CO-AUTHORS OF ‘AMERICA FOR SALE’ WARN OF LOOMING RISKS FOR U.S. ECONOMY, CRITICAL INDUSTRIES
Vice Chairman of Esmark Inc. Briefs Executives at Chicago’s Association for Corporate Growth Forum on Risks Related to Securing Our Domestic Infrastructure Future
CHICAGO, OCTOBER 2, 2009 – Craig T. Bouchard, Vice Chairman and co-founder of Esmark Inc., speaking to the executives attending Chicago’s Association for Corporate Growth forum, signaled new risks percolating under the surface of the U.S economy, namely significantly higher interest rates, re-inflation of commodity prices, a further weakening of the U.S. dollar, and a coming rush by foreign companies to purchase equity in industries potentially critical to national defense.
Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and negotiate with the oligarchs of the global steel industry: Lakshmi Mittal, Ben Steinbruch, Vladimir Lissin, the Ruia brothers, Victor Rashnikov, and Alexei Mordashov. These were humbling experiences. None of these great men are Americans. (One may have even worked for the KGB.) They now collectively control the North American steel market, a critical component to our national defense.
Interesting circumstances led me to meet individuals who have changed the landscape on Wall Street. Jaime Dimon, Jeff Immelt, and Jeff Gendell are a few that come to mind. Each of these men certainly influenced the prospects of our company.
Perhaps the individual who I most negotiated with in my career in steel was Ron Bloom of the United Steelworkers. I learned a great deal from Ron. He now runs the Obama Auto Task Force, perhaps not coincidental to the strong support given by the USW to the Obama election campaign.
When Jim Koch, one of our greatest American economists called and asked me to co-author a book with him, I was fascinated by the opportunity. Jim’s idea was to simply explain how and why so many of our national treasures are falling into the hands of foreigners, using the steel industry as the lead example.
Our story provides an insider’s glimpse at the fireworks surrounding a unique hostile takeover on Wall Street and the quiet ascent of a labor union to a renewed position of power in corporate America and in Washington, DC. In the process, we have attempted to create an economic road map for any hardworking American attempting to understand the astounding politics of the Obama administration, and the implications for our economy in 2010 and beyond.