CLK, Yosey, McBear is it true, Economic woes bedevil Kentucky......... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-17-2008, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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CLK, Yosey, McBear is it true, Economic woes bedevil Kentucky.........

Economic woes bedevil Kentucky

LOUISVILLE—Kenny Ramage has been cooking up pork butts and ribs, chickens, hams, beef brisket and even mutton up to 18 hours a day for the past 18 years, but the business of feeding the fires and serving up hickory pit-smoked meats with a side of deep-fried corn on the cob is bittersweet these days.

The reason is located on the other side of Shepherdsville Road. From the window of Ramage's Ole Hickory Pit Bar-B-Cue you can see the historic, sprawling manufacturing complex known as General Electric's Appliance Park, a place that for more than half a century has churned out GE washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and stoves.

That churn has turned to a trickle and Appliance Park, which in 1954 installed a 30-ton room-sized UNIVAC to become the first commercial operation to use a computer, has seen operations curtailed and divisions lopped over the years. And the 5,000 people who work there—about half white collar and half union manufacturing—could soon be out of a job because of news Friday that GE will sell or spin off its consumer appliance business.

"I really won't know until they're gone how much it will affect me," Ramage, 61, said as he looked across the street at the sprawling complex. "I'd say it's about 30 percent of my business. Maybe more."

Not far from Ramage's restaurant, a frustrated William T. "Tommy" Spires is fielding phone calls. Prior to the announcement on Friday, the president of Local 761 of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, part of the Communications Workers of America, was taking questions he couldn't answer.

"I don't know any more than what you've read and what you've seen," Spires said. "I've checked with local management here. We've called to no avail. They're making no comment on 'speculative' press reports. That's an easy way out I guess."

The situation at Appliance Park is a symbol for what will greet the prolonged Democratic presidential contest that winds its way to Kentucky for balloting on Tuesday. The unsettled economic climate has created a sense of personal apprehension in a state attempting to portray a progressive development policy while already trying to counter above-the-national-average unemployment, an aging, overwhelmingly white population, a decline in manufacturing and a large rural citizenry with lower educational attainment.

In short, said Joe Gershtenson, a political scientist at Eastern Kentucky University, the commonwealth of Kentucky presents all the demographic and economic data points for Sen. Hillary Clinton's populist-themed campaign against Sen. Barack Obama, regardless of her longshot status in a state not unfamiliar with racing odds.

"Kentucky mirrors West Virginia in many respects," said Gershtenson, noting the New York Democrat's 41 percentage point win over Obama last week. "Will it be as resounding a victory for Clinton as in West Virginia? Probably not quite the same magnitude, but I would certainly expect her to do very well here with a sizable margin over Obama."

Various polling in the state earlier this month has shown Clinton with a lead of at least 25 percentage points. But the Obama campaign, with its money advantage over Clinton's struggling campaign, is competing with a fusillade of TV ads and campaign events in Kentucky while it focuses its expectations on the Oregon primary the same day.

Like its Appalachian neighbor, Kentucky shares a large rural population—slightly below half of its 4.2 million people, though metropolitan centers in Louisville, Lexington and along the suburbs across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, as well as smaller urbanized pockets, give Obama an opening that he didn't have in West Virginia.

Yet only 7.5 percent of the commonwealth's population is African-American, a voting group that has overwhelmingly sided with Obama. At the same time, nearly 90 percent of Kentucky is white, only one in five have a bachelor's degree or better and the median family household income is more than $9,000 below the national average. Those are all demographics that favor Clinton.

While voter registration favors Democrats, it has shown a willingness to vote Republican at the federal level. It voted twice for Bill Clinton before twice voting for George W. Bush. The state is conservative on social issues, including the hot-button issues of abortion, gay marriage and gun-owners rights, and Louisville this weekend is hosting the National Rifle Association convention.

Although Gershtenson said "religion and guns matter" in the Kentucky ethos, race also is a factor in the election as it was in West Virginia. "There's no doubt that there is a significant portion of the electorate that would be very hesitant to vote for a black man," he said.

Kim Criglier, a married mother of four who runs a photography business and works the bar at the historic and fashionable Brown Hotel, said she and her friends have debated the upcoming contest, sometimes ferverently.

A lifelong Kentuckian, who considers herself "a liberal, yet conservative," she acknowledges resentment to strong women exists in some parts of the state, yet "they would be more apt to vote for a white woman over a black male, sad as that is."

Still, it is the economy that has proved to be an overriding issue. While an aggressive effort to go after auto assembly work has helped the state, employees at a Ford plant in Louisville are facing reduced work schedules and layoffs as high gas prices sabotage the sale of low-mileage trucks.

Spires, the union head for GE appliance workers, acknowledged the unsettled future for his members trumps their thoughts of the election contest though he's backing Clinton.

"I think she's the most knowledgeable of the two to do the job," Spires said. "When she brings out an issue, she explains how she's going to carry it out. Obama is talking about change. Well, sometimes change is not for the best. Tell me, what are you going to change?"

At the Ole Hickory Pit, the self-proclaimed optimism that fills Kenny Ramage may be wearing thin as he acknowledged he was "not real comfortable" with any of the presidential contenders. Looking at the rising costs of running his restaurant, the $6.25 he gets for a pulled-pork sandwich plate with two sides may have to be increased.

"Eventually my prices are going to have to go up. I don't have a choice. I don't want to do it, but I'm going to try to hold off as along as I can," Ramage said."I guess there's a fine line between gas and eating," he said. "Where's it going to stop? I don't know. Do you?

Economic woes bedevil Kentucky -- -- chicagotribune.com
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-17-2008, 12:56 PM
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What was interesting in the article is that it did not mention the other 600 pound gorilla in the room which is Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant just 10 miles around the Waterson Expressway from the GE Appliance Park. Louisville Assembly Plant, which employs about 2,000 hourly and 140 salaried workers, currently makes the Ford Explorer, Explorer Sport Trac and Mercury Mountaineer. Those are down about 50% in sales from 18 months ago.

The Ford Truck Plant, which employs another 3400 [down from 6000 in 2004] is experiencing layoffs, furloughs and shutdown of lines as Ford consolidates it's F150 lines and reduces production of its larger F250-F550 trucks.

Ancillary supplier businesses appear to be closing rather quickly as supply chains consolidate.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-17-2008, 01:19 PM
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sing along with me.... Just look for the union label....
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-17-2008, 01:53 PM
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sing along with me.... Just look for the union label....
Not a Union issue. Unless you believe that the decision of Union $22.00, Non-Union $15.00, or Mexican $1.32 labor rates is made solely on a pro or anti-union stance. Seems that there might be a third consideration there.

So maybe the song should have NAFTA and "Sell our Souls for cheap goods" in the lyrics.





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Who can we blame NAFTA on ?

I know Clinton didnt do it by himself,,,,,, I need someone else to hate ,along with Cliton
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-17-2008, 05:54 PM
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Who can we blame NAFTA on ?

I know Clinton didnt do it by himself,,,,,, I need someone else to hate ,along with Cliton
You need to go back to Bush1, then Clinton, then bushie. I think the concept was that by sending nice high paying jobs to Mexico their wages were going to raise and they were going to then buy muchos, muchos American goods.

I just don't think they planned on most of them coming across the border to buy them at American Walmarts.

There is nothing wrong with Globalization as long as ALL parties play on a level playing field. NAFTA has a different give and take. We give up American jobs and they take them.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-17-2008, 06:06 PM
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There is nothing wrong with Globalization as long as ALL parties play on a level playing field. NAFTA has a different give and take. We give up American jobs and they take them.
That's the deal; many of us who have long been opposed to WTO/IMF and Whirled Bank policies are not opposed to globalization in the least. Globalization has the potential to spread information, values and greater understanding amongst the world's populations. Unfortunately, corporate globalization just allows a tiny minority to reap benefits from the vast majority, with no regard to the social and environmental consequences. That's immoral and untenable
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 09:16 AM
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Not a Union issue. Unless you believe that the decision of Union $22.00, Non-Union $15.00, or Mexican $1.32 labor rates is made solely on a pro or anti-union stance. Seems that there might be a third consideration there.

So maybe the song should have NAFTA and "Sell our Souls for cheap goods" in the lyrics.





.
Bear, I went to the NRA convention yesterday. (you know my business) I was shocked to see a "made in China" label on everything.

If these God fearing, chest thumping Americans buy cheap shit and paste a NRA designer badge on it and pass it off as good ole usa products there is no need to fret. right?


It absolutely kills me when I hear people state that they only buy American and Support the Union but do not practice what they preach.

This is not directed to you, yet I would like your take on this.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Bear, I went to the NRA convention yesterday. (you know my business) I was shocked to see a "made in China" label on everything.

If these God fearing, chest thumping Americans buy cheap shit and paste a NRA designer badge on it and pass it off as good ole usa products there is no need to fret. right?


It absolutely kills me when I hear people state that they only buy American and Support the Union but do not practice what they preach.

This is not directed to you, yet I would like your take on this.

NRA, I assume you mean the National Rifle Association. Either way how can you blame the chest thumpers if there are alot fewer products made in the USA if the corporations have moved offshore. At least maybe an American put the sticker on the product (maybe)...........
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 09:48 AM
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NRA, I assume you mean the National Rifle Association. Either way how can you blame the chest thumpers if there are alot fewer products made in the USA if the corporations have moved offshore. At least maybe an American put the sticker on the product (maybe)...........
Why did they move offshore?
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