Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) won approval by the Senate yesterday with a vote of 60 for to 37 against. The irony of this whole process is that most Republicans support President Obama and most Democrats are opposed. The prediction is that the House will follow suit and approve today. There will then be a following Bill to provide funding for retraining those American workers who will lose their jobs; not only manufacturing but also service. Ask yourself if the other countries are providing for the loss of jobs as we are. The answer is no, as they, one and all, will garner new employment for their people. I firmly believe that America is the only country to not strive to maintain a healthy workforce. On this point I agree with Donald Trump. We are the suckers; we are stomped on and are sucking the hind tit, as the old expression goes. It might not be nice but it does make the point in a forceful manner. I know that most who I decide to send this to will be in agreement with passage of TPP. These for the most part take the position that the rule of comparative advantage should rule in all cases pertaining to world trade and therefor it is only right and proper that our high paid workers should lose their jobs by sending to these Asian countries similar to the loss as a direct result of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Presidential contender Ross Perot was right when he referred to it as a giant sucking sound of jobs leaving America. I request that you use Google and listen to Mr. Perot during his debate with Clinton and Bush. Just enter Ross Perot 1992. He answers a question. Too bad he didn’t get the chance to save American jobs. I have also heard some of you denigrate unions as if they were evil. I doubt if any of you ever had to contend with them as I did. The concept of unions was to have some leverage to improve wages and working conditions. Back in the 1900’s President T. Roosevelt, as a Republican, realized the enormous power of the industry barons of the day and did what he could to improve their lives. My father in the 30’s was active in Lockport, N. Y. in getting the CIO to represent the employees of Harrison Radiator Company, a subsidiary of General Motors. At the time there was a company approved union which was supposed to give employees a voice but was not effective. It wasn’t until 1938 that the 40 hour week was secured. Google AFL-CIO and you will find information about the union. I do believe that they were useful and that the workers of America saw improvement all thru the decades until mid-1970. I was the manager of a tire factory during this period. Foreign competition was surging. Boatloads of tires were being unloaded at the docks with products from Japan (Bridgestone), and Europe (Pirelli and Michelin). These were quality products produced in new factories rebuilt after WWII with modern equipment and reliable workers. This was the time American union employees lost their focus. They refused to accept that we were entering a new world and that we had to lower our cost and improve quality if we were to continue to exist. The labor strife was painful. It was during these years that the great progress we had made was diminished. Many factories were closed or downsized. This continued in the following decades with continuing loss of factory jobs. By 2000 service jobs started to be outsourced at an accelerating rate, so it wasn’t just manufacturing. Not being active in the workforce today I have no personal knowledge that the attitude and understanding by labor union officials has changed to reflect the reality of competition as it exists today. I can only hope that they are willing to assist management as American Industry struggles to compete. I know I have read that European Unions have adjusted. There are even Union officers on the Boards of many companies. This is the reason they have been able to continue paying good wages and still compete. Now I want to ask you to reflect upon the demand today to increase the minimum wage to $15/ hr. for hamburger flippers. These wage increases are being granted by different States and is surging across America. They are for jobs that can only be done in America as the franchises are located in America. Having worked in factories most of my working years I believe that those jobs deserve higher wages than hamburger flippers in order for those workers to become part of the middle class as they were 40 years ago. This is nearly impossible today as there is always some country willing to have their people work for low wages with unsafe conditions, without regard for the environment, labor unions and health care cost. These are among the many reasons why it is nearly impossible for America to compete. Of course, we do have the exception of the military industrial system. These industries are protected from foreign competition. They are located in every State and those involved will fight to the death to continue their favored status. How can I get you to understand? All it seems people care about is getting the lowest price without regard for the loss of decent paying jobs for Americans. I refer to them as the Wal-Mart generation. I continue my lone avoidance of Wal-Mart but I will admit my resistance is starting to weaken. I have read recently that they are refusing to purchase pork from producers who put sows in steel crates without the ability to lie down and rest. This is a barbaric practice in my opinion. Wal-Mart with its enormous purchasing power can demand anything. The main reason I have boycotted them is the sure knowledge that they have pressured American manufacturers to send their factories overseas in order for Wal-Mart to purchase their products at a lower cost. Now I want to switch gears and come at this from another angle. 40 years ago America was working. There were no drug problems, there weren’t millions living off of government handouts like food stamps, workers comp, rent subsidies, free cell phones, free or low cost medical care, etc. These were not needed as Americans had jobs, paid taxes and supported their families by the dint of their personal effort. We, as a people are often conned into thinking of things as they are, not what they were. I am totally convinced that most students today are not learning American history. If they were I believe they might be more vocal in demanding a return to those days of not so long ago. The Democratic Party defended the working force then. The Democratic Party of today buys votes by giveaway programs which leaves millions of able bodied Americans living off the dole and not contributing to the benefit of society. I am equally convinced that the race problems which are getting worse every day are at least partially the result of young black men who cannot get a decent paying job. As to them abandoning women to raise children without their support, this I blame on government programs which have the direct result of removing fathers from homes. For those of you who are enjoying high stock prices, I believe I can assure you stocks will continue to rise as the Corporations will increase their profits. Right here, I guess, I have lost you, as who wouldn’t want their portfolio to grow. I can only request that patriotism and love of country would be more important than a soaring stock market. The long and the short of it is that our country is dying. We are $18 Trillion in debt and it is growing astronomically. Do you really believe that this is not critical to our survival? Congress keeps approving more costly programs without regard to the increase in debt. Our foreign adventures continue to suck us dry without ever providing the satisfaction that the Trillions spent or the lives lost are worth the cost. I have composed this in utter frustration knowing full well I don’t have a chance in hell of convincing anyone or making a positive contribution. Jack B. Walters June 24, 2015

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