cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
We are watching what could prove to be the action that caused the implosion of Fond du Lac. We are watching this on the heels of Janesville's implosion. We are watching this on the heels of news that Harley executives are looking at three other states for a new plant site that, ostensibly, would be used for the York, PA work if that plant is closed.
In Fond du Lac, the Mercury Marine organization's 800+ union workers will vote on Sunday and that vote will determine if Fond du Lac retains the roughly 2,000 direct jobs and whether Wisconsin retains the additional 8,000 or so jobs that are dependent upon this outcome.
We saw a similar situation unfold years ago when the Kimberly Clark organization moved its headquarters to Dallas.
It is not as if the leaders of companies get together one morning over coffee and decide they'd like to move their entire operation from Wisconsin to some other location. It is not as if this 'phenomenon' has just arrived in Wisconsin.
Our state has, unfortunately, the classic "tin ear" when it comes to creating a good climate for business. And, just to prove that, we now have "combined reporting", and we don't have tort reform, and we do have high taxes, and, and, and...
The unions too often refer to these occurrences as management-driven. The unions decry these decisions being taken and yet they are part of the problem...but they just don't seem to understand that things have changed and that they need to adapt to those changes or risk losing their members who'll no longer be employed.
The state doesn't get the message either. It doesn't see the reasons for a Stillwater, OK being more attractive than someplace in Wisconsin. It doesn't see the reason that Texas attracts so many business start-ups and expansions. Wisconsin's government does not understand that higher and higher taxes will result in fewer and fewer jobs. It seems to not understand what Texas already knows.
Our state government would rather buy two train sets that have no engines and spend $47 million on that than to take that $47 million and try to make our state more hospitable to business. It would rather set up its own "global warming" commission than to seek resolution to businesses issues. It would rather reward the trial lawyers than the people.
There are examples of such failed experiments with other states. Michigan had to learn its lessons the hard way, and it may be coming back given recent changes. Texas learned that lower tax rates create more tax revenue. North Dakota and Wyoming are bringing new jobs into their states due to a very favorable business climate.
But we just seem to need to get whacked really badly before we'll open our eyes, shake the cobwebs from our cranium and get on with getting on.
What more will it take? Must we touch the burner on the stove a hundred times before understanding that it is hot and that we get burned every time we touch it?
The Curmudgeon Blog today is titled "It's Not My Fault!".