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Many challenges ahead for U.S.

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 08, 2012

Now that the Presidential Election has come to its conclusion, there is a lot of work to be done on pretty much every front.

And while there is some closure in regards to the election being over, the same challenges remain. Which challenges? Well, I only have a certain amount of space to fill, so let’s focus on a few (most of which have a supply chain focus), including:
-How Congress will deal with the “Fiscal Cliff”—if these cuts do stand, it could most definitely be a game-changer in which there will not be a whole lot of winners (I am not being political with this, just merely stating the obvious);
-Infrastructure and how to pay for it. President Obama has touted the concept of an infrastructure bank many times in the past and infrastructure was part of the nearly $800 billion stimulus package from early in his first term, but it is clear our infrastructure is on the decline and needs upgrades and improvements. The recently-passed MAP-21 authorization is a step in the right direction, but financing issues remain prevalent;
-Speaking of how to pay for infrastructure improvements, how about some sort of consensus comes to light on increasing the federal gasoline tax for the first time since early in Clinton’s first term. That was officially a long time ago. A still-wobbly economy and lack of political will stand in the way, but it seems like the drumroll is beating on this one at least;
-Cap and trade redux? Now, while there are varying positions on climate change to be sure, this could be an issue that gets revisited. The Right views it as a tax and the left views is as a way to become energy independent, rather than paying money to nations that don’t like us very much to say the least. Will the White House take another shot at this one? Stay tuned.
-Speaking of cap and trade, how about natural gas development. It has been said that the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and it is clearly making inroads on that front. We have seen various carriers testing natural gas-powered engines and vehicles. There is no reason to think these efforts will stall out, nor should they;
-The economy is slowly moving in the right direction, but more work needs to be done to say the least. Retail sales projections for Q4 are optimistic and manufacturing seems to be on better ground following a slight nadir from June-August.

As you can tell, the list of challenges gets pretty long pretty fast. Clearly, there are many more that could be added but I am viewing this as a starter kit.

Regardless of your political beliefs, I think one thing we all can agree on is that this country needs to work together to make real progress. I know we are all somewhat frustrated by the inactivity on Capitol Hill, but our elected leaders are fully aware of the challenges before them and need to execute and deliver solutions in a clear and effective manner. We are all fed up of the bickering and pettiness (at least, I am), so let’s hope for the best and start working towards a common goal, which can benefit us all on the supply chain, freight transportation, and logistics fronts.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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