Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Last One Out of Detroit, Turn Out the Lights...

The above headline was the caption on an editorial cartoon back in the 60's when riots broke out and the city of Detroit burned. No one believed that the city of Detroit had a future. We face that belief once again as the auto industry hangs on by a thread and faces what looks to be certain failure.

In Michigan, one person out of every eight has ties to the auto industry in one way or another. Mind you, that is a direct tie to the industry. That's a huge connection. The entire economy in the state of Michigan and many other states will be severely impacted by the failure of any one of the automakers. People will be out of jobs, they won't be able to support small businesses (or even large businesses), those businesses will close, increasing the numbers of unemployed. As one business closes it will have an impact on another business who will lay off or eliminate jobs and the downward spiral continues.

I am angry. I'm angry at the CEO's of the auto companies for their performance in general. Failed business concepts, arrogance and a sense of 'perk' entitlement (can you say private jets?) made their plea for help in Washington, DC this week pointless.

I'm angry with our lawmakers. The double standard that exists is appalling to me. We as a nation freely gave billions in money to banks who turn right around and squander millions of that money on lavish events for employees. We give billions to the banking industry, who through their own greed, failed. Yet, the banking failure has contributed to the demise of the auto companies. When it came to the auto industry, our lawmakers were quick to judge, and that was apparent with their hearings. I've never heard such arrogance in my life. It was so obvious that the white collar needs far surpassed the blue collar needs. It makes me sick to my stomach.

I don't know what the answer is... I just feel that our government has turned it's back on an industry that is so important to this state and others. The failure of any one of the auto makers would be devastating for our national economy.. you think it's bad now? Just wait. It won't be pretty.

So, perhaps that editorial cartoon from the 60s says it all... The last one out of Detroit, turn out the lights. But please, leave a night light on. Maybe we'll be able to find our way back at some point.

1 comment:

William Barnes said...

Greed and arrogance in the corporate model is what is causing this. The CEOs got powerhungry and thought Americans would *have* to keep buying the cars they produced. Oops. Think again.

The government needs to put the companies into some receivership model, fire the CEOS, retool the factories to build mass transit and electric cars and then everybody can keep their jobs.

Obama might have to revisit the Work Projects Administration concept of the 30s if any more people get laid off. Put people to work (in this country) designing and building new parks, bridges, and other infrastructure needs.