Corner Copy

fBy Mike Austreng, Editor

Can you believe it’s only three weeks to Christmas? We know there are lots of you who get your shopping done really early – some we’ve heard talking about it BEFORE Thanksgiving. Then there’s the rest of us who tend to wait until the last few minutes. It’s not that this isn’t on our minds, it’s just that some of us don’t particularly enjoy shopping and might not have a lot of clever ideas about what to get whom.

Even if we had a list we’d still have to figure out where we want to go to buy the things on the list. Shopping for most people would probably mean actually going to several stores to see where you can get the best deal before you make the purchase. For some of us it’s knowing what to buy and the only “shopping” we do is figuring out which store we’re going to – not where it’s the cheapest, but which store we’ll be buying the gifts at.

A perfect “shopping” world for us would be going to one store and buying all we need to buy in that store. That doesn’t exist, so we know we’ll be making several stops to complete our shopping list.

Like most years we’ll probably hold off for a bit, there’s still three weeks before Christmas and we haven’t figured out what the heck to buy everyone on our list anyway.

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Can you imagine going to work one day – like you’ve done for years, thinking things are “normal”, like you’ll be going back day after day after day, then hearing your job was ending in less than a year because the plant you work at is closing? GM announced it will close several plants within the next year because people’s buying habits have changed from cars to SUVs and trucks and the plants being closed are producing car models that have been selling slowly. GM, it’s reported, will be stopping production of the Chevrolet Impala, Cruze and Volt, along with Cadillac models.

The reports we read indicated there could be up to 14,000 jobs lost – the number could be smaller, depending on how many decided to move to other areas where production is increasing.

This move isn’t unique to GM, Ford has announced it will discontinue all car models except the Mustang, but there aren’t any reports saying Ford will be closing any plants.

This move comes less than ten years from the government bailout of GM and Chrysler. We understood the bailout money has been repaid by both companies, but if you do some reading you will find out some of those reports made by the government aren’t 100% true because there are complicated details about the bailout that put a cloud over whether the money has been paid back yet – that shouldn’t surprise too many of us seeing as this was a government bailout.

It’s interesting that some comments made by employees of the company blame our President when the companies themselves admit this has nothing to do with the rising cost of steel due to the tariff wars, but is simply due to people’s buying trends and there isn’t any sense in manufacturing automobiles that aren’t selling.

President Trump had harsh words for GM because part of his campaign promise was that workers and car manufacturing companies would be coming back to America.

America isn’t the only place losing employees with plant closings – Canada will be affected as well. We read a report that said when Canadian leaders approached GM to see if there was anything they could do to stop the closings GM told them the ship has already sailed – in other words, no.

On one hand it’s not good news for all those employees – on the other hand it’s good news to know GM is thinking ahead instead of looking for another bailout because the failed to do so.

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We had our annual meeting with our insurance agent to discuss our health insurance options at renewal time. It wasn’t good news again. The best choice we were given was a plan that raised our premiums $350 per month, over $4,000 higher over than last year. Granted, this insures eight people, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take after many years of the same bad news.

During the campaign this past summer there were several politicians telling us they “lowered our insurance premiums” – now we’re not sure which group they were referring to because we’ll bet the majority of us have seen increases again.

As a business owner who has tried to offer employees health insurance coverage we will tell you that this has to change – quickly! It’s getting increasingly difficult to remain profitable when the cost to do business does nothing but increase.

It was suggested we raise our rates. Since we did that about a year ago it’s something we really don’t want to do again so soon, but there will come a time when it’s the only thing we can do.

You see rising costs everywhere. New minimum wages mean we all pay more for the things we buy. Higher production costs mean we all pay more. Rising material costs mean we all pay more. Increased labor costs mean we all pay more. It’s a vicious circle that just keeps spiralling out of control.

We’ll just keep plugging along hoping for the day we get good news that changes are on the way.

Have A Good Week!

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