Punchinello’s Chronicles

February 28, 2009

Paranoid About Caterpillar?

Filed under: Just Thinking — Punchinello @ 2:22 pm
Tags: ,

I’m really not a conspiracy theorist. I’m not even all that paranoid. But there’s an old saying that even for a paranoiac, there may actually be someone after them every once in a while.

Remember when Mr. Obama was traveling around talking up the economy? He was making speeches, trying to sell the proposed stimulus package and how great it would be for business. Along the way, the president visited Peoria, Illinois, and spoke to the Caterpillar company.

Although the company went through some tough times a few years ago, it’s been getting more healthy lately. Even so, in recent months we’ve been hearing that they’re again starting to struggle. Construction is down, so heavy construction equipment isn’t selling all that much.

From what we read in the papers, it seemed at the time that Mr. Obama made the implication to the workers at Caterpillar that without the stimulus package, they’d lose their jobs. With the stimulus package, the president of the company would be able to keep everyone employed.

Oddly enough, there was a contradiction by the president of Caterpillar. He told reporters that although having such a stimulus package would be an important consideration, it didn’t mean the company automatically would hire new people, keep existing jobs, and continue to grow.

The whole thing was a bit of an embarrassment to President Obama, being contradicted in public like that.

Then on February 25, we hear that the State of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar seeking thousands of dollars in penalties from the company. It seems that 65,000 gallons of oil overflowed and spilled into the Des Plaines river.

Granted, nobody wants pollution. Nobody wants oil just pouring into our water. Accidents do happen, and in other instances, companies simply ignore the environment and dump toxic wastes all over the place.

But doesn’t it seem a bit coincidental? Here’s one of the major employers in Illinois struggling to keep going, keep workers, and stay competitive. They have an industrial spill accident, and BLAM!…the State hauls them into court.

What’s also interesting is that despite the government wanting to try and help the economy, it makes more sense to that same government to impose lawsuits and fines on top of collapsing revenues. It’s not the thousands of dollars, although that’s certainly a problem; it’s also the costs of the lawsuit itself.

And, of course, it’s also embarrassing to the Caterpillar corporation. It’s not enough to drive the company out of business; it’s just…embarrassing.

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