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Saturday essay: Perot's disgrace

| Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006

H. Ross Perot's information technology company, Perot Systems Corp., is a new contributor to the "giant sucking sound" drawing U.S. jobs into Mexico.

Mr. Perot coined that well-known phrase, which resonates more strongly today because the "giant sucking sound" is he.

Some call this "irony" in light of Perot's excoriation of the North American Free Trade Agreement as a thief of U.S. jobs. This newspaper endorsed him in 1992 for president, largely because he opposed NAFTA. As a blueprint for free trade, NAFTA builds a fancy facade without a foundation.

Perot's company is establishing an operation in Guadalajara, "the Silicon Valley of Mexico," where it plans to hire 270 Mexicans who work cheaper than U.S. engineers.

A company spokesman says the low wages aren't the only factor; the move fits into the company's strategic vision for a place where there is room to grow.

Perhaps the "Silicon Valley of the United States" and our nation's other technology centers are all filled up.

The question is whether Perot was wrong then or is wrong now.

Perot is today chairman emeritus of the company run by his son. But he hardly is out of the picture.

When it came to standing for his principles, Perot sat down and looked the other way.

He's wrong now. And it's a disgrace of opportunism.

-- Gery Steighner

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