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Schakowsky Bain Protest Blows The Opportunity

The wise leader always asks “why?” The wise leader wants to learn from the crisis. The closing of the Freeport factory presents more than just an opportunity to protest.

Every leader knows that the Chinese character for “crisis” also means “opportunity”.

There is a small factory in Freeport, Ill. that manufactures sensors. It was once owned by Honeywell, but was purchased in 2010 by multi-national Sensata Technologies . Plans are underway to close the plant and move it’s 170 jobs to China. According to Reuters, Sensata had planned to close the plant since it acquired the facility. Because Sensata is partly owned by Bain Capital, the closing has become another ping-pong ball in the game we call “political debate”.

The wise leader always asks “why?” The wise leader wants to learn from the crisis.

The closing of the Freeport plant provides the opportunity to ask some important questions relevant to the loss of businesses, jobs and tax revenue vexing Illinois:

  • Why is Sensata leaving?
  • Is there something about the business climate in Illinois that is contributing to its leaving?
  • Is Sensata unable to find the skills, know how, suppliers, customers, necessary to operate a sustainable business in Illinois?

(It is easy to dismiss Sensata leaving Illinois as another chapter in the story of cheap labor, but there are sure to be other reasons. For example, if the plant were selling huge amounts of sensors into the Illinois market, cheap labor alone wouldn’t be enough to get them to move. Reuters suggests that the market for Sensata’s products in the domestic economy had dried up, but was “burgeoning” in China. So, this is not just about “cheap labor”. it is about the domino effect of an economic crisis in the United States. )

So far I haven’t read or heard anything about our Congresswoman convening a meeting with Sensata to see what she can learn from this crisis/opportunity that might truly benefit her constituents and her state and even her country. That’s what I wish she were doing Tuesday night. That would be true leadership.

But, instead of learning from this crisis, she is using this as an opportunity to send a message to businesses everywhere: try to make a sound business decision in Illinois and a congresswoman will lead a protest. Dare to implement a sustainable business model and she’ll nail 35,000 signatures to your front door.

And if this “incident” gets so embarrassing for Romney that somehow he becomes the hero and influences Sensata to reverse its closing order, it won’t be because of any critical thinking, any broad interest in Illinois’ economy or any genuine learning from this crisis that can help us build a sustainable state economy. No, it will just represent politics as usual in leaderless Illinois.

(This just in: see my followup at  )

Eric Lieberman


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Richard Schulte August 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Typical gutter politics practiced by the Chicago Democrat machine-thugs.
Richard Schulte August 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM
The dedication from "Rules for Radicals" written by Saul Alinsky: “Lest we forget at least an over the shoulder acknowledgement of the very first radical, from all our legends, mythology, and history … the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.” What we are seeing is the application of Saul Alinsky's tactics outlined in "Rules for Radicals" being used by the Obama campaign and by Sully.
fishman August 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Very simple - Sensata is leaving because they can. If their departure is to make obscene profits that Sully believes should be redistributed or the deplorable economic climate of Illinois as Richard believes, what difference does it make? Congress is made up of 44% lawyers who write the laws that create the climate for companies like Sensata to go to China. (Jans top 2 campaign contributors are law firms). The more Congress and States like Illinois that try and take control of companies through regulation and taxes, the more these companies will pack up and leave. Get used to it. For the small business like mine, the farthest I could move from the insanity of Illinois was over to Michigan. After one month, so far - so good. Solution? Stop electing lawyers or people financed by lawyers - it would be a good start. ....in my opinion.
Eric Lieberman August 22, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Richard, Fishman, Scully, Conrad - see my followup post on the Bain Protest at http://evanston.patch.com/blog_posts/jan-a-no-show-but-the-show-goes-on#photo-11089494 .
Tim Wolfe August 28, 2012 at 03:38 PM
First of all I have to reply to fishman and make a plug for myself. I'm a CPA and small business owner running for Congress in the IL 9th. The current 9th District Congresswoman is a career politician who believes in the government control over business instead of the free market approach. After reading several of the comments about the effect of government policies and the resulting control over businesses I felt I should make clear that changing a business you don't agree with is exactly the same as changing representatives in government. Customers (voters) need to buy less of the product (give the incumbent fewer votes) and force a business to make changes (elect a new representative or force the representative to make changes). The key is to have informed consumers and voters who will not just complain but actively work for change.


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