June 14, 2017 | by Bob Weidner

Challenge and Adversity

Reflections on the things that really matter

“When you have exhausted all possibilities remember this…you haven’t.” —Thomas Edison

Cancer has a way of focusing the mind and heart like nothing else I can think of. Abruptly, in a life filled with grace and gratitude, thankful for the lives we have together, nature reaches out from one of its darkest corners to taunt us with our mortality. There is a profound gift that emerges though from a cancer diagnosis, from the shock and fear and all but speechless disbelief. It is a renewed appreciation for the depths of love, for family and supportive friends, for sunrise and sunset, for all the richness of life.

Many of you will have heard already that after her surgery for an early stage breast cancer, Kathy has been blessed with a clean bill of health. Recovery is painful, but that gray cloud has lifted and our love for each other is only stronger. We are very grateful for the prayers and support from all of you. And we understand in an entirely new way what it means to live fully. Do not wait, we have been boldly told, to express your love, to do the things you have always dreamed of, to do the work that changes things for the better. Make it all count and as Thomas Edison reminds us, never think you have exhausted all your possibilities.

The Edison quote came to us from a phenomenally supportive group of cancer survivors. But it stands too as a beacon for all of us who must deal with an uncertain, all too real world. Not just of family and loved ones, but also of important work and the business of coping these days with a seemingly intractable political environment. Ambiguity, impulsiveness, and immaturity seem so far to be the hallmarks of this White House. The Congress has shown itself to be paralyzed and ineffectual in the face of an unprecedented and chaotic leadership vacuum.

Business leaders, up and down the industrial metals supply chain and across the economy are understandably off balance. Many are turning their backs on Washington and political advocacy as a hopeless endeavor that will not be fixed any time soon.

Let me be clear. Here at MSCI we will have none of that. On the contrary, if ever there was a time for renewed strength, for powerful advocacy for the tax and health and infrastructure and free and fair trade policies we need for a stronger economy it is now. No one seems to know who said it first but the quote says: “Remember that guy who gave up? Nobody does.”

If ever there was a time for renewed strength, for powerful advocacy for the tax and health and infrastructure and free and fair trade policies we need for a stronger economy it is now.

At MSCI, we are not in the business of giving up and we hope that you are not either. We intend to be heard, on your behalf, on behalf of the entire North American metals supply chain in government hearings and investigations that could well shape our industry for years to come. The Commerce Department is looking at whether steel and aluminum imports, excess capacity from China and other countries are a threat to the national security of this country. At the same time, the administration is looking at how to reshape NAFTA to create a stronger, manufacturing-based economy. None of us has the luxury to sit by silently as these issues are shaped.

MSCI is now the strongest voice speaking out for solutions in these investigations that will support the entire North American industrial metals supply chain. We are urging, for instance, that any tariffs levied at one end of the chain, be imposed in an intelligent, balanced manner to account for the potential price impact all along that chain. We are urging that our NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, be exempt from any levies that would erode the vibrant and growing three country, trillion-dollars-plus economy we have created together.

This kind of advocacy on your behalf is one of the cornerstones of the essential services we offer to protect and build your businesses. Understand we work only for you and your interests. And because our membership is so broad, in function and geography, our perspective and counsel are unique among the industry’s trade associations.

Life’s challenges are many and varied. Certainly, nothing in business or politics approaches the dark impact of a cancer diagnosis. But lessons carry over. As former Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan said, “We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us.”

Learn more about the investigation into steel and aluminum imports and how MSCI is advocating for the industrial metals supply chain.

Learn more about the MSCI's written testimony on the NAFTA renegotiation.