Free Trade = Job Loss
To The Editor:
While big business is touting an economic recovery, you don’t need a college degree to understand that it’s a jobless one.
Why the difference between this recovery and all others of the past?
First, through all the Free Trade Agreements of the past decade, millions of jobs are being outsourced to foreign nations. Citing a University of California–Berkeley report, Lou Dobbs of CNN has stated that as many as 14,000,000 more white-collar U.S. jobs could be outsourced to foreign countries within the next 10 years.
Secondly and just as serious, through out-of-control immigration policies, buttressed in part by ridiculous visa laws, millions of immigrants, both legal and illegal, are being brought into the U.S. and hired at Third World wages, thus taking many more jobs away from American citizens.
In short, if we want to keep working in this country, we have to accept those same low wages. But if you want to work for Dell Computers, you can place your application in Bangkok.
Both the new Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the general amnesty for illegal immigrants should be defeated in the upcoming votes in Congress. Otherwise, not only will we of the present working generation suffer the economic consequences of such measures, but so will our children, even more so.
Lead Law Hurts Housing
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
The Honorable Gifford Miller
Speaker of the New York City Council
250 Broadway - 30th Floor
New York, NY 10007
In Re: Lead Paint Poisoning-Intro 101-A
Dear Speaker Miller:
The Greek American Homeowners Association of New York are very concerned about the devastating impact the new lead paint law passed by the New York City Council is going to have on existing building owners, as well as future development of housing in New York.
Intro 101-A succeeds in only one respect—it makes small landlords the scapegoat for a problem that is more complex than many will admit. Lead paint will not go away, and childhood lead poisoning will not be eradicated simply because of Intro 101-A. Like most "quick fixes," its shortcomings–in the form of enormous liability claims against both owners and the city, the abandonment of uninsurable, marginal properties, and the end of affordable housing rehabilitation and development–will soon become apparent.
Consider the following:
•The Department of Health has determined that over 1/3 of the apartments occupied by lead poisoned children do not contain lead paint.
Why would Intro 101-A punish owners of those buildings?
•HPD [Housing Preservation Development] stated that over 15,000 violations–75 percent of the presumed lead violations for the past two years—were issued in error.
Why does Intro 101-A still use the presumption?
•The council ignored the facts, reported in December by the New York Times, with regard to the extraordinarily high levels of lead dust in the areas adjacent to the elevated train lines in the areas of the city with the highest rates of lead poisoning. As you know, Astoria has not only the elevated train line, but also the Grand Central Parkway. The council has not explored the impact of the elevated train lines upon neighboring children. Nor has the council explored the impact of a highway system used by cars that for decades spewed leaded gasoline throughout the city.
•The council ignored the issue of immigrant children who, as also reported by the New York Times, are already lead poisoned when they have come from other countries known for their high rates of lead poisoning, or are exposed to leaded products originating in their countries of origin.
We would appreciate hearing from you on this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 718-204-0101. We thank you for your attention to this very important issue.
Greek American Homeowners Association.
Raise Minimum Wage
To The Editor:
Have you ever stopped to think that there are thousands of New York state workers who work for the present minimum wage and that wage does not adequately pay the bills?
I have just heard that our state legislature and our governor have it in their power to raise the minimum wage to $6.75 an hour.
Times are hard economically and so many low-level workers have to work three jobs, or have to select rent in place of food. In addition, many places that pay the minimum wage lose workers and have a high rate of turnover due to the fact that many people cannot work for the present minimum wage.
I urge our governor and legislators to raise the minimum wage to $6.75 an hour.
Let us lobby, and raise our political voice now.
Long Island City
Budget Will BalanceTo The Editor:
"$400 Rebate, More Cop Hirings Feature Mayor’s Budget" by John Toscano (January 21) dealing with Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg’s $46 billion dollar budget missed other solutions to the current fiscal crises facing New Yorkers.
For starters, billions of dollars have been lost from the past decade to the present due to administrative costs. Moving tax dollars from the city, county and state level to Washington and back eats scarce tax dollars in overhead costs. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan documented how New Yorkers send more money to Washington than we get back. Many other states could make the same claim. This imbalance also holds true in the distribution of federal and state aid among the 62 counties of New York state. Within New York City, residents of Brooklyn, [The] Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island or each of the 59 community planning boards don’t always get back the same amount of money sent to City Hall, Albany and Washington. Take this analysis down to the local census tract level. Since this imbalance will never change, we would be better off leaving tax levies at the most local level of government. There will be significant savings in administrative costs and a greater percentage of locally generated revenues remaining in our communities.
Abolishing irrelevant government offices such as Public Advocate, Borough President or the New York City Council can save taxpayers significant money. Our 59 community planning board district managers are far more effective in representing local neighborhoods. Why have duplicate public offices, whose occupants continue making little contribution in the management of municipal government? In the day to day lives of most New Yorkers, no one would notice the loss of these public officials.
Looking to Albany and Washington to solve our municipal fiscal crises is the same old song going back to the 1960s. The success of federal aid programs to both New York City and New York state is dependent upon many issues.
*Are grant applications submitted on time? (How often have we read newspaper articles over the years of missed deadlines?)
*Will City Hall and Albany continue to provide the local matching funds necessary to obtain federal grants?
*Are current federal and state funded programs being completed on time and within budget?
*Are all federal and state funded staff positions exempt from any current or future hiring freezes? Failure to fill grant funded staff positions could delay implementation and adversely affect management of projects. This in turn, could make it more difficult to compete against other cities and states for limited federal discretionary dollars.
*Why have City Comptroller William Thompson, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, City Council Finance Committee Chairperson Councilmember David Weprin and State Comptroller Alan Hevesi not conducted audits of each respective municipal and state agency to see how they are managing their respective current programs?
Elected representatives in Washington impact our level of federal aid each year. Remember the old saying, "He who has the gold, rules." With Republicans in charge of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, it was a tactical mistake for New York City (with the one lone exception of Staten Island Congressmember Vito Fossella) to elect all Democrats. More sophisticated cities and states are building bridges across party lines by sending down bipartisan balanced delegations to Washington. Meaning no disrespect to our new resident Senator Hillary Clinton, but has she built any bipartisan coalitions to bring us any significant additional formula or discretionary financial assistance?
During the prosperous 90s elected officials, on a bipartisan basis, at all levels of government, continued to appropriate billions of dollars in pork barrel projects known as "member items" to grease the wheels of re-election. These taxpayer generated revenues should have been used to reduce long-term debt, which is in the trillions of dollars. Government surpluses from this growth period should have been saved for a rainy day fund to assist us when tax revenues decline. Prior to the events of September 11, 2001, our economy was already in a slowdown. This resulted in a direct decrease in tax revenues and corresponding reduction in government assistance at all levels. Big Brother on the Potomac has his own budget shortfalls and long-term debt. He will not be able to be as generous in the future.
Taxpayers live within their means, and so must government at all levels—city, state and federal. Any growth in government spending must be held at a rate below inflation. It isn’t a sin for any agency to continue operating within the same level of spending this fiscal year as last year. With a 2 percent inflation rate, there are many good managers in the public sector who can find some cost savings to provide the same level of service with less money. Reward municipal employees for coming up with ways city agencies can operate more efficiently with bonuses. Both Washington and Albany have their own deficits and are in no position to solve all our problems now!
Be Civilized, America
To The Editor:
President [George W.] Bush is one of the greatest presidents of our time. He cares for America in every way, and is genuine. President Bush has brought us through one of the toughest times in our history. Don’t bash a great man. If you want him out of the presidency, then exercise your right as an American [and vote]. But let’s show our children that we can be civilized Americans and debate the issues and not through cheap shots at one of the greatest presidents of all time.