Thursday, February 01, 2018


Whilst politicos & pundits point fingers and cast aspersions . . . Special thanks to TKC blog readers who provide an important perspective on an increasingly unpopular pastime that precipitated the Kansas City Harley-Davidson plant shut down.

First and foremost, it's important to remember that the company received $20 million in Enterprise Zone tax credits from Missouri and actually millions more in local tax breaks.

Sadly, the jobs in return for this cash never quite lived up to expectations and now they're soon to be outsourced . . .

While local news offered presser coverage, our readers are digging a bit deeper . . .

The company is building a factory in Thailand that will assemble bikes using components shipped from the U.S. Union officials accused the company in September of trying to “systematically dismantle” its hourly workforce.

Sadly, even this cost cutting measure might not work given a simple fact: FEWER PEOPLE ARE RIDING MOTORCYCLES NOWADAYS.

Even worse, Harley is going to make electric bikes that will only serve to further erode their customer base who have a natural aversion to "green" tech. 

And so . . . Once again we see politicos mistaken about financial decisions with taxpayer cash when the underlying biz simply won't support demand. Apply this same doomed eco-devo strategy to condos, lofts, museums, rail transit and party districts and we can begin to see a pattern. In the end, voters mistaking politics and hype for economic reality threatens to decimate local economies and ultimately leaves KC workers jobless without warning.

Check the links . . .

Market Watch: Harley-Davidson sales decline continues

STL: Greitens’ tax proposals to attract businesses didn’t sway Harley-Davidson

KMBC: Gail's Harley-Davidson dealership "shocked" by plant closing

Fox4: Harley-Davidson plant employees shocked, frustrated by news of upcoming closure and layoffs

The Street: Harley-Davidson CEO - In a Lot of Ways We Are a Stronger Company

You decide . . .


Anonymous said...


That kind of ruins the Harley mystique.

Anonymous said...

The yuppies got bored with Harleys and started doing Pilates.

Anonymous said...

An antique design has caught up with Harley, that and text while driving are contributing to Harleys death.

Hyperblogal said...

And where is that report on the worth of tax incentives again????

Tracy Thomas said...

Look, Tony found a pic of where Melania is moving--Thailand!

Anonymous said...

Trump. We all just keep winning!

Anonymous said...

Tax increment financing at it's best. Kansas City and Missouri democratic politics screwed us again. Ahhhh, but who cares, it's our money that the poly's and bureaucrats are spending.

Anonymous said...

11:25....How'd Trump cause this? The tax increment finance was under the Bill Clinton Presidency and oh, Mayor Emanuel Cleaver 1997. Lame asshole.

Again, how did Trump cause this.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 11:36 - you can't have it both ways!
If Trump takes credit for the increase in the Dow resulting from the Obama Economic Recovery then he has to take ownership of the whole Economy, and all the plant closures and layoffs belong to him as well.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We're bringing back jobs to America!

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence, the "Obama Economic Recovery" took off at the very moment Trump was elected. Obamabots tried unsuccessfully for eight years to blame George Bush for allk Obama's failures as President, now they will try equally unsuccessfully over the next eight years to take credit for Trump's accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

^^^^Except, and this is key dummy.... the market under Trump has not grown as much as it did in Obama's first year. You can look that up....go ahead....we'll wait. Stop watching Fox. Think for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes, President Bush handed Obama that gift. Then Obama sent it down,down,down

Anonymous said...

^^You mean the financial collapse of 2008?? The financial meltdown? The panic on wall street, the death knell of auto industry? The bursting of the housing bubble? Is that the gift you were referring? Because that was sure as shit what he inherited or were not even born yet, because you seem like a toddler to me.

Anonymous said...

