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Blurred And Confused Interest
On March 12, 2004, my wife and I attended a question and answer session with Senate candidate Pat Toomey. The session was conducted in a very organized manner with pre-submitted questions being presented to Representative Toomey by a moderator. I was in agreement with what Rep. Toomey had to say about "moral issues," second amendment rights, limiting medical malpractice awards, supporting school choice, simplifying the tax code and so forth. However when it came to questions about trade and agriculture Rep. Toomey told the conventional "cock and bull stories" by stating that trade is creating more jobs than it is destroying. Rep. Toomey gave the analysis of when cars were invented carriage makers went out of business and gave other illustrations of modern inventions that put the makers of the previous technology out of business. These illustrations completely miss the point. In the past when jobs were lost due to changing technology people found other manufacturing jobs within our own country. Today our jobs are lost because of the search for lower and lower labor cost by multinational corporation. The God given dignity of work is being assaulted by global trade that uses people and labor like a commodity. Is it moral for corporations to terminate jobs for workers in the United States and relocate in a country where people work for pennies an hour while the average Fortune CEO "earns" what would equate to some $7,500 an hour in salary and benefits? American interest and corporate interest have been blurred and confused as being one and the same. National security is being compromised by trade and immigration deals.
God created men to work with their hands as well as their brains, but, by shipping manufacturing jobs, for example, to other countries and degrading our farmers, the message is that these jobs are less important and by inference the people doing them are less important as well. The economic conditions of lower wages and the growing tendency to believe that certain jobs are not important contributes to creating many of the social programs that conservatives seem concerned about but want to withdraw public funds from assisting in.
Rep. Toomey also pointed to trade as helping US farmers by opening up new export markets. Unfortunately ag trade has lowered farm prices by engaging farmers in the race to the bottom, by competing with third world countries. The US imports a huge amount of food, some from hungry nations, while farmers in this country are forced off their land. Meanwhile, government officials are determined to keep people in the dark concerning where their food comes from.
Representative Toomey rightly said that if we quit doing business with the rest of the world, our economy would collapse. This is because we are excessively dependent on other countries for a wide variety of goods, including essentials like food and clothing. Is the answer to this problem to increase our dependency?
I have become politically disenfranchised by "conservatives" who are willing to watch multinational corporations stand on the necks of workers and indeed facilitate corporations to do so. While many wail about voter apathy, it is little wonder why so few vote when so many have been abandoned by those who have the duty to protect the "little guy" from bullies.
My intent is neither to condemn Congressman Toomey, nor endorse Senator Specter. My real frustration is that conservatives and Christians do not hold people like President Bush, Senator Santorum, Congressman Toomey and others accountable on trade and ag issues, which really do boil down to moral issues.
I plan on going to the polls on April 27, and will probably find someone to vote for. However, I understand those who dont think it is worth their time and gasoline to go vote.
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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