South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Huge sucking noise is closer than you think


October 17, 2006

I write you today as a native son, born and raised here, hoping to alarm enough people into action.

In 1996, the Presidential race consisted of Clinton, Dole and Perot. Most candidates offer one or two good ideas amidst a plethora of poor ones and Ross Perot was no exception. However, in hindsight, his one good idea was his opposition to the North American Free Trade Act or NAFTA. He said it would cause a “huge sucking noise” as our manufacturing jobs left this country for cheaper wages elsewhere.

It was a Republican-backed bill, sponsored by George Bush, Sr., signed into law by Bill Clinton, as he was “persuaded” by Newt Gingrich (R), Speaker of the Republican-controlled house. The “huge sucking noise” has, indeed, been “heard” as our manufacturing jobs have flown to Mexico, and now, China, especially under Clinton's successor, George “Dubya” Bush. But, that's not why I write today. In Pittsburgh, we're being promised jobs, wealth, etc., in order to persuade us to accept a casino in our midst.

Come and let us reason together: If you've ever been to a casino, there's always food and liquor priced cheaply or given free to patrons. After all, casinos are in business to entice you to gamble, that's where they make their money, not through food and liquor sales. Those things merely dull your senses so you'll gamble more. A full belly and a drunken mind are less likely to notice that “huge sucking noise” as the casino siphons your money from your wallet.

Besides the gambler losing his/her hard-earned wages to the casino, other losers are the bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the area, since cheap/free food and booze are enticing draws to most people. Hence, they won't be spending their money in those other establishments. Plus, if the casinos do end up enjoying an exemption from the anti-smoking bill recently passed here, that will give them an added edge and the local bars, clubs and restaurants a “chop to the knee”. County executive Dan Onorato has asked that a one-year trial period be added to the bill, in order to gauge its effects on those businesses, but ask yourselves, “Could I run a business for a year, losing money?”

Keep in mind, politicians generally don't think long-term good for their communities because their jobs are usually measured in four year segments. Not surprisingly, they typically think short-term gain, with their own personal gain figured in. This is human nature, because they have families to feed also. So, I say this merely as an attempt to understand their rush to embrace this casino idea.

In summary, remember this: Casinos, like lawyers, don't create wealth, (except for their owners), they redirect it, into their coffers.

Pittsburgh, do you hear that “huge sucking noise”? And, in the background, that's the death knell of this once-proud city you're hearing. If you hear those sounds, contact your local representatives and make them “hear” also.

D. McSwiggen



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