In World War Two enemy submarines were sending thousands of ships to the bottom of the ocean - ships carrying people, food, medicines, materials, and weapons that the Allied Nations needed to survive and prevail.
Of American merchantmen, we lost 2742 ships in 6 years.
America wondered, “Is there a way to cut these losses and deliver more necessities to embattled people and troops?”
A brilliant man named Howard Hughes decided to try building a huge plane, a "flying boat", to carry fighting men, weapons and supplies above the oceans that the submarines ruled. He and Henry J. Kaiser got a government contract to develop it. Hughes, a multi-talented aircraft designer and flyer, and Kaiser, an exceedingly successful industrialist, were among the best brains America had.
Hughes called the plane the H-4, but it became better known as the "Spruce Goose" because it was built of wood - metal being too scarce in wartime.You can view it online.
The Spruce Goose was brilliantly conceived and built by the finest American craftsmen in wood - furniture makers from Grand Rapids, Michigan, among them.
I have seen the Spruce Goose. My family and I saw the huge flying boat when it rested at Long Beach, CA (it now resides at McMinnville, OR). It is grand, graceful, and beautifully put together. It made me wish that I had a heaven-sized house in which to put this wonderful piece of "flying" furniture.
I say "flying," but in fact the Spruce Goose never really flew. It flew once, in 1947, for just over one mile at an altitude of seventy feet for one minute. It was later taken to McMinnville on a barge. It never carried a payload.
Inadequate power was the limitation. The most powerful engines of the day lacked the energy to get it above 70 feet.
This government financed wonder - and it is a wonder - got 70 feet in the air and flew one mile. How many "Spruce Geese" has our government created since!
Will our nation have the horsepower to lift our expanding portfolio of social improvement schemes off the ground and keep them flying? Hughes proved it's not enough to be brilliant, served by the best craftsmen, and have federal government backing.
Like the developers of the Spruce Goose, do we lack the essential power to lift our government’s new social programs and keep them flying?
I am thinking of our grandest political scheme of recent years: the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court affirmed yesterday.
Here's my question: In the Affordable Care Act, will we Americans have a brilliant and valuable new resource that satisfies our health care needs - or only a huge piece of furniture that rises to seventy feet for a minute and then plops down and becomes a museum piece?
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-30 ESV)