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Dexter Shoes, one of the last U.S. shoe manufacturers, is part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway empire. It has been said that the Sage of Omaha considers Dexter to be his one doozy of a mistake. Supposedly, he regrets buying the company in the first place (in ‘93), paying for it with BH stock, and then not moving production overseas soon enough.
The town of Dexter, Maine, where the shoes were made for years, has been decimated. The factories have been shuttered and the company, which merged with HH Brown about two years ago (within Berkshire Hathaway), has moved its headquarters to Maryland. Because the employees in Maine lost their jobs due to foreign competition, they received two years of unemployment benefits. I’ve heard their two years is up in December. Dexter, ME, is probably not interested in Mr. London’s veiled optimism.
Our store had a small, but hard-core, percentage of customers who would only “buy American.” They were basically good people who truly believed that buying American would keep jobs in this country while at the same time failing to appreciate the reason for the high cost of American made goods. Most of our customers, however, only wanted low prices. So when the company, in an apparent cash flow crunch, slashed the prices of shoes this past summer, the merchandise began to move quickly. No one was checking for “Made In USA” labels; they were only looking for the “half price” tags.p>The customers took our closing harder than we did; some actually got misty-eyed. Although none of us relish being unemployed in an area already hard hit, we don’t want to work in a shoe store forever, either. We knew we were slated for closing months before the company told us, so we’ve had time to adjust. We don’t hate the company — we understand this is just business — nor do we blame Warren Buffett or even President Bush, whom a few of the customers maligned. Over the years we’ve talked about moving on, all the while becoming a bit too comfortable right where we were. For us, the store’s closing is a cross between a wake-up call and a blessing in disguise. br> — Kitty Myers br> Painted Post, New York /p> p> CONSTITUTIONAL RULES br> Re: Brandon Crocker’s A Constitution on Life Support : /p>
Mr. Crocker’s “A Constitution on Life Support” brought strikingly little that is new to the judicial appointments debate. Then he drops this pathetic saw:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?