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As I ride through Lancaster, Chester and York counties, I am deeply saddened by the number of plants and buildings boarded up and falling down as a result of Springs Industries moving the bulk of its business to countries south of the United States.
I remember clearly during the 1992 presidential election campaign when Ross Perot was running as an Independent candidate and he accurately predicted “that giant sucking sound you hear is the sound of U.S. jobs moving to Mexico and South America.” He was speaking of NAFTA, the free trade agreement that Congress was debating.
One of the main proponents of the bill was our 5th District Congressman, John M. Spratt.
The textile industry was having a difficult time competing with foreign countries before NAFTA. NAFTA was, in my humble opinion, the death blow. In no way did the passing of NAFTA help the residents of his 5th District. Quite the contrary, it helped lead to the demise of a once great industry and thousands of jobs.
Congressman Spratt was wrong on NAFTA.
I remember clearly when Congressman Spratt was a budget deficit hawk who blasted the opposing party over deficit spending and the increasing national debt.
I remember him declaring that a government incapable of passing a budget is equally unable to govern. I agreed with him then on both issues. Ironically during his current term of office, Congressman Spratt voted for all the deficit-exploding bills his party presented.
And as chairman of the House Budget Committee, he and the members of his committee have yet to pass a budget even though it is several months into the new budget year.
In spite of the urgency for a budget, Congress decided to close down until after the November elections still a month away. The country is playing second fiddle to getting re-elected.
I clearly remember that Social Security was established as a Trust Fund for workers, a safety net to be there as a supplement to retirement or disability.
Every covered employee and employer contributed to the fund. Congress had and continues to have a fiduciary responsibility for the funds and to protect them for the beneficiaries.
Instead, our elected leaders have used the trillions of dollars from the fund for general budget items and replaced the money spent with government lOUs. If a citizen did the same, he or she would be arrested for embezzlement.
Since being elected in 1982, Congressman Spratt has allowed this blatant disregard for the public’s welfare to continue unabated.
I remember all these topics and am convinced beyond any doubt that it is time for the 67-year-old congressman to return to York and begin his retirement.
I don’t know Mick Mulvaney, but I am willing to give him a chance to represent the core beliefs of the citizenship of the 5th District. He’ll have two years to show he can. If he doesn’t, we’ll give someone else a chance until we get someone in office who cares more about the people of his district than his or her political party. It is apparent that getting re-elected is the primary goal and everything else is secondary.
It really is time for a change.
M.D. “Mac” McGee is a Lancaster County resident.