You will have to pay the piper

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 17, 2006

Many years ago a Baptist preacher in Memphis Tenn., Dr. R.G. Lee, had a sermon titled “Payday Someday.” Although Dr. Lee’s sermon was about people having to face the consequences of their sins, the sermon title could serve as a clich\u00E9 for the current downturns and closings of many businesses today.

The announcement by the Ford Motor Company that plants will be closed and up to 30,000 workers laid off is a prime example of the “chickens coming home to roost,” because of past practices by the workers, the unions, the company and our government. We can look for the same thing to happen at General Motors in the future. 

We should all be concerned that thousands of production workers will be without jobs and many will be thrown on welfare for the taxpayers to take care of their basic needs.

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These workers made above-average salaries and benefits gained for them by the unions (you can bet that no million dollar union executive will take a pay cut or be laid off). The company will lose some high-dollar executives, but those at the top levels will continue to draw multi-million dollar salaries along with their multi-million dollar bonuses while running super profitable auto plants in foreign countries using cheap labor.

This brings us to the primary cause of why these closings are happening. In short “free-trade agreements.” We are told by our leaders that free trade with foreign countries is good for our citizens’ well being.

The notion that countries that have signed free-trade agreements with the United States will import from us as much as we import from them is a myth. It sounds good on paper, but there is not one country that buys as much from us as we buy from them. In addition, because of cheap labor, major companies are moving to these cheap-labor countries to make more profit and avoid taxes. (How many remember when Ross Perot said “If NAFTA is approved, there will be a loud sucking sound when well-paying jobs are transferred to Mexico”) 

The 30,000 Ford workers who will be without jobs are now hearing that sucking sound. General Motors will be next. I predict that within five years there will be no American owned automobile companies.

There is another impact that exporting of manufacturing capability to foreign countries could have on the United States. Some of us remember what happened in 1941 when Japan and Germany declared war this country.

Not very many remember that at that time our army did not even have enough rifles for the recruits to train with. They were marching at Fort Bragg, N.C., using broomsticks as rifles. 

The country was forced to rapidly convert factories from peacetime production to making hardware for the military forces to fight the war. 

Where will we be when all of the Middle East and half of the orient decides that we are too weak to fight and they attack us?  Will Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Chili, etc., come to our rescue because we have exported our manufacturing capability to them, and our once experienced workers are now selling real estate or used autos?

Remember the old clich\u00E9: “When you dance, you must pay the piper.” His bill is in the mail.


Macon N. Sanford