This is in response to Norman Bernstein's commentary comparing Texas to Bangladesh.
Wow. All I can say is "Wow." This article was very poorly written. I can see now why Norman Bernstein is a roving correspondent. He doesn't get his facts right, nor does he know anything about Journalism 101 or how to write an article.
While I am not a Perry fan, he has done some things that are great for our state. We have a great school system in most of your mid-large cities. We have job growth. Our worker's here have incredible rights, and we are a "right to work" state. We don't pay into unions, so we don't have to keep “dead weight” around because the contract or union says so. Texas is oil country plain and simple. It's one of the reasons why we still have work while so many other states are failing. We have industries, we have ranchers and farmers and we have an economy. Our protections and incentives for companies coming to Texas are better than most states, which is why many companies are relocating here.
To compare our great state to a Third World country? You are clearly nuts and void of reality.
Bangladesh and your Third World countries are just that … Third World countries — stricken with poverty and corruption. Most of those people that work in sweatshops endure the hardship because it means some food on their table for their families. Does it suck, yes. Some of our American companies have had to move to foreign countries in order to keep their businesses going ... are they guilty? More than likely. Do I agree with it? No. But when the liberal government wants to govern everything a business does, then they do what they have to do. In most cases, it’s not Walmarts, Sears, Gap, etc. that are at fault. It’s the natives that put their own people (as per your article, fifth paragraph) at risk for the almighty dollar. But then, everyone likes to buy clothes at a discount price. Is that not correct?
The West, Texas, accident was just that, an accident. And anyone with common sense can tell you that running any business comes with risks. Those risks are higher when you are a refinery or an industrial-type business. I believe even the rail road that keeps Montana going has incidents and accidents that can't be predicted. In Texas, you do have to have insurances, including liability insurance when you run a business or corporation, just like you have to have insurance to buy a home. Or why you choose contractors that are bonded and insured when you hire them to do work on your ranch, house or property. It’s there to protect your asset.
Mr. Bernstein states OSHA and EPA have not inspected the plant in West, Texas, since 1985. OSHA and EPA are federal organizations, not state. Every state has to comply with OSHA and EPA regulations. It has nothing to do with state fire codes. Every city and county has codes. I am sure that the city of Havre has stricter codes that say the city of Shelby or vice versa. Some codes are grandfathered in over the years and some aren’t. In the end, they all feed off of state codes. Saying a fire code would have prohibited storage near schools, hospitals, nursery homes, etc…. that’s ridiculous. In most cases, those plants were there first and people built around to be closer to work. It’s similar to those that live near a railroad track that’s been there for 30-50-plus years and yet complain to the city about the noise of the whistles and sounds of the engines during all hours of the day.
You want to look at our poverty level — of children? You say we have 25 percent children that live in poverty. I would like to say it’s lower — 17 percent — but let’s go with your number. We have a large influx of illegal aliens in this country and highly concentrated in states along the Mexican border that the federal government refuses to do anything about and becomes a burden on the tax system. Most of the illegal aliens or “anchor babies” qualify for the CHiPS program, which provides state-funded insurance for children at the taxpayer expense. In the schools, students who meet the eligibility requirements — usually at the “poverty” level — receive a subsidized breakfast and lunch or receive both for free. Let’s keep this in perspective though. There is a difference between poverty and people choosing to have welfare as their mean source of income.
Montana’s poverty rate of all ages was approximately 14.5 percent in 2006-2010. By county, the highest poverty count was 29 percent in Blaine County. Hill County came in at 17.9 percent. Havre isn’t that big to have a poverty level of almost 20 percent. Per the city of Havre site, which boasts they are the eighth-largest city in Montana, Havre only has a population of 9,310. In fact, Montana has had a higher poverty rate than the U.S. since 1995. Also, the poverty rate for children or persons under 18 years of age was 19.6 percent according to the online page http://www.montana.edu/extensionecon/countydata/statewidereportdec2011.pdf.
Bigger government, unlike your poorly written assessment, is not the answer. Shame on you Havre Daily News for your poor judgment in soliciting a writer that has no expertise in writing a newsworthy article, just a poorly written political commentary.
I was born in Montana, raised in Texas and damn proud of it.