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2:45 PM Mon, Nov. 19th

Column: When one business fails ...

Earlier in the year, I followed Katie Couric's newscast on how our economy has affected the boat sales in Florida to the wine sales in California. It was eye-opening on how many businesses, besides those, that were affected by the economy.

I started in the manufactured housing industry in 1971 and have never seen anything like this. I was saddened to see one of my competitors close before Thanksgiving and never open again. I know it means one less competitor, but there is a bigger picture.

Let me list the businesses that are affected by just that one business in my industry closing.

Let's start with who is affected. The manufacturer who builds that dealer's homes will not get a purchase order from him anymore. What happens now? The factory doesn't need their workers who do the building, the framers, electricians, plumbers, the sheet rockers, roofers, painters, cabinetmakers and trimmers.

The purchasing agent doesn't need to order the steel for the frames; carpet and pad; light fixtures; plumbing fixtures; tubs; showers; windows; window blinds; drapes; shingles; interior and exterior doors; appliances; water heaters; furnaces; electrical boxes; and other components.

It also affects the transporters who ship the homes to the dealers. The factories don't need a sales staff, secretaries, quality control, production manager, service manager, or most of the administrators at the factory when no sales are made. The other companies that will feel the effects are the lenders and title agencies along with the local power and propane providers.

And last but not the least, what about the city, county, state taxes and lost licensing fees. Talk about the ripple effect! Sounds like a lot of people could be out of work.

Here is what happens in my town and the jobs it affects and the people who won't have work to do. The contractors who we hire to do our site improvements (septic systems, etc.) and the people they employ.

The transporters who bring the homes to the customer's site, the setup contractors, the drywall finishers, carpet layers and the make-ready (cleaning) and air conditioning people don't have work to do. The city, county and state permit offices won't have any permits being purchased and the inspectors won't have job sites to go to inspect.

And how else does it affect you and me? I had to cut out my office cleaning, sales staff, receptionist and the amount that I usually spend for advertising to try to keep my doors open. And they said they couldn't afford to let the auto companies fail!

There are seven dealers in my town and we don't all use the same people to do our work. Most dealers don't carry the same homes. Of those builders, some have been closed or sold to a larger manufacturer; and one of them just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We are talking serious numbers of lost jobs, and we haven't seen the bottom of the housing crunch.

The manufactured housing industry builds only about a quarter of the homes nationally. How can we ignore all the housing industry and all the lives that it affects? We bail out the banks and will carry the tax burden for umpteen years and they thank us by raising the interest rates on their credit cards.

Mr. President, you also bailed out the automakers. You are giving an $8,000 tax credit to buy a new (resale, foreclosed, short sale) home, but you are doing nothing for the vast majority of builders or manufacturers of new homes and all the local economies that they create.

Mr. President, we have already lost most of the manufacturing jobs in the U.S. I can remember when "Made in America" meant something, mostly jobs for Americans. Give Americans a job instead of job layoffs, and please remember flipping hamburgers is not an alternative.