Democratic opponent: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan not measuring up

Democratic candidate, Congressional District 16February 1, 2014 

Rep. Vern Buchanan, we've heard it all before. Your commentary in the Jan. 25 Herald was nothing more than hollow rhetoric. If you doubt what I am saying, all you have to do is look at the congressman's record since he took office.

Mr. Buchanan spoke of his father -- an auto worker -- who for more than 30 years worked the assembly line in a factory just outside of Detroit. He had a good-paying union job that paid the mortgage and put food on the table for his six children and told them about the American Dream! He went on to say that today for millions of Americans that dream, or even jobs like his father had, are becoming unattainable, but he never said why. Perhaps he needs to examine his own party and his own voting record.

Today the right wing of his party is actively opposing the ability of Americans to even find jobs like his father had. It began in the 1980s when the Reagan/Bush administration attacked the government and the unions, allowed a flood of imports and caused the demise of the U.S. auto, steel, electronics and other industries. Oh yes, that move eliminated millions of good-paying union jobs and began the killing the American Dream for a generation.

Then came the "Thousand Points of Light" and "The New World Order." Don't forget NAFTA and "that giant sucking sound of jobs leaving," going south to Mexico and the Pacific Rim. Today it continues with opposition to the same kind of jobs his father had.

The UAW is attempting to unionize the automaker's first foreign-owned plant in the South -- Volkswagen in Tennessee -- and Republican officials are the ones trying to stand in the way.

It is a fact, as Mr. Buchanan says, "At the heart of America's financial engine lies small businesses and entrepreneurs." However, "the sad reality is (not) that these job creators are facing unprecedented hurdles in the form of suffocating regulations," etc. The fact is the industry entrepreneurs depend on has left the country.

Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs are the beneficiaries of the conscious Republican policies that shipped our manufacturing engine abroad. What we got in return were low-paying, benefit-less jobs that send American wealth into banks in Japan, China, India, and a dozen other emerging nations, but the congressman fails to mention that.

The "punishing tax code" affects everyone; "free-market principles" are lost as Congress turns its back on and ignores a government-subsidized, price-fixing oil industry. Why doesn't Mr. Buchanan address the fact that the single most important commodity affecting our economy is manipulated by a small group of executives who answer to no one? That is what's strangling free enterprise today. It is also a major factor in adding mountains of debt.

I agree when Mr. Buchanan says, "No wonder polls show that 46 percent of Americans think our best days are behind us." I agree because like that 46 percent, I am frustrated with the anti-middle class policies of his party.

I also agree that "it doesn't have to be this way." Economic growth creates jobs, and after Obama took office, he has presided over dynamic growth and opportunity that left us when Bush/Cheney took us to war.

I am not satisfied with our progress, because I know what America could have achieved and I ask, why not?

We certainly need the SKILLS Act and more job training. We also need to provide all students with a quality K-12 education combined with job training and affordable higher education.

The Keystone pipeline is another issue with dubious benefits, mostly in favor of big oil, and hardly for the American people and work force. He can talk about the tax code and cutting government intrusion, but where is the legislation? The congressman is in a position to introduce the bills that will create laws to change things. He can fix what he is complaining about. Why hasn't he? What is he waiting for?

America is the greatest country in the history of the world, but the congressman and his party have embarrassed us internationally with our government shutdowns and diminished credit rating.

It is time for Mr. Buchanan to stop writing articles and begin writing legislation to really change something. When he does, then we can take him seriously. Until that happens, it is just more hot air.

Mitch Mallett, is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congressional District 16, opppsing Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan/

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