Thursday, May 08, 2008

It Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Guy

FBI search, leaked documents lead to renewed calls for ousting of Scott Bloch

The FBI on Tuesday executed search warrants on OSC headquarters and the Dallas field office, as well as Bloch's home. The agents collected documents and laptop computers and issued 17 subpoenas in an operation lasting more than seven hours. Debra Katz, who is representing OSC employees who have filed complaints against Bloch alleging whistleblower retaliation, said five or six current employees and numerous former employees were issued subpoenas to appear before a grand jury next week.
"OSC employees were told before the search warrants were executed yesterday that the special counsel was the target of the probe, not the people in the office," Katz said.
The investigation into Bloch appears to be focused not only on potential obstruction of justice charges against him, but also on the possibility he lied to Congress last year and manipulated OSC investigations, according to sources.

Chinese Now Looking Here For Cheap Production Costs

Chinese firms bargain hunting in U.S.

DONGGUAN, CHINA -- Liu Keli couldn't tell you much about South Carolina, not even where it is in the United States. It's as obscure to him as his home region, Shanxi province, is to most Americans.But Liu is investing $10 million in the Palmetto State, building a printing-plate factory that will open this fall and hire 120 workers. His main aim is to tap the large American market, but when his finance staff penciled out the costs, he was stunned to learn how they compared with those in China. Liu spent about $500,000 for seven acres in Spartanburg -- less than one-fourth what it would cost to buy the same amount of land in Dongguan, a city in southeast China where he runs three plants. U.S. electricity rates are about 75% lower, and in South Carolina, Liu doesn't have to put up with frequent blackouts.About the only major thing that's more expensive in Spartanburg is labor. Liu is looking to offer $12 to $13 an hour there, versus about $2 an hour in Dongguan, not including room and board. But Liu expects to offset some of the higher labor costs with a payroll tax credit of $1,500 per employee from South Carolina."I was surprised," said the 63-year-old president of Shanxi Yuncheng Plate-Making Group. "The gap's not as large as I thought."Liu is part of a growing wave of Chinese entrepreneurs expanding into the U.S. From Spartanburg to Los Angeles they are building factories, buying companies and investing in business and real estate.

I guess this is the irony of all ironies. China now finds it cheaper to produce things here than in their own sweatshops.