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The Law of Unintended Consequences


Government intervention is causing a ripple effect that leads overseas.

Editor's Note: This article was provided by Minyan Mark Majka.

When you get massive government intervention and major policy change into a severe downturn, you have to start expecting the law of unintended consequences to start to play out.

David Farr, CEO of Emerson Electric (EMR), one of the largest Industrial stocks in the US, is one of the most outspoken, straight-shooting CEOs you can listen to on a conference call or in a public venue. Below are his comments from the RW Baird Industrials conference regarding what he sees coming out of Washington DC and what it means for him as a CEO of a major US company.

Now to tell you how bad this is, and tell you what I think what Washington is doing right now.

Washington is doing everything in their manpower capability to destroy US manufacturers, primarily destroy US manufacturers, cap and trade, medical reform, labor rules. What do they want to do? Raise taxes. They're just going to destroy jobs.

We've already reached 7.3 million jobs in this downturn. We're going to eight [million]. That's a summation of the last four downturns. So what do you think the recovery is going to be in jobs? It ain't going to be very good. I listen to everything Washington is doing: wasting money; raising the deficit to $10 [trillion], $12 trillion -- or the debt level to $10 [trillion], $12 trillion going to $23 trillion; raising taxes, putting regulations and requirements on me as a manufacturing company.

What do you think I'm going to do? I'm not going to hire anybody in the United States. I'm moving. So they're doing everything possible to destroy jobs, in my opinion. That's my opinion as a manufacturer and we employ 125,000 people worldwide, so I do know what the hell I'm talking about. We used to employ a lot more in the United States and we'll continue to move out of this.

When I see guys like this -- Wall Street bailout, car bailout, I'm looking at, what are these guys doing with our money? They're wasting trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars. So, what they're going to do, they're going to pass a new medical health care, raise my costs, jobs will go. Cap and trade, tax me, jobs will go. It's pretty straightforward. Whatever they're doing right now, ain't working. Eight million jobs, a summation of the last downturns.

Why you think we're moving our companies into the emerging markets? Because that's where the growth is, that's where the jobs are going to be, that's where we can create value. Share of this market is less --it's around 45%. So this is where we're making our investments, because this is where we're going to grow and this is what's going to happen to the economy.

And so if you look at where the opportunity right now is, it's not Rhode Island, it's not in Connecticut, it's not in Illinois. It's in India, it's in China…I'm taking another trip to China on Saturday. I go there seven to eight times a year. I go to Latin America. I go to the Middle East.

That's where the growth is going to be, international. Since I've been CEO, we've added close to 19 points of emerging market sales. We're up to 33%.

Based on how I see the economics, the mature market is going to have a very difficult recovery. Debt levels are sitting up here, unemployment is sitting up here, the degree of freedom is very narrow. How are they going to create jobs? Government jobs? Those are not very productive jobs.

Jobs are going to be created offshore. They're going to be created in India and China, places where people want the products and where the government welcomes you. They actual do something.

So overall, as I look at it we've [had] a challenging 18 months. We have a challenging probably six, seven months left.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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