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Everybody's Column

Loss of manufacturing jobs is destroying our country

Color me surprised, no, make that amazed. I purchased an item the other day and, lo and behold, I found that it was made in the United States. What an unusual thing. Our manufacturing potential is rapidly being degraded by greedy companies maximizing their profits. An important factor in our growth as a nation came through our ability to create from the ground up. I recall vividly that during World War II, we became known as the "Arsenal of Democracy."

The latest word is that Ford will have its cars made in China. The garlic farmers in California, an industry that steadfastly refused price supports, now are appealing for help because the Chinese are flooding the market with dirt-cheap garlic. It can't go on like this much longer without seriously debilitating our economy.

Ross Perot, in his failed attempt to become president, spoke of that "great sucking sound" -- our jobs going overseas. He was a prophet in our time. I've read that some important electronic components used in our defense system are actually made in other countries. That's a recipe for disaster.

Our skilled manufacturing workers are losing their jobs and being forced to take low-paying service jobs, making it very difficult for them to buy all of this wonderful stuff flooding our country through globalization.

Joseph Spina



Minimum wage protects hard-working people

On Jan. 4, The News published a column by the conservative writer George Will, "Minimum wage a bad idea." He contends that the minimum wage should be set at "$0." Will concluded his argument with the economic perspective of labor. "Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices." Spoken like a true conservative, and that is where the problem rises. Conservatives, in order to get their capitalist agenda across, dehumanize anything that gets in their way.

In an economic textbook, labor may be a commodity, yet in the real word, labor is the result of work completed by people, many who spend most of their waking hours laboring to make someone else wealthy. Before minimum wage laws were first passed in the 1930s, the market along with the wealthy decreed the minimum wage, and it made messes of the lives of the people.

Conservatives who arrogantly cloak themselves with the Constitution continue to ignore the most important words in the Constitution, "We the people."

Patrick Braunscheidel

West Seneca


Don't teach Americans to blindly follow leaders

I read the My View by Zanna Vaida in the Jan. 6 News about her upbringing and schooling in the old Soviet Union. She described a program of compulsory militaristic rituals, a regimen of daily injections of how strong her nation was, and how to protect it from inferior people. And then I realized it was a precise copy of the Hitler Youth Program, established in the '30s in Germany, to indoctrinate all German youth to blindly follow the dictates of the Nazi Party.

Vaida's thinking so frightens me that I shudder to think of the consequences. But then I realized this could never happen in America. Or could it?

Ted Reszel

North Tonawanda


Holt reveals arrogance in refusing to resign

Erie County Legislator George Holt showed nothing but arrogance when he stated that he wouldn't resign and he planned on running again. Why would he say anything different? His district votes one way, and anything short of murder guarantees him another turn at the trough.

Holt must repay thousands of dollars in back taxes and he doesn't seem the least bit concerned. Maybe he will borrow the money from his son, the basketball guru, who was brought in from Texas for $50,000 to teach a weeklong youth basketball camp.

The voters of Holt's district should demand more from their elected legislator. I won't forget the legislators who sat on their hands and said nothing, thus condoning his crimes.

David Wilcox

East Amherst


It's time to get rid of career politicians

I almost began to accept the depressing notion that we are all just pawns. It doesn't seem to matter how well intentioned one's goals may be in public service. A dismissive mind-set is rampant amongst our "political elite." The same, tired faces have steered us wrong for too long. With those tired faces comes a complacency that has been the sole reason why Western New York is mired in economic despondency. With the advent of the new year, I'd like to say: No more.

No more complacency. No more tired faces and no more career politicians. No more status quo, and no more duplicitous power plays. The sense of entitlement so many of our elected officials embrace is the reason why my contemporaries have left the area in legions. The formidable power structures that have manipulated our towns like a Charlie McCarthy doll is why our area sees scant positive change; to the tired faces, change is something to fear. Positive reform and the consideration of new ideas is the work of the devil.

In Hamburg, the nonpolitician deputy supervisor -- appointed by my husband, Supervisor Steven Walters -- had his post immediately abolished by the "institution," which led me to conclude that we will never see positive change.

We will never stare down the face of status quo and those who run the roost with an iron fist so long as we elect these same, complacent individuals who have transmogrified public service into "what's in it for me?" I implore the populace of Western New York to make 2007 the year we say goodbye to bloated government and welcome new leadership with gusto.

Beth Kontrabecki Walters



Town of Tonawanda should aid libraries

I was upset to find out that my tax money is helping support a private organization rather than being sent as additional funds to our public libraries in the town. While I am sure the people running Brighton Place have their hearts in the right place, I strongly feel my hard-earned tax money is being put in the wrong place. As a frequent patron of the Kenmore Library, it is obvious to everyone that the cutback in funds has adversely affected the staffing and purchase of new material.

I was surprised that Ron Moline, supervisor of the Town of Tonawanda, didn't know that Brighton Place is not a public library -- his first clue should have been that the word "library" is not in its name. Shame on him!

Pat Lahti


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