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Monday, April 21, 2003

Readers' Views


Don't cut funding for vocational ed

TO THE EDITOR: I was totally astonished by the March 30 article "Bush wants to trim, retool vocational ed."

Not everyone is able to go to college. To force kids to take academics is nonsense. A young man came here to checi out our air conditionaing. He said he had no interest in his school and just barely passed, but when he went toone of our Great Oaks vocational schools he did very well and was hired immediately by a reputable air conditioning company.

President Bush should know that we need caprenters, plumbers, hair conditioning and heating technicians and television and computer repair people. Instead of dropping out of school a lot of kids have trained to fill much-needed vocational jobs.

Is this a thinly veiled scheme to cut down spending on domestic programs, while spending billions of dollars on the war?

Ruth M. Peck, White Oak.

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Hats off to our brave troops

After weeks of successful and seemingly well-justified war effort, I am stunned to see that so many people(especially Americans) are still rallying to protest. It is becoming increasingly obvious that our fears and suspicions that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical weapons were true. No one in the world is safe as long as a sadistic madman has access to such means of destruction.

And do I also need to remind these protesters that had it not been for war, our great nation would not be free. These groups would never be allowed to hold such demonstrations without retaliation from their own government, much less partake in any of the other civil rights that so many of us seem to take for granted.

No one like war, but unfortunately it is sometimes necessary. I say hats off to our brave troops and a long overdue welcome to freedom for the Iraqi people.

Shawna Jessee, Colerain Township.

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The United Nations is bad for the U.S.

I take strong exception to the letter by Rita Reichert ("U.N. must take the lead in rebuilding Iraq," April 13). I have a question for Ms. Reichert: When has the U.N. ever brought peace anywhere in the world since its inception as a "peace" organization in 1945? Answer: Never.

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said it right when he referred to the U.N. as "the arena of the ridiculous and the theater of the absurd." Presently it is overloaded with totalitariantyrants and third world countries that hate the U.S. so much that its veto power thwarts any peaceful solution to any free world initiative.

Get the U.S. out of the U.N. and the U.N. out of America.

George S. Handel, Hyde Park

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Deficits endanger American industry

The current budget deficits at the federal and state levels are well documented. in the news. However, the declining state of manufacturing and in particular the tooling and machining industry has not been so well reported. Originally, the stock market decline and economic slowdown were attributed to the meltdown of the dot-com bubble, over-expansion and the correction of excess inventories. But many of us in the industry have been in a recession for almost two years now. Today, the industry is marked by bankruptcies across the country. Many are afraid we could lose the entire U.S. tooling and machining industry.

Nearly every manufacturing company in the country, and in the world, does business with our industry. The U.S. tooling and machining industry employs close to 450,000 people nationwide and accounts for shipments in excess of $43 billion. The metalworking industry includes precision machinists, die makers and mold makers, as well as tool and die designers. Without them, the mass production of manufactured goods would not be possible.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has recently completed its (332-435) investigation on the conditions in the U.S. tooling industry and submitted their report to the House Ways and Means Committee. The study paints a very bleak picture of the industry and the future of the U.S. economy. The market is currently facing a problem with overcapacity. The overcapacity has been created because American companies are closing their U.S. manufacturing plants and moving offshore in search of fewer government regulations, lower taxes and cheaper labor. At the same time foreign companies are becoming more technologically advanced and are able to offer significantly lower prices, sometimes as much as 60 percent cheaper.

We believe American tooling and machining companies are increasingly at a competitive disadvantage with overseas competition because of the overvalued dollar, higher wages, OSHA and EPA requirements, health insurance and an overly burdensome tax system.

In competing countries, tool shops are often set up with low or no interest loans and are provided with equipment from the government. Countries provide training for workers at no cost to the shops, while U.S. companies have to provide most of the training. Also, because overseas companies do not have to comply with OSHA or EPA regulations, and do not have to pay health care costs for their employees, they have a much lower profit margin.

The loss of these manufacturing jobs could devastate our economy and our accustomed quality of life. For every manufacturing job lost we see ripple effects throughout the economy. A study done by Penn State University showed that when a manufacturing company cut 155 jobs, the total direct, indirect and induced effect on the community for employment saw a additional loss of 227 jobs; total economic output lost $19,758,655; sales of goods and services fell $8,212,764; personal income dropped $3,330,358; and local payroll taxes fell $3,330.

However, as important as this industry is to the economic well being to the country, it is even more important to our national security. We are the companies that produce the plastic injection molds that are used on nuclear submarines, the ones that provide parts for our missile defense system, the wheels and joints on airplanes, the parts used to make rifles for our infantry.

Our elected officials have a huge job, but in order for them to keep our economy growing and our nation safe we need their support for the tooling and machining industry. The Tri-State Tooling & Machining Association represents 2,300 local employees in the metalworking industry.

The Tri-State Tooling & Machining Association, Cincinnati




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