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President Obama to Visit K'Nex Factory

President Barack ObamaWASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will visit the Pennsylvania factory of K'NEX this Friday as part of his public outreach as the White House and legislators work on negotiating ways to avoid tax increases and spending cuts and how these changes may affect the American-made toy company and other small businesses across the country, as well as the U.S. economy. The visit will also mark President Obama's first public event outside the nation's capital since winning the re-election.

Today, the White House released the following statement: "On Friday, the President will travel to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania to continue making the public case for action by visiting a business that depends on middle class consumers during the holiday season, and could be impacted if taxes go up on 98 percent of Americans at the end of the year. President Obama will tour and deliver remarks at The Rodon Group manufacturing facility in Hatfield, PA. The Rodon Group is the sole American manufacturer for K'NEX Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Tinkertoy, K'NEX Building Sets and Angry Bird Building Sets. The Rodon Group and K'NEX Brands, both third-generation family businesses, employ over 150 people at their Hatfield facilities."

As part of his visit, President Obama will discuss how tax hikes and other spending cuts (to defense and domestic programs) scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, will hurt the economy, including the growth of small businesses like K'NEX throughout the U.S. In a document issued this week by the White House, "The Middle Class Tax Cuts' Impact on Consumer Spending and Retailers," President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers" state that, "allowing the middle-class tax rates to rise and failing to patch the Alternative Minimum Tax could cut the growth of real consumer spending by 1.7 percentage points in 2013." As a result of these tax increases, American consumers would spend nearly $200 billion less than they would have because of higher taxes, according to the report.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) responded to the economic report and released a statement. "It is encouraging to see the Administration's acknowledgement that retailers and their customers will be among the hardest hit if our elected officials fail to address ongoing economic uncertainty," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, NRF, in the statement. "However, just kicking the can down the road by cherry picking reforms only serves to reinforce the well-placed fears of American consumers and retailers that the status quo will once again rule the day. If brinkmanship overtakes bipartisanship, we will continue to see less capital investment by retailers large and small, stifled job creation, and dampened consumer confidence, which will ultimately lead to lower retail sales and potentially another recession. The time for talk is over, and the time for action is now."

In response to the pending tax hikes, President Obama met with small business owners at the White House earlier this week, and even showed his support for small business by buying some books at an independent bookstore, One More Page Books, in Arlington, VA, on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24.

"K'NEX Brands and The Rodon Group are honored that President Obama is touring our facility later this week," said Michael Araten, president and CEO, K'NEX Brands. "Since 1956, we have been committed to advanced American manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship. As a result, K'NEX is exported to over 40 countries around the world."

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