Monday, May 23, 2011


Thought this column was interesting:

By Frosty Wooldridge
May 23, 2011

After my latest column, “ILLUSION OF OBAMA AND CONGRESS EMPLOYING 15 MILLION UNEMPLOYED,” Barry McKenna, President of McKenna Service Company, spoke about the history of our massive unemployment problem.

Give us an idea of what our Congress and president are doing to the American worker Mr. McKenna:

“I have sold and serviced industrial equipment in the Mid-West since 1979 and witnessed manufacturing capability slip away to foreign countries,” said McKenna. “Politicians have always been more interested in “kickbacks” & “donations” to their campaign funds from multi-national corporations than National Security, our national defense, or our wealth. U.S. Super Power status is long past and just other illusion politicians put forth to the American people.

“Free trade policies were negotiated by political plants that have worked both sides of the table for their own gain. Forget the common good of the nation thus the conditions seen now.

“One of my customers, Brake Parts Mfg., was once based in the small town of Litchfield in central Illinois. The company started operation in 1905 and had manufactured brake components for every car ever made. My relationship with them spanned 33 years during which I had placed 85 CNC machine tools in that facility. The company employed about three thousand and it “was” the economic generator and job creator for that little town.

“Two years ago the company was purchased by a “multi-national” investment group named “The Affinia Group”. Affinia owned golf courses and hotels (but NO manufacturing facilities). Affinia decided to close Brake Parts and move all manufacturing to Mexico City, Mexico. All but four engineers were laid off as they were key to shifting the facility to Mexico. The reason for the move; Cheap Labor and no inbound tariffs to the U.S.A. from Mexico because of “Free Trade.”

“Years of working with people affords one the opportunity to get to know the employees on a “personal” level, i.e. their families, kids, grandkids, and etc. The people of Litchfield are what I call “Home Town America.”

“I called the engineering department shortly after the buy-out I found most of the employees had been let go. The “engineering secretary” (Vicki) then broke down crying as she told me the story of what was to transpire and everyone was losing everything. The plant is gone now as are the people and most of the town. This situation brings to mind scenes of Detroit, Michigan, which is also now a ghost town. Welcome to the New “Bill Clinton” America. When the government attempts to “fix” or “do business” it’s usually a disaster.

“Free Trade which was touted by politicians to bring jobs and wealth. It has done the opposite and statistics prove it. We gave away our technology to be used against us. The world is laughing at us.

“I visited the plant in Mexico City last year on a “service call”. Once at the airport I was told NOT to go out on the sidewalk at the airport or I would be kidnapped. I was met by two armed bodyguards who escorted me to an armored car and drove me to the new facility. Few people there spoke or could read English in that plant. Also, since all of the part drawings and blueprints were in ENGLISH, there were major problems producing the parts. Essentially all production was shut down.

“While there I spoke to a Mexican truck driver who picked up equipment in Litchfield, Illinois and brought it to the M/C plant. I learned that anything leaving Mexico to the U.S.A. was not tariffed or taxed. However; anything coming into Mexico was hit with an 18% tariff. Did I miss something about free trade?

“It is quite obvious that something is wrong and the U.S. negotiators are not working for the good of the U.S.A. Like all else I believe the problem is not correctable from our level. It takes “Superman” to fix this one….

“The only way to fix the problem is to have the problem affect everyone in the wallet. Then possibly we have a chance. Unfortunately, we are giving away all of our jobs, technology and talent to our competitors who are all too happy to take it. They know its value; we evidently do not, or have had it too good for too long to realize our prosperity.”

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