Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Hear His Story

Saw this on Drudge - the story about how the D's are paying this fired factory worker, Randy Johnson, to dog Mitt Romney:

The 57-year-old described how he worked at a factory making office supplies owned by Smith Corona, which facing bankruptcy, sold his plant to another company, Ampad, that has recently been acquired by Bain Capital. Ampad promptly fired all of the workers at the plant, and then re-hired most of them. Since they were a union shop, and over half of the employees had been re-hired, the new owners were forced to recognize the union. They tried to renegotiate the contract, but the union eventually decided to go on strike, so Ampad shuttered the once-profitable factory.

I think it's cool that the D's are picking up his bills, but I think Mitt needs to ask him up on stage next time out. (not to make light of his situation, but to teach him, and the D's supporting him, the basics of capitalism)

The article states that Smith Corona was facing bankruptcy when it sold his factory. In other words, he was already out of a job. He was in the buggy whip industry: a company making typewriters in a computer/word-processing world. Ampad then apparently tried to make it work. Maybe it could have worked with the plant transitioning to products that were more in demand. Maybe it could have worked with the union making concessions. Fact is, it didn't; it went on strike. So Mr Johnson remained out of a job.

The company isn't named but I'll bet it wasn't profitable when it was sold to Ampad. The article calls it a "once-profitable factory" but that's not the point. In the real world, what matters is the probability of it being profitable in the future.

I think it's a darned shame when it doesn't work, but Randy Johnson needed both Ampad and his union's cooperation in order to revive his job. Not knowing the facts it's impossible to say who was more to blame, but automatically blaming Ampad is stupid.

Romney didn't axe Randy Johnson's job. Ampad didn't destroy his livelihood. The laser printer did. It's unfortunate but there it is.

In a free market, the typewriter makers and buggy whip shops give way to printer makers and auto workers. The answer isn't to prop up the obsolete technology. Randy Johnson needs to move on, even if it's not easy. Lamenting the past doesn't build a thing.