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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Tim Wolfe August 21, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Insightful comments by Eric Lieberman. We need representatives at the state and Federal levels to be spending their time looking for ways to make things work. Instead, at least in this case, our representative uses her time to lead a protest against a political opponent who has nothing to do with the problem.. We need thoughtful people like Eric in the IL 18th District. I look forward to watching him get elected. Tim Wolfe Candidate for US Congress in the IL 9th Congressional District
Sully August 21, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Hi Eric. I agree with you to a point. Leaders should be asking more questions of businesses. Unfortunately big business has the idea that they don't have to answer to anyone. They say it's their stockholders, and while that may be partially true, or more true for some than others, the bottom line is how can more money be made for the CEOs and upper echelon of the company. I don't know exactly when corporations became bigger than the people or the government, but at this time, they do what they want (such as illegal dumping, setting prices at a higher rate despite the economic conditions of the day, banks foreclosing on homes with no documentation supporting the foreclosure, outsourcing, and so on and so on). Corporations don't have to move overseas. They choose to so they can make an even bigger profit than they already make. It's a matter of truly loving your country and the people in it, or just loving your profits. If it's the first, corporations will stay in America. If it's the second...well we know the answer to that.
Richard Schulte August 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Sully has identified the problem for us. Sully thinks businesses are operated for the public good. No Sully, everything that you said is completely wrong. The sole purpose of a business is to generate profits for the business owner. Businesses are not their to provide health insurance or other benefits for the employees. The best advice I can give anybody is: Never, never take advice from a liberal. And if you do take advice from a liberal, do exactly the opposite of what the liberal suggests. The reason Illinois is having the sort of problems described above is that the business climate in Illinois is abysmal. I would suggest that Illinois contact Governor Scott Walker for advice on what to do to make Illinois more business friendly. Better yet, throw Quinn out of office and let Walker run both Wisconsin and Illinois.
Conrad August 21, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Mr. Schulte, you have shown once again how disrespectful you are to anyone having a different opinion. I do not agree with everything Mr. Sully said, yet it is his right to have that opinion and be heard without the vitriol you express. You are not polite to anyone Mr. Schulte. You are arrogant and confrontational in every comment you post. Maybe Obama should go, but so should the Tea Party. There is no place for their hatred and misplaced anger in this country.
Richard Schulte August 21, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Conrad: "Mr. Schulte, you have shown once again how disrespectful you are to anyone having a different opinion." Conrad, you are the one who supports censorship. Sully can say anything he damn well pleases as far as I am concerned and I support his right to say it, however, I don't have to agree with him. Let's face facts-liberals have no clue about how to run a business. Now lets face some other facts about how vile and obnoxious Sully is: http://evanston.patch.com/users/sully-6/comments?page=1 Here are just a few of Sully's recent posts on Patch: "Not to mention views on rape by some of those on the right, including Paul Ryan." "Want something else to read, Richie? Here ya go-" "Gosh Rich, since you are obviously the smartest and wisest man on the planet, why don't you run for president? I'm sure you'd have this economy running smoothly just one day in office." Sully is a Democrat operative and he's been using Alinsky tactics on Patch for over a year. Saul Alinsky's book, "Rules for Radicals" is dedicated to Satan. Don't believe it-Google it.
Conrad August 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM
No Mr. Schulte, he is not. He is a reader of The Patch and has strong beliefs that he wants to express, just as other posters want to do. I think his comment on rape was referring to Todd Akin from Missouri and Steve King from Iowa. I'm sorry Mr. Schulte but I disagree with you.
Sully August 21, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Forget it Conrad. It's not worth it (and yes, I was referring to Akin's comment and the fact that he and Ryan co-sponsored a bill that would make it illegal to have an abortion under any circumstances, including rape).
Richard Schulte August 21, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Conrad: "I'm sorry Mr. Schulte but I disagree with you." Your objective is the same as Sully's objective-to get me to stop posting on Patch. You're just another Democrat posing as a Republican. Sorry, it ain't going to work. To attempt to associate Paul Ryan with the comments made about rape by the Congressman from Missouri is simply gutter politics being practiced by the Democrats. Why not talk about the accomplishments of the Obama Administration over the last 3-1/2 years? Ooops, there are no accomplishments, so we have to resort to distractions. Are the American people better off now than they were 4 years ago? A resounding "hell no". It long past the time for Obama to go.
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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