Niagara Gazette

December 24, 2012

CITY BEAT: Earl's 'two cents'

By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — In the interest of the public good, I’ve decided to yield my weekly column space to Earl A. Frampton, a 74-year-old Eden resident, veteran of the U.S. Navy and retired union worker. 

Frampton sent us a copy of a letter he delivered to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and a host of other elected federal officials. 

He had something to say and said it well.

Here’s hoping the rest of you can relate. I sure did. 

Take it away Earl:

“Gentleman, women and leaders of America,

My advice and letter to all of you proud American lawmakers is to leave Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone if you cannot improve on it. These three programs should be improved not destroyed by cutting the very benefits I and others worked so hard for, to retire with dignity. It is hard to believe you would take anything away from the American people such as benefits to seniors, retirees, disabled, children and widows, especially service members’ families who died defending the USA.

I am now 74 years old, worked for 50 years of my life, raised four children with my wife, Jeanne, of 72 years and found time in those 50 years to serve my country in the U.S. Navy. 

I have been involved in the U.S. union movement as a president and vice president of a CWA local over 21 years and have always found time to be a community activist as well. Today, I am involved helping retired seniors, union and non-union and veterans, through referrals and hands-on help.

I have done my share of paying all of the taxes required of me locally, statewide and at the federal level and I still continue to pay taxes, so please do not tamper with the big three.

I, like many Americans, feel misused, abused and reused while the high rollers in this country continue to profit while we as middle-class Americans and the working poor go down the drain. Many of us taxpayers wonder why we continue to fund two wars and support every two-bit dictator in the world. We are now building better schoolhouses and roads in foreign countries while ours are falling apart. Why do you continue to cut the budget for re-building our infrastructure, educational programs and creating jobs for the sake of some others who could give a damn less about our way of life?

To you Republicans, I don’t think I need to paint you a picture of the last 10 years, most of you have been in office to know you cannot blame Democrats for your failures of the George Bush presidency, two wars, 9/11, efforts to privatize Social Security, tax breaks for the wealthy and very little job creation.

To you Democrats, where are the programs to promote job growth? Where are the program to promote the building of America? I and every other American knows you were handed an impossible situation after the 2008 elections, but more should have been done when you had the control of the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the presidency. 

Free trade agreements? Give us American workers a break; we are the only ones who believe in free trade. Why are our exports to other countries taxed at around 24 percent and imports coming into our country at only 4 percent? We know that other world economies depend on us to buy their products, how about an even playing field for America? Those taxes on importans into the USA could pay for the basic needs of Americans and taxes placed on American companies offshore should make up for the large profits they are making at the expense of the American people. 

Skills jobs in the USA require a good education, why does it cost our youth so much for a college education when we should be making it possible for all Americans to receive one? It’s hard to make a living on a minimum-wage job and our young people will never be able to purchase a car or home on these typs of jobs. Where have all the vocational high schools gone?

I bargained and was included in the bargaining of many union contracts in my lifetime, some were tough and required a strike to make our needs known. The best bargaining was to compromise so there was a win-win for both sides and when we came up against a brick wall and agreed to a mediator who would show us why we needed to make a deal. 

I believe that our mediator today is the American people, but both Republicans and Democrats are not listening to us. 

Finally, America and Americans should come first. 

Our money should take care of our people and not to support every country in the world. True friends deserve our help, but all help needs to come from a good base. I see our country falling apart from within! We cannot continue to support 200 or more large corporations with subsidies, allow an unfair tax base where the rich don’t pay their fair share, CEO’s of large companies knocking down salaries in the millions while the average American has to fight like hell to get a minimum wage law passed every 10 years.

You Congressional people need to get out into the real world, walk your neighborhoods, see the everyday suffering of a people who have been drained dry of their assets just trying to make a living everyday and raising a family with next to nothing. You know we shouldn’t pay large contractors millions of dollars to double dip money for their needs out of our pockets but only pay about $1,800 a month to an army private that lays his or her life on the line for people like you and me. 

So, I say to you, we need you all to get it together for us and we did elect you to do a job for us little guys, not destroy everything that we have attained in the last 100 years.

Do it the American Way.

Together is better for all.”

Way to go, Earl.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself. 

Contact City Editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.