Lorain, Ohio : Let’s Play the Blame Game

Lorain, Ohio

The city of Lorain is in a $3 million dollar deficit. Yesterday 20 police and firefighter jobs were on the line. Last night the city came to an agreement  which will allow  the police and firefighters  of Lorain, to keep their jobs. However, the real problem is far from over. So let’s play the blame game. Who is at fault for the fragile state of Lorain’s economy? What does the future hold for Lorain?

Just last month I wrote an article on the lack of jobs in America: Where did all the people go?  For the photos, I didn’t need too look far. To be honest, the photos were initially intended to show the beauty in Lorain. But after about three photos, I realized the town center was deserted.  Mind you, there is still a powerful beauty beneath the emptiness. And on the outskirts, there’s no shortage of people in the suburbs. They just aren’t shopping in Lorain. There are a few exceptions, such as: Fligner’s . Their meat and produce draw plenty of traffic.

 

I hear a lot of folks passing around blame directed at local government officials, welfare recipients, the IRS, etc…

How about we look at the blatantly obvious, just for giggles. A majority of Lorain’s  original business and factory owners are long gone.

Let me explain what I mean.

I was around 9 years old when my father was laid off from the shipyard.

“Cleveland Shipbuilding was started in 1886 by Henry Coffinberry and Robert Wallace on the site of the Cuyahoga Steam Furnace Company, which was roughly where Detroit Avenue meets Center Street.  In 1897 they built a new shipyard in Lorain and relocated there, closing the Cleveland yard.  The company was acquired by The American Ship Building Company in 1899 and eventually became their Lorain Division.  It continued as a leading builder of lakers until the late 1970s but closed in 1983.  The site was sold to Spitzers as a steel scrap processing facility but is now a marina: see it from the air on Google here.  shipbuildinghistory.com

I’ll never forget that day. He looked as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. It took four long years for him to find another job. My father was/is a Navy man. He’s worked hard all of his life. An electrician by trade, he’s a true blue hardworking American. As a matter of fact, most of the folks around here are! The problem arises, when these hardworking men and women have nowhere to work.

So who do we blame? The mayor? That’s absurd! I’m fairly certain he’s my age or even younger. So I’m going to go out on a limb and bet my life savings that he did not close the shipyard.

How about the retired folks? Must have been them right? Except, most of them were blue collar workers like my dad. Now in their old age, they’re fighting to get by just like the rest of us.

And what about the rest of us? Do me a favor. It’s just a quick test. You don’t have to tell me the answer. Take a look around your house. Pick up a few items and make a mental note of where those things are made.

How many of those items say: Made In The USA? 

I know what you’re thinking. I’m guilty of it to. It’s virtually impossible not to be guilty of owning outsourced products. Fact is: the products outsourced from China are cheaper!  Given the lack of decent jobs, it’s all any of us can afford. The Dollar Tree is completely outsourced. Given the choice between a plate for $1 or a plate for $5 (and they are identicalmost will go for the $1.  The other problem is a humanitarian one: Who is building all of that stuff in China? And how many hours are they being forced to work. It’s everywhere, not just in China. They’re working 60-70 hour work weeks,  for pennies on the dollar.   I recently had reason to look into it and quickly became jaded. Once I really started digging, I did manage to find a few US suppliers. So if you look, they do exist.

Moving onto those with a college career, the problem stays the same.

Let’s say we manage to squeeze out enough for a college degree in medicine. We will spend years paying back those loans and the rest of our career paying an insanely high medical malpractice insurance. We are after all, a nation of sue crazy individuals. We can’t wipe our own rears without a lawyer these days. (Our outsourced/rebranded toilet paper may cause a rash). 

Maybe a teaching degree is the way to go? If we love the Common Core  <- insert sarcasm here, then we’ll go for it. Just know that anything we say to delicate little Johnny, may result in job loss or a lawsuit or both. So let’s leave those poor little kids be. They’re always truthful and teachers are  just mean. 

Small business owners are suffering as well. Given the choice between a McDonald’s $1 rubber patty, or the local ‘mom and pop’ shop’s homemade one; we go for the rubber. Ironically, in order to save a buck on a burger, we will spend thousands in medical costs down the road. Yes…I know…right?!?!  

Here’s the thing though: If we go ahead and spend that extra buck on our local businesses, we are putting money back into our city. Imagine that? You don’t say??? And small business owners will be able to employ more locals. Wow!  And pay them more! Wow….really?!?!?! 

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Or we could just keep feeding the McDonalds CEOs. It’s entirely up to you and me. In the case that we do continue feeding the McDonalds Corporation, I suppose we really have nobody to blame then do we? I sure hope we have decent health insurance. (I don’t know about you, but my deductibles are insane!)

