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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Feb. 22

Stocks in this article: BKW WMT HNZ OMX ODP

4. Titan's French Kiss-Off

The entire nation of France may not think too highly of Maurice Taylor. We here at the Five Dumbest Lab, however, think Titan International's (TWI) CEO is le miaulement du chat.

The tough-talking tire executive informed the country's industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg, in a Feb. 8 letter released on Wednesday that he had no interest in rescuing a soon-to-be-closed Goodyear plant.

But that's not all Taylor had to say. Jamais de la vie.

"The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor wrote. "I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that's the French way!"

Attendez une seconde! It gets better.

"Sir, your letter states you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with money and talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government."

The French government, by the way, responded Wednesday, calling Taylor an "extremist" and "ignorant."

Sacrebleu! No wonder Taylor's nickname is "The Grizz." Instead of politely declining an offer he may deem ridiculous, this guy is growling like a hungry bear.

And while we may enjoy his rant for our own admittedly Dumb purposes, and even agree with the majority of it, we do wonder how Titan's own employees feel when their CEO publicly tells an entire country that he can easily replace its "so-called workers" with cheaper Chinese or Indian labor.

Like they say in Paris: Bon marché tire agent de bourse.

(Don't worry if you forgot your high school French. It has nothing to do with selling tires. Simply translated, it means: If you pay cheaply, you pay dearly.)

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