Saturday, May 15, 2004

Timken Plant Closing. Hometown Crushed.
Timken is finally closing its three ball bearings in Canton, OH. My hometown expects to lose over $40 million a year in payroll and 1,300 jobs. The outrage is already brewing. Some blame the Democrats for creating a regulatory state. Others blame the free traders for creating a climate where it is cheaper to do work oversees.

Why blame anybody? This is nobody's fault, this is just the company responding to the realities of a competive market. If workers demand more than the company feels they are worth in salary, enforced by a union, they may get their way in the short run. However, in the long run, somebody is going to come along who is willing to do the job cheaper and/or better than they can. And the consumers who buy their prodcuts are going to end up better off.

Excuses such as distributing the CEO's salary sheet for the luxury of overpaying Steel Local 1123 miss the point. Shareholders pay or agree to pay the CEO the salary he makes because they feel they are getting a good deal (whether they are correct is another question, but as it is their money, they have the right to squander their assets in being wrong). They no longer feel the same way about their Ohio employees. To the workers of Local 1123 If you think they are wrong, prove it to them by putting your money where your mouth is. Mortgage houses, plunk in savings, sell cars to get collateral, and take out a loan from a bank to start up your own company with the assets of Timken for sale on the cheap. If I had passed the bar, I'd even do the pro-forma corporate startup papers for you for free. If Local 1123 truly makes a worthwhile product for the best possible price, than I am sure you will see this as the best possible option.

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