On Oct. 25, the Sentinel told us since Jan. 2007, Maine has lost 8,800 manufacturing jobs, 6,100 construction jobs and 5,300 retail jobs.

Maine added 900 education jobs and 1,600 social services and health care jobs. This huge problem is not just a Maine problem — it is a national problem.

Why have we lost so many manufacturing jobs? Importing so many manufactured goods hurts our balance of trade. We import much more than we export. This is not healthy.

It is obvious the United States cannot compete with the lower wages, slacker work place safety standards and less effective environmental protection standards used in China and many other foreign countries. This is a national problem and our national government must fix it. But we should not lower our wage and health and environmental standards to those of China.

Why not put limits on foreign imports? One way would be to use tariffs. Alternatively, we could do as former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., recommended in his book, “Take This Job and Ship It.” His idea is to restrict the dollar value of imports to the value of exports. In order for a company to import goods, they would have to use credits they would be given based on the value of their own exports, or which they could buy from companies that export but do not want to import. Dorgan’s book describes this entire problem in detail. Read it.

Dorgan’s solution seems to be simpler than negotiating appropriate import/export agreements with each country. Does anyone out there know why we are not restricting imports? Is it because it might financially hurt some of the wealthy corporations in the country who make large campaign contributions to elected officials who support their special interests?

Elery Keene


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