THREE QUESTIONS FOR PENNSYLVANIA’S CANDIDATES

The Scranton Times Tribune ran a news story today (10/18/10) entitled “Nonprofits fear winter coupled with high unemployment.” Leaders of nonprofits and charities in Northeast Pennsylvania announced that the coming winter coupled with growing unemployment will push the limits of their organizations. That they lack money and capacity to meet the needs of their communities is not a matter of poor management. These are sophisticated organizations. It’s the economy. Pennsylvania’s social safety net is in serious jeopardy, because unemployment is rising, new jobs are not being created, and personal wealth is barely growing for Pennsylvanians- if at all.

2010 is a critical election year in Pennsylvania. Our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, 26 State Senators, and all 203 State Representatives are up for election, as well as Pennsylvania’s 19 Congressional seats. At stake is nothing less than majority control in Harrisburg and perhaps in Washington too. At the top of ticket, Pennsylvania is a battleground for the US Senate seat formerly held by Arlen Specter. The two candidates are Joe Sestak (D) and Pat Toomey (R) and by some accounts, are racing neck-and-neck.

With only 9 days until the November 2 general election, Pennsylvanians have decisions to make — big decisions with big consequences. Whether the issue is the economy, foreign trade, the social safety net, or campaign finance reform, the candidates have positions. Some have posted their positions on their websites; others have not. One thing they all have in common. They have not provided details on HOW THEY PLAN TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS. Without a plan, their goals are just empty campaign promises. So the real question is…. IF YOU ASK THEM HOW THEY PLAN TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS, WILL THEY TELL YOU?

That’s exactly what I did. I asked them. I have spent the past 6 years identifying socio-economic problems, and working with partners (building coalitions) to develop solutions and implement those solutions. Drawing from this experience, I drafted the three questions pasted below. I have shared it with them and will continue to share it with as many people as is possible… until I get a response. Then I will post their responses so we will all know whether they really have a plan or whether it’s all hype.

SO PLEASE READ THE THREE QUESTIONS BELOW. Feel free to SEND THE QUESTIONS TO YOUR LAWMAKERS. Between tourism, nonprofits and manufacturing, we can identify solutions to improve one-third of Pennsylvania’s economy– or at least know where the candidates stand.

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(1) MANUFACTURING SECTOR

In 2008, manufacturing accounted for 14% of the Pennsylvania’s total GDP (down from 21% in 1997). In 2009, manufactured goods accounted for more than 90% of Pennsylvania’s exports (down from 95% in 2002). China is our third largest export market (up from 16th in 1999). Currently, manufacturing accounts for just 10% of Pennsylvania’s total workforce (down 40% since 1990). During this same time (20 years), overall nonfarm employment in PA increased by 8%.

Some say it would be impossible to restore Pennsylvania’s manufacturing capacity. Others say that if we do not rebuild our factories, Pennsylvania’s economy will never recover. Considering that 600,000 Pennsylvanians are unemployed, I believe that restoring Pennsylvania’s factories is critical to Pennsylvania’s future.

America needs a comprehensive plan to rebuild our domestic manufacturing capacity, starting here in Pennsylvania, and starting today. American manufacturing is critical to the long-term health of our economy, to the welfare of our people, and ultimately to the survival of our nation.

Q1: If elected to the US Senate, in what three (3) specific ways would you partner with the manufacturing sector to prevent the loss of skilled manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania and attract new skilled manufacturing jobs to Pennsylvania?

(2) NONPROFIT SECTOR

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 58,000 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organizations. From hospitals, colleges, daycare centers and clinics, to soup kitchens, social service providers and foundations, Pennsylvania’s nonprofit sector employs about 600,000 FTE workers (or 11% of the workforce in PA). Together these workers earned over $21.1 billion in wages in 2003 (or 10% percent of total wages paid in Pennsylvania). For many communities, nonprofits are also an economic engine for growth and development.

Since the recession began however, Pennsylvania’s nonprofits are facing declining contributions, decreasing revenue, and losses of government and foundation funding. Resources are dwindling, but the community’s need for the services that nonprofits provide continues to grow.

Q2: If elected to the US Senate, in what three (3) specific ways would you partner with and strengthen the nonprofit sector to achieve the goals of your campaign and improve the quality of life in our Commonwealth?

(3) TRAVEL, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

Pennsylvania tourism is the state’s second-largest industry. Together, PA hotels, amusement parks, restaurants, ski areas, stadiums, and attractions of all types, generate $28 billion in revenue each year and pay $10 billion in wages and benefits to over 400,000 workers (or about 7% of Pennsylvania’s workforce). While these are certainly impressive numbers, tourism in Pennsylvania has room to grow. Understanding what motivates people to visit PA or employers to relocate to PA, and coordinating economic development to enhance PA tourism would improve Pennsylvania’s business climate over the long term.

Q3: If elected to the US Senate, in what three (3) specific ways would you partner with the tourism industry to improve economic growth and development?

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US Senate Candidate Joe Sestak Speaks on National Security

Monday, October 4 marks the nine-year anniversary of the US invasion into Afghanistan. Joe Sestak, candidate for US Senate, will deliver a National Security Speech on the current situation in Afghanistan and what steps the US must take to confront the evolving global threats of the 21st century. The event begins at 1:pm EST in the East Wing Rotunda of the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg. Sestak is a current PA Congressman, a Harvard PhD, a former US Navy 3-Star Admiral, a former Director for Defense Policy for the National Security Council, and the first head of the Navy’s “Deep Blue” anti-terrorism unit.

I’ll BE THERE BLOGGING. You could be there too. Just call their Harrisburg office at 717-609-1392.

Read my blog at www.davidarossandassociates.wordpress.com, and share this link with others.

View Sestak’s News Releases at http://JoeSestak.com/Home/Archive.
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UPDATE: Here is video of the last half of Joe Sestak’s 10/4/10 Senate Campaign speech that I posted on YouTube. I apologize for the low quality of the clips and for dividing them into 2 separate compilation videos.

Joe Sestak Speech A – (10/4/10) State Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA [clips 1-4 of 7] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV87EupEkxA

Joe Sestak Speech B – (10/4/10) State Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA [clips 5-7 of 7] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWpmihx7rlE

The transcript of Joe’s speech “A New Era of Engagement” is posted at http://joesestak.com/Home/Entries/2010/10/4_Joes_Speech__A_New_Era_of_Engagement.html

It’s Time for Leadership

In today’s (8/11/10) Wall Street Journal, “The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly to a 21-month high of $49.90 billion in June, as imports from the nation’s largest trading partners ballooned. U.S. exports contracted 1.3% in June from a month earlier, while imports increased 3.1%. The trade gap with China expanded to $26.15 billion in June — the widest level since October 2008.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704901104575423051863102666.html?mod=djemalertNEWS.

Meanwhile, “The yen hit a 15-year high against the dollar of 84.72 yen, breaking its 2010 peak set earlier Wednesday (8/11/10). U.S. currency has come under heavy selling pressure against the yen in European trading hours, following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s downgrade Tuesday (8/10/10) of its economic assessment and its decision to reinvest some expiring bond holdings.” (see below) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164904575422252831246966.html?mod=djemalertNEWS.

Yesterday (8/10/10), the Federal Reserve announced its decision to reinvest proceeds from expiring mortgage-backed securities into longer-term U.S. Treasurys in a bid to help the weakening U.S. economy by keeping mortgage rates low. In the closely watched statement that followed its policy meeting, the U.S. central bank acknowledged that the pace of the recovery had slowed in recent months. The Fed planned to release more details about the reinvestment operation later that day. The Fed also reiterated that it expected to keep benchmark short-term interest rates close to zero for an extended period due to low inflation and high unemployment.” (see below) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164904575421481861512518.html?mod=djemalertNEWS. Read the Fed’s statement at http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/08/10/fed-statement-following-august-meeting-2/.

Last week (8/6/10) the Wall Street Journal reported: “The U.S. economy shed more jobs than expected in July while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5%, a further sign the economic recovery may be losing momentum. Nonfarm payrolls fell by 131,000 last month as the rise in private-sector employment was not enough to make up for the government jobs lost, the U.S. Labor Department said. Only 71,000 private-sector jobs were added last month while 143,000 temporary workers on the 2010 census were let go.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703309704575412990024153682.html?mod=djemalertNEWS.

So this is what is covered in the New York Times.  Are you seeing the trend?  The economy is underperforming. 15 million Americans are out of work. Wall Street remains guardedly optimistic; and the federal government has no idea how to repair the economy. The most they can say is that they think the free-fall has ended. It is time for American’s to ask “how is the President working with Congress, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector to repair the economy, to put people back to work and to move this nation forward.” It’s time for America to ask the question and demand an answer. It’s time to demand leadership.

China’s New Missile Challenges US Dominance in Pacific

China deploys new precision guided missile designed to kill America’s super-aircraft carriers at 7,600 mph from 900 miles away.

(8/5/10) The new Dong Feng 21D is expected to revolutionize China’s role in the Pacific balance of power and seriously weaken America’s ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea. China could also deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China’s 11,000 mile coastline. U.S. ships have only twice been this vulnerable– against Japan during World War II and against Soviet bombers during the Cold War. Read the Associated Press news article, Chinese missile could shift Pacific power balance, by Eric Talmadge (8/5/10).

The message is clear. America’s dominance in the Pacific is ending, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. “The greatest generation” of Americans fought and died on foreign soil so we could squander their legacy on cheap Chinese consumer goods.

The world is witnessing the birth of a new global superpower. We allowed China’s super-growth by outsourcing our manufacturing to them over the past 25 years. In 2010, US gross domestic product (GDP) rose by only 2.7%, inflation rose by 1.1% and the jobless rate held at 9.5%. In China, the GDP cooled to 10.3% growth, inflation held at 2.9%, and the jobless rate (for a country of nearly 1.4 billion people) was only 4.2%. To put it another way, the US trade deficit with China in 2009 was nearly $227 Billion. It has been steadily climbing since 1985. In 2002, America’s trade deficit with China broke the $100 billion mark. By 2005, we broke $200 billion. By 2008, we were on our way toward $300 billion, nearly $1 billion every day, and then the recession hit. (US Census Data)

What is China doing with all this money? They are buying US dollars, artificially propping-up our economy, and building advanced new weapons systems to project their strength abroad. How long can America continue its current China policy? How long can the world afford it? The Chinese are willing to continue the current policy until they no longer need us. Ask yourself what our options will be then? (See U.S. No Longer World’s Largest Economy; U.S. Economy Produces Fewer of World’s Richest People; The U.S. Is Losing Its Competitive Edge)

UPDATE: (1/12/11)

Chinese Stealth Fighter Appears to Make First Test Flight, by Jeremy Page and Julian E. Barnes, The Wall Street Journal online (1/12/11).

Images and witness accounts posted online Tuesday (1/11/11) appeared to show that China’s J-20 stealth fighter prototype had made its first test flight, even as Robert Gates, the U.S. Defense Secretary who has downplayed China’s stealth aircraft capability, was meeting Chinese civilian leaders in Beijing. The J-20 looks very similar to the U.S. F-22 Raptor, the world’s only fully operational stealth fighter. Tuesday’s test confirms that China’s stealth program has reached the next stage of development. Military aviation experts say the images suggest that China is making faster-than-expected progress in developing a potential rival to the F-22 and the Russian T-50, which made its first test flight last year.

Every Chinese product we buy brings America one step closer to losing our technological and economic advantage. And with these go our safety and security. Wake up America. A new world order is born.

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