By Charles T. Drevna, president of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers - 02/21/12 11:43 PM EST
Elected officials from both political parties frequently call for increased exports of products manufactured in America to preserve and create jobs for American workers, reduce our trade deficit and increase tax revenues. Two years ago President Obama called for doubling U.S. exports in five years to help create 2 million American jobs.
“If we’re going to grow, it’s going to be because of exports,” the president said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings last November. In his recent State of the Union address, he said: “It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. … We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world.”
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, American exports currently total about $180 billion a month. If all these exports were stopped, factories and farms would have to make massive layoffs of their workers because they would lose the market for much of what they produce. This would be a disaster for the American economy and for American workers forced into unemployment. It is hard to believe that Mr. Markey or anyone else would favor this nightmarish outcome.
Exporting fuel manufactured in America is no different than exporting any other product. Exports increase the amount of a product that is manufactured or grown, which strengthens our economy and increases employment. That’s why President Obama is right to call for more U.S. exports and why fuel manufacturers are serving our nation’s best interests by helping Mr. Obama achieve his goal.
From Charles T. Drevna, president of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Washington, D.C.
Current regulations right for genetics innovation
We agree with Rep. Michael Burgess’s (R-Texas) assessment (“We can’t afford to let new regulations strangle scientific breakthroughs from genetic testing,” Feb. 7): less upfront regulatory impediments to research help promote scientific progress, particularly in politically sensitive areas like genetics, where the use of a technology often precedes the eventual cultural acceptance of the science.
Similarly, notwithstanding current efforts to uproot decades-old patent policy in the area of genetics, U.S. patent laws — which place vanishingly few limitations on patentable subject matter — helped sustain an unprecedented biotechnology revolution. And while there remain many downstream hurdles to patenting and exploiting genetic technologies to account for legitimate policy and ethical concerns, the current limited upfront regulatory interference by the United States Patent and Trademark Office continues to provide the flexibility to allow for most genetic innovations to at least get their metaphoric foot in the door.
From Dov Greenbaum and Mark Gerstein, Lawrence, N.Y.
Nothing ‘radical’ about Citizens United decision
Fred Wertheimer, a longtime proponent of government-imposed limits on political spending, continues to exemplify the paternalism that lies at the heart of criticisms against Citizens United v. FEC. (“Citizens United more radical than realized,” Feb. 6).
The only thing Citizens United and subsequent decisions did was free groups of individuals — including corporations and unions — to engage in peaceful political advocacy. If their speech achieves their goals, it does so only through persuading American voters.
Wertheimer decries this result as “radical” and “extreme.” But there’s nothing either radical or extreme about believing that voters should be allowed to decide for themselves what political messages are worth considering before casting their ballot. The alternative — giving government and campaign-finance scolds the power to ban speech from disfavored sources — is what the Supreme Court in Citizens United rightly described as using “censorship to control thought.” Such censorship has no place in a free society.
From Paul Sherman, an Institute for Justice attorney, which submitted an amicus brief in the Citizens United v. FEC case, Arlington, Va.
Candidates shouldn’t dictate women’s issues
Women make up 56 percent of the electorate, and women independents have in the past been the swing voters that chose our president. Any candidate denying this group equal rights in our society, imposing male perspective on female issues and ignoring their views through stilted congressional hearings where only men testify on women’s issues could seal the election.
Theocratic beliefs are all right to have in a free society, but imposing one’s own beliefs by a man on all women is a recipe for disaster. Professing to want equal rights for women, then telling them, as men, what they must do with their bodies is not the way to the White House.
From Norm Grudman, Boca Raton, Fla.