In the OBAMACARE law, there is a provision that if you have a migraine, this Doctor will cure it. Only a $20 CO-PAY.
African Voodoo Witchdoctor Treats Man for Migraine
In the OBAMACARE law, there is a provision that if you have a migraine, this Doctor will cure it. Only a $20 CO-PAY.
African Voodoo Witchdoctor Treats Man for Migraine
By ILYA GALAK,
and ALAN GALAK
All things considered, why there is this deafening silence from unions on the topic of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States?
Why aren’t they jumping up and down screaming at politicians on both sides about this? As a country, we once had probably the best manufacturing industries in the world.
As just about everyone can see, most of those jobs are now overseas.
For example, since 2000, we lost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs, of which half a million were in high-tech industries such as telecommunications and electronics.
Simply put, we do not produce anything anymore. We buy tons of foreign goods and then wonder why we are lacking jobs.
We need to start exporting.
This article will not focus on exactly why manufacturing is vital to the economy, but if you have doubts, just go on Google and see for yourself all the evidence and studies coming from credible and professional sources which say that, without manufacturing, simply put, our country is doomed.
We will say this much however: The jobs of production workers, supervisors and managers in heavy industry enterprises (metallurgy, for example) and others in manufacturing helped build and define the middle class throughout the 20th century.
Also, manufacturing jobs have, on average, higher compensation than service-sector jobs.
What can be done to bring back this vital part of our economy? Who would be up to it?
For starters, we can’t ask the executives of the crony corporations to send our jobs back home; their only concern is profit.
Their goal is to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible. If it’s cheaper to make things in China, they will make them in China.
We won’t be able to count on our politicians either, no matter which party they’re from.
As most would guess, they have been bought long ago by the people who sent our jobs overseas.
As P.J. O’Rourke said:
“When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”
We’re simply saying that we, the people, want this to happen won’t be enough, sadly. We don’t have the power that we used to. Many of us are brainwashed, corrupted or just don’t care.
The fact that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Vito Lopez got re-elected says more about how our election system work than we ever could.
Nowadays, it takes money and political power to get anything meaningful done.
So, are there political powers out there for whom it would be in their best financial interest to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., and have the special-interest powers needed to challenge the crony corporations and their politicians?
Yes there are, and they are the unions. But are they doing anything?
We have heard on the news of the New York City school bus drivers, the teachers in Chicago, as well as the municipal workers in Wisconsin.
All of them fought for nothing more than more taxpayer money in their pockets.
But we’ve never seen them protesting on Capitol Hill or even at local city halls demanding action to bring manufacturing back home to America.
Common sense is telling us that the unions would want manufacturing back in the U.S., where they could profit from it once more.
But they’re really not doing anything. This is beyond our understanding.
We think it’s time to form our own movement, one called “Make It In The USA.” The only purpose of this party would be to fight to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.
It’s time for us to put aside our differences. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal, pro-choice or pro-life, union or non-union. One thing we can all agree on is that we want — no need — our manufacturing sector back.
It is the politicians who want us divided and conquered, but we must stand united or face the consequences.
Regarding the practicalities of such a movement, there are two things to say: First is that we need the will; we need people from many backgrounds and occupations to make a stand for this cause.
Second, we will need all the resources and help we can get. This is where the unions can really shine, seeing as how their lobbyists and political connections might just give us the edge we need.
And remember what Plato said:
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
By Dr. Judy Kuriansky
For PDF version of Citizens Magazine: CLICK HERE
Emotions are expected to escalate on the year anniversary of a traumatic event. I know that, from my vast experience as a psychologist providing psychological first aide after many natural disasters worldwide, in Haiti, China and Japan, and at home, after earthquakes in California and Hurricanes Hugo and Katrina. Superstorm Sandy certainly created massive destruction, loss of precious property and lives, so it was no surprise that feelings were raw at the recent community meeting I attended in Midland Beach.
About 200 neighborhood residents convened Wednesday night October 9th in the large gymnasium in the Olympia Activity Center next to St. Mary’s Church in Midland Beach, an area of Staten Island most severely hit by the storm. The public meeting, hosted by the Midland Beach Civic Association, was the first of several planned for coming months, to solicit ideas from the community for the NY State’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Project. Representatives from the Governor’s office and community leaders took the stage to encourage attendees to write suggestions on comment cards and post-it notes set up on tables at nine stations around the room, addressing issues like finance, housing, vulnerable populations and health and social services. With state, city, FEMA and community representatives on hand, people mingled, exchanging ideas and also sharing memories. I asked about emotions facing the one-year anniversary.
“In one word, frustration is what I hear from everyone,” Debi Vadola, Vice President of the Midland Beach Civic Association told me. “There is still so much frustration with FEMA, insurance companies, and everything. One year later, nothing has been done and the stress has just gotten worse.”
Vadola’s blames her husband’s heart attack – which happened in April after the storm – on worry about flood insurance costing $20,000 and the realization that their house was no longer worth anything.
After the storm, Deidre McGrath had panic attacks so severe that she couldn’t leave the house. Now, a year later and still on anti-anxiety drugs, she says, “I’m already reliving it, seeing the damage and gutting the house. I don’t know how I would be without the medication.”
Despite the common belief that women are the more emotional gender, men also openly suffer after traumas, like fathers I helped after the Asian tsunami and Haiti earthquake who felt frightened and helpless to save their families.
Joe Hrnnkind’s upset over the Sandy anniversary is compounded by the fact that the city just tore down the house that he had made handicap-accessible for his beloved mother but that had been excessively damaged by the storm. “Though she died before the storm, the house had so many memories of her for me, that it was like losing her again,” he told me. “I was so depressed that when I add up everything, I cry and I scream.”
Chiropractor Dr. Victor Dolan knows those same feelings. Now living in the basement of his office since Sandy claimed his house, he told me, “When I think about things, I cry. I cry too often. I cry when I think about the guy diagonally across the street who died, and the couple down the block.”
I’m touched observing how SI resident Scott McGrath extends his arm out to his friend Victor, as the two men talk to me about crying in front of each other. As is typical of bonding between those who have shared the same experience, Scott says, “We know what each other have gone through and that feels good.”
I feel so close to these men in our sharing, and to the others I spoke with, that I readily hug them too. They feel like family to me.
Anger is another common reaction after all such disasters. Since anger at Mother Nature or God is often not fruitful, the emotion can be more usefully directed at agencies and services, for example, for price gouging or slow response.
“My biggest question is why we have had hurricanes and disasters for 60 years and people are being paid $200,000 with degrees in emergency management to give us action steps after a disaster and no one knows their a** from their elbow on how to handle a disaster before and even a year later,” says Victor. “Where’s the cookbook on recovery?” he wants to know.
Equally angry, Deidre tells me, “I’d really like to speak my mind with federal, state and city agencies.” One of her major complaints, echoed by others, is that the New York State buyout program and distribution of assistance favors lower-income communities over the middle class and working families. She posts on the board, “The storm did not choose victims by income: so give equal help for all.”
A year out, people still suffer real problems, like mold, gutted basements, and rent payments and mortgage on a home they can’t go to, with emotional distress to match.
Pat Kane, a nurse at Staten Island University Hospital and co-chair of the health, mental health and spiritual care committee of the Staten Island Community and Interfaith Long-Term Recovery Organization (LTRO), told me she’s observed many cases of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). “Whenever we do health fairs, some people walk listlessly,” she told me, “and whenever Sandy is brought up, some people cry. “
Estrangement and some resentment runs high towards others not suffering similarly. “People not affected by Sandy or who only had their power out for a short time are tired of hearing about it,” Vadola told me.
“No one understands who isn’t in the same boat,” Joe Herrnkind says. “They ask, ‘Why aren’t you in your house already?’ ‘Why didn’t the city give you money’?”
Stopping in the middle of a sentence, he admits, “I get short-term memory loss from the stress. You get very depressed.”
Other common cognitive symptoms are confusion, lack of concentration and headaches.
Memories linger and haunt. Vadola recalls an older man who was “a lost soul wandering in the streets” because he couldn’t stay in his house more than a half hour due to the pain and memories it triggered.
My heart went out to the people I spoke with, especially since I had been to this very area to help right after the storm. A friend, Michelle Dingoor, and I took the ferry from Manhattan and then a bus on Staten Island, and ended up in Middle Field, the distribution center and staging area for FEMA, the New York City emergency management and other agencies. As in other situations immediately post-disasters and as I did at Ground Zero after 9/11, we psychologists do simple tasks like handing out warm clothes and toothbrushes, while available to address feelings when appropriate or asked.
The significance of anniversaries is well-known and proven by research. These days are particularly celebrated on marker days, like the 1st , the 5th, the 10th, the 15th, the 20th, the silver 25th and the gold 50th. The one-year after is obviously critical, evident in joys of your first wedding anniversary or your child’s first birthday, or in traumas like major illnesses, losses or deaths.
“The anniversary of Sandy means as much, or even more, than the actual event to me,” Dr. Dolan tells me, “because I didn’t feel the full impact of what happened and losing my house until afterwards, when I can’t find my drill or my favorite coat because they’re gone.”
Reflections about life can get deeper, and troubling, at such times. “I’m not a young man now,” he continues. “And it’s hard now a year later to realize how life passes. I even now think about how final something like death can be.”
A significant fear – as I’ve heard from after many disasters – stems from the worry, “When will this happen again?” With irony and stress in his voice, Scott showed me a text message alert he received from the city earlier that day on his cell phone, warning: “RICHMOND; COASTAL FLOOD STATEMENT UNTIL 10/10 3PM http://www.nyalert.gov/?=3906094.”
John Malizia, Vice President of the Fisherman’s Conservation Association and a Great Kills resident, is afraid that his boat would be damaged again in another storm, recalling media scenes of boats jammed up or broken loose, causing wreckage.
Others are fearful for their pets. Scott worries, “If there’s another flood and they close the street to my house, how will I get to my dog? I wouldn’t be able to function at work thinking something would happen to my dog.”
People have different ways to cope. Vadola tries to put it out of her mind. “I can’t let it get to me,” she says, although she is reminded about the storm every time she goes in the basement to do the laundry. Besides crying as a release, Victor Dolan says, “I try to remember to go on.”
Sharing helps some heal – a coping mechanism that obviously gets my endorsement as a psychologist. “We have a tent on Saturdays where people congregate,” Joe explains. “But they don’t just talk about the state’s buyout. They come to vent, share experiences, and rehash. It gives you an outlet you don’t have.”
Taking action is one of the most effective antidotes to dark feelings triggered by helplessness and hopelessness. Deidre McGrath and her husband Scott founded Beacon of Hope New York Resource Center, after contacting Beacon of Hope NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana), to get suggestions about what they did after Hurricane Katrina. Following that model, they beautified homes, fixed people’s front yards, gave fun workshops for kids, and threw a picnic and parties for seniors.
Vincent Lenza, co-chair of the New York Rising Reconstruction Program specifically for Staten Island, who is Executive Director of the Staten Island Not-for-Profit Association by day, says you have to be adept at navigating various programs. “I hear frustration and anger,” he told me, “But I also hear people who are ready to soldier on… to take the next step, to be proactive, who say, ‘This is the situation and I want solutions’.”
Individuals and community organizations that stepped up to help post-storm continue their activities. That’s heartening. One of these, the LTRO, meets regularly with members from 90 organizations to coordinate recovery by providing financial assistance, supplies, and health and spiritual care to residents in need;
communicating about resources to the community through multi-lingual flyers, fairs and social media; and presenting needs to elected officials and media through letters, meetings, parades and community forums (www.sisandyhelp.org or email
LTRO coordinator Reverend Karen Jackson knows recovery will take time beyond this one-year marker, as she told me, ““We are committed to serve Staten Island to recover from Sandy for the long haul.”
Deidre and Scott McGrath and I read the post-it note suggestions at the station designated for “health and social services.” They called for more services, especially for children, seniors, people with disabilities and single residents; attention to abandoned homes with mold; payment of Medicare bills; and a better communication network.
Like many at the civic meeting, my heart and mind drift back often to the storm trauma one year ago, when I spent nights helping at the distribution center in Miller Field, then in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and then in Far Rockaway. It was so emotional, that it took me a while to process everything and finally put my thoughts together into a journal article, reviewing my personal as well as professional reactions to the compound impact of the storm on emotions, the environment and economics (see: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/eco.2013.0010?journalCode=eco).
Lessons hit home again about the irony that water, the source of life, can be such a cause of destruction. Personally, I found solace in several ways: remembering Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy whereby in the face of the horror of the holocaust, he still found meaning in life; renewing my philosophy of life based on the psychological principle of Locus of Control that I can control as much as possible but must accept that I cannot control everything; reaffirming that people matter more than possessions and that support of others is a powerful force in recovery.
Community events are healing – a solution I have explored extensively in my recent book, “Living in An Environmentally Traumatized World: Healing Ourselves and Our Planet.” These include memorials, vigils, fairs, and continued attention from media and officials. After destructive floods in Joplin, Missouri, visits from President Obama made survivors feel important and cared about.
After Hurricane Katrina, my colleague Louisiana neuropsychologist Darlyne Nemeth and I conducted anniversary workshops for groups of survivors. The exercises included breaking out of chaos (by enacting dispersing a tight circle), relaxation breathing, imaging power, listing resources, stating dreams and telling others about their personal strengths to get support and reinforcement (see: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/eco.2013.0006). State flags that were drawn by the groups were donated to the permanent collection of the Cabildo Museum in New Orleans, making the participants feel proud. Such public acknowledgement is a known psychological principle of healing.
Memorials and vigils are being planned for the one-year anniversary of Sandy, listed on websites of LTRO and other local organizations. I know as a psychologist that some people embrace such gatherings as comforting while others prefer privacy.
On the anniversary, October 29th, the LTRO-hosted event in Middle Beach starts at 4 p.m. at the Fountain of the Dolphins on Sand Lane and Father Capodanno Boulevard. Craft activities – for example, Project Hope crisis counselors will facilitate residents to make flags that will be added to the sculpture in the Rockaways – will be followed by a resiliency walk, ending in a free community dinner with giveaways, speeches from elected officials and community organizations, and tables with information about disaster-preparedness and ongoing services. An interfaith service of remembrance starts at 6:30 pm, followed by a candlelight vigil – also happening in other parts of New York and New Jersey.
Joe Herrnkind told me “I don’t want to be at any kind of celebration, or be near any barbecuing on a boardwalk with a band.” He plans to use the day “as a time for reflection.” John Malizia is also going to stay at home, he says, and “pray that it doesn’t happen again.” Scott plans on being home too, with his family and dog. Echoing the sentiments of his friend Victor, he tells me, “If me and him go by the memorial together another time, that’s ok, but I won’t go when other people come to look at my misery.”
Nicole Romano-Levine, a high school teacher who is President of the New Dorp Beach Civic Association, is co-organizing the local memorial at Cedar Grove Avenue and Topping Street. The “remembrance” will feature singing the Star Spangled Banner and unveiling a plaque engraved, “For those who died and those who survived.” With impressive psychological insight, she expresses the benefits of public memorials that I have written about extensively when she says, “Even though people still have hardships and don’t feel better a year later, what with nightmares and panic every time it rains, we can celebrate our strengths and the fact that we survived.”
Appreciating each other matters. As Nicole says, “We can still remind ourselves how wonderful people can be even in times of crisis.”
Togetherness is healing. As Reverend Jackson says, “It’s about neighbors helping neighbors, coming together to celebrate the new unity we’ve seen in the aftermath of the disaster.”
Romano-Levine echoes that sentiment. “If we stick together and fight the good fight together, for what we want and what we need, we have a fighting chance. There are things we can do together that can’t do by ourselves.”
Her words express well the psychological theme of resilience. “I hope people who come to the event will walk away feeling whole and having some kind of peace.”
Tips on how to prepare for the anniversary of Sandy:Prepare for emotional reactions. Start acknowledging feelings now, in advance, to prevent overwhelm on the actual date. Change you mind anytime, up to the event and on the day.
After the anniversary day, be prepared for lingering emotions and the need to take ongoing action to get practical issues solved. The community members at the civic meeting know that their individual mourning, as well as lobbying and collective action, is an ongoing process.
Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D. is best known publicly for hosting the popular radio advice show “LovePhones” on Z100 for years, and her many appearances on television shows. She is an internationally known clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. from NYU, currently on the faculty at Columbia University Teachers College and an honorary professor at the Peking University Health Sciences Center in China. A humanitarian, she is an NGO representative at the United Nations; serves on the board of U.S. Doctors for Africa; and has co-founded
a camp for girls empowerment in Africa as well as the Global Kids Connect Project for kids in Haiti, Japan and Africa, and the band called the Stand Up for Peace Project. She has provided psychological first aide after many disasters including 9’11 and the Sandy Hook school shootings, and after earthquakes in San Francisco, Australia, Haiti and China, the tsunamis in Sri Lanka and Japan, and hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Her many books include “The Complete Idiots Guide to A Healthy Relationship:” “31 Things to Raise a Child’s Self Esteem” and “Living in an Environmentally Traumatized World: Healing Ourselves and Our Planet.” An award-winning journalist, she is regularly comments on news and relationships for media worldwide including CNN and CCTV in China, newspapers and Internet sites. See her blog (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-kuriansky-phd/) columns (http://www.bottomlinepublications.com/expert/45-dr-judy-kuriansky) website www.DrJudy.com.
SEVEN QUESTIONS TO MTA
By Ilya Galak and Alan Galak
Our country once had probably the best manufacturing industries in the world.
As just about everyone can see, most of those jobs are now overseas.
For example, since 2000 more than 50,000 factories have closed their doors. The country lost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, of which half a million were in high-tech industries such as telecommunications and electronics.
We are importing just about everything we use in our daily lives and then wonder why we are lacking jobs.
This letter is not focused on why manufacturing is vital to the economy, but if you have doubts, just go on Google and see for yourself all the evidence and studies coming from credible and professional sources which say that, without manufacturing, simply put, our country is doomed (1).
The addiction to cheap foreign labor at any price has gotten so extreme that, even as we speak, the MTA is planning to use Chinese steel in a massive project to replace the deck on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, even though, as the New York Times noted in an editorial on August 4th, 2013, “China has a very well-deserved reputation for producing inferior and often dangerous products.” That reputation was validated when California bought Chinese steel to renovate San Francisco’s Bay Bridge; a decision which led to delays and huge cost overruns because of faulty welds by the Chinese steel manufacturer (2).
So, our questions to MTA are:
1. Are you familiar with the situation in California?
2. Are You going to purchase the steel from China directly or through the general contractor?
3. How much are you going to pay for the Chinese steel (directly to Chinese manufacturer, to the middle company or to general contractor)?
4. Did the MTA (or general contractor) ask for a quote from US manufacturers?
5. If yes, we would like to see all the proposals from Chinese and American manufacturers. What is the difference in price, service, capability to do the project, quality of the steel, etc…? If not – why didn’t the MTA ask American manufacturers?
6. According Tom Prendergast, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority: “The MTA tried diligently to find an American fabricator of the orthotropic steel decks, working directly with Pennsylvania steel companies and reaching out through the General Contractors Association. Not a single American fabricator had the capacity, the experience and the willingness to tackle the job. Contrary to some claims, price was not a factor in this decision. The American steel industry has not focused on the process of fabricating orthotropic steel decks for projects of this size and complexity, while fabricators in other countries have specialized in it. With no American firms willing to commit to fabricating the orthotropic steel panels, the work was subcontracted to firms in China, which are being held to exacting safety and quality standards” (3). As far as we know, the two factories in Pennsylvania did bid on the project and wanted to do it. Where is the truth?
7. According Tom Prendergast: “Not a single American fabricator had the capacity, the experience and the willingness to tackle the job. Contrary to some claims, price was not a factor in this decision. The American steel industry has not focused on the process of fabricating orthotropic steel decks for projects of this size and complexity, while fabricators in other countries have specialized in it.”
Adams Otis (Daily news) reports that the MTA said U.S. production of the renovated steel means it “would cost another $100 million to keep the project in America” (4). So we can do it, just more expensive. Where is the truth?
We do not want to be blind. We want to know the real answer.
(1) A Made In The USA Party’s time has surely come
(2) Make It in the USA http://statenislandpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/2853/
(3) The MTA proudly supports U.S. jobs
(4) Could NYC be headed for another Bay Bridge “fiasco?” (Why is the renovation of the Verrazano Bridge being outsourced to China?)
By Michael Califra and Ilya Galak
When it opened in 1964, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was the longest suspension bridge on Earth; an iconic structure in a city with more than its fair share of icons. 50 years later the MTA, which operates the bridge, is planning a massive $235 million-dollar upgrade, replacing its concrete upper deck with steel.
Unfortunately, the MTA decided to use Chinese and not American steel. Outsourcing this project would be a slap in the face at any time, not only to American workers and US manufacturers, but also to those who pay the exorbitant $15 dollars toll for the privilege of driving on the bridge. But it is even more egregious at a time when this country is suffering though a period of high unemployment with economic output well under capacity due to the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis.
The MTA’s Thomas Prendergast says that it was forced to outsource to China because there was no American steel company able to supply a product capable of “satisfying the requirements for a project of this scope and complexity.”
That turns out not to be true. In fact there are two steel companies, both located in Pennsylvania, 100 miles from the Verrazano Bridge, that can produce steel to the MTA’s specifications. What the American manufacturers cannot do is compete with a Chinese state-owned company, which receives massive subsidies from the government at the same time it pays its workers – for a full day’s work – less than half of what American Steel workers earn per hour.
That might seem like the tough economic reality, but it is far from the whole story.
In California, the state also chose a Chinese manufacturer – Zhenhua Pot Machinery Co. of Shanghai – for the steel used in the San Francesco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The results were cost overruns and expensive, months-long construction delays due to deceit of the manufacturer, which knowingly claimed a delivery schedule it could not meet.
The American inspection firm MacTec Engineering and Consulting, which the California Transportation Dept. assigned to the factory, reported early on that as many as 65 percent of the more than 30 welded panel sections his office examined – either visually or using ultrasonic testing – failed to meet specifications. Eventually welds on more than 100 panels had to be inspected and repaired. The experience has raised the questions about whether California taxpayers are getting substandard components built into their bride that could wear out prematurely and require costly repairs in the near future.
The shortsighted addiction to cheap foreign labor, no matter the cost to the safety American public or the economic well being of its people has to stop. The MTA should not be taking money from the American working people at the toll both and sending those dollars abroad to support the state-owned industries of dictatorial regimes like China, especially after a city audit found it had a nearly two billon-dollar surplus. Some of the most modern, computerized steel-manufacturing facilities in the world right here at home. They are capable of producing safe, high quality steel and have done for countless large projects, including building the Verrazano Bridge itself. It is time to tell our elected representatives to use all means possible to pressure the MTA to use American-made steel. The people who elected them deserve no less.
“Make It in the USA” (Open letter to Congressman Grimm and Congressman Jeffries: CLICK HERE
To: Congressman Michael Grimm ( R ) and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries ( D)
Created By: Ilya Galak ( R ), Michael Califra ( D ), Lisa Giangrande ( R ), Bill Taitt ( D )
A special thank you to Hesham El-Meligy for his advice
PDF version: CLICK HERE
“Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufacturers. Every nation, with a view to those great objects, ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defense” – Alexander Hamilton
“The American consumer is also the American worker, and if we don’t do something to protect our manufacturing base here at home, it is going to be hard to buy any retail goods” – Lindsey Graham
“Capitalism works better from every perspective when the economic decision makers are forced to share power with those who will be affected by those decisions” – Barney Frank
The biggest and most immediate threat to the health of out national economy is the sick state of the middle class.
Once the envy of the world and the great engine of prosperity that drove our national economy, the American middle class has been under pressure for more than thirty years. The offshoring of good-paying manufacturing jobs along with stagnant wages and the rising costs of everything from energy to health care and a college education have left the middle class hanging on to the American dream by their finger nails.
Yet there is a deafening silence from many of our elected representatives on the topic of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
With so much riding on the prosperity and growth a regenerated manufacturing base would bring to this country– which includes solutions for many of the social ills brought about by unemployment and service jobs that pay so little many Americans working full-time cannot afford to feed their families – that is simply unacceptable.
This nation is the wealthiest the world has ever known. It became an industrial power, then a superpower because of its ability to manufacture things. Yet we have let that base of our prosperity slowly erode as the investor class in search of ever-higher profits abandoned American workers in favor of cheap labor overseas.
Since the year 2000, more than 50,000 factories have closed their doors. The country lost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, half a million of which were in high-tech industries such as telecommunications and electronics.
The addiction to cheap foreign labor at any price has gotten so extreme that, even as we speak, the MTA is planning to use Chinese steel in a massive project to replace the deck on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, even though, as the New York Times noted in an editorial on August 4th, 2013, “China has a very well-deserved reputation for producing inferior and often dangerous products.” That reputation was validated when California bought Chinese steel to renovate San Francisco’s Bay Bridge; a decision which led to delays and huge cost overruns because of faulty welds by the Chinese steel manufacturer.
Every time an American job is outsourced to China or other slave-wage countries, the American economy loses the spending power and tax revenues that worker’s job generates. Every time an American worker is forced to take a low-paying service job, that worker’s disposable income shrinks, making it harder for that worker to stay in the middle class and decreasing demand across the economy.
Simply put, we need more American manufacturing. We need to stop sending jobs and the dollars they generate overseas. We need to start exporting high-quality goods produced in the United States to markets around the world again, and to bring our trade deficits back into balance.
Our question to our elected representatives is simple. 1-What do you propose to bring back American manufacturing jobs? And 2- what do you propose to generate the development of new industries here in the United States?
We want you to work with us directly – citizens of from all backgrounds and experience – to cut though the bureaucracy and formulate policies that you can bring to the House of Representatives. These polices might include tax policy, education, direct government spending on our dilapidated infrastructure and other things that will not only create jobs for the millions who don’t now have them, but to regenerate the manufacturing base in this country, and thus the American middle class. This is the only way we can again have an economy that works for everyone and not just a select few. We would like you to present bi-partisan legislation, call it the “Make It in the USA” bill, no later than May 2014.
Our goal is to inspire a “Make it in the USA” movement, the sole purpose of which would be to fight to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.; save the manufacturing jobs we already have and to push for policies supporting new American industries whose jobs cannot be outsourced.
It is time to declare your allegiance to the American worker. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat; the one thing we should all be able to agree on is that this country needs its manufacturing sector back if it is going to regenerate the middle class. We are tired of politicians who use wedge issues to divide us. That is over. We want you to help us achieve the goals outlined here. Working for us is why we elect you. Working against us is why we won’t.
“We the People” have already begun brainstorming real world solutions. If you feel that you want to bring in your own policy experts to find answers, please do; if you want to use any of our ideas, you are welcome to do that, too. But we expect action.
Leonid Markman (I – Bklyn):
Our main problem is taxes. The higher the taxes, the more expensive it is to manufacture goods at home. Accordingly, businesses will look for ways to survive by reducing labor costs. The declining technological manufacturing, I believe, under today’s governing policies, will go straight to India. While the industries that will continue to do business with the well-to-do Chinese will be the ones who can’t afford to move their production elsewhere. India will be the second place, after China, where masses of American jobs will set sail to. The second problem is Healthcare. Most of our career politicians not only have no understanding of private business; I believe that they don’t even see the difference between big and small business. Now medium and small businesses, to survive the expenses of taxes and health insurance, will simply lay off employees and put more responsibility on themselves and their remaining workers. Look around, thousands of businesses, even those that have been running for decades, are closing their doors. There can’t be any talk of big earnings, only of survival. And lastly, businesses need more freedom to choose their strategies, and less regulation. In New York, inspectors go around the most vulnerable small businesses where the owners themselves work with maybe one or two employees. They give out fines for about $500-$1000, because price labels aren’t stuck on all the goods, or the minimal price for credit card purchases is not clearly displayed, or there’s a piece of paper lying just outside the doorway, which could have come from anywhere. This disorder in the factories of Russia once led to the revolution. Oh, I don’t know if such a comparison would be valid.
Source: Citizens Magazine
Steve Lawton (D – SI):
I think we need to find solutions to combating poverty. Here is the real problem. Three points to make. 1. Both parties are responsible for this. US “trade agreements” and currency markets have opened the door to find new markets to produce in to feed our demand. 2. The current situation was advocated for under the “free market” argument. Yet it is totally orchestrated and regulated by the Government, but in this case very favorable to American Corporations and not the American people. China’s industrial expansion has been made possible by the American Dollar. Most of their trade (although they are trying to change this now) is backed by the American dollar. So China is an extension of the American market now. 3. Organized Labor has been the only sizable objectors of these policies
Source: Staten Island Politics Facebook group forum
Richard Bell ( R – SI):
There is so much to say on this topic I could be here all day. I used to manufacture automation control devices. There are regulations from so many agencies you can’t count them and they are a big problem. Just one example, the DOT has regulations on how “hazardous” materials have to be shipped. There is no distinction between an eye dropper bottle size of acid and a railroad tank car size of acid. The regulations stipulate what size box it has to be shipped in, what the packing material must be, how many “hazardous” labels and what size the labels must be and exactly where the labels must be placed on the box. It’s all gone too far. I agree we must be smart and safe about such things, but these regulations more than doubled the cost of a gallon of acid for my business, which adds nothing to my product and only adds to the cost of my overhead. This adds to the cost to my customers and makes me less competitive with devices from Asia.
Joann Olbrich (D-SI):
1) Stop rewarding those companies that send American jobs overseas with tax breaks, and instead punish them by taking away their subsidies and tax breaks, and put heavy tariffs on goods manufactured outside the US. 2) Reward with tax breaks and subsidies those companies that produce in the United States, with American workers getting a living wage.
Source: Staten Island Politics Facebook group forum
Ilya Galak (R-SI):
Regarding the “race issue” and “social responsibility”: Jordan sneakers. They sell from $350.00 to $450.00. Regular good quality sneakers cost approx. $35. Kids of all races are crazy to purchase Jordan sneakers. I assume Michael Jordan makes a lot of money licensing his famous name. That is totally fine with me. The only question is – aren’t Jordan sneakers made in sweat shops in Singapore and Thailand? If yes, wouldn’t it be better if Jordan produced in our African -American communities? It would help people who are the most disadvantaged to get jobs –and training if the company supplied it – get help break the cycle of poverty and dependence? Training and jobs will lead to less crime in African –American communities. I am sure if his sneakers would bear the label “Made in United States,” Jordan’s business would be even more successful and a model for others.
Michael Califra (D-SI):
Don’t pressure the Fed to raise rates before a strong recovery is underway, which will help keep US exports competitive on world markets and help keep US factories open. Eliminate tax breaks that assist companies in moving production abroad. Pass a stimulus similar to the two-year $109 billion bill passed in the Senate last session – large enough to create 1.5 million construction jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, but stipulating that only US manufactured steel and other materials are used in those projects. Invest in high-speed rail, again using only US produced materials. Invest in a national smart-energy grid and enact a clean-energy program that focuses on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, which moves us away from fossil fuels; this should include investing in the development of eclectic vehicle charging stations on Interstate highways to help facilitate the demand for those vehicles, all of which will require development of US manufacturing.
Elik Yuzhny (R-Bklyn):
As Montesquieu said: “Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.” Politicians compete with each other over who is going to propose and get more legislation approved. That is how they measure the effectiveness of politicians. Every day there are new laws and new regulations are coming from politicians, and tons of government agencies are popping up here and there. How much legislation do we need? Ten laws for each American? 20? 50? We have to start a different competition between politicians and agencies – who will propose to “repeal laws” and “repeal more regulations “.We need to stop creating all those absurd laws and regulations that kill our businesses and regulate our daily lives. We have to start repealing these laws to let people and businesses breathe. We need laws against political corruption, not for it.
Alan Galak ( D – Bklyn):
About a year ago I was fortunate enough to visit Italy. Among its many wonders was something I consistently saw in every souvenir shop and store I visited: easily more than half of all of the products said “Made in Italy.” In fact, one store had a huge sign glued onto its front window which blatantly said “Made in Italy; NO CHINA”.
By no means is this an isolated incident. Ever went shopping for home appliances? If you have, then you may have noticed how many quality refrigerators and microwaves the Canadians are making. Also, I’ve been reading and hearing on the news about how the Germans have maintained a good economy and an industrial sector rivaling China’s.
So we have countries today that have a healthy amount of manufacturing, all the while treating their workers in a civilized manner. Among the biggest factors attributing to their success is how their tax policies and incentives work. They reward companies that manufacture domestically, and penalize those that outsource (unlike us who do the exact opposite). But I am mostly saying is that there are success stories out there, and we should learn from them.
My interview with Gregory Davidzon: CLICK HERE