Sunday, July 27, 2008

Republican Economic Agenda Devastating Southwestern Ohio


Jane Mitakides combating GOP trickle down economic disaster

Wilmington, Ohio isn't a place many Americans know of. It's a peaceful town that rarely gets any national media attention-- well, not counting the mostly unwelcome media attention involving right-wing terrorist Michael Bray who was convicted in 1985 of bombing 10 women's health clinics in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Bray, who claims murdering doctors is an appropriate response to losing the political and ethical battle over Choice and who believes gays and adulterers should be subjected to the death penalty, lives in Wilmington where he is a member of an extremist GOP front group called the Army of God. Lately, though, Wilmington has been in the news for a much different reason: the devastation of Ohio's economy brought about by policies wedded to Republican ideology.

Ohio's third congressional district, centered in Dayton but including Wilmington and Clinton County is represented by a far right Republican ideologue, rubber stamp Congressman Mike Turner. Even after the tsunami of job losses due to NAFTA hobbled Ohio's economic development and devastated hundreds of thousands of Ohio families, Turner was still, zombie-like, rubber stamping the Republican Party party-line and voting for every awful "free" trade treaty Bush vomited up, from CAFTA to Peru to Colombia and everything in between. Mike Turner is not just an extremist and a rubber stamp, he is someone well known for taking "contributions" from big corporations and then voting for their special interests no matter how badly that hurts his own constituents. And that brings us back to Wilmington, a reliably Republican area. (The 3rd Congressional district gave Bush 54% of its vote in 2004 and re-elected Mike Turner with 59% in 2006.)

The biggest employer in Wilmington and in Clinton County, and a major employer for 5 adjacent counties, is German-owned DHL. Following the closure of the Clinton County Air Force Base in 1971 Wilmington was an economically depressed city until 1979 when Airborne Express bought the former base (which had cost approximately $100 million in taxpayer funds to construct) for a sweet $850,000. Airborne (ABX, Inc) has invested almost a quarter billion dollars in putting together a first-rate hub for its national delivery service. It's primary customer is DHL. Two months ago DHL announced it is in the process of coming to agreement with UPS, an agreement which will immediately cost Wilmington at least 6,000 jobs, probably 8,000, as DHL's business goes to Louisville. For Clinton County this is nothing short of what Democratic congressional candidate Jane Mitakides refers to as "a corporate Hurricane Katrina."
Authorities in Wilmington say that could be the most jobs ever lost in a small Ohio city, certainly in recent times.

...Wilmington, population 12,000, wants help from anybody who can give it. That includes the two men vying to be the nation's next president.

But there is risk for Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama if they are perceived as indifferent or merely offer sound bites. So far, they've offered help in their capacity as U.S. senators, although Ohioans Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich have that covered. The McCain campaign, saying it will do what it can but warning that the jobs might not be able to be saved, says its proposals can at least cushion the blow by keeping taxes low, reducing government regulations and reforming job-training programs.

Obama aides meantime cite a vow to get better trade agreements and end tax breaks that give companies an incentive to take jobs overseas.

Wilmington, the seat of Clinton County, is in the heart of farm country where most people vote for Republicans. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland was an exception with his win in 2006, but residents knew him from when his congressional district included the region.

Some authorities say that economic uncertainty now could chip away at the GOP base, although total erosion is almost out of the question.

Many are wondering if there will be enough erosion to win the district for Obama and rid the area of "free" trade fanatic Mike Turner. Ironically, UPS has been one of his biggest campaign contributors-- among the top 10 in his entire shameful career. Turner has been AWOL from all the battles to save the jobs, especially when the Republicans passed a law-- supported by Turner-- to limit DHL's access to government business.

Republicans like to talk about trickle down economics. This is a case where trickle down devastation really is in the cards. The GOP model basically boils down to if the rich get richer they will hire more servants and the servants will be able to buy things at WalMart, increasing the living standard of Chinese laborers who can then support the Chinese government's purchase of weapons which will in turn make war profiteers like the Bush family even wealthier. Meanwhile in Clinton County, economic despair is spreading rapidly and impacting-- adversely-- the standards of living of thousands of American families. Businesses that sell cars and trucks and tractors report that business is already off because people are afraid to buy big ticket items. But even restaurants are estimating that their incomes will fall by as much as 50%.

John McCain, like Mike Turner, never saw a "free trade" treaty he didn't like or didn't vote for. Neither has ever shown any concern for American workers beyond crocodile tears. When cornered, McCain called the news of "a terrible blow... I gotta look you in the eye and give you straight talk. I don't know if I can stop it or not, or if it will be stopped... In fact, some more straight talk: I doubt it. OK?" He talks about retraining, although to the 300,000 Ohio workers already displaced because of NAFTA and CAFTA and all the bullshit "free" trade agreements pushed by McCain and Turner, "retraining" has meant low-wage jobs in fast food restaurants and retail outlets. McCain told civic leaders in Dayton "we've got a lot of work to do," but judging by the work he and Mike Turner have already done, they will soon turn southwest Ohio into an economic basketcase.

Democrats like Sherrod Brown, Gov. Ted Strickland and Jane Mitakides are a bit more aggressive in their approach and their priorities are on saving the jobs and the communities. "Deutsche Post [DHL's German owner] is going to want a lot of things from the U.S. government in the years ahead," Brown says. "And I think that President Obama at my urging is going to want to do a little less for them if they do this to 8,000 American workers."

While Turner has happily scarfed up huge campaign contributions from UPS, right when they were plotting to devastate the lives of so many of his constituents, Brown and Mitakides have been working with DHL to come to a less drastic position. Today Jane told DWT that this situation isn't atypical of how the GOP has adversely affected the American economy.
“I have been working with the Mayor of Wilmington, who is an old friend, and the task force, quietly, behind the scenes. The jobs are far more important than scoring political points. While I hope we can change this terrible decision, we must remember that this is a business decision made being by a foreign company. The German businessmen making this decision will never know personally or care about the tens of thousands of people whose lives are being devastated. This is the direct result of the failed policies of the Turner/Bush years that allow our jobs to be shipped overseas, and foreign entities to buy our precious assets."

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At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copy & Paste these links for informative youtube videos on this subject.

Is McCain or Obama in touch with reality? Will they let a German subsidized corporation destroy American Jobs?

This proves that the Germans & Deutsche Post are totally "OUT OF TOUCH" with anything in America.....let alone DHL America....

1) This is Deutsche Posts way of creating an American Duopoly with UPS

2) Deustsche Post is cooking the books to make America look like a 1 billion dollar loss for DHL while they made a 6.7 billion dollar worldwide profit last year.

3) If this deal goes through.....there will only be 2 USA overnight freight delivery companies left.....there used to be 8 companies.

4) Residential & business shipping costs will increase because of less competition.

5) The initial 10,000 job loss is only the beginning......there will be no net gain of jobs from the merger deal.


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