Thursday, February 21, 2013

"How stupid do you think we are?"

The incredulous tone of the French tire worker unions and the French government to the reality of a businessman walking away from their country is truly remarkable to behold.

This Wall Street Journal editorial lays out more of the background from the letter from Morrie Taylor, CEO of Titan International, to the French "Minister of Industrial Renewal". (That France, a major world economy, feels the need to appoint a cabinet-level position for renewing industry -- instead of, say, lowering taxes and fees to make doing business there more profitable and attractive -- says much about the state of the country.)

The French union imperiously refused to increase productivity at the Goodyear factory in North Amiens, and instead issued the ridiculous ultimatum that unless Taylor agreed to their demands, they wouldn't let him purchase the factory. The unstated assumption obviously in the back of the union members' minds is that Taylor wouldn't -- nay, couldn't -- refuse to buy the factory, so the leverage was all on their end. They thought this even though Titan was the only company bidding on the Goodyear factory.

When Taylor, quite reasonably, walked away, the union and the French government were flabbergasted. Messr. Ministry of Industrial Renewal begged him to reconsider. Taylor's priceless response really sums up the contempt every good businessman has for Liberal anti-business policies promulgated by economically ignorant policymakers.

"How stupid do you think we are?"

That question is the unstated subtext of every wealthy French citizen or business that is moving to Belgium, or the UK, or the US, or anywhere else. It's the unstated subtext of every business or wealthy individual that's moved away from Michigan, or Illinois, or California, or New York.

"You must think we know as little about business and economics as you do. We don't. Buh-bye."

No comments: