I am not joking.
I read the other day a glowing editorial in the Wythe News singing Boucher's praises. The folks in Wytheville expect so little from our leaders - and Boucher in particular - that they feel grateful when our politicians are able to swing federal assistance dollars to the dwindling population. I remember the Roanoke Times being becharmed by the man as well, endorsing him for re-election last November. Funny, I don't remember their endorsement mentioning the report that was released by the Milken Institute ranking metropolitan Roanoke - our only metropolitan area - 181st out of 200 in the nation in terms of job growth and economic opportunity. Just ahead of Detroit, for God's sake. (link)
Paxar workers could be eligible for assistance
GALAX - More than 180 workers who will be losing their jobs with the closing of a Galax manufacturer of tags and labels may be eligible for federal assistance.
Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Abingdon, said he has contacted the U.S. Department of Labor in connection with the planned closing of the Paxar Corp. plant. He said he is working with the company to speed the submission process of its petition for workers' assistance.
I want all of you to pay close attention to this: Congressman Rick Boucher will facilitate the process of getting welfare checks to our unemployed. He will not bring- he is incapable of bringing - vitality to the area.
The money, if secured under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, would go toward job outreach services, career counseling, job search and job development assistance, classroom training (including adult basic education and GED completion), on-the-job training, meal allowances and transportation assistance. Boucher is also trying to get Alternative Trade Readjustment Assistance and Health Coverage Tax Credit assistance for those workers who qualify.What they'll need, Rick, is a U-haul truck. They'll be joining all their relatives up north once they've found gainful employment there.
What we need, we'll never get from the likes of Representative Boucher. Paxar (headquartered in White Plains, NY), like so many other textile-related companies, is feeling the squeeze from Pacific Rim competition. Unable to reasonably expect to pay their employees less (those working in Hillsville weren't making much more than minimum wage already), the company looked at its prospects and closed its local plant.
With a bit of ingenuity - and a whole lot of assistance from elected officials - it didn't have to come to this. Much is made of the fact that wages are so much lower in Sri Lanka than they are here. Although true, it is only a part of the problem facing our manufacturers. What might have happened had Paxar been given an exemption from the myriad of costly regulations and prohibitive government fees and taxes? What might have happened had Paxar been granted exemptions from our many state-mandated work rules and workers' comp requirements? What if, rather than looking to the government for a handout, we demanded that it get the hell out of the way? That it end the stranglehold on area businesses? While we still have area businesses.
We'll never know.
With politicians like Rick Boucher representing us, we'll never know.