News Item: “The domino effect of manufacturingrncutbacks at DaimlerChryslerrnand Motorola has reached another employerrnin the Rock River Valley—Textron,rnwhich is laying off 75 people fromrnits fastener operations. . . . Textron hasrnhad its own problems of late, having registeredrna loss of $218 million in the fourthrnquarter of 2000. Last fall, the companyrnsaid it would close up to 20 plants in arnmajor corporate restructuring. Just lastrnweek, Textron cut 3,600 jobs and announcedrnthe closing of five plants. . . .rnTextron shll has more than 3,000 workersrnin the Rockford area and remains thernfourth-largest employer in WinnebagornCounty” (“Chrysler, Motorola cuts forcernlayoffs at Textron,” Rockford RegisterrnStar, January 31, 2001).rnNews Item: “If the production line remainsrnpermanently i d l e d , . . . 25 percentrnof the displaced Chrysler workers willrnnever re-enter the area job market. . . .rn’For every assembly job at Chrysler, therernmav be six to seven jobs affected in the regionalrneconomy,’ said Mike Flynn, directorrnfor the office of automotive transportationrnat the University of Michigan”rn(“Chrysler layoffs cause ripples,” RockfordrnRegister Star, January 31, 2001).rnRockford’s congressman, Don Manzullo,rnused to trumpet his support for free tradernon his congressional website. After thernrecent job losses in his district, however,rnthe website now notes that he “has been arnleader in promoting and encouraging exportingrnopportunities for small businesses.”rnPerhaps the rhetorical shift is justrnsavvy public relations, but it’s also possiblernthat Congressman Manzullo hasrncome to realize that “free trade” todayrndoes not imply David Ricardo’s “comparativernadvantage.” While Ricardo neverrnstates it explicitiy, his understanding ofrnthe benefits of specialization and trade assumesrnthat the profits of production remainrnat home. In his famous example ofrncomparative advantage —England specializesrnin producing cloth while Portugalrnturns to wine-making—Ricardo neverrnconsiders the possibility that the Portuguesernmight try to buy up the Englishrntextile mills so that they can keep all ofrnthe profits for themselves. Toda}’, however,rnRockford and other cities throughoutrnthe industrial Midwest are beginning tornresemble colonies of East Coast, WestrnCoast, and foreign corporations. The onlyrnprofits that remain in our communityrnare those that are spent on wages.rnNews Item: “ShopKo Stores Inc. . . . willrnclose 23 discount department stores, includingrnone in Rockford that opened 20rnmonths ago on East State Street. ThernShopKo closings are the result of a restructuringrnplan that will cut 2,500 jobs,rnincluding 114 in Rockford, most ofrnwhich are part-time positions” (“ShopKornto close Rockford Store,” Rockford RegisterrnStar, February 1,200]).rnNews Item: “Home sales in Winnebago,rnBoone and Ogle counties declined inrnJanuary by 13 percent from the samernmonth last year. . . . Brooks Precision, arnmetal grinding shop . . . , announced thatrnit is closing. The move throws 38 peoplernout of work. And Foresight FinancialrnGroup, which operates four area banks atrneight locations, reported a 29 percentrndrop in net earnings” (“Local home salesrndown; new layoffs,” Rockford RegisterrnStar, February 2, 2001).rnAs corporations have cut manufacturingrnjobs in Rockford, the rest of the localrneconomy has suffered as well. Over thernlast 20 years, locally owned businesses inrnRockford’s downtown have fallen victimrnto chain stores and restaurants on EastrnState Street. Now, as larger chains enterrnthe Rockford market and compete successfullyrnfor declining income, many ofrnthe smaller and older chains are shuttingrntheir doors. And with each round of consolidationrnand closings, more personalrnincome leaves the area. Even thoughrnRockford is the “most affordable housingrnmarket” in the countn,’ (thanks largely tornour decade-long school-desegregationrnsuit, which has made Rockford’s property-rntax rate one of the highest in the nation),rnhome sales continue to decline.rnTasting the blood in the water, Chicagorndevelopers are planning to build low-incomernapartments and townhouses on thernedge of our town—to siphon off more localrnmoney.rnNews Item: “Textron Inc. . . . said it willrnlay off another 500 workers. It wasn’t immediatelyrnclear . . . how many of thesernjob cuts will be made in the Rockfordrnarea. Estwing Manufacturing also hasrnlaid off 25 of the more than 400 workersrnat its Rockford plant” (“National unemploymentrnrate grows as more local jobsrncut,” Rockford Register Star, February 3,rn2001).rnNews Item: “Textron . . . laid off 40 productionrnand salaried workers Friday at localrnoperations formerly known as Elco”rn(“58 local jobs lost at two fastener plants,”rnRockford Register Star, February 8, 2001).rnNews Item: “Another wave of layoffs is hittingrnIngersoll Milling Machine Co. employees,rnwith 50 to 70 workers losing theirrnjobs this week and next…. Less than twornmonths ago. Milling Machine laid off anrnundisclosed number of workers. Earlierrnin the year, the company eliminatedrnmore than 70 jobs” (“Ingersoll adds to itsrnlayoffs,” Rockford Register Star, Februaryrn10,2001).rnNews Item: “Eighty-five workers lost theirrnjobs this week at Textron’s fasteningrnsystem operations in Rockford andrnBelvidere.” (“Textron cuts 85 more at 2rnlocal plants,” Rockford Register Star, Februaryrn10, 2001).rnIn 30 short days, the Rockford area lostrntwo businesses, well over 4,000 manufacturingrnjobs, and over 100 retail sales positions.rnAnd that’s just the tip of the iceberg:rnThe Rockford Register Star reportsrnthat, in the preceding 18 months, nearlyrn20 area companies “downsized.”rnAs any high-school physics studentrnknows, there are two ways to inflate a balloon;rnBlow air into it, or tie it off andrnplace it in a vacuum. From our vantagernpoint here in Rockford, it’s beginning tornappear that the “longest period of economicrnexpansion in American history”rnwas the result of that “great suckingrnsound” Ross Perot warned us about.rnNews Item: “Kelly-Springfield Tire Co.rnwill lay off 100 workers for two monthsrnbecause of slowed sales of light trucks.rnTwo years ago, the company trimmedrn850 jobs —half the work force —at thernFreeport plant. Its parent, Goodyear Tirernand Rubber Co. . . . , sought to reducerncosts by moving operations outside therncountry. More permanent cuts could berncoming to the Freeport site: Goodyearrnsaid Wednesday that it will slash 7,200rnjobs worldwide to stem financial losses”rn(“Tire maker lays off 100 for 60 days,”rnRockford Register Star, February 16,rn2001). crn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn