This 41 second video explains much about the Big Three, the American consumer and strange artifacts of a culture built on top of cheap imported oil…
Matthew Yglesias takes a look at the Obama Administration’s approach to the auto industry
Long story short, this looks like an economically responsible way to avoid a cataclysmic implosion of these firms at an inopportune moment. But this isn’t going to prevent the conditions facing the population of Michigan from further deteriorating. That state more-and-more looks like it’s going to be the 21st century version of the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl. The most important policy question facing us in this regard thus continues to be what can be done to help the people of the Rust Belt that doesn’t just involved indefinitely propping up shrinking firms. The first step is simply to turn around the shrinkage in the larger economy, but the question will remain even if recovery reaches the rest of the country.
Full Article Here
I am a lifelong resident of Upstate New York and I really feel for what Michiganders are experiencing right now. The de-industrialization of Upstate New York (and Manhattan for that matter) is now entering into it’s fourth decade. My state is littered with abandoned manufacturing sites that now provide work mainly for people in the business of cleaning up toxic industrial waste.
My take on how to, as Yglesias puts it, “help the people” is based on the idea that keeping large corporations artificial life support or, even less helpfully, trying to buy their loyalty to local communities and populations with sugarplums and tax breaks will not work. Instead, we need a public policy that liberates the human capital latent within our population. I most often write about this in terms of the need to value older people and the contributions they make to our economy and society but this issue really extends to people of all ages. The wealth of Michigan (and all of the other 49 states) resides in the knowledge, creativity and courage of its people. GM, Ford and Chrysler were vehicles (punny!) that made use of these assets, just as they used steel, plastic and chrome, but they have value only to the degree that they are able to serve people’s needs for good products and good jobs. I don’t know if these companies will survive or even if they should but the future belongs, as it always has, to the people of Michigan.