A foreign takeover that just doesn't fly

Thursday, January 26, 2006

We've all read about the takeover of former American companies by foreign investors. Now this is not necessarily anything new. Like it or not, the foreign money has flowed into U.S. companies for several years. I'm not entirely sure what that means or how that happens. But I do know that some of the reason is that foreign companies can and do pay their workers much less money. That reduces their cost of production which allows them to make more money.

But now they've simply gone too far. Last week, a Hong Kong distributor bought American company Wham-O which means that Frisbees will now come from foreign soil. Is nothing sacred?

Frisbees have been a part of our culture since 1958. Heck, they're about as much a part of America as apple pie and baseball. But Wham-O figured they couldn't pass up the deal with our friends in Hong Kong so the Frisbee is soon to be an import.

The Chinese say they have 25,000 workers in five plants that can generate more Frisbees than you can count. They will also begin producing other Wham-O products like Silly String, Water Wiggle and Superball. And now - like so many other products - the Frisbee will contain the words "Made in China." Seen that before haven't you!

With labor costs measured in pennies and not dollars, maybe American companies are hard-pressed to compete on the international market. But someday, all of our plants will be idled and we'll import everything we need or want. That does not bode well for our country.

The top three U.S. automakers this past week announced plans to shut plants and lay-off nearly 100,000 workers because of declining sales to imports. Isn't anyone paying attention?

If the Frisbee can leave our shores, then nothing is exempt.

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