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09/04/2013

Forbes highlights Perot's success in developing AllianceTexas

The huge success that is AllianceTexas in north Fort Worth has landed Ross Perot Jr. and his father on the cover of Forbes magazine.

In an article titled "There a Billion Reasons Why Ross Perot Jr., Loves That 'Giant Sucking Sound" in the Sept. 23 issue, Forbes tells the story of the Alliance development, resulting in its position as the nation's biggest inland port and top foreign trade zone. It says that Alliance has generated the third billion-dollar fortune for the Perot family.

Each week FedEx lands hundreds of planes at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, near its regional sorting hub. Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s massive rail yard receives thousands of cargo containers, many from China via Long Beach, Calif., and loads them onto the back of semitrailers destined for Interstate 35 or the 30 million square feet of warehouse space on-site. J.C. Penney’s biggest distribution center is here, as is the world’s largest iPhone fulfillment hub, courtesy of AT&T. General Electric manufactures locomotives near where Motorola will soon assemble its Moto X phone. And so on and so on, as far as we can see.

“This is one of the highest-growth regions of the nation,” he explains over the chopper’s headset. “We have all the tools to get the economy moving again.”

The title of the article plays off of Ross Perot Sr.'s famous remark regarding the fate of U.S. jobs following passage of NAFTA.  It contends that Junior has leveraged two of his father's pet peeves -- globalization and federal government spending -- to build AllianaceTexas into a powerhouse.

Twenty years after Perot Sr.’s naive rants against free trade–remember the promised “giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs flowing down to Mexico after passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement?–his son controls the largest “inland port” on the continent, where the only vacuum noise is from the cash flying into the family bank accounts. “No one can compete with the North American trading block if it gets its act together,” Perot Jr. now says. Alliance ranks as the top foreign trade zone in the U.S., receiving more than $4 billion of imported goods per year.

His father’s other main platform was against runaway government deficits. And while that point was very well taken, it conveniently ignored the fact that Perot’s wealth was kick-started by fat government contracts. The senior Perot cleared more than a billion on his first company, Electronic Data Systems, which grew in lockstep with federal entitlements and the sophisticated computer processing they demanded. He then repeated the trick with Perot Systems, in partnership with his son, who served as president, then chairman. Perot Jr.’s massive project has benefited from public largesse as well, in the form of infrastructure subsidies and tax breaks, rather than contracts . The results, however, will show the same outcome: a third ten-digit score for the family over a three-decade time period. Ironic or not, that’s a remarkable track record.

-- Steve Kaskovich

 

 

 

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