It is very frustrating to hear people anywhere saying they’ve given up fighting what is happening in Washington because they think they can’t make a difference. Individuals cannot, but groups can! When Sen. Franken of Minnesota was seated midway through 2009 following a long-contested election aftermath, it gave opponents of manufacturing the vote they needed to run anything through the U.S. Senate, without opposition.
Has anyone noticed they’re not getting much done? Conservative Democrats stood their ground and refused to give their leadership the votes they needed to pass some of the most dangerous pieces of federal legislation we’ve ever seen. Even when they went behind closed doors and refused to have open debate on the healthcare bill compromise, they apparently could not agree.
Could it be they’ve seen a backlash against their heavy-handed ways? Some observers have called the January 19 special election of Sen. Scott Brown the “Miracle in Massachusetts”. For the first time in over four decades liberals will not be occupying both Senate seats representing Massachusetts. What a glorious day!
Our government has gone out of control. Our elected representatives are afraid of open, honest debate because they can’t defend their position. Why will they not talk about true tort reform as part of healthcare reform? Why does the Congressional leadership bend over backwards to do whatever Big Labor wants when unions represent less than 8% of the workforce, outside of the government? Why did the President agree to give Big Labor an exemption on paying a tax on their “Cadillac” health care like the rest of us would be expected to do? They’re willing to throw more than 90% of Americans over the side to placate a very small percentage of the workforce.
I received a letter from one of my two Missouri Senators recently stating that she voted for the current healthcare package because, according to a non-partisan government office, the health bill will “reduce the deficit.” Who is kidding whom? Do they really believe that, or are they just repeating what they’re told to say? Either way, it is scary that any intelligent person would believe spending over $900 billion in taxpayer money will “reduce” the deficit. We may need some college courses in finance for our elected officials.
How can we, as an industry, continue to let this go on? Luckily, we don’t have to. In 2009 we stalled Card Check and Cap and Trade. We can be successful but we can’t give up. We can stand together, speak with a unified voice, and let them know that we will be heard on Election Day.
There are some in our industry who are unwilling to work in larger coalitions. There are some who want to splinter the groups that are working to defend the industry, and they’re doing it for personal gain. There are many that don’t seem to want to do much of anything to inform and educate their elected officials, and help to support U.S. manufacturing. As most readers will know, manufacturing is the critical element to a strong domestic economy and it is vital for our national security. We can’t give up! Stand up and speak out to all that will listen and tell your friends and peers they need to do the same. Stay ever vigilant!
James R. Grosmann is marketing director for the National Tooling & Machining Association (URL). Contact him at [email protected].