In 1944, the Willow Run factory of Ford Motor Co. was rolling a B-24 bomber off the production line every 55 minutes, each of them assembled with 450,000 parts. Ford and all the other manufacturers that made this possible were able to accomplish it through the oversight of the War Production Board.

In our current crisis, we need the administration to use the Defense Production Act to do the same thing, seriously engaging with American manufacturers to ramp up production of needed materials and devices. Many companies have expressed that they are ready and willing to be a part of an organized national effort, but it’s not happening.

The states are begging for federal direction and help. The American Hospital Association urges President Trump to use the Defense Production Act as supplies of ventilators, testing equipment and protective gear for doctors and nurses run critically low, but Trump said he will use it only in a “worst-case scenario.” One wonders what that means and how things will look by then.

Earl Stevens


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