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Fix What First?

Time to open a fix it shop across the nation!

Fix it first, three words uttered by President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address, got me thinking after I took my nap during his final 10 minutes and woke up in time to witness Senator Marco Rubio's Big Gulp!  There are many things we need to fix first and bridges may or may not be at the top of the list.

In no particular order, here are some items that could top the list in an attempt to get our economy and employment market back in gear:

  • Utility companies need to be compelled to make their grids up to date across the nation so the debacles of storms like Katrina, Irene, Floyd, and Sandy do not keep repeating themselves.  Imagine all the jobs that will be created including design engineer, field engineers, computer programmers, line technicians, etc!
  • Public schools, colleges, and universities need funding to restore programs lost in recent years since we will not rebound without proper education being taught.  Partnerships should be struck with all the financial companies the federal government previously bailed out to put some of their riches into education creating jobs for educators as well.
  • Contracts placed out to bid by our government for the purchase of just about every possible item one can think of should be open to all interested suitors from within the U.S., not just those on pre-approved vendor lists created by a select group of politicians.  Open bidding will reduce procurement costs and ultimately lead to more jobs.
  • The length of time a patent for a prescription drug may be protected needs to be dramatically reduced.  As someone who has to take some relatively new medications, I can assure you the drug makers and insurance companies are out of control.  Opening up competition earlier for the producers of generic drugs will put more money back into our pockets to spend elsewhere and also should result in job creation.
  • Mass transportation in many parts of our country is pitiful.  A program to upgrade and expand public transit is desperately needed and will again result in new jobs.

Undoubtedly, some of you are going to accuse me of bashing one political party or the other.  You would all be incorrect.  I hold everyone in the Senate and Congress responsible for getting the U.S. back to full speed.   All among us who are registered to vote need to let our leaders know that there is no time like the present to come together and find a way to create new jobs.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Harold Levin February 23, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Thank you Laura! I hope that the powers that are in charge are listening!
Drew Wilcow February 24, 2013 at 05:05 PM
“Utility companies need to be compelled to make their grids up to date across the nation so the debacles of storms like Katrina, Irene, Floyd, and Sandy do not keep repeating themselves. Imagine all the jobs that will be created including design engineer, field engineers, computer programmers, line technicians, etc!” My power was out for 8 days after the hurricane. That was the first time in 28 years something like that happen to my power. Sure, there have been a few other times my power failed. Maybe half a dozen or so over those 28 years. My average electric bill is $250.00 a month. I would say if we went ahead with Harold’s recommendation to “harden” our electrical system to withstand infrequent storms like Sandy and Floyd my bill would at least double if not triple. It is much more cost effective, in my book anyway, to spend $700.00 on an emergency generator, than $250 a month for the next ten years which works out to $30,000.00.
Drew Wilcow February 24, 2013 at 05:17 PM
“The length of time a patent for a prescription drug may be protected needs to be dramatically reduced. As someone who has to take some relatively new medications, I can assure you the drug makers and insurance companies are out of control. Opening up competition earlier for the producers of generic drugs will put more money back into our pockets to spend elsewhere and also should result in job creation.” It is that very length of time why you have those live savings drugs you are taking now. Shorting it will only reduce the amount of money drug companies can spend on research. At the end of the day any company must make money to stay in business. Drug companies invest billions of dollars into research that yields nothing. Fact of the matter is, just 1 out of 100 research projects and resulting drugs yield anything useful. In addition reducing the amount of R&D a drug company can invest will not increase employment, it will in fact reduce it.
Drew Wilcow February 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM
“Contracts placed out to bid by our government for the purchase of just about every possible item one can think of should be open to all interested suitors from within the U.S., not just those on pre-approved vendor lists created by a select group of politicians. Open bidding will reduce procurement costs and ultimately lead to more jobs.” Purchasing Contracts cost money to produce, execute and maintain. A well know industry figure is about $500 a contract. While I’m not defending government spending as it is wasteful in many aspects, telling the government to bid on everything will just add more bloat to an already bloated government, cost you more, and only create jobs for the politically connected.
Drew Wilcow February 25, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Harold, I was talking to a few people about your idea to “harden” our electrical system, they too thought it would be very expensive and provide very little benefit. One of them reminded me of something I had lost sight of. Both Ocean Spray which recently moved its operations out of NJ after 150 years of manufacturing here, and the Hess Refinery in Woodbridge which is closing, noted the cost of electric in NJ made if very difficult to continue to do business here. Electricity here in Jersey can cost upwards of 3 to 4 times what it does elsewhere. You might think, that’s not so bad, but you need to understand many companies have multimillion dollar a year electric bills, so moving some place where that cost is cut in half or even more can be very cost effective, especially when you consider 100% of that savings transfers directly to the bottom line and is perpetual.

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