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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Killing More Jobs

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Your government is looking out for you, right?  Tell it to the workers at Golden Guernsey in Waukesha. Or Wisconsin Public Service Corporation in northern Wisconsin.

The closing of the Golden Guernsey plant over the weekend came with with no warning; and is particularly shocking, this being the dairy state and all. While business decisions and market forces certainly played a role, the heavy hand of government regulation appears to have provided a crucial push.

"The U.S. Department of Justice - along with attorneys general in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan - had raised concerns that Dean Foods would have too much of a share of the school milk supply in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. As a result, they required Dean to sell the Waukesha plant while allowing it to retain its dairy processing plant in De Pere, just south of Green Bay."

So how did that work out?

"An employee who did not want to be identified said the workers were notified Friday night that the plant would be closed. Another employee who arrived at the plant Saturday morning was told not to come to work Saturday or Sunday, a source said."

The decision to pull the plug was made by the private equity firm that purchased the dairy processing plant.. Would Dean foods have been able to keep the doors open if they had not been pressured to sell the plant by the lawyers? We'll never know.

Then there is this story, the latest in what promises to be a long string of job's lost as a result of heavy-handed EPA regulations. 

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed settlement with the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) that will force the company to pay a civil penalty of $1.2 million, invest $300 million in pollution control technology, and will be forced to spend $6 million on “environmental mitigation projects.” The heavy-handed EPA decision prompted a statement from the Northern Wisconsin energy company claiming “the settlement along with current economic conditions will likely lead to employee staff reductions within its energy supply operations area.”

So, while the politicians continue to talk "jobs," the wheels of the job-killing bureaucracy continue to grind on.

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