilities, airports and communications infrastructure.”
How will you position the project with the public? Why is the project necessary? “Rebuilding infrastructure will help increase US competitiveness in the world economy and help increase the standard of living for all US citizens.” (Note: good concept that probably needs some more explanation, but not right now. Work on that later.)
Where will the projects be located? Projects will penetrate all 50 states. All states have a need to rebuild infrastructure although the mix of what’s needed varies by state. For example, more populated areas need to improve or build new public transit, while more rural areas need to improve roads and communications infrastructure. (Note: water and sewage treatment a major issue in all states. Might be separate section. Also, need to emphasize reusing water rather than just processing.)
How will we pay for the infrastructure projects? Create a fund based on the difference between what the price of gasoline and diesel would have been in the open market and a pre-determined price. Fuel prices will be fixed beginning a certain date. The difference between a ‘free-market” price and the “fixed” price will be sent to a fund to pay for rebuilding infrastructure. (Notes: (i) if there is a phase-in period for increased fuel prices, make sure it is very difficult to delay the increase. Otherwise a constant political battle. (ii) Think about delaying the proposed fixed prices for gas and diesel until we can lay out clearly the extent of the problem. If people understand, $5.00 per gallon gasoline might seem more than justified.)
How will the fund be protected against other uses? Look what happened to Social Security Trust Fund? Fund for infrastructure needs to be separated and protected from politicians diverting it for other uses…and not just some paper wall of protection as with Social Security. The Highway Trust Fund seems reasonably well protected (Note: need to confirm.) However, infrastructure extends well beyond highways and in some cases projects might appear to conflict with highway construction. (Note: need to really make solid argument for public transit, especially rail, which is the most efficient in populated areas.)
How will the project be approved given the politics in Washington? First step will be to conduct assessment of current state of infrastructure. Second step will be to determine what is required to make the US and a particular geographic area more competitive. Focus the project initially on assessing “Where is the United States today with respect to how inferior infrastructure is slowing economic growth and costing US jobs? Make the assessment as objective and credible as possible. Also make sure the public understands that the investment in infrastructure is a way to accelerate economic growth and create jobs. (Note: consider measuring using ROI. Doing so will address Republican concerns about ‘tax-and-spend.’)
What people should be involved in the project? Mmmm, good question. Maybe I should create a list of the types of people affected negatively by inferior infrastructure. Just jot them down as they come to mind. You can sort the list later. OK, here goes:
- People who use public transportation, especially to get to/from work, medical appointments, school, etc.
- Businesses which rely on cost-effective and timely transportation for inbound and outbound freight
- People who use electronic means to communicate and/or order products
- Transportation companies that deliver products – FedEx, UPS, USPS, freight companies, railroads, etc.
- People who commute to work using private transportation. (Note: discourage more private use where possible.)
- Schools that use the Internet for some instruction, data gathering
- Homeland security, local police, fire, emergency services, etc.
- Farmers getting crops to market
OK, it’s a big list already and you’ve only scratched the surface. In fact most everyone in the US is affected. So now, how do we put a group together that is representative and not mired in all the politics? The project seems as if it’s such an apolitical issue…and it might be since we’ve had the Revenge Revolution…but I am always amazed at how Washington gets bogged down in politics. (Note: Be careful and watch out for animals wounded in the Revolution – they can lash out.)
Promoting the idea. Maybe we should create a giant “chat room” and let people tell their own stories how inferior infrastructure affects them. Let people sell themselves and each other on the idea.
OK, stop for now. I need to send what I have to JC — I’m already a day late. Make sure she knows it’s a draft and encourage her to comment on it. Then I’m going to get a coffee refill and work on this some more. Remember, Jordan, this is a draft and not the final document.
(To be continued)
(Readers: The assumed chronological date for most of the entries in this blog is after the expected 5th revolution in the US. For more background about the expected revolution – labeled the Revenge Revolution – and author, please view entry #01.)