The author recently sent the following letter to President George W. Bush:
I have worked in manufacturing for 44 years now, and this is the first time in my career that I have had to substantially downsize my company. I have had to lay off 38 percent of my employees, cut the hours of those still employed, implement a wage freeze now going on 2½ years, and cut benefits that include vital hospitalization insurance.
The lack of profitability in our industry has kept us from keeping up with technology through automation and capital equipment purchases that could keep us somewhat closer to offshore competitors.
Business has fallen off by 27 percent over the past three years, and we know some of that is due to the recession. However, the fact is that my customers are purchasing their tools offshore and also moving their entire production lines there due to cheap labor rates.
My family and my employees and their families are having a very difficult time paying our bills, purchasing goods and trying to figure out how we are going to fund our children's college education and our retirements.
Mr. President, does our government have any recollection of what has made this country the superpower that it is today? If something is not done to keep manufacturing here in the United States, our economy, our homeland security and our reputation as a world power will certainly suffer.
I believe that we can still be compassionate to Third World countries by helping them to have a democratic government to raise their standard of living, but we cannot give away the store. I hate to think of the day when China is the world power and we have a conflict with them. Will they sell us the necessary wea-pons to fight against them when we may no longer be manufacturing anything?
If our government has a logical explanation of why this does not appear to be a serious issue and that I am wrong with my concerns, please answer this letter stating why my thinking is incorrect. Then I can begin sleeping again.
I am an American, and I know my vote counts. President Bush, I voted for you and support you 100 percent in this war effort. Please keep this country strong. God Bless America!
James R. Glatczak
Creative Die Mold Corp.
Glendale Heights, Ill.