American Debacle

american debacle

America still has some of the best scientists, engineers, and inventors in the world--probably more than any other country--and it's still a great place to be rich. I was reminded of that a couple of weeks ago when I saw a tiny jet I didn't recognize taking off from Teterboro Airport. Looking it up later, it was a Cirrus Vision Jet. If you have a few million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy the world's first flying luxury SUV from this Wisconsin-based company, complete with a "safe return" button that automatically lands the plane, and a built-in parachute in case of engine failure. 

Maybe America No Longer Works At Scale

The contrast between this successful personal jet maker and the ongoing calamities at Boeing suggests that while we can still do great things, we can no longer do big things well. Another example of that appears to be our failure to clear the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, as "Armchair Warlord" pointed out on X earlier today. 

Here's the full text of his post: 

The MV Dali collided with the Key Bridge in Baltimore three weeks ago and so little has been done for remediation that if this was happening in Russia or China we'd have people writing Ph.D dissertations on this website about poor state capacity and shaken trust in "regimes."

Let's look at the current status of things three weeks in:

  • M/V Dali remains aground and has not been freed from bridge debris, let alone unloaded, refloated, and evacuated to drydock
  • Practically no progress has been made clearing debris, because:
  • The handful of small floating cranes on site are obviously not up to the task, because:
  • Apparently the Biden Administration decided this would be an ALL AMERICAN salvage effort and refused to bring in foreign crane ships with far greater capacity, thus:
  • Workers are being endangered by being ordered to cut the bridge debris into small chunks manageable by the low-capacity cranes on site, complicated by the fact much of this work must be done underwater
  • The Port of Baltimore remains closed to all heavy traffic and authorities expect it to remain closed through at least May, which is very optimistic
  • Officials expect a replacement bridge might be inaugurated in a decade, which could itself be optimistic

Let's pause for a moment to contrast this with Russia's Crimean Bridge, the longest in Europe, which, per Wikipedia, was completed within four years of its contract being awarded. And when spans of the bridge were destroyed by Ukrainian attacks, in each case, the bridge was fully repaired and reopened within months. 

Back to Armchair Warlord: 

Let's be real - if this had happened in China the port would have been open in days and construction on a replacement span would be underway as we speak. This incident is beginning to illustrate the decline in the real state capacity of the United States of America in the starkest possible terms.

It's hard to argue against that. Not only does America today struggle with large infrastructure projects, it also can't defeat a bunch of Houthi rebels, despite having the largest navy in the world. If only the men running our government and Boeing were as talented as the ones building personal jets. 

In Case You Missed It

Last night, we posted our top ten names for this week, the ones our system estimates will perform the best over the next six months. 

american debacle

We also posted the performance of our top ten names from six months ago. 

 On average our top ten names from October 5th were up 61.35% over the next six months, versus up 22.62% for SPY. 

That was our tenth top names cohort in a row to beat the market. Since we launched our trading Substack at the end of 2022, forty of our top names cohorts have completed their six-month runs. Of them, thirty have beaten the market.

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If you want to stay in touch.

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Authored by Portfolio Armor via ZeroHedge April 12th 2024