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No It's Not 250 "New Jobs" in Grayson County Virginia

compiled by Lewis Loflin

Also see Tobacco Commission Promised 60 new jobs, Lost 50 Jobs Instead

Another case of crony capitalism and government waste for Grayson County Virginia.

The press has once again failed to check their facts and simply reprinted another public press release. Kevin Castle on July 23, 2014 and others are touting the creation of 250 new jobs in the former Nautilus plant in Independence Virginia.

What they forgot to mention is that this is merely a job announcement according to officials that I questioned - "this is merely an announcement and we do not track employment levels or wage scales".

The press also failed to mention that these are the same people being hired to do the same job in the same location on the same equipment and that of the two previous employers at least one defaulted it on its government grants.

They did mention that of the so-called $2 million being invested by this latest transient employer $1.5 million is public money. Something called Core Health & Fitness of Vancouver Washington will rehire perhaps I'd estimate 100 workers to reopen the defunct Nautilus plant.

The big question remains will these be actual company hires that pay decent wages and some benefits or will it be illegal aliens and the overuse of temporary services paying eight dollars an hour?

Companies will move into communities often wracked by economic desperation and can get away with pretty much anything. Virginia is a labor hostile antiunion state and this extends particularly to this region that is dominated by Republicans.

I do hope they have better luck than the previous two employers that were paid to create what in the past was proclaimed to be nearly 1000 new jobs - most that never materialized or existed at any one time.

This didn't stop Gov. Terry McAuliffe for taking credit for the 250 phantom new jobs or rehires depending on how you look at it. The corporate welfare will be coming from the governors opportunity pork fund and our good friends at the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

The previous company something called Med-Fit defaulted on its obligations to the pork fund and Tobacco Commission and was supposed to pay it back according to officials I spoke with.

What continues to be unclear is what the new company is supposed to be paying if anything for the old Nautilus building and equipment. I guess they get that for free too.

If the equipment and building remain the property of the County IDA they will also escape most or all of their property taxes. That also doesn't include who knows how much in other costly subsidies and kickbacks this latest company will receive. Sounds like a winner for corporate welfare to me.

Editorial on wages missed several factors

To: Kingsport Times-News 2004

Your recent editorial "Minimum Wage Hike Not Best Way to Help Unskilled" is correct, but not for the reasons cited. The editorial missed several factors hurting labor today.

Trying to get unions to organize overseas is great, but is outlawed in many regions such as Mexico, Latin America, and China. We refuse to tie human rights into trade agreements. Education won't work either.

Vast numbers of skilled jobs are now being exported, including IT jobs once touted as the salvation for millions of displaced blue-collar workers.

The Tarnoff report last year revealed the big labor problem in Tri-Cities is low pay. We have scores of college grads unable to obtain decent employment, and education isn't rewarded here.

We love to tout all the job creation in the Tri-Cities, yet most of it is part-time, minimum wage. As ETSU economist Steb Hipple has pointed out in the past, we are suffering a shrinking overall payroll even with more jobs.

I closed my business down because a $5.15 worker would cost me over $8 due to taxes and regulations. I could have hired illegal aliens for $5 and paid them cash. Their social problems would have been cost-shifted to hospital emergency rooms, welfare, etc. Either way, society will pay.

The best way to help workers is to deport the millions of illegal aliens and impose stiff fines on employers using them.

This would begin to raise wages across the board for low-income earners, many black, Hispanic, and recent legal immigrants. To keep the present system is pure racism. Cut this massive tax problem so an employer can afford to pay his employee. Many that have left the labor force would return.

The alternative is to continue to reduce America to a Third World nation where poverty undermines the democratic process just as it often does in the Tri-Cities. Is "cheap" really worth it?

Lewis Loflin
Bristol, Va.

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