Friday, March 9, 2012

The Ruud Lighting Jobs Lie

Barack Obama at Cree Lighting, June 2011
Last November, in a breathless press release worthy of the Onion, Van Wanggaard issued the following:
"Wanggaard Welcomes Nearly 500 New Jobs To Racine"
You know, he just invited them over for brats and to watch the game. Simple.

Van issued the press release to herald the expansion over at Racine's Ruud Lighting (even Scott Walker showed up for the ground-breaking on the first day of the recall) and Van hasn't stop yapping about it since.

Let's not quibble about the 469 jobs are planned over 4 years - they haven't actually hired them yet. Racine needs good news and this certainly qualifies.

Van has taken just about every opportunity he can to take credit for Ruud's expansion...like a guy who represents a Senate District rated #1 in unemployment. If you listen to him often enough on the subject, you'd think he was spending nights putting up the walls of their addition himself.

So what magic did Scott Walker and Van Wanggaard perform on Ruud Lighting in less that a year in office to make Ruud blow-up and hire a whole bunch of people? None of course, the credit Wanny takes is complete bullshit.

Ruud Lighting was purchased by Cree Lighting of North Carolina in August, 2011. Cree paid $525 million dollars for the Racine company - very good news to Alan Ruud and his employees.

Expanding markets and innovative technology have made Cree an up and coming manufacturer of LED and energy efficient lights (ironically, the kind of lights that make teabillies crazy because they believe Obama is going to pry their hot incandescent bulbs from their cold dead hands).

Since 2001, Cree has received more than $78 million in FEDERAL grants and $96 million in FEDERAL contracts. That buys a lot of brats. Oh, and the Chinese government is Cree's largest customer.

Cree's good fortune has been the subject of scorn from more than a few conservative's. Washington Examiner writer, Timothy Carney wrote two months before Cree purchased Ruud:
"When government is your profit driver, political connections are crucial. The company's closeness to this White House is clear. Obama visited Cree's Durham plant during the 2008 campaign, and Joe Biden visited to tout the renewable energy subsidies given to Cree. In 2009, Cree CEO Chuck Swoboda took part in a White House "Clean Energy Economy Forum."..."Cree is Obama's type of company."
That is mighty inconvenient for Scott Walker and Van Wanggard who think their chump change tax breaks have anything to do with Ruud's expansion. It didn't and the folks around Racine need to call out Wanggaard on his lie.

Alan Ruud is a Republican who not only bankrolled Scott Walker, he's given Wanggaard some nice sized donations as well.

No doubt when they broke ground on their expansion back in November, Alan patted Wanggaard on the head and fed him a donut and went back to his office to count his millions. Cree put them in Ruud's pocket, with some major heavy lifting by Barack Obama.