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Manufacturer Closes Wisconsin Plant, Moves to Mexico

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 21, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Everyone is fighting about illegal immigration, people leaving Mexico and coming here to the United States. But what about this one, American companies leaving the United States and going to Mexico? Yesterday, Polaris Industries announced it is closing a plant in Wisconsin and building a new one in Mexico. Why? To cut costs.

Steve Moore joins us live. He's the senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. And to add, it's a small town of about 2,500 -- 515 employees, 600 families. So that means essentially that every single family lost a job.

STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL, "THE END OF PROSPERITY" CO- AUTHOR: Yes. I hate this story, too. I think it's just a tragedy when you see these companies moving out. And you're right, they're moving out of this town is going to destroy...

VAN SUSTEREN: To Mexico.

MOORE: ... a community.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why? Why to Mexico?

MOORE: Well, I think it's -- you know, these companies -- these companies are very profit-motivated. They want their -- they're all bottom-line-oriented. They think that they can lower costs by moving to Mexico. That's the capitalist way, but I do think it's so sad when you see a community destroyed...

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this a company...

MOORE: ... when a company moves.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this a company that's hurting?

MOORE: Well, no, actually!

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: That was the amazing thing about the story. Its profits were up nearly 90 percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ninety?

MOORE: It's stock was up 90 percent last year. So it's been a good- performing company. But I think a lot of -- I think the kind of bigger picture here is a lot of companies across America -- American companies -- are getting more and more afraid about their ability to make profits in this country. I think we've become very hostile...

VAN SUSTEREN: But wait a second. How, if your stock is...

MOORE: ... to business.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you're stock has gone up 90 percent, how can you truly be worried about that? And I mean, let's -- let's look at this. I mean, like, OK, sure, they have a right to do that. And I'm not denying that they have the right to do that. I even listened to their webcast statement.

MOORE: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: They were almost gleeful about their long-term growth as a result, and everybody who was calling them was gleeful, the investors. But the thing is that this shuts down an entire town. The only way to get our economy going is for people to have jobs...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... to have work. A company like this wiping out a town and moving to Mexico and it's already making 89 percent growth in its stock in a year is not contributing to our economy.

MOORE: No, I agree with that. I mean, I think it's -- but then this company's primary mission isn't to grow the town, it's to grow their own profits. And -- but I -- look, I...

VAN SUSTEREN: Pride. Wouldn't you think pride would be a little bit of an element?

MOORE: Oh, I agree.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know it doesn't have to be, but...

MOORE: Look, I agree. You know, pride and commitment. But -- but I do think a problem...

VAN SUSTEREN: Decency is another one.

MOORE: And decency. But I do think a problem here is that it's becoming -- Greta, it is becoming more difficult all the time for companies to make a profit operating here. It is a global economy. These companies are competing against companies in China and India and Taiwan and all over the world. And my big complaint that I've said many times on the show is I just feel like Congress is not doing the kinds of things that would want to make companies stay in the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: I got it, but I'm having a hard time with Polaris.

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ninety percent growth, or eighty-nine percent growth in stock? I mean, what more could Congress do to them, give them some sort of gratuitous bail-out? I mean...

MOORE: Well, no...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... what more could -- I mean, this -- and I -- I agree...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... that this is -- the environment is bad for (INAUDIBLE) but there's no way that people -- if you wipe out a town, that town is not going to be able to buy goods to keep some other company who is having financial problems from fleeing to another country to out-source everything.

MOORE: Right. Well, when I talk to -- I do talk to a lot of CEOs of major companies, and what they say, it's becoming more difficult to make a profit in the United States. They're very concerned about the onslaught of higher tax rates that are coming next year, the cap-and-trade bill that's going to add energy costs, the labor union rules. All of these things have really made America a place that is inhospitable. You know, Congress treats...

VAN SUSTEREN: Eighty-nine percent!

MOORE: ... businesses like they're enemy combatants these days!

VAN SUSTEREN: But are these -- I mean, 89 percent?

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I -- you know, I want to -- I sort of think, like...

MOORE: The company is doing well, but remember, things can change in a hurry. And these companies do have a -- they do have a duty to their shareholders to try to maximize their profits. Look, I'm not trying to defend their behavior. I...

VAN SUSTEREN: If I were a shareholder, Steve...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and (INAUDIBLE) 89 percent and they said, We're going to wipe out a town...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... 515 jobs, or we're going to run off to Mexico and outsource our jobs...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... to another country -- we made 89 percent on our stock last year -- we can probably make, like, you know, 94 percent...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... if we do this to you...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: We're wiping out a town. What do you want?

MOORE: Right. No, well, look, I don't think they made this rash decision to run out of town. But I do think it's an increasing problem across America that towns are being wiped out. I mean, it's -- it's -- you know, there -- there -- Westinghouse, Whirlpool, Intel, all these major companies increasingly are building factories outside of the United States, not here. We better start pursuing policies that bring these businesses back to the U.S.

VAN SUSTEREN: We invited Polaris to come on.

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: They didn't want to come on tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: Surprise, surprise!

VAN SUSTEREN: And here's -- and here's Polaris -- if I get invited by Osceola, I'm going to come and -- Osceola, Wisconsin, and find out all about Polaris and that poor little company that needed to flee to Mexico because (INAUDIBLE)

MOORE: Well, let's make America...

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: ... a place where businesses want to locate, not places where...

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway...

MOORE: ... businesses want to leave.

VAN SUSTEREN: I want -- I want to go see more of this one. Anyway -- obviously, I'm fixed on this one tonight. Steve, thank you.

MOORE: Yes, well, it's also a Wisconsin company, so...

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, it's, like, I don't know, it's, like, wiping out 515 jobs?

MOORE: A whole town.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know. Anyway, we got to go.

MOORE: Thank you.

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