Jewish World Review March 3, 2004 / 10 Adar, 5764

Edward I. Koch

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Wake-up call: Prez will be defeated if he doesn't take action to stop other dangerous attack | As most people know, elections are usually determined by economic issues. Or, using the rhetoric of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign for president, "It's the economy, stupid!" If President Bush loses his reelection bid, it will be because greedy American corporations are sending increasing numbers of domestic jobs overseas and precious little is being done to stop this alarming trend.

Every night CNN financial commentator Lou Dobbs lists the names of American manufacturers who have announced outsourcing plans. Dobbs says he has a list totaling about 1400 companies, of which he has already announced the names of about 400.

American automotive companies, including Ford and General Motors, are opening new manufacturing plants in China. They're telling us their Chinese-made cars will be sold in China. Ridiculous. The real reason American cars will be made in China is because Chinese workers are paid 50 cents an hour compared with the $24 an hour paid to American workers in the U.S. Under various international GATT treaties, the U.S. is barred from adding tariffs to the Chinese-made cars which undoubtedly will be offered for sale in the United States at lower prices than American-made vehicles.

In addition to manufacturing and engineering jobs, American companies are also outsourcing service jobs. The next time you call for technical support with your computer or for assistance with a credit card, the person you will be speaking with will likely be in India or in another developing country.

Where will it all end? If American jobs end up in China and India, how will American consumers pay for their food and rent? I am reminded of Lenin's insight on corporate greed, delivered long ago. He said, "The capitalist will sell you the very rope you intend to hang him with." By G-d, he was right.

If President Bush doesn't take action to stop this dangerous attack on the American economy and the American worker, he will go down to defeat in November. I have repeatedly announced that I support his reelection because of his extraordinary handling of the issue of international terrorism, which for me trumps all other issues. However, I don't think that is true for millions of other voters.

It is unreasonable to expect laid-off American workers to reward an administration with their votes if they believe their jobs were lost as the result of outsourcing. How can we defend ourselves if the country is losing its ability to manufacture sophisticated electronic devices, or even ordinary consumer products such as television sets and clothing. And now we are about to lose our automobile industry because we cannot compete with a totalitarian country like China, which pays its workers 50 cents an hour?

President Bush should look at this problem through the eyes of American workers whose jobs have gone oversees. He should also see this issue through the lens of American taxpayers who are incensed when American corporations relocate their headquarters offshore to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes to the U.S. Treasury. You can be sure that Ralph Nader in his third party presidential bid will make much of all of this in a slashing, take-no-prisoners campaign.

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These dangerous trends cannot go on without severe repercussions at the ballot box. It's not clear what position John Kerry-will take on these matters. Throughout his career in the U.S. Senate, Kerry has been a supporter of free trade which leads to outsourcing. But regardless of what Kerry says, the President will bear most of the heat.

Mr. President, as a friend and supporter, I am warning you that your fellow Americans and fellow voters are not stupid. They know what is fair and what is unfair. The vast majority of Americans are not suicidal. They know when they are being abused. You have demonstrated great courage in your foreign policy decisions. If you want to reap the benefit of those decisions, please apply yourself to dealing with domestic issues that are either escaping your attention or that are being handled by your subordinates in ways that run counter to the interests of the vast majority of Americans, as well as to your personal electoral interests. My friend, please take heed.

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Saturday from 9-10 am. Comment by clicking here.

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02/04/04: History will judge Bush favorably
01/28/04: Why the President was justified — David Kay or not
01/15/04: It is not compassionate or intelligent to open our borders to all
12/24/03: Why I'm voting for Bush
11/26/03: Appeasement only whets the appetite of aggressors
11/06/03: Putin's prosecution of the oligarchs can teach a powerful lesson about anti-Semitism
07/30/03: As the world churns
07/23/03: America not so different than Russia in pursuing white collar criminals
07/16/03: Dems, media are making an unforgivable mistake
06/18/03: Keep American troops out of Israel
05/22/03: It's lots of fun to remain relevant
05/14/03: Living up to their mascot's image? Dems attacks on prez are backfiring
05/07/03: Wall Street settlement was not justice
04/16/03: The doves were proven wrong. Instead of conceding defeat, they are throwing another political tantrum
04/09/03: As the world churns
04/03/03: Gulf War II: The misleading media does it again
03/18/03: Have the courage to admit it, Pat: You're a classic anti-Semite who gives conservatives a bad name
03/12/03: "There they go again"? Not quite!
03/05/03: Making the case for war on British TV left some panelists stunned
02/20/03: Death penalty=racism? Don't confuse them with the facts
02/12/03: History is now repeating itself --- why don't the American bashers grasp it?
02/05/03: As the world turns
01/30/03: Why are sports exempt from racial diversity and universities encouraged to engage in racial preferences over individual academic achievement?
01/23/03: We absolutely can't back down
11/13/02: President blunted the Ted Kennedys of Democrat party --- good for him!
10/23/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate is no private citizen and his 'defenses' are idiotic
10/01/02: Congress is not doing its job
09/26/02: Confronting pathetic Americans in a post 9-11 world
09/19/02: Don't be fooled by Saddam
09/05/02: Necessary or not, getting congressional approval for war is common-sense
08/28/02: In defense of terrorism
08/22/02: Saddam Hussein is extremely popular in "Arab street," so why attack him?
08/15/02: My potpourri
08/09/02: Traitors: Journalistic and 'patriotic'
07/31/02: Euros should spend their time analyzing their own country's wartime actions
07/25/02: I may know next to nothing about the stock market, but I'm not getting out
07/18/02: Dems should stop trying to 'Whitewater' the President
07/11/02: Real Americans and the Islamic threat

© 2002, Edward I. Koch