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Let Us Change The Economy For The Better

December/November - 2008
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Our country is going through a tumultuous and challenging, yet extraordinary transformation at this time. On the outside, it appears that we are folding under the burdens of economic distress. While this is certainly an unfortunate reality for many Americans, I feel that there is reason to be hopeful.

We can help to re-spark our economy through ingenuity, hard work, and proper legislation. Obviously, only a percentage of these necessary factors can be controlled by ordinary citizens. We can, for instance, work together to come up with new and viable solutions to our problems; build support networks through community development (whether that be within the metal finishing community, our towns, neighborhoods, or even family and friends), volunteer our knowledge, time, energy, resources - whatever we can give - to contribute to enriching our country as a whole. As Margaret Mead said, "Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

By the same token, however, government must step in and step up to the plate, and hopefully bring positive change along with it. We are preparing to inaugurate a new president in only a few short months. He promises to do a number of things during his administration that could be potentially beneficial to American industry (assuming he follows through with them), such as eliminating capital gains taxes on all small and start-up businesses. One very important initiative he has announced is his plan to end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas, and to "fight to ensure public contracts are awarded to companies that are committed to American workers." Keeping jobs from being outsourced is crucial to boosting our own economy here at home.

The next administration also has plans to double the funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program that works with American manufacturers to improve efficiency, implement new technology, and strengthen company growth. Since its inception, it has engaged in more than 350,000 projects across the country, and helped create and protect over 50,000 jobs in 2006. Over the coming years, as our economy goes through its 'growing pains', it will be important to have a strong support system for industry as it becomes better equipped to the needs of the 21st century.

While the future is uncertain, you can be certain of one thing: the only way you can restore your country is by realizing that we are all responsible for a certain degree of contribution if we wish for the overall health and positive functioning of the whole. When you stand up and take positive action - whether it be through mentoring a new generation of metal finishers, sharing your knowledge and experience with your peers, writing to congress, participating in community affairs... (the list goes on), your simple contribution can affect more than just your immediate surroundings. In conjunction with the ingenuity and hard work of people just like you all across the country, and some (hopefully) economically stimulating legislation, who is to say that we can't rebuild America into a more prosperous and shining beacon of liberty, freedom, and opportunity than ever before? So...what are you waiting for? Let's get to work - we have an economy to fix!