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Not since FDR has the United States been faced with the enormity of rebuilding America's economy and infrastructure. Today, our economy and our infrastructure is putting this nation's security and stability in grave danger. Our economy today is already on the verge of falling into the abyss by factors very reminiscent of the events that led to the Great Depression of the 1930s. There is also another housing bubble like the one we just had in 2008 that is poised to burst. But, you wouldn't know it, the way Trump is citing his most illustrious accomplishments and the media with their bogus reporting of the unemployment numbers. What we are faced with today is that the United States is still woefully unprepared to handle any financial calamity. We have too many on capital hill continue to be oblivious to the calamity of either an infrastructure disaster or the continued economic woes that are keeping millions of American's languishing in financial devastation would do to this nation.
Already in practically every city across the country, there is a Department of Economic Development. The primary focus of this department is to generate more business growth within their respective city. In doing so more tax revenue would flow into these cities to support the mandated public services that are now required by law. Without business growth as we are seeing today creates budget shortfalls that only exasperate an ongoing economic domino effect of financial hardship for all. There are many factors that have to be implemented to secure business growth to increase and expand the tax base within each city all across the country. Without more educational venues offered, accessible reliable public transportation available, affordable decent housing and all the other logistics that make it not only conducive but productive for business development in cities and towns business growth will continue to decline. The tax base will be put on the burden of the home owner which only creates more economic hardships.
When The Department Of Commerce and Labor was consolidated in 1913 into the Department of Commerce it was the only time that that agency managed to spur real economic growth. This was through the intervention of FDR. The numerous public works projects that FDR implemented facilitated America's victory in World War II and propelled the United States to its greatest economic expansion following the War through to the end of the 1960s. What has happened since are a number of policy changes that have undermined the economic and financial opportunities of so many millions of Americans. Consequently, we have inadvertently created the greatest wealth disparity gap in history, lost almost all of our manufacturing capabilities, and reduced the middle class to almost extinction. When you add the fact that our educational levels have plummeted so that the United States isn't even on the radar sort of speaking in global educational standards adds another dimension to why our economy is in trouble. Today, our graduates are not fully prepared for whatever jobs that are available today.
When the economic calamity from the 2008 financial crisis hit the fallout is still keeping the United States economy stagnant. Just a few years ago the Hostess Corporation closed so many bakeries they laid off over 18,000 employees just in time for the holidays. In Florida of that same year over 2,000 state workers suffered the same fate. Today, the retail industry is dying, forcing more people onto the unemployment lines. With Trump in the White House and our Republican led Congress have done nothing to spark a rejuvenation in employment numbers. The media still fails to tell the truth about the sad fact that unemployment and underemployment have decimated our nations ability to prosper. This is another reason why there is so much agitation, especially within the Black community. In every city and town across the country, the African American unemployment rate is more than triple that of what the media is reporting.
The reality has yet to hit home to our elected officials to the true crisis in the country. The lack of opportunity for millions of Americans to be able to earn a living wage is staggering. And, yet too many officials really have turned a blind eye to what is really going on. When we have riots in the streets instead of workers in factories, or behind counters, or in so many other occupations is a tell tale sign that governmental policies for the past 40 years have undermined the American worker's ability to prosper. When we have CEOs raking in huge exorbitant salaries and corporate profits at record levels while the rest of us languish with starvation wages or worse yet, having to rely on meager unemployment benefits that don't last creates a tempest that is only exasperated by our elected officials' failure to implement policies that would propel the United States into brighter and more secure future. What we have today is that our Republican led Governors, members of Congress, as well as our infamous President can't quite grasp what they have done and continue to do by not ushering policies that actually put more Americans back to work with living wages much like what FDR did.
From all indications since the election, it is quite apparent that those in Washington still, like so many Republicans, can't grasp the reality facing millions of Americans today. The Department of Commerce has done some semblance of trying to reassemble economic growth but this Administration still does not have a definitive plan of direction both short and long term that would effectively curtail the events like the ones that unfolded when the Hostess Corporation closed its doors. It is time to restructure the Department of Commerce and re institute an expanded Economic Development Administration. This Department would facilitate economic and financial growth across the country.
Currently, there are too many duplications in practically every cabinet post. It is quite apparent that steps have to be taken to reform and consolidate especially the current Department of Commerce so that the resources actually will go where they will do the most good. This includes placing the emphasis on Economic Development with a major emphasis on equalizing our trade deficit, investing in infrastructure restoration, securing our energy grid, focus on reducing the unemployment numbers especially in African American communities and establishing living wage standards all across the country. Not just raising the federal minimum wage either.
When most think of our trade deficit, many question why China is cornering the market. In practically every shelf in practically every store across the country, there are so many items that really are made in China. But, that doesn't show the bigger picture. When in reality it is not all those imports. Sure, they contribute much to our lack of manufacturing jobs, but what else is curtailing our economic growth is right here in the United States? Education for one thing. Today's educational levels are a far cry from what the US had back in the 1950s thru the 1960s. The standards in education have made high school graduates unable to compete for the jobs that are available today. Education of our youth and young adults is vital in turning the tide toward improving the unemployment numbers.
In order to answer why China is gaining economically, we have to take a close look at our imports which have for the past 40 years have been far exceeding our exports. Not to mention what NAFTA continues to do in regards to our loss of overall productivity. We have to remember that right after NAFTA was signed in 1993, our job losses were staggering and the effect is still being felt today. Today, our whole economic scenario is almost on the same parallel as the 2008 housing crisis. The pervasive attitude among too many CEOs is they forget what Henry Ford did so many decades ago. He strengthened the middle class while today's CEOs have only weakened the middle class to the point of almost no return. A recent report shows that wages have continued to stagnate. And, adjusted for inflation, today's wages have shrunk drastically. The sad fact that today millions that are still working have seen their earning decrease while for everything else, the cost keeps increasing. This retardation of wages all across the country is the sad reality of today. We have to remember that the health and stability of any country lies with the majority of people earning living wages. The more people with enough disposable income to spend, pay down debt, and to save at least 10% annually is the greatest economic boost for any country. In essence the fulfillment of The Williams Theory of Economic Evolution. That is not the case today of what is happening in America.
What the Department of Economic Development has to do is address our trade agreements and reinforce not on free trade but equal trade along with putting higher tariffs on goods coming in from China, Mexico, Canada and even Germany. This department must coordinate with other cabinet departments on a unified plan of Direction. This plan of direction is using National Economic Reform's Ten Articles of Confederation. This is the guide that outlines changes, concepts, and policies that will create the environment that is conducive for more business growth. It is these policies that will create the economic opportunities that should be available to every single American. Another sad reality of today is the fact thousands of Americans have already left the country for other countries just because the economic opportunities are more plentiful outside the United States. When people find financial and economic roadblocks right here in America where the land of opportunity has shut its doors in so many faces, is a travesty that has to be immediately rectified.
The job at hand for the Department of Economic Development is to expand the tax base all across the country. Work with all other agencies and Departments primarily the Department of Education to retool our educational standards to equip our youth and young adults with the knowledge and the tools necessary so that they can become employable in the jobs of the 21st century. This Department is mandated to rebuild our infrastructure, roads, bridges, schools, and other buildings that pose a threat to the safety of all. To work with the Department of Energy to update our energy grid to the highest standards necessary so that no amount of catastrophe will render the United States defenseless by being without energy sources to power our country. This department is mandated to work with the EPA to improve water and air qualities so that every community is furnished with enough clean fresh water so that another episode of what happened and is happening in Flint Michigan will never happen again anywhere in the United States. The jobs are enormous but to ignore the realities facing our country today put the United States and the rest of the world in jeopardy. These are the purposes and goals of the United States Department of Economic Development.