- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2001

New York City, with all its idiosyncrasies, was culturally a continent apart before September 11. But since New Yorkers have suffered such catastrophic losses due to the horrific terrorist attacks, it has become a national nucleus and has come to represent much of what is distinctly American.

To many Americans, a rebounding New York City will come to symbolize a recovering nation. "We're all Americans and this is our greatest city. We have a challenge here to prove that we're committed to prosperity in New York," said Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker.

Unfortunately, stocks prices haven't yet emerged from their post-September 11 descent, and New York's financial institutions are, therefore, suffering tremendously, due to a precipitous drop in demand for their services. Unfortunately, New Yorkers can't look to the rest of the country to fuel a revitalization of their city, since the hoped-for U.S. turnaround has not yet occurred. In November, consumer confidence slipped to the lowest level in over seven years, the Conference Board reported last Tuesday.

Therefore, it would be a welcome sign of solidarity if Republicans and Democrats soon confirmed their plans to hold their 2004 conventions in New York, as they are reportedly considering. New York City is traditionally Democratic, and yet it has a Republican governor, George E. Pataki, and a recently elected mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg. In this sense, New York City has a newly acquired bipartisan spirit.

Naturally, announcing Republican and Democratic conventions won't cure what ails New York. The city is truly the financial center, not only of the country, but also of the world. Therefore, its problems are symptomatic of the national and global malaise. Efforts to put international trade negotiations on the fast track, for example, will probably do more to help New York City than an aid package.

Accordingly, Congress should view the Bush administration's request for trade promotion authority which allows Congress to approve or reject an already negotiated trade pact, but not make any alterations as a means to economically triumph over the terrorist assaults.

New Yorkers have survived numerous economic downturns and have proved their perseverance. America must now demonstrate its symbolic solidarity with the city in any way it can. And lawmakers must do their part to stimulate the economy through trade, for the sake of New York City, America and the globe.

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