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John Deere Sells Out America, Nukes Jobs After Making $10 Billion Profit

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One of the most recognizable names in U.S. manufacturing has succumbed to one of history’s oldest diseases.

Unfortunately, the diagnosis appears easier than the remedy.

According to The Guardian, the American agricultural equipment manufacturer John Deere — with its signature tractors painted a brighter green than the color of money — has rewarded executives and shareholders with $10 billion in profit while slashing hundreds of jobs as part of a plan to move production to Mexico.

A veteran John Deere worker at the Harvester Works plant in East Moline, Illinois, who spoke anonymously, attributed the company’s decisions to old-fashioned avarice.

“We get wind of more layoffs daily, it seems, and it’s causing uncertainty all over,” the employee said. “The only reason for Deere to do this is greed.”

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For fiscal year 2023, John Deere used its $10 billion profit to provide massive compensation for company bigwigs. A total of $26.7 million went to CEO John May. Shareholders saw dividends of more than $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, since October, the company has slashed nearly 1,500 jobs in Illinois and Iowa. Another 103 workers opted for early retirement following the announced move to Mexico.

In related news, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported an estimated 81,083 overdose deaths involving opioids in 2023.

For 2022, the western Appalachians and industrial Midwest were well represented on the CDC’s map of state-by-state drug overdose mortality.

Should John Deere be penalized for shipping jobs out of the country?

Indeed, neither business leaders nor government officials seem to care about addiction and joblessness in hollowed-out Middle America.

As Christians, of course, we recognize that we all have sins for which to repent. Nonetheless, few of us will envy John Deere executives when the time comes to explain their decisions to God.

Greed alone accounts for such decisions. That we can all see. But what to do about it involves complexities that public policymakers have never entirely solved. Nor will they.

One visceral response would involve loading imported John Deere equipment with crushing tariffs. Not only would that feel good, but it might make some sense as a deterrent.

For instance, why not impose tariffs three, five or even ten times larger than the combined windfall of compensation executives and shareholders receive as a result of finding cheap labor elsewhere?

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Our elected representatives could do this. Then again, our elected representatives seldom show the slightest inclination to take action that would benefit Americans rather than foreigners.

Tariffs, of course, have not always driven prosperity. One thinks of the infamous 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which helped grind international trade to a standstill at the precise moment when the onset of the Great Depression might have suggested a lowering of trade barriers.

But targeted tariffs, designed to punish the sort of community-destroying greed exhibited by John Deere, would not have so sweeping an effect.

Furthermore, the brand of leadership offered by former President Donald Trump, the soon-to-be Republican nominee for president in 2024, has the advantage of blending pro-America trade policies with pro-growth fiscal and regulatory policies.

In other words, as president, Trump took bold action to protect American workers. But he also fostered an environment that made spectacular economic growth possible. That should benefit companies and workers alike.

In a larger sense, however, public policy has limits.

For instance, in “Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II,” historian Arthur Herman explained how U.S. industrialists set aside the profit motive — not to mention their ideological differences with liberal President Franklin Roosevelt — in order to churn out the weapons of war necessary for Allied victory. They did this from selfless patriotism.

Thus, in the final analysis, President John Adams had it right.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People,” Adams wrote in 1798. “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

In sum, a constitutional republic requires “moral and religious” business leaders like those of the World War II Era. Business leaders motivated by greed will destroy the country and its people.

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Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.
Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.




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