Saturday, May 30, 2009

Evanston's Jorgensen Steel Corp. Being Replaced by Dunkin' Donuts, Car Wash

Jorgensen Steel, with its big stately-looking office and massive production/distribution factory has left Evanston.

Its grand 50's vintage edifice on Oakton St., just east of the MSWRD canal has been demolished.

In its place is emerging three cookie-cutter buildings that will house a car wash, a self-storage operation and a Dunkin' Donuts.

Jorgensen Steel was a grand old building with a red brick and chrome facade on its front office building and a massive, hangar-like industrial operations building in back.

It seemed the kind of place to which Ward Cleaver might go off with his brief case in the morning after kissing June good-bye and admonishing Beaver and Wally to be good. It seemed the kind of place to which Chester A. Riley would dash off in the morning with his lunch bucket.

It was also the kind of industrial facility that provided millions upon millions in tax revenue to Evanston and the State of Illinois over the years.

Under its new ownership, it has moved operations to low-tax, right-to-work (non-union) Texas.

The grand old building has been razed now. While still a perfectly usable, architectural gem, no industrial operator silly enough to move to high-tax, high-regulation Evanston, Illinois could be located, even though the Evanston economic development team scoured the nation's lunatic asylums.

So overwhelmingly Obamaite, Evanston's, last large industrial operation will be replaced by a Dunkin' Donuts.

This is the face of the new American service economy.

Instead of producing steel and aluminium -- the very rock core of hard industrial production -- we will now have jobs serving each other donuts and washing each others cars.

Steel workers could provide a home and education for their families. Dunkin' Donut's workers can make enough to buy new i-pods at Best Buy.

And yet the donut servers and car washers will still show up on Federal statistics as being among the ranks of the employed.

"You ain't seen nothin' yet, " Obama squawked at his gala fundraiser in Los Angeles last week.

That is precisely what I'm afraid of.

With China now producing the world's hard industrial goods -- the true bases of real economic wealth -- how long can the US sustain this economic house of cards, which is increasingly based on paper shuffling and hamburger flipping (and massive amounts of consumer debt)? Can we export car washes? How many Dunkin' Donut's chocolate creme filled bismark's can possibly be exported to satisfy the US balance of trade?

This situation is precisely that about which Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan warned in the mid-90s during the NAFTA-GATT debate.

But no one listened.

So, Good bye Jorgensen Steel, with your well-paid factory and white collar jobs, employee health care and solid contribution to US economic economic preeminence.

And Hello Dunkin' Donuts.

How many creams do you want with your frappe?

1 comment:

  1. Are you serious? That building was vacated long ago for a new facility in Schaumburg, ILLINOIS. There are still a few guys there who started in the Evanston warehouse.


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