H-D has been working towards closing this factory for at least eight years. It's been nothing but layoffs and buyouts since late 2012. Wages were frozen 2012 - 2017 and the labor contract expires this year. Thailand and Brazil are going to build bikes for South America and Asia. They killed off two of the bikes but here in KC. With a declining market and fewer models, they don't need this factory.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:57PM are you a retard or just really fucking stupid? Obama came into office the Dow was at 7,949(Thanks Bush!) on election day 2016, the Dow was at 18,589. How is that going down, down, down? The answer is it isn't and you are one dumb pants-shitting mother fucker. There is an internet you know? It's been around awhile you geriatric goon. You can look that shit up. If you you had any family that wanted anything to do with your dumb, lying ass, you could ask them how it works. Fuck off dummy.

Anonymous said...

President Tangerine Idi Amin is a failure and a liar. MAGA supporters are now butt hurt.

“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences, not going to happen.” 2016 @ Carrier Plant

"A company that wants to fire all of its people in the United States, and build some factory someplace else, and then thinks that that product is going to just flow across the border into the United States — that's not going to happen. They're going to have a tax to pay, a border tax, substantial border tax." @ White House meeting with CEOs, January 2017

“A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving America. The theft of American prosperity will end.” @ Hershey, PA rally, November 2016

We are going to protect American industry. We are going to protect the American worker. No longer will we allow other countries to close our factories, steal our jobs, and drain our wealth. We will buy American, and we will hire American. @ AZ rally, August 2017

General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax! @realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017

Anonymous said...

Why Harley-Davidson is building a factory in Thailand:

Harley-Davidson To Close Kansas City Manufacturing Plant:

Anonymous said...

Trump wins! Again

HD is losing market share because limp wristed skinny jean Obama snowflakes can't hold up a hog.

Anonymous said...

12:45, your talking points are so yesterday. Agreed, the stock market returns in Obama's first year were also good (Trump better on the Dow, Obama better on the S&P). But Obama got an economy that was just past its nadir and on the way up again, while Trump got a fairly robust economy and made it better. It's a lot easier to post a high percentage gain on a small number (Obama's) than a large one (Trump's).

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Orange hair. Add this to all the State Street jobs going to India. We need Obama back so we can keep the jobs in the USA.

Anonymous said...

hey 4:36
What did your President SHIT SICKLE do for the county ? FUCKING NOTHING !

Anonymous said...

Obama didn't inherit an economy on the way up. Obama's recovery act with stimulus spending and tax cuts passed in February 2009. The stock market bottom was March 9 and the turn around then started. Obama's plan stopped a second great depression and began 7 years of growth.

Trump inherited a growing economy (which he said was a bubble and fake). His first job should be 'don't fuck it up'. Instead, Trump has insulted foreigners and tourism is down. He passed a tax scheme that adds $1.5 trillion in additional debt. Job growth slowed last year and GDP did not hit 5 or 6% like he promised. It didn't even hit 3%, which he called a pathetic level.

95,000 manufacturing jobs have left the US since Trump took over. So much for America first.

Anonymous said...

EPA, CAFE and safety standards have forced the auto industry to innovate, this is not the case with motorcycles. Harley stuck to the pride and true design that made them Harley's, not having to change over the decades has made them unique. This uniqueness has and will continue to fill a niche, a niche with fluctuations due to motorcycles being purchased with discretionary spending based on taste. A moving target that they have hit more than missed over their long storied history of ups and downs.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 5:10 with the lone exception of the correct phrase being "tried and true" and not "pride and true."

Otherwise a solid posting.

Anonymous said...

Just don't throw your money away on a rice burner HD.

Anonymous said...

Killa' City is a great place to do business, raise a family. Even got a free toot toot train!

LMAO don't blame them for leaving this cesspool.

Anonymous said...

Shit I thought they were moving to Mexico. I guess La Raza will stage a protest now?

If Harley can't sell bikes anymore it's because of the complete pussification of the American male- and you can't blame Trump for that.

Anonymous said...

Obama killed the middle class.

Anonymous said...

Obama did help his people by giving away the farm in welfare

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Trump here? He's supposed to stop jobs going overseas. Not going to happen on his watch.

Looks like Trump has forgot the forgotten men.

Andro said...

Not even Trump could save Harley.

It's not his fault that Kawasaki makes better bikes with MORE American parts and manufacturing.

Anonymous said...

Harley-Davidson is taking their Trump tax cut and using it to build a factory overseas.

HUGE broken promise from Trump. He said moving jobs overseas would STOP.

Never trust the Greedy Old Perverts to protect American jobs.

Tracy Thomas said...

Hey, 6:46 and others--
to be fair, they are closing KC, to expand in York PA
(a swing state)
using the new tax cut laws for expansion.

Then, not to import here but to manufacture and SELL in the far East, then they will build a new plant in Thailand.
But that is because we have not fixed the big disparity--the Chinese tariff to IMPORT a Harley costs $10,000.

So the only way to sell in Thailand--and China-- is to manufacture in the Far East.
Those bikes won't be coming here. We will buy them from York.

Let's at least not blame Trump for everything.

Anonymous said...

Under trump our business is doin 100 percent better

Anonymous said...

Quantitative easing under Obama kept us from goin broke and raised our debt from 9 trillion to 20 and a half trillion with over 250 trillion in derivative debt

Anonymous said...

Quantitative easing = federal reserve printing money

Anonymous said...

The culture has changed, the young don't care about motorcycles and couldn't afford a Harley even if they wanted one. HOG's "management" is/was asleep at the wheel. The market changed and they got caught. The value just isn't there for the dollar cost, either.

Anonymous said...

^^^ Excellent point.

Anonymous said...

Harley-Davidson is a publicly traded company in the Fortune 500 Index and worth $8.5 Billion.

Their stock has risen from $10 to $60 over the last 8 years. Their executives make millions.

This is not a failing company or product.

They just decided to take tax money, close a plant and layoff workers in good paying manufacturing jobs. Trump actually made the decision easy since it's his tax cuts that made the consolidation to PA attractive.

It's a broken promise and betrayal, no matter how you all try to excuse it.

Anonymous said...

Trump is creating a more flexible business environment. He cannot dictate how business uses these opportunities.
In fact as the economy grows Harley's sales will likely increase. How about in 3 years they make a Golden Trump model ?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Trump can dictate the business model.

He promised no business models will be allowed that ship jobs overseas. He promised to punish companies that try to screw American manufacturing workers.

WTF happened to that promise to defend American jobs?

Tracy Thomas said...

Harley is not shipping jobs overseas. That would be making something there to sell HERE.

He's shipping jobs from Messed Up Missouri to Pennsylvania, a swing state to make bikes in York for Americans to ride.

Then Harley is going to expand, with NEW jobs for NEW customers they cannot sell to now, because the US is so cowed by China that we submit to their $10,000 trade tariff per bike.

Do you need help with math? Or just spacial relationships?

Anonymous said...

Tracy, who is the "He" that is moving the jobs?

Are you saying Trump made the decision himself to move jobs to a swing state to buy votes?

Or are you saying Harley is making job decisions based where they can help Trump with a swing state. Shareholders who just want the biggest profits would have a small problem with that.

Either scenario is corrupt as hell.

Either also assumes that Trump and company think red state MO is so far up Trump's ass, that voters will forgive him breaking promises about keeping manufacturing jobs at home. white working class MO voters couldn't be that blind and stupid... well OK, I might have to give you that one.

Anonymous said...

By the way of special relationships, why is China still cleaning our clock and why is Trump scared to stop it? He said we had been so stupid and was going to get a great deal for us.

On day one, Trump was going to declare China a currency manipulator and charge them with unfair trade practices and violating trade agreements. WTF happened there? Yet more broken promises.

I thought the world and China now respected and feared us now. Instead, tax policy and government trade practices has given HD incentive to create jobs - in Thailand???

Maybe Trump can get some more of the red MAGA hats printed up over there too. Make Asia Great Again. It sure as hell isn't not happening in our flyover heartland shithole.

Anonymous said...

Well, we're used to broken promises, huh? If ya like your doctor you can keep your doctor!

Anonymous said...

^^^Yep, that sums it up.

If you like your American manufacturing job, you can keep your American manufacturing job.

Broken 95,000 times last year. That's gotta be bigly record!

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad to see someone Making Millionaires Rich Again. Good news for everyone except the employees. But there's winners and losers, and if you work an hourly job, you're a loser in the new world of America 2018.

Sorry kids. pick rich parents next time.

Anonymous said...

Markets up, shouldn't Harley's rebound? At the end of the day, the majority of these purchases are well to do white dudes.

Tracy Thomas said...

Hey there, 12:56 and probably 1:04--(this would be ever so much better if you'd invent a nickname)--
you're absolutely right, I was tired, and used a misidentified pronoun--he. I apologize to you, sir!

I meant Harley.

I imagine Harley was in the process and gonna move ANYway --move those jobs to York, PA--to consolidate.
And then Trump and Congress passed the Tax Bill, with even more incentives to do that.
They/Harley had used up their incentives here--so no penalty for leaving.
(When I was an elected official, I opposed tax giveaways where a city could not claw them back if they up and leave. I got outvoted. Cities act all scared, and give away too much.)

Now like many commenters here, I sincerely hope Harley gives the 600 employees here first dibs on jobs in York--and that some MAY actually relocate. Which would also protect their pensions....???

Someone else mentioned that the union agreement here is up next year. Again--do unions "protect" jobs? Or when they get agressive with management, can they COST you your job?

I am not pro-union.

As for China and Trump's promises:
Politicians say whatever to get elected. The voting public has the mind of a three year old, wanting a sucker. I think Trump personally believes what he said even privately for decades. But when he got into office, more seasoned people, including Congress and the Joint chiefs of Staff, set him straight. And he realized trade policies are connected to maintaining world peace. Connect the dots. Bing bing boom.

Remember Jr. Senator from Illinois, Candidate Obama? He promising to end the war in Afghanistan in two years!? Then the military set him straight, and oh well, never mind. But that was how Obama turned the voters from Hillary to himself--making a promise he could not keep, BUT PEOPLE WANTED TO BELIEVE. Suckers.

Hillary, as a woman, (can't show weakness) AND on the Armed Forces committee of the Senate, could never have made that promise. Game over--I think that was the Indiana primary.

Life. We all get what we are willing to put up with.

(dangling participle. I know...)

Anonymous said...

Trump was supposed to be different. He was not going to take money and owe lobbyists and special interest. Now he holds fundraisers at his hotels.

If his promise to stand up to foreign countries that take advantage of us has been neutered by advisers, it's over for Trump. It was one of his top promises.

Remember, Obama also said Afghan was the right war, and his base wasn't that surprised that he couldn't deliver on a 2 year withdraw. It wasn't a core issue. Obama bigger promise was to get out of Iraq, and yes the base got restless when that took 4 years, even with a withdraw Bush schedule in place. However, he did end US combat operations in Iraq. He eventually delivered on that goal. Leaders have time to deliver and can update plans, but can't give up and reverse their stated goals.

Trump can't have it both ways. If he caves on China policy (as Steve Bannon says he has), his two years of rallies with a core promise to stop companies from outsourcing turns into one of the biggest broken promises in history. Not delayed, but broken. He is not longer looking out for the forgotten man. Don't tell us how great he's doing when he abandons a key goal. He needs to keep his promises to put good deals in place and keep jobs here.

His only bigger promise was a big beautiful wall along the southern border, paid for by Mexico. He hasn't collected a single peso from Mexico to get started. Even his supporters are staring to realize Trump is full of big talk and nothing else.

Trumps supporters will eventually give up on him if rural factories and jobs aren't being created. The clock is ticking. He's been in charge over a year. In the age of instant Twitter gratification, he won't get several years. When Trump faces his first crisis, times up and he will be kicked under the bus. People defended terrible W policies for about 5 years but they quit during the financial crash, which led to the GOP losing Congress and the Presidency. Once these corporate tax giveaways start driving debt and interest rates up, and the market crashes again; the entire GOP will throw Trump aside. And he will deserve because he failed to deliver.