Here’s the reality: Yeah, currently things suck a little.

Can we fix it? The good news is YES!

Instead of taking daily trips to McDonalds, we can eat at home and save up for a nice meal at one of the family owned diners. Stop being all consuming. Let’s face it, we all buy a whole lot of crap we don’t need! If the demand is gone, so is the supply. Start DEMANDING American made products. March into Walmart and ask them for their made in the USA products. If they don’t have any then leave. Do it everywhere and do it often!

Trust me, we can all live without that $1 pink plastic storage container. Part of the problem is that we’ve become a nation of instant gratification addicts.   It’s become so easy to go for the quicker option.

And it shows in our children. They’re entitled now. We break our backs to pay in the hundreds for some stupid shoes. SHOES!  We are buying a NAME! Some of the shoes are the cost of a house payment. But children have learned from us that we should hide our real ‘status’. Nobody wants to admit they’re struggling. Nobody wants to admit their total debt. ( Just because you are not in default, does not mean you are not in debt. If you have a credit card…guess what? You’re in debt! ) But we do it anyway! Why?

Because “Mom…all my friends have them! Do you want me to get picked on?” 

    Well…no…of course not.

We don’t want our kids to have to deal with adversity…cuz…wait…

   WHY THE HECK NOT?

The real world will tell them NO! The real world will chew them up and spit them out! And when they find out it’s not as easy as ‘the mommy who always said yes’, said it was…well…I suppose there’s always Prozac. There are plenty of ‘Big Pharma’ companies ready and willing to parent our kids for us.

In the end, who should we blame?

Us…we  should blame us…as a whole…as a unit. We should blame ourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Lorain, Ohio : Let’s Play the Blame Game

  1. Your very young mayor, as well as local and regional business people, may be partly responsible, for failing to take steps to recruit corporate leaders to open new manufacturing or service facilities in Lorain, or to re-use the idle facilities. If oil prices stay low Lorain is likely to take another hit, since the remaining steel mill mostly makes oil drilling and transporting pipes, which may be in less demand. It’s unlikely that one individual acting alone can generate an economic renaissance (unless that individual is Warren Buffett). There must be widespread postive efforts including both the government and the private sector. Not led by you! Your blog is quite exceptional and takes time to produce, and I don’t want you to be distracted from your blog, including the great photos and recipes and family stories.

  2. It’s never just one person. And there in lies the problem. If it were that simple, the problem would have been solved long ago. But people in leadership positions, cannot control the population. They never could. That’s a fantasy. The media actually has more control over a population, than the leaders. That’s fact. (Although…I can’t imagine why). The problem is, lack of organization, combined with lack of enough people in Lorain motivated to change the tide. Don’t get me wrong, Lorain is loaded with hardworking people who care. But they’re overrun by people who honestly don’t give a crap. I think the mayor started something good by removing the drug motels. But then what? And how will that cure an epidemic? It’s like my dad says “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. And what would it take to generate enough interest in Lorain, to bring on major investors who will bring jobs? It’s quite the puzzle. The truth is, Lorain has some amazing scenery, a HOST of buildings available (obviously a few may need some work), they have the waterfront….the town has a useful purpose. It just has to be drawn out and implemented….while at the same….dealing with the BS. But I know it can be done. There is so much potential there. Not to mention the small business owners, that truly do suffer do to large chain cheap production. It boggles the mind. This is why coffee was invented! LOL 20 cups or so and I’ll be good as new:D

  3. Of course the other problem is : The Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back, scenario. If the country were to boycott cheap labor from overseas, the jobs held by min wage workers in the US would disappear. IE: Employees working for say: Walmart. No Walmart = No Walmart jobs. Now…if that could somehow be managed long enough, new jobs would open up as we began to manufacture our own goods. It would start in the construction arena, and end with paid USA manufacturing positions. However, since in the USA we don’t pay our workers say: $3 a day, the cost of the goods would raise. For a while…a long while…we’d be struggling to catch back up. And is that something we are capable of doing? Are we capable of taking a hit for while, to become self sustaining? Obviously, China or India, is not going to buy our new goods…they can make them so much cheaper, with barely paid labor. So there in lies the rub. Does this pit, even have a bottom? How do you fix something, when by fixing it, you create a large scale problem that may last decades? This is sort of like the Universe Theory. The longer you think about it’s end, or lack of end…the more coffee one has to guzzle….

  4. Pingback: Dropshipping : Common Mistakes and Misconceptions – HOMEFREEKIDS.COM

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