The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

July 11, 2018

 

 

Philip McCoy wanted a motorcycle since his buddies had them when they were teenagers and finally, just as he was getting ready to retire nine years ago, he bought himself a Royal Enfield.

Within two years, he had graduated from the small India-made bike to a Hog, a made-in-America Harley-Davidson, the iconic brand that was known as much for its thunderous gurgling sound as its classic lines that recall movies like Easy Rider.

“I wanted to be a bad boy,” he said, sitting on a wooden bench outside Two Lane Tavern way out Old Bardstown Road near the Bullitt County line. He was wearing a Harley-Davidson cap and a plaid shirt with a Harley-Davidson logo on his left breast. “I wanted to hear that rumble and feel the breeze in my hair.

He’s 70 now and he’s been thinking of switching to a "sissy bike" for a smoother and quieter ride. Harley’s recent announcements — first last year that it was building a plant in Thailand, then that it was closing its plant in Kansas City and idling 800 workers, and more recently that it was moving more of its production overseas to avoid higher costs from President Donald Trump’s trade war with Europe — make his decision that much easier.

“If they want to go overseas, get out of here period,” he said.

McCoy spent 42 years as a union sheet metal worker and was a yellow-dog Democrat throughout, but in recent years his allegiance has been changing as he has looked around and seen what he thinks are too many people with their hands out.

He said he doesn’t consider himself a Democrat or a Republican now — “I’m a fence-sitter” — but he voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

He’s exactly the kind of voter that the Democrats have lost in recent years that have helped Republicans gain a firm grip on both houses of Congress and pushed Donald Trump to the White House.

He thinks corporations like Harley-Davidson have had their hands out too much, too, and that if Harley-Davidson really wanted to keep jobs here, it could find a way to do it despite higher tariffs on motorcycles.

The European Union two weeks ago raised tariffs from 6 percent up to 31 percent to punish the United States for President Donald Trump’s 25 percent levies on foreign steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum.

You may like: Trump's battle with Harley-Davidson over foreign tariffs tests motorcycle riders' loyalty

That would add about $2,200 to the cost of the average American-made Harley shipped to Europe. Harleys already are pretty pricey motorcycles.

The EU also slammed us with a 25 percent duty on American whisky, including Kentucky Bourbon.

It was in response to those tariffs by the EU that Harley-Davidson officials announced that they were shifting more production to their plants in foreign countries. It also has assembly at overseas plants in Brazil and India.

Trump has since threatened Harley-Davidson with a massive tax increase and predicted that this would be “the beginning of the end” for the iconic brand.

This isn't the first time that Harley has moved production offshore in response to Trump's moves.

The company announced it would build in Thailand last year after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which would have created a massive free trade zone and removed existing tariffs on motorcycles in 40 percent of the world.

In this battle between Trump and Harley, McCoy sides more with Trump than the manufacturer.

Even though he for years bought Harley parts that were made overseas, and even though he’s considering buying a Honda Goldwing, which is now built in Japan, he just sees something fundamentally wrong with the American company’s decision to close the Kansas City plant and cost so many workers their livelihoods.

And if more bikers agree with him and start looking to buy from other companies, well so be it, he said.

“They’re getting what they deserve,” he said of Harley-Davidson. “They made their bed so they can lie in it.”

 

By Joseph Gerth, Columnist
Louisville Courier Journal

Comments  

0 #3 Diane 2018-07-14 10:35
During World War II, Americans sprang to the defense of many countries and helped them to overcome a great enemy. Economic plans were put in place that helped those countries get back on their feet. At some point in time, those countries should pay their fair share of keeping freedom free.
It amazes me that the US, a country of on/about 324 million people, are expected to support the 7.2 (excluding the US) billion people in the world. What a marvel that we have been able to do that. We have been truly blessed. Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings.
Quote
+1 #2 Grown Up 2018-07-13 09:59
Everyone, especially the democrats, scream doom and gloom to get your attention, or really mostly your vote. Fact is we should have tariffs on products coming into this country if our businesses are charged tariffs going to their countries. Why put Americans out of work. I'd rather finance a couple thousand more on a new car than send American jobs overseas as they have been doing for years. The truth it that it will get worse before it gets better. Once they see that Trump is serious and the affects on their own economies they will begin to negotiate lower or no tariffs. I think on this one particular issue, I'm 100 percent behind the president and I wish Congress would get out of the way and the fake news media would report facts. We are still a capitalistic government, not socialists. We support free trade, not dumping on America like NATO does.
Quote
0 #1 Shari Moore 2018-07-12 15:40
Here's your sign...
Quote

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

SOMEMRSEP