Saturday, 9:00 AM. 20 degrees F, wind W, calm. The sky is overcast with dark gray clouds and a few snowflakes are floating around like dandelion seeds. There is considerable haze or fog or “lake smoke,” out over and past Madeline Island. Everything is snow covered and icy and the barometer predicts more of the same.
Yesterday, after digging out, I put on my long johns and went out to the logging road that leads to my tree stand. I drove in a hundred feet or so and decided all-wheel drive or no, I wasn’t going to get very far without getting stuck somewhere. So I walked a little further in snow up to my knees and decided against that, too. That may be it for this year. Eldest daughter Greta, who lives in Columbus, said I should hunt in the Ohio suburbs, where there are deer in great abundance. She has a point.
I see that Hostess Foods, the producers of Ho Ho’s, Twinkies and other such snack or, to use the pejorative, junk food brands, has received permission from federal bankruptcy court to put itself up for sale, either whole or in its constituent parts. 18,500 workers will loose their jobs absent the unlikely event that another food company buys Hostess and elects to retain them. However, it is difficult to see how the same union workers that didn’t accept realistic offers that would save their jobs would be rehired.
I don’t look at this as a victory of some sort for management and a defeat for labor, but rather as a tragedy for American management and labor alike. And maybe it was inevitable. Maybe all the anti-business rhetoric of the past few years and the Presidential campaign is coming home to roost. And maybe the same can be said about all the nanny state drivel about what everyone should eat and how they should live their lives. In any case, 5,000 bakers struck, 18,500 workers will lose their jobs, and a storied business is no more. Sounds like a loose-loose situation to me.
But their will be winners, and it won’t be American workers or companies. It will be foreign (read Chinese) labor and capital. Ho
Ho’s, Twinkies and other iconic brands will be produced abroad and will be sold here, unless the Administration really puts its money where Michelle Obama’s mouth is and bans all sugary, fatty treats. The next time you are food shopping, read the country of origin of some of those less familiar processed food product names. Like Polar canned goods, for instance. Chinese. Or seafood, much of it Chinese. We used to be net exporters of food, but at this rate we will soon be net importers. We will end up selling Chinese companies the raw materials and they will process them with cheap labor and sell them back to us, for not much less than we presently pay, just like everything else.
I don’t pretend to have ready solutions for these world-economy problems, but I don’t hear anyone smarter than me coming up with them either. I do know that forcing an employer into bankruptcy and dissolution is neither logical nor desirable. The same applies to all the demonizing of Walmart, and driving consumers away from venerable products because of radical political and social theories.
Once again, it behooves us all to be careful what we wish for. We already are getting jolly old St. Nick saying, “No! Ho! Ho!” this Christmas.