Open Letter to Cody Keenan, Obama's Chief Speechwriter

You hit the nail on the head with the Tucson Memorial Speech. It was genuine, heartfelt, and spoke what a nation in mourning needed to hear. Now we need specifics about growing the economy and creating more jobs.

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- World City America Inc. President Stephanie Gallagher sent an open letter to Cody Keenan, President Obama's chief speechwriter.

Dear Mr. Keenan,

We are looking forward to President Obama's State of the Union speech tomorrow. Most of us feel acquainted with the "state" of the Union and hope our President focuses on what he and the 113th Congress plan to do about it. We need concrete examples of how they will invigorate the economy without raising the deficit.

Tackling the trade deficit: Among the top ten contributors to our trade deficit — along with COUNTRIES like Japan, Mexico, Germany and China — is the North American cruise industry. The companies that own these foreign-flag ships (e.g. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL) generate annual revenues in excess of $40 billion, over 90% of which is collected from American passengers.

The foreign-flag cruise industry, sailing primarily out of U.S. ports, is a quintessentially American industry, except it isn't. It competes directly with U.S. hotels, resorts, theme parks, casinos and convention centers but, amazingly, does not play by the same rules. It doesn't pay taxes on its huge profits, doesn't hire American crews or hospitality workers and isn't bound by American rules relating to safety, the environment, labor practices, or the authority of our courts.

During the town hall debate at Hofstra University last fall, President Obama promised to go after those who don't play by the rules or on a level playing field.

Show the President means business. President Obama should tell the American people tomorrow night that he is directing his "Fair Trade task force" to look into this anomaly and to encourage the U.S. Maritime Administration to work with the cruise industry to level the playing field and open opportunities for American-flag ships and American workers in this booming U.S.-driven industry.

Give a concrete example: There's only one significant, contract-ready, private-sector developed American flag cruise ship initiative ( The American Flagship Project will create thousands of jobs, generate billions in revenues, and be a boon to our coastal communities. Administration and government project support would not cost the American taxpayers anything and all risks are fully covered. The U.S. Maritime Administration got it wrong in the President's first term (see our 8/28/12 Open Letter to President Obama). A modest course correction will enable the American economy and workers to finally capture a share of this dynamic, U.S.-driven $40+ billion a year industry. During Clinton's presidency, and the project's early development, First Lady Hillary Clinton graciously agreed to be the ship's "Godmother." President Obama should proudly promise to have the American Flagship ready for christening before the end of his second term.

Aug. 28, 2012 Open Letter to President Obama:

Stephanie Gallagher, President, World City America Inc.  212-972-9000;

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SOURCE World City America Inc.


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