Op-Ed: More Should Be Done to Keep Americans Working

This letter was written in response to a recent piece by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach.

Editor's Note: The following was submitted and written by Rich Ciamacca. To submit your own opinion pieces to Phoenixville Patch, e-mail lynn.jusinski@patch.com. Opinons expressed do not necessarily represent those of Phoenixville Patch.

I find it interesting that Jim Gerlach has just written for the Patch about jobs. I've been writing him for weeks about the subject and I just received a response this past week.

I'm guessing that a number of people have been writing him about job creation and why not? The Occupy Wall Street protests have focused all of America on the economy's affect on people right here at home and those protests have Republicans worried. Why? Because the protests struck a chord with ordinary Americans.

Ordinary Americans have borne the brunt of this economy: people who have raised their kids, bought homes, paid for health care, paid college tuition for their kids and saved for retirement are looking back at the reduced value of their homes and 401(k)s (if they still have either of them) and wondering, I didn't do anything wrong. How is this situation going to be corrected and who is going to be held responsible?

Well, the Republican answer to all of us, which lies in between lines of Jim's piece, is that it's our fault. Let me explain my position by looking at the two major issues that Jim addresses: 1) deficits and spending and 2) energy and regulation. 

You don't hear much about deficits since the Wall Street protests began. The reason for that is simple: the focus of the debate has shifted and rightfully so to the economy which is in the worst shape since the Great Depression. When the private economy is not creating jobs, the government has to spend in order to spur economic activity.

I find it ironic that the Republicans who borrowed money to finance tax cuts and two wars (bonds and taxes funded all of our other wars) are now saying that the country shouldn't borrow or spend more money to keep ordinary Americans working—by building bridges and roads, or by building schools and hospitals, or by buying buses and trains for mass transit. And they've said no to every program that the President has proposed, even ones they agreed with. It's not the President or the Democrats that have failed to act, but the do-nothing, just say no Republicans in Congress, including Mr. Gerlach.

The second issue is energy and it goes hand-in-hand with regulation. And I think that I speak with great expertise on this subject. I served as a nuclear trained submarine officer in Admiral Rickover's Navy so I know something about nuclear power. And I've worked in regulated industries all of my life—from the defense industry as an engineer and manager, to the utility and pharmaceutical industries as an attorney.

Now, anyone with an ounce of common sense will tell you—after all of the energy-related disasters from the nuclear meltdown in Japan to the cave-ins at coal mines to the Gulf oil spill to the contamination of drinking water from fracking in Pennsylvania—now is not the time to have less regulation. And regulation not only requires jobs in the government sector, but adds jobs in the legal, compliance and regulatory fields in industry. And these are all good jobs with good wages and benefits.

And I'm sorry but I hate to hear Jim's whining about the price of gasoline. If he's so concerned about it, why doesn't he introduce a bill to end the oil subsidy?

Well because in the end, the economy's shape is our fault and the only way to correct it and remain in line with Republican dogma is to subsidize the wealthy with more tax cuts and pay for the tax cuts by eliminating programs like social security and Medicare. Look at the Ryan plan, the inability of the Republicans to vote on the President's jobs bill or even vote on part of the President's jobs bill. Jim's plan is the same as the national Republicans which is the same as the state Republicans and is about everything except putting Americans to work. And with the Wall Street protests, Americans are taking notice. Americans have good common sense—and they're just about ready to exercise it.

Then Jim Gerlach can get off of the public payroll and start working in the private sector. Then maybe, he'll see how difficult it really is to make a living in this economy and then he and his colleagues may also understand why a safety net and government spending is so important.

Rich Ciamacca is a lawyer who lives and writes in Phoenixville. He ran for the State House in the 157th district in 2006 as a Democrat.

Ron Pogue October 24, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Sounds to me like a sore loser democrat. How can you even run the country without a budget. The do nothing senate democrat leadership has not put a budget together for years. Spend, spend and spend is their montra......this dude is unrealistic in his views. He is a democratic hack as far as i can tell by his political comments......a darn shame.
Lou Perez October 24, 2011 at 08:19 PM
I definitely agree with Rich Ciamacca's assessment! Ron Pogue needs to learn some facts. I suggest he start with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget Every president, including Barack Obama, has submitted to Congress a yearly federal budget. The problem has become inaction once it's been received in an effort to limit this president to one term. Lou Perez
JK October 25, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Ron you are on target. Lou you need to realize that wikipedia isn't always factual. Obama couldn't get anything through Congress when he had a super majority because his fellow democrats didn't agree with him. That had nothing to do with the republicans. Also, for the record, Gerlach voted for the first stimulus which is why he isn't a true conservative but another typical clueless politician that doesn't understand free market capitalism. One thing I do agree on is to vote him out!
Gil Zimmerman October 25, 2011 at 12:04 PM
Well, we can't argue with the fact that people are hurting and if Jim Gerlach is not the right guy to be representing me, I'll vote for someone else next time. But please don't point the finger at Republicans without also putting equal blame on Democrats. Politicians, with personal interests, padded their bank accounts and the accounts of their friends and contributors, to pass bad legislation that allowed the housing market to collapse and the MAJORITY agreed to fund the wars, allowed financial speculation, and made bad tax decisions that have indebted our grandchildren. We see the same dynamic today with stimulus fraud. Donors get federal money for bad businesses. Tax breaks for favored companies. Can you say GE? How much misery could we have impacted if we had just handed out cash to taxpayers rather than spent it on phony earmarked green pet projects that have created no jobs? Obama is going to go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever, right along with Jimmy Carter. We will be lucky if we survive the financial realities of continued government spending and the growth of a protected, ineffective and expensive government workforce and a move towards socialism that will not save us in the long run. The only patch of ground that needs to be occupied is the voting booth.
Bill Poll October 25, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Re: More regulators; the government has been hiring more and more and more regulators who, to justify their lucrative jobs and generous retirements, feel a need to create more and more regulations without concern for the industries that have to deal with the regulation. We do need smart regulations to deal with true safety issues but the regulations are never evaluated with the perspective of impact on the jobs of those not doing the regulating because the regulators are fixed for life in their jobs. The result is businessess can no longer compete so move offshore where they can produce a product that will sell for a fair price (and yes - some of those countries could use a bit more regulations to protect their people).
Bill Poll October 25, 2011 at 02:14 PM
RE: Introduce a bill to eliminate the oil subsidy. We all see how well that worked when the government legislated the amount a bank could charge a busines when you swiped your credit/debit card - The banks needed to find profits elsewhere to create dividends for their stockholders (yes, that is even you if you have retirement investments in mutual funds) so the result is more charges back to the voters who use their cards. We need to be careful who we lash out at because we may only be raising our own cost of living. With the current indications that renewable sources of energy are not about to reduce our costs for the immediate future, why not work on using the fossil fuel resources we have here while continuing to develop other sources of energy? After all, the Obama administration gave more that a billion $ to a south American country so they could develop their fossil fuel resources - why not invest in the USA?
Glenn Snyder November 06, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Geez Richie, You used a lot of words for that steaming pile of nothing. Delusions of relevancy?
beachbum November 06, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Glenn, are we to believe that YOU are revelant? Put up or shut up buddy. Why don't you write your own opinion blog? We'd LOVE to see it.
beachbum November 06, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Hey Glenn, you might want to work on your people skills. Thanks for the turd reference; I'd have been disappointed if you left me out. It does wonder for your credibility.
beachbum November 06, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Glenn: Is that all you've got? So where is your blog? I don't think you can concentrate long enough to put anything in a coherent form. - Do you have Tourettes btw?


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