My heart sank when I read the recent headlines announcing Fruit of the Loom's closure of its Jamestown facility. All 600 employees are losing their jobs, the company announced — not only a devastating blow to a community the size of Jamestown, but to the entire Lake Cumberland region.
Soon after, I learned that Fruit of the Loom is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Company — the same Warren Buffet who goes on television raving about trying to keep jobs in America and who recently, in a March 8 USA Today article stated that "...the dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic. America's best days lie ahead."
If that's the case, then why is he pulling 600 jobs out of rural Kentucky and sending them to Honduras?
I'm as much a believer and promoter of capitalism and the free-market enterprise system as anyone. Our capitalist society is what has made America the strongest and most innovative country in world history. However, it is Buffett's hypocrisy that greatly disappoints me.
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For Buffett — someone who has announced he plans to give 85 percent of his fortune to charity — his company's decision to close this Kentucky-based factory and send jobs to a foreign country appears to be motivated by nothing other than greed, not charity. It shines a light on his potential insincerity, pretense and double standards.
Buffett said that "a large amount of money is being deployed in America to ensure future gains."
Why, then, bring a Kentucky community and region to its knees?
Budget analysts say that, when a company like Fruit of the Loom closes, the ancillary effect of those 600 jobs lost in a community the size of Jamestown is a multiplication factor of four.
That's 2,400 jobs in a town of less than 1,800 people, according to latest U.S. Census numbers.
My fellow Kentuckians and Americans, it is time to put our money where our mouths are. We must make it a priority to buy American-made products. We must encourage our friends and family to do the same.
We. the people, must make this change. We cannot depend on the government to do it for us.
Without question, if we continue the status quo of buying cheap products made overseas, then the recent announcement of Fruit of the Loom closing will be just another headline of many more to come.
Let's show Buffett that our words, unlike his, are not hollow. We believe in America, and we will prove that with our commitment to buying products made here and not continuing to line his pockets, as well as others who practice the same hypocrisy.