Letters to the Editor

When I see what is happening in this country I am once again reminded of a conversation I had with a plant manager of a large factory in France in 1997. The plant, near Lyon, was a customer of the company with whom I worked.

The plant manager and I became pretty good friends. He showed me around the Lyon area. We played golf as well. One evening after dinner and a couple of bottles of good French wine I asked him why they were adding machines to their factory. He said they needed about 25% more production. I had been on the floor of his plant for some time. After another glass of wine I told him in my opinion if his operators kept the machines running 90% of the time – and they easily could – he would have 25% more production. He said "I know, I know but because of the union my hands are tied."

He said, "We French are pretty arrogant. We make a lot of money but pay over 50% in taxes. Taxes, immigration, the government unions and regulations are destroying my country, but Charlie you Americans are too smart to let that happen to you."

About 10 years after our conversation his plant was closed and moved to India. I wonder if he still thinks Americans are too smart to smart to let that happen.

Charles Cushman