Here Come the Autoworker Thugs

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After a month of Detroit-bashing in Washington and nationally, some say a backlash is forming among Metro Detroiters, annoyed by the attacks on their lifestyