Letters to the Editor For March 2008

Politics, Government and an Ailing Middle-Class

Star-Spangled Snafu

"Just in Time -- The United States of Manufacturing," Feb. 2008

You're so right and wrong at the same time. The government can stick their nose in anywhere they damn well please whether it's legal or not, i.e., low-flow toilets, banning of incandescent light bulbs and who knows what else is in the 1,000-plus-page energy bill the president and Congress ballyhooed.

We are turning into a "Mother May I?" society where we have to ask permission to do just about anything. Constitutional? No. But remember Alice In Wonderland where words mean what I say they do -- no more, no less. Your call is good but I fear the likes of ADM, GE and others who have vested interest in laws, and congressmen are the gingerbread men riding the fox over the river and figure not to get bit but get what they want safe and dry.

Keep up the good fight.

Jim Jenkins
owner/general manager
WAGS Radio
Bishopville, S.C.


There is one thing that the politicians can do to help manufacturing in the United States. Bills such as the Berry Amendment and Buy American Improvement Act are to support that base, to ensure that we have the ability to manufacture the weapon systems to support our war fighters without relying on the politics of other nations. We've seen time and again that today's ally may be tomorrow's terrorist.

The other aspect of this position is that if the government is going to spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on defense, it would make sense, when the manufacturing sector is struggling, that those billions are used to put Americans to work.

Steven L. Staub
president
Staub Laser Cutting
Dayton, Ohio

I completely agree that politicians lack knowledge regarding the manufacturing industry. However, I completely disagree that this is not a political issue since high labor and healthcare costs have made most industries noncompetitive. Politicians know that it is a high priority issue that has resulted from the government's inability to resolve it and they are being addressed as main campaign issues.

Our healthcare issues stem largely from uninsured individuals bleeding the system in which costs/responsibilities are passed on to corporate America. (Material and energy costs have risen across the board regardless of location.) Many of these uninsured individuals are illegal immigrants bringing us back full circle to our government and their inability to close the borders. The illegal immigration issue is straining our infrastructure, affecting our educational system, and quality and availability of healthcare -- just to mention a few.

Amnesty is not the answer, but the most cost-effective and logistically practical method would be to implement a monetary penalty that can be garnished with interest or paid in full in order to attain permanent resident status (not citizenship). The sooner they start paying taxes, the sooner we release the burdens previously mentioned and putting the manufacturing industry in a more competitive state.

Stella Karavas
vice president
MagCap Engineering LLC
Canton, Mass.

I agree with you that government should stay out of the way of competition. However, who put us into that competition? It was the large firms that entered into manufacturing in China, not to enter the market there but to move their manufacturing to greatly improve the bottom line. Then, when "unfair" trade and replication of products are produced, they scream "copyrights!"

I have heard and read about too many that quietly withdrew from manufacturing in China because of poor quality. However, now they have the knowledge and technology and structures that they provided and will compete for less cost to others. They do this with drugs and any other product for the price, and could care less about the end results. The leaders in these large organizations, which many other businesses follow, need to look in the mirror to find their enemy.

Craig Tallar
senior M.E./T.E./expeditor
Rexnord Industries LLC
Milwaukee, Wis.

Great Times... Unless You're a Middle-Class American

"Not So Fast -- Manufacturers Group Continued Growth," Jan 17, 2008.

This article was very informative in the sense it shows how different people are looking at the data. If you work for a multinational and could care less about actual manufacturing within America, these are great times. Anyone in China, India, etc., are enjoying growth at the expense of the middle-class American worker. And I am not talking about just shop floor labor. We are seeing R&D go offshore at an alarming rate.

The time is nearing when people are going to have to decide what is acceptable: watching offshoring crush American manufacturing or seeing their stock in multinational corporations grow. For most Americans, it truly is not a level playing field.

Randy Juras
engineer
Goss International
Bolingbrook, Ill.

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