Readers Respond

Crime and punishment, redux
The following is a letter in response to “Illinois contractor gets 10-year sentence for asbestos violation.”

“Ten years is absolutely ludicrous. A violation of this sort warrants a fine, not a jail term. Child abuse, rape, murder, multi-billion dollar mortgage/bank frauds warrant jail time. How could a justice system give a contractor jail time, while bank executives who basically trashed the entire American financial system are not even taken to court? That’s right — they got bailouts instead of jail time.”
— Chuck Crocker
Winnipeg, Canada

Remembering Joe Gardiner
The following refers to “84 Lumber executive perishes in boating accident.”

“Joe Gardiner was one of the best field people to ever come out of the old Payless Cashways organization. He will be missed by 84 Lumber, by the industry and by me personally.”
— Frank Chambers

Lowe’s second-quarter results
The following is a response to Lowe’s and Home Depot’s financial results.

“There is a difference between Home Depot and Lowe’s. Retail is tough and somehow, Home Depot has the mojo to come back from chaos under [Robert] Nardelli, and to get the focus back where it belongs. The market can certainly handle two strong competitors. Where there are three, it might not be possible. Now, the challenge is for Lowe’s to figure out what it needs to do to get the customers back in the stores.”
— Posted online by “Dick W” 

“I think the reason why the home improvement industry does so well is because it is designed to weather all kinds of markets. When the economy is good, more people buy houses, and thus contribute to the demand for home improvement. When the economy is down, instead of buying new houses, homeowners decide to improve on their existing houses, hiring services like cavity wall closers or renovators. Thus, the industry can weather all kinds of economies quite well.”
— Posted online by “AlexCavity”

Flying on the company’s dime
The following refer to an article about Tractor Supply Co. CEO Jim Wright’s recent declaration that he always flies coach.

“We have never flown first class unless we were bumped up. Never paid for it in 41 years.”
— George A. Pattee
Chairman and CEO
Parksite

“At Bostwick-Braun, we ALWAYS fly coach.”
— William R. Bollin
Chairman and CEO
The Bostwick-Braun Co.

“My strategies regarding air travel is not to fly whenever possible. It’s a royal pain.”
— Bruce Currie

The danger of antidumping laws

“Disputes over dumping — selling products in the U.S. market at prices below the cost of production or for less than what the products are sold in the home market — are a major thorn in the side of companies wanting to do business internationally. The United States enacted the antidumping law to protect U.S. manufacturers from ‘unfair’ imports, but the real impact is to bankrupt legitimate U.S. companies and destroy U.S. jobs.

“Antidumping actions have spread to cover imported home-building material products, especially from China, ranging from wood flooring, steel nails, steel sinks and solar cells to ironing tables, just to name a few.

“People may argue that the antidumping law is protecting U.S. industries from unfairly dumped imports. To win an antidumping case, a U.S. industry — which can be a single company — needs to convince the U.S. Commerce Department that foreign exporters are dumping, and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that the practice has injured the U.S. industry.

“But the Commerce Department finds dumping in 95% of cases. With 30 years of work in this area since 1980, first in the government and later in private practice, I can count on one hand the number of times the Commerce Department has made a no-dumping determination and stopped the case. Since antidumping cases against China represent more than 90% of U.S. cases, it is important to understand that pursuant to the Commerce Department’s methodology, almost all Chinese companies are considered to be dumping with no evidence they are doing so.

“The real damage of an antidumping action, however, is not to foreign/Chinese companies, but to U.S. companies — importers, distributors and downstream producers. Chinese companies do not pay antidumping duties. U.S. import companies by law are liable for antidumping duties, and the importers can be retroactively liable if those antidumping duties go up in subsequent review investigations, which they often do.

“More importantly, antidumping cases do not help U.S. companies injured by imports. Importers simply go to another country, such as Vietnam.”
— William E. Perry is an international trade law partner at D