Uncivil War: Detroit Blames the South

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The Union is squaring off against the South again. This time it’s Detroit’s union — the UAW — partnering with the auto manufacturers, politicians, and media supporters of the domestic auto industry to wage warfare against the entire South.

The problem here centers on certain southern states — Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and, in particular, Alabama — where certain bone-headed senators seem to have forgotten that the Civil War ended, with the appropriate outcome, almost 150 years ago.

What’s more, these Alabama representatives argued that they and other southern states had plenty of automotive manufacturing capacity to take up the slack and keep the country’s economy going if Detroit was to go belly up. Specifically, Alabama’s Republican senator Richard Shelby called Detroit a ‘dinosaur’ and said bankruptcy was a better solution to the problems facing U.S. carmakers. The state’s other senator, Jeff Sessions, also a Republican, said Detroit’s collapse would "not be the end of the world. We have a very large and vibrant automobile sector in Alabama."

That’s Detroit News columnist John McCormick, who labeled Southern politicians opposing the bailout "good old southern boys."

Detroiters continue to embarrass themselves by placing the auto industry collapse into an us-versus-them framework. In the midst of all the whining and begging for a bailout, the South has been declared the new enemy, along with the foreign-car manufacturers who are producing cars — in Southern plants — that consumers want to buy. The army of politicians and opinion columnists in Michigan who lay the groundwork for resuscitating this fading industry don’t bother to acknowledge that it is in the best interests of any public company to maximize quality for its customers and efficiency of production and profits for its shareholders.

Instead, Toyota and Honda are pegged as evil because they are thriving. They are especially evil for building plants that aren’t located near Detroit. However, it is important to remember that foreign auto manufacturers are able to build plants where they want to build them, according to what fits best into their strategic plans and potential for profit. The US automakers have UAW officials making those decisions for them for the sole purpose of enriching the union’s overpaid officers and dues-paying members.

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Karen De Coster [send her mail] is a Certified Public Accountant, has an MA in Economics, and works in finance and accounting in the securities industry. See her website and her blog.

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