Rep. Jim McGovern Wayne Powell "Eric Cantor's War on American Jobs" by E. Wayne Powell
Monday, 19 September 2011 00:00

"Eric Cantor's War on American Jobs" by E. Wayne Powell

Written by  E. Wayne Powell

My name is Wayne Powell, and I'm a Democrat running for Congress in Virginia's 7th Congressional District to replace Eric Cantor. Americans need good jobs now.  Let's face it, as a nation we tend to define ourselves by what we do.  I am an attorney and a retired military officer.  When you deny Americans an opportunity to do meaningful work and contribute to their community by providing services, you are attacking a key part of their individual identities.

Eric Cantor understands that, and he has made a conscious decision to wage a war against American workers and against the very concept of "Made in America."  It is time to give the words "Made In America" the respect they deserve.  It is time to put Americans back to work, and that means building American roads, American bridges, American buildings, American educational institutions, and American products that can be exported to the rest of the world.  Recently, we learned that there are 94 “broken bridges” in the 7th Congressional District of Virginia.

The high school in Louisa County closed after suffering structural damage following the August 23, 2011 earthquake.  I visited the county on September 2, 2011, and found a county in need of help while the high school students were scheduled to attend the local middle school until January, then with a plan in place for the rest of the year to attend school in trailers.   Cantor has neither addressed this issue, nor the issue of the deficient bridges in the district, nor the issue of the shutdown of the nuclear reactors whose operation have the potential to harm over a million people located within a 30 mile radius.  Cantor would prefer to eviscerate government by underfunding agencies like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and by protecting the wealthiest 1% of tax payers and corporate giants, not his constituents.

Eric Cantor opposes putting Americans back to work.  His actions this week speak louder than any words about the contempt Eric Cantor holds for the American worker.  In the wake of the damage caused by an earthquake and a hurricane in his own district—Virginia's 7th Congressional District—Cantor's constituents waited to see whether he would carry out his threat to hold up disaster relief funding in order to play politics.  Last week Cantor made his choice and as he always does, he chose politics over the welfare of his constituents.

The consequences of the natural disasters that struck Virginia's 7th Congressional District are real.  Many buildings and other key infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.  The North Anna nuclear power plant was knocked out of operation by an earthquake that was of a greater magnitude than the power plant was designed to withstand.  North Anna remains out of commission and there is no word when the station will be safe to bring back online.  But Eric Cantor still dawdles and blocks relief funding by taking political hostages.  This consistent negligence follows the pattern that he has set since he assumed his current post as majority leader.  As everyone who reads this diary will recall, last July Cantor and his cronies held the debt ceiling hostage, with devastating results for the U.S. economy which are yet to be calculated.  
Now, instead of seeking to help his constituents and instead of insisting on investigating the potential nuclear incident which could endanger the lives of hundreds of thousands of constituents, Cantor is seeking to take the U.S. auto industry hostage.  Without question, the Federal program to aid U.S. automakers has been a tremendous success, saving hundreds of thousands of American jobs.  The U.S. auto industry is also critical to our nation's defense.  If the United States' base of heavy industry is destroyed, it will negatively impact our ability to defend ourselves.  But Eric Cantor is demanding that we slash the highly successful program that helped U.S. automakers restructure.  He has decided to attempt to block relief funds until he gets his way.  Whether this is an attempt to cut spending or to damage the unions, this is just another misjudged attempt to cut spending for political reasons, not for the good of the country.  If Cantor wants to cut spending, he should urge the end to our country’s involvement in two wars which have lasted a decade, with no end in sight.

I support the termination of any status or forces agreement with Iraq and Afghanistan and the immediate draw down of forces in both countries. This should also accompany the termination of contractor support which continues the outsourcing endorsed by Cantor at an enormous cost to the country.  This would result in an immediate reduction in expenses of $120B a year, and would save hundreds of American lives.

With $10 billion spent every month in these two wars, this is an expensive outlay of taxpayer funds that should have been used in the repair and reconstruction of the Louisa County high school, and to repair the 94 broken bridges in need of repair in the 7th District.  The money saved by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be diverted to create stimulus funds for the domestic economy.  This would include grants to states and localities not only to repair the high school damaged by the earthquake, but could be used to support education in order to better prepare our population to compete in the global market.  The funds made available for infrastructure repair and expansion would increase employment while preparing our nation's infrastructure to meet the challenges of the next cycle of expansion.  We can train our workers, expand our infrastructure, and create new jobs for taxpayers.  Cantor’s plan to keep tax loopholes for hedge fund and investment managers, and to keep tax cuts for the 2% of the population who are estimated to control 40% of the wealth of the US.

If we end our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, this would also help reduce the deficit of the country, another issue that Eric Cantor and his party regulars have used to manipulate U.S. domestic policy.  The debt crisis and jobs are interrelated because: the uncontrolled spending in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration; the tax cuts in 2003, the first time such cuts took place in time of war, and the bursting of the real estate bubble, aided and abetted by the lack of regulation fostered by Cantor, who continues to resist regulation and will attempt to defund the commission established to seek accountability of the wall street elite.  At every turn, Cantor takes the interest of the wealthiest elites over the interest of working Americans, particularly the working people in the 7th District.  To show to what extent Cantor “has no shame,” he continues to complain about the debt that he and his party have done so much to create.  To add insult to injury, Republicans like Eric Cantor use the debt argument to block stimulus for infrastructure, even though spending on infrastructure would result in more jobs and therefore more taxpayers.

When I am elected to replace Eric Cantor, I will put the people of Virginia's 7th Congressional District ahead of any narrow party agenda.  Although I believe that fiscal responsibility is a personal as well as a national responsibility, I will also work to fulfill the responsibilities set forth in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.  This is the part that refers to the Congress’s responsibility to “provide for…[the] general welfare of the United States.”  This means it is my responsibility to ensure that there are enough revenues generated to ensure that all American children receive a decent education and that American workers have jobs that pay a living wage.
I will help restore pride in the words "Made in the USA."  I will also support the construction of roads, bridges, and other key infrastructure to keep the United States competitive.  I will support programs that protect American manufacturing and American jobs.  Join me as I work to build a better future for future generations of Virginians and Americans.

It is important now, to defeat Eric Cantor, who, as the Republican Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, is the architect of the GOP's plan to slow our nation's recovery in order to defeat President Barack Obama's re-election.  There is no question that personal enmity against the President is his primary motivator, not what is good for the country or his constituents. Because Cantor has stepped out of the shadows into the spotlight, this is going to be a national campaign that draws on supporters from across the nation.  But at the same time, this is a local story and I never lose sight of the city where I was born and the two counties located in the District where I have lived and where my children received a public education over the last 50 years.  I hope you will join me as I move forward with this challenge to Eric Cantor.

In the days and weeks to come, I am going to host a dialogue here and on other sites to talk about my candidacy and my beliefs.  In the meantime, I would ask you to do your due diligence on me. Read my biography; follow my news page,"like" my campaign Facebook page.  Ask lots of questions of me.  I have invested my own funds in purchasing a small office building as the campaign headquarters, and I have funded my campaign infrastructure before I hire a permanent campaign staff. I have pledged not to take any campaign funds for my own benefit.  This is the people’s campaign and as I seek to serve the people, I will not serve myself.  I need to hear your questions and concerns, and I need your support.

Link to original article from Daily Kos

Read 4474 times Last modified on Sunday, 15 January 2012 17:00

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