There was news yesterday that Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of bulldozers and excavators, posted its first quarterly net loss in 16 years and said full-year profit and sales will trail its previous forecast amid a global recession.
This wouldn’t be major news except for the fact that Caterpillar was once thought to be on the cusp of becoming the world’s largest exporter of heavy earth moving equipment to Latin America and President Obama has apparently been unable to bring that dream into reality — despite the president’s participation in a two day Summit of the Americas this last weekend.
The president returned from the summit without a promise of a contract for Caterpillar — but he did bring back a nice book and a few photos of himself with Hugo Chavez, and other Latin strongmen….
“It would be nice if the president had really done anything for us, for our workers,” a Caterpillar employee told us yesterday.
Caterpillar says it pays $100,000 in tariffs on each piece of heavy equipment it exports to Columbia, because the U.S. Congresss has failed to pass the free trade agreement….
But today we learn that the president did in fact come home from the Summit of the Americas with a new idea, thanks to Columbian President Alvaro Uribe.
Obama, news reports say, will now change his position and become a champion of the free-trade pact with Colombia.
Too late for many Caterpillar employees. But maybe someday they can be re-hired….
In this Feb. 10, 2009 file photo, Caterpillar earth moving equipment is lined up in Wahoo, Neb., Tuesday, Feb.10, 2009. The U.S. trade deficit plunged in January to the lowest level in six years as a deepening recession cut demand for imported goods at an even faster rate than exports.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)