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
“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.