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“A Yuge Order”: Trump Said He Bought Windows From China Because America’s Were Too Expensive

Along with being the childhood home of Wyatt Earp and holding the world’s record for the number of people dancing in wooden shoes at one time (2,600), the Iowa town of Pella is best known for its namesake window company.

So you would figure that folks at the home of the Pella Corporation would remember Donald Trump’s declaration in 2010 that he had been forced to make a yuge order of windows from China because he had such difficulty finding any that were made in America.

“I ordered windows, thousands of windows the other day; they’re made in China,” Trump said during an interview with CNBC. “I don’t want to buy them, but it’s hard to get them anywhere else.”

The revelation had caused quite an uproar in the window industry. Trump had sought to smooth it over with a statement insisting “I would much rather buy ‘U.S’—and do much business with Pella—(and others). The U.S. product is better.”

“China’s artificially low currency makes it hard for U.S. companies to compete,” he said at the time.

In other words, Trump had bought the Chinese windows because they were cheaper. That translated into greater profits for him.

And profit is what made Trump the Really Rich guy who had people lined up by the hundreds in Pella to hear him speak on Saturday. Here is how Trump began his speech.

“Oh Pella, Pella, Pella, I’m always negotiating the prices of those damn windows, you know?” Trump can be heard saying in a video of the event. “Brutal, brutal.”

The auditorium filled with cheers.

“But they’re good, I’ll tell you what,” he went on. “They’re a great product and we buy a lot of them.”

More cheers.

“Anybody who work at Pella? Anybody?” he asked.

Voices responded in the boisterous affirmative.

“Well, you know you have lots of orders for Trump,” he said. “They make a quality window and you’re proud to have them.”

He was not done.

“I didn’t realize I’d be speaking in Pella. I’ve paid so much money to them. Ay! I get the shudders to think I’m here.”

He then turned serious.

“But the end result is their product is great,” the man who six years earlier said he had ordered windows by the thousands from China now said, “Which is what we want in this country, right? That’s what we want.”

From the crowd came a cry.

“USA!”

Trump returned to the subject of windows while speaking of Donald-doubters, in particular people who suggested that his financial disclosure forms would show he was not as rich as he claimed to be.

“Actually, it turned out I’m much richer,” he said to the crowd’s manifest delight. “I built a great company.”

“Pella knows, Pella knows,” he went on. “Those windows go someplace. And those were successful jobs.”

Neither Trump nor the Pella Corporation responded to requests for comment, so it is difficult to determine what jobs he was speaking about.

Unless he was applying a Trump-ian definition of success, Trump was not likely talking of his casinos in Atlantic City, an adventure that led to multiple bankruptcies. That despite his father, Fred Trump, slipping him more than $3 million through a supposed gambling chips purchase at a casino cashier’s cage.

He certainly was not referring to whatever buildings were outfitted with thousands of Chinese windows, which he almost certainly purchased because they were cheaper than American-made ones such as those Pella produces.

Donald Trump was also not likely to have been citing a number of projects where he was not the actual developer but had simply licensed his name to lure investors.

In two of those projects, the Trump Soho and the Trump Fort Lauderdale, the buildings went into foreclosure.

In two other projects, the Trump Tampa and the Trump Baja, the buildings were never built.

The locals down in Baja in Mexico must get a pretty good laugh when they hear Trump talk about building a wall along the border and then see his smiling face on a billboard overlooking a hole in the ground.

“Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico,” the billboard says. “Trump. Owning here is just the beginning.”

Not laughing are the investors who lost millions imagining that Trump is a synonym for Midas.

His name remains his company’s greatest asset.

The first image that appears on his company’s website is of a foreclosed building erected with such business partners as Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant with a violent felony conviction who had previously participated in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud linked to the Mafia.

But the building is still the Trump Soho. It still bears the moniker that to some means bigotry and misogyny but to others means bucks and moxie.

In another of his foundering deals, a mega-project on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Trump had a partner named Vincent Lo who was sometimes called China’s version of The Donald. Lo even hosted an Apprentice-style reality show called Wise Man Takes All.

Lo could never quite pull it off: The Chinese might be able to make bargain-priced windows, just as they made bargain-priced garments that Trump sold in clothing lines before he got even better prices having them made in Lesotho.

But Trump is a uniquely American product.

Just ask those good folks in Iowa.

As Trump would say, Pella knows.

 

By: Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, January 26, 2016

January 27, 2016 Posted by | China, Donald Trump, Outsourcing of Jobs, Pella Corporation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corporations Can Show Their Patriotism By Hiring

Former President Bush was roundly derided a decade ago for  urging Americans traumatized by the September 11 attacks to go shopping. He  may, in fact, have been onto something.

Certainly,  shopping on its own is a facile and   inadequate response to a tragedy that required a new assessment of our  national security  procedures and how much of our revered American civil  liberties we  were willing to give up to achieve security—or perhaps, a sense  of  security. That conversation needs to continue, especially in the area of   civil liberties retrenchment.

But  Bush was right about something, and that is that ours is a  consumer-driven  economy. This is arguably a bad basis for a modern  economy; there is only so  much we can consume (the obesity epidemic is  only one sign of our  over-indulgence). And people were foolishly taking  out home equity loans on  wildly over-valued properties and then using  the money not to improve the  property (thus, theoretically, increasing  its value), but to buy other things.  This is not sensible. But the  reality is, our economy runs on people buying  things, and with the  economy in the state it’s in, people aren’t shopping  anymore. Since  people aren’t buying, companies aren’t creating jobs. Many  corporations  are making record profits and holding huge amounts of cash, but  they  don’t want to take on more workers because the demand is not there.

So,  here’s a 10-years-after tweak of Bush’s suggestion: if corporate  America wants  to shows its collective patriotism, its leaders should  hire someone. Hire even  a dozen people, if you run a large company, or  even one employee, if you own a  small business. Some public officials  are worried about raising taxes on the  wealthy, arguing that the  well-off are job creators. Well, create some jobs,  first, and that  argument will have more merit. And remember: taking on another  employee  isn’t a cash loss, ultimately, because it creates a new customer (and  a  taxpayer who won’t be getting unemployment  insurance anymore, either). If  shopping was the answer a decade ago,  hiring someone is the answer now. It’s  the patriotic thing to do.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, September 12, 2011

September 12, 2011 Posted by | Businesses, Class Warfare, Conservatives, Consumers, Corporations, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Jobs, Labor, Middle Class, Mortgages, Politics, Public, Republicans, Right Wing, Taxes, Unemployed, Wealthy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Insurance Companies: Guarding Health Is Not Their Business, But It Is Ours

If for one moment anyone has the notion that for-profit health insurance companies are in the business of guarding the health (or wealth) of policyholders, that notion ought to be quickly dismissed in favor of the truth.  For-profit health insurance giants guard profits.

I arrived outside the WellPoint annual shareholders meeting in a hotel in Indianapolis yesterday to be greeted by more guards (and some armed) than I have seen surrounding President Obama at times.  Apparently just the prospect of having some of the legal shareholders question the business practices and ethics of the WellPoint board and CEO Angela Braly was very scary for the company and its elite leaders.

Some of the shareholders have in recent years put forward a resolution supporting WellPoint’s return to its non-profit roots.  After last year’s meeting, the resolution earned 9.6 percent or 30,000,000 shareholder votes.  The current leadership doesn’t like that nor do they like the efforts of the shareholders who keep challenging them.

One shareholder asked Ms. Braly  at yesterday’s tightly controlled and guarded meeting, as a sort of speakers’ “shot clock” counted down her speaking time, “Tell me, Ms. Braly, could you please explain what you do that warrants a salary ($13.5 million annually) that is more than 375 public school teachers in Indiana earn?”  Braly’s answer was a classic.  No shot-clock running for the CEO as she explained that the board sets her compensation and it has to be competitive with the other comparable giants in the insurance industry.  It is a breathtaking demonstration of greed and hubris.

I wondered how we have allowed this country to amble onward to the point where 1,275 Americans who carry health insurance go bankrupt every single day (if the courts stayed open seven days a week) while an insurance company CEO like Angela Braly pockets $140,000 for her day’s salary.  Every day.

That’s quite a lot of money that doesn’t go to healthcare.  That’s quite a lot of money for one person to earn in one day.  That may be why such scary guards are needed outside WellPoint shareholder meetings – they wouldn’t want CEO Braly to have to mix it up with any of the policyholders or others who might question too directly what value the for-profit health insurance industry adds to the U.S. healthcare system.  I also wondered how much money those guards cost.  And the shot clocks to keep pesky questions to a minimum?  And how about the pro-Angela and pro-profit softball questions planted in the room?

WellPoint, like the other major insurance giants, can claim the best profits ever this year.  Times are good at the top.  Things are not so good for millions of Americans who want for decent healthcare within a system that provides a progressively financed, single standard of high quality care.  Medicare for all would be nice.  The American Health Security Act of 2011, S915/HR1200 as offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-WA, provides a model for moving forward.  Public financing (yes, a single payer system) coupled with public and private delivery (not a single provider).  No insurance giants paying huge board compensations and CEO salaries.  No armed guards protecting the profit.

Outside the City Market in Indianapolis, in the rain and with no need for guards, the advocates of healthcare sanity gathered – and I was thrilled to be among the Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan.  We affirmed our commitment to the work ahead and to one another.  We sang.  We are shareholders in a society that values more than profit – we value behaving justly and humanely, and we’d like a healthcare system that reflects that.

Forgive my repetition of the theme, but health insurance is not healthcare.  Health insurance is a financial product.  Health insurance is a financial product sold to protect health and wealth which may well do neither. Health insurance is a defective financial product for millions of people who made what we felt were responsible decisions about protecting ourselves and our families from financial or health disaster with health insurance products that have loopholes and flaws big enough to leave thousands dead every year and hundreds of thousands bankrupt.

I will never have the salary or earnings of insurance CEOs like WellPoint’s Angela Braly.  That’s OK by me because I’ll also, I hope, never need guards to keep those I have harmed and those I would harm from questioning me about why.  But, my life and the lives of my loved ones, my neighbors and my friends are surely as valuable in terms of access to healthcare in America in 2011.  The day will come.

By: Donna Smith, CommonDreams.org, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Consumers, Health Care, Health Reform, Ideology, Insurance Companies, Politics, Public Health, Republicans, Single Payer, Under Insured, Uninsured, Wealthy | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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