Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Country Used to Make Things


This country used to make things—truly great things that were the envy of countries round the world.  In fact, I am old enough to remember when Sears and Roebuck used to sell USA-made Craftsman’s tools that carried a life-time guarantee.  I grew up in an America that made a full 90% of the products we used.  What happened?  

The answer to that is simple: The corporations—publicly licensed entities given tax breaks because they ostensibly serve the public good—shipped our once proud factories overseas to cut costs and increase profits.  And with our factories went our jobs and the promise of the middle class we had worked so very hard to establish in post-Depression America. 

And now our country largely bereft of factories and manufacturing jobs is being told by those very same corporations that we now have to ship our natural resources to China—in the form of Powder River Basin coal—to power the factories and people overseas. 

While I have absolute and total sympathy for the unemployed (been there, done that) in this county and in our country, I cannot help thinking that a coal terminal at Cherry Point represents a large nail in the quickly closing coffin of US-based manufacturing.  More tragically, this prospect of coal clouds our future and represents a u-turn in the once bright trajectory of this region.

When jobs are at stake emotions run very high, I understand that.  But that is when true and visionary leadership must arise and inject common sense.  Certainly, we can develop local jobs that do not also accelerate the loss of US manufacturing jobs as well as jeopardize property values, the prospects of future enterprises like waterfront redevelopment, and our precious quality of life and health. 

We once were smarter than this and will not regain our former preeminence by dancing to the seductive and well-financed tune played by the very forces that have created our current dynamic.  And as Albert Einstein so aptly said, We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

- Bob Ferris 
Executive Director 

P.S. 

For more information regarding the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal please refer to our website www.re-sources.org.

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