To the Editor:
Once again we are in an election year and once again we have to endure the lies coming from the Republicans about job creation and support for middle class Americans.
The case of Amtrak, the government supported passenger railroad is but one example of Republican duplicity.
Recognizing the importance of maintaining passenger rail in the United States and the possibility that the onerous passenger train costs threatened to bankrupt the otherwise profitable railroads, Amtrak was formed by the federal government in 1971.
Amtrak has served Cumberland since its inception and has carried thousands of students to school, retired people to visit relatives and business people to and from meetings.
Considering the cost of gas and the increasing concern for the environment, we here in Western Maryland are fortunate to have Amtrak available as an alternative to expensive and inefficient driving.
Currently, Amtrak receives about $2.6 billion in subsidies a year to maintain service nationwide which is a tiny fraction of government spending.
In addition to providing the benefits mentioned above, Amtrak directly employs 20,000 workers and tens of thousands of other supporting jobs.
The average Amtrak worker earns about $90,000 a year in pay and benefits.
Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it? Taxpayers get a valuable transportation alternative and tens of thousands of good paying jobs are created.
Well, not so fast. In spite of all the talk coming from the Republicans about good paying jobs, Mitt Romney wants to cut all subsidies for Amtrak and throw all of these hardworking Americans out of work.
Why? Because these jobs are union jobs and the Republicans’ disdain for union workers is legion.
Average Americans who don’t drive or those who use Amtrak as an alternative to driving would be victims of the Republican’s war on American workers.
How can the Republicans claim to support the middle class when they consistently attack those who earn middle class wages? It appears the only workers that these people actually like are those who toil for lower wages, no benefits and who keep their mouths shut concerning working conditions.
If that is the America you believe in, then vote for Romney. If you believe your children and grandchildren’s should be subject to the wages and conditions that are presently endured by those in China and India, then vote Republican.
If you think, however; that the future prosperity of our country and citizens is more important than an issue such as “gay marriage” then the only option is to vote for those who support American workers.
E.D. DeMott, vice local chairman
United Transportation Union Local 340