OP-ED: Thinking Outside the Box?
By Gary Peterson, PCP, Washington County
Our government’s solution to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic is to subsidize people and businesses until we get to the other side of the pandemic which is what we have always done in all previous economic crises. The arguments between the Democrats and Republicans center on how much, and who should receive those subsidies.
Think about this: roughly 33% of our workforce are employed by small businesses with less than 99 employees. And, most of those businesses are in the retail or restaurant industries which depends on local “foot traffic” for most of their revenue. As I see it, the problem with the government’s approach is two-fold: first, we don’t know when we will get to the other side of the pandemic; and second, we don’t know if, and how, consumer behavior has been altered.
The technology to make this happen exists, but for unknown reasons, the government is slow on approvals. Amazon has been seeking an FAA permit since early 2019. Is it that Jeff Bezos and Amazon have pioneered this concept? Is it that it is overly complicated to figure out all the regulations even though NASSA has been testing an air traffic control system for drones for years? Is it just too bureaucratic causing it to take years?
In addition, the US has 3 decades of UAV manufacturing experience that is focused on military aircraft, if the government gave them tax incentives to start commercial drone manufacturing it would create new jobs in a soon to be growing industry. Expediting approval of delivery drones would enable Amazon to provide this service to the retail and restaurant businesses in the short term but if the government gave small business tax credits for implementing the technology it would take the middle man (Amazon) out of the distribution model. This is “Thinking Outside the Box”.
As a retired consultant, I know that it is easier to find reasons that this would not work but if the same energy was spent on figuring out how to make it work, it might be a longer-term solution.
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