Our Congress and President, in the recent "budget deal", approved spending money to build and staff a customs preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi, giving Etihad Airlines a direct competitive advantage against US carriers, costing US jobs at US taxpayer expense.
Why? Payback for the bribes Arab billionaires made in "donations" to campaign funds and PACs -- bribes made legal by the supreme court's "money equals speech" ruling. Etihad responds by doubling the number of flights to NY and announcing new flights to other US cities. This cuts the market share of US carriers, threatening US jobs (include mine). And you are paying for this!
Meanwhile, the government refuses to pay for a customs facility for a new bridge between Detroit and Canada, delaying construction of the bridge indefinitely. The bridge would create thousands of US jobs, and increase trade worth billions to the US economy. A second bridge is so vital to trade between the US and Canada (our largest trading partner), that the Canadian government has agreed to pay the entire cost of constructing the bridge. Owner of the one existing bridge over the Detroit river, Michigan businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun [yes, folks, an international crossing, a public necessity, is somehow privately owned], has spent $180,000 on Washington lobbyists and "contributed to the campaigns of" (i.e. legally bribed) Michigan congressmen.
Isn't it time we reminded our representatives that they work for US, not for Arab billionaires and bridge trolls?
Contact your representatives and tell them they work for US, not for Matty Moroun and Gulf Arab billionaires. Tell them to stop funding customs facilities for overseas airlines, and pay for the facility in Michigan. Tell them to fund the customs facility for the new bridge between Detroit and Canada, and not give the Arab Airlines a competitive advantage over US airlines at your expense.
Do it now. It's almost as easy as responding to this post, and means a lot more. Here's how to reach them:
Bridge story: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/us-funding-holdout-threatens-detroit-river-bridge/article16403295/
Wall Street Journal piece on Etihad announcement :
With Global Hub Aspirations, Etihad Doubles Flights to New York.
Etihad Airways will double the number of flights it operates to New York from its hub in Abu Dhabi, even as airline pilots in the U.S. bemoan plans to establish a preclearance customs facility in the United Arab Emirates capital – a move that potentially gives the Gulf carrier a competitive advantage.
Etihad said it would introduce a second daily service in March to New York from Abu Dhabi using two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft leased from its partner, India’s Jet Airways, in which it owns a 24% stake. Then from May 1, Jet will operate the flights.
“These services will provide greater access to New York City for travelers from Abu Dhabi and further evidence of the importance of Abu Dhabi as a global air transport hub,” Etihad Chief James Hogan said in a statement.
Only a day before the Etihad announcement, the U.S. Congress approved funding [at your expense, dear taxpayer] of a new Customs and Border Protection preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International, a customs post that the Air Line Pilots Association, or ALPA, says puts American carriers at a disadvantage to state-owned Etihad Airways.
ALPA, the largest pilot union in the U.S. representing some 50,000 pilots, is in uproar over the move and on Tuesday labelled it “another disappointing example of bad U.S. government policy”.
The preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International, which is expected to open in the first quarter, has irked U.S. carriers and pilots who say it gives Etihad an unfair competitive advantage, as the state-owned carrier’s customers will avoid long lines when they arrive in the U.S.
Etihad has daily flights to New York, Washington and Chicago, and will launch flights to Los Angeles in June and Dallas-Fort Worth in December. No U.S. carriers currently fly to Abu Dhabi.
“This is legislating at its worst,” ALPA said in a statement on Tuesday. “Are we really in a place where it is acceptable to acquiesce to foreign business requests at the expense of U.S. companies, U.S. workers, and reasoned federal policy?” Dubai has expressed an interest in a similar facility.
I am dismayed to learn that our government is funding a customs preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi, while refusing to fund a customs facility in Detroit that would help create thousands of US jobs.
The customs preclearance facility in the UAE -- funding for which was approved in the recent budget deal -- will give Gulf airlines an advantage over US airlines in flying to US cities, and cut the market share of US airlines by siphoning off customers into state-subsidised Gulf airlines.
I'm not surprised the Gulf states subsidize their airlines, but I am upset that MY government -- with my tax dollars -- are subsidizing Gulf airlines, to the detriment of my job and my employer.
For this is all about jobs -- including my own, as I am a First Officer for United Airlines. My job security, and potential advancement to Captain or wide-body flying, are directly hurt by the increased -- and US government subsidized -- flights from Gulf carriers like Emirates and Etihad.
A new bridge in Detroit -- the building of which is now delayed indefinitely because of no customs facility -- will create thousands of US jobs, and increase trade between the US and Canada, creating thousands more.
But powerful interests -- Gulf Arab billionaires, and Matty Maroun, the troll who owns the existing bridge over the
Detroit river -- have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbyists and in "contributions" to PACs and political campaigns, including your own. Those "contributions" (on Main street, we still call them "bribes," even if the Supreme Court calls them "speech") have had their intended effect.
If you take offense to the notion that these contributions are bribes, you should! Please, prove me wrong. Do what you were elected for, to serve the American people and your constituents, and vote to FUND a customs facility for the Detroit river bridge, and DE-FUND the facility in the UAE, and any other preclearance facilities that will serve to give a leg-up to foreign competitors at the expense of US jobs.
Perspective. In my life, I've almost never experienced hunger or homelessness. Almost. For about a week, thanks to Air Force survival training, I learned what it was like to have food, but not quite enough; to have some shelter, but still be cold and exposed; to learn self-reliance, but to know that my ultimate survival depended on finding other people who were on my side. I don't know if one week of survival school taught me how to survive in the wild. But it gave me the perspective to understand what it means to be hungry or to worry where my next meal might come from; to understand the fear and discomfort of homelessness; and to know that we humans are a social species, dependent on each other for our survival, our happiness, and our prosperity. In short, it saved me from becoming one of those people who espouse the political philosophy that can best be summed up as “I’ve got mine, screw you;” or from falling for the Libertarian or Ayn Randian delusion that we are sovereign individuals. We are not. We depend on each other, for everything that matters. And to the extent that we are willing to be depended upon, that is our value as human beings. That’s why my favorite quote is:
“To be a man is, precisely, to be responsible. It is to feel shame at the sight of what seems to be unmerited misery. It is to take pride in a victory won by one's comrades. It is to feel, when setting one's stone, that one is contributing to the building of the world.”
- University of MichiganComputer Science