This is a guest post from US Congressional Candidate for Kentucky’s 2nd District, Ronald Leach.
We need leaders, not looters
We need a Kentucky and America that Works for ALL of US
We need a Functional Government that represents US
In light of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that discarded over a hundred years of US campaign law precedence and now completely enthrones corporations with unlimited influence and the freedom to purchase our representative government (to an even greater extent than already achieved) as “citizens” with uninhibited rights to free speech under Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s argument that money equals speech, I believe it is well within the realm of possibilities and reason – as well as urgently necessary – to extend Endangered Species Act protections to the American Worker and the broader species of American Middle Class made up primarily by these workers. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is intended to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development un-tempered by adequate concerns and conservation”. You may argue that the American Worker is not a “species” as defined by the Endangered Species Act, and I will argue that this is a unique, proud, and vital species that fills a crucial function in our nation’s economic web of life. As goes the American worker – so goes the nation. This is apparent in the slow jobless recovery before us now. This is a result of the decline of the American Worker lost primarily due to the decline of our manufacturing base. As per an American Prospect article entitled “The Plight of American Manufacturing“ Without an industrial base, an increase in consumer spending, which pulled the country out of past recessions, will not put Americans back to work. Without an industrial base, the nation’s trade deficit will continue to grow. Without an industrial base, there will be no economic ladder for a generation of immigrants, stranded in low-paying service-sector jobs. Without an industrial base, the United States will be increasingly dependent on foreign manufacturers even for its key military technology.”
You may also choose to argue that the Endangered Species Act is intended to address environmental issues that threaten to extinguish species, and not the changes in the global economy. My response is that American Workers find themselves in the midst of an environment – man made through policies and agreements – that undeniably threatens their existence. Policies and agreements have altered the environment in which this species, on which a nation’s survival depends, must live. Since China’s 2001 entry into the Word Trade organization, the United States has lost over 42,000 FACTORIES (as of 2009).The increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2011 eliminated 2.7 million U.S. jobs, over 2.1 million (76.9 percent) of which were in manufacturing per the Economic Policy Institute. With the decline of this habitat (as salmon require great lengths of unobstructed fast flowing clear cool streams and rivers, the American Worker naturally requires factories to provide manufacturing jobs) the species either disappears or attempts to evolve to survive. The predominate evolutionary options available – i.e. the “do you want fries with that” and “Would you like a cart” of the service economy – only delay the inevitable decline of the American Worker over a relatively short span of time and hastens the collapse of the nation over the long term. As Americans stop making the products they continued to buy – clothing, computers, consumer electronics, flat-screen TVs, household items, and millions of automobiles – our nation’s wealth is transferred elsewhere at an ever-increasing rate. While revenue streams which support the government supplied safety net, essential government services, and infrastructure shrink; more Americans require support to survive in this new environment. Current public debt as well as unfunded entitlements continues to rise as revenue falls. Eventually this new deadly environment inflicts its toxic nature on all related species through its kudzu vine like pervasiveness as it strangles the financial system, our schools and Universities, our health care system, our infrastructure and all other symbiotic micro-cultures necessary to the health of the nation. The health of the whole relies inexorably upon the health of the endangered American Worker.
Whereas the preservation of the American Bald Eagle and other species required eliminating the use of DDT and related toxins, the preservation of the endangered American Worker requires the banning of toxic imports – lead and melamine poisoned toys, foods and other consumer goods, as well as toxic drywall, as well as…. (the list seems endless), along with invasive imports produced in environments that undercut US jobs by disregarding the environment and basic human rights. It is not protectionism to insist that goods imported to the United States meet the same minimal standards that must be met if produced in the United States. And in the long run, those nations that now appear to prosper from the export of these dangerous goods are well served by the United States exercising the power of our market to bring these nations to compliance. The current Chinese economic growth is similar to an algae blooms from to nutrient runoff – the growth is miraculous, only to be followed by a wide spread collapse as the growth absorbs all available oxygen, thus making life unsustainable and resulting in the system’s collapse and an indiscriminate kill off of all. China and many other developing nations are on the path to catastrophic collapse as the environmental conditions approach the breaking point and life (both human and economic) are unsustainable. Like the preservation of other species under the Endangered Species Act, the protection of the endangered American Worker/American Middle Class will require specific actions to restore the environment to a state in which this species and the nation can again thrive.
Redefine Free Trade: true free – equitable – trade places the human dignity of both American workers and that of workers in developing countries ahead of Global-National Corporate interests. We must set a new standard of Free trade on a level, humane and sustainable playing field. We can not continue asking US workers to compete with workers in nations that do not recognize worker’s rights, employ child or prison labor, enforce no environmental or worker safety standards and are found to be dumping often hazardous products below production cost onto the world market and US ports. We can not in clear conscience continue to consume goods and services from producers who subject their workers and planet to such abuses. The current model of “free trade” is nothing more than a global race to the bottom.
Corporate Accountability: If the issue is the competitiveness of US business in the global market, then we must take an honest look at all aspects of competiveness to include corporate executive compensation. Huge CEO bonuses continue to be paid by corporations; even those that have received federal bail-out money in the billions .Yet the American worker is asked to bear an ever greater portion of their health insurance costs, real adjusted wagescontinue to drop, while the American Worker is forced to compete with slave wages in a third world sweat shop as his or her job is under constant threat of “outsourcing”.
In the U.S. Army, our service men and women are expected to exemplify values contained in the Acronym LDRSHIP. Loyalty-Duty- Respect – Selfless Service-Honor-Integrity-Personal Courage. These values are expected of our troops and demanded of our leaders. I believe our corporate leaders must adopt these values if we are to compete in a global market. The sheer greed of CEOs is disloyal and a disservice to their communities, their employees and the best interest of their Nation. The ever- widening disparity between CEOs and their workers is unethical, disrespectful to working men and women, dishonorable, and completely lacking in integrity. If American business is to compete in the global economy, CEOs must become leaders rather than looters. To do otherwise is immoral, inconsistent with our American values and truly puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage in the global market. If morality escapes these CEOs, then Government must not fail to protect the American Worker and the long term economic health of the nation through proper legislative limits to executive compensation.
Reaffirm the principles of collective representation as a requisite protection to human rights and against Plutocracy:
“It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that it have free and independent labor unions.”- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
We must encourage a vital new revitalized labor movement which represents the interests of the vast majority of Americans and is instrumental in the extension of the basic human rights. The rights we enjoy as the noble legacy of organized labor here in the United States are under attack. We must move to bolster these gains here at home while simultaneously extending these basic human rights to the farthest out posts of the global economy.
Globally, this effort would begin with the insistence that all free trade partners recognize and respect a worker’s right to organized representation. This effort would begin at home with the revision of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act.
In a free-equitable trade environment, with ethical corporate governance that respects basic human dignity guaranteed by the right to organized representation, US ingenuity and the American work ethic will prevail and lift a global community. We must redefine and set new standards for the global economy.
Candidate| US Congress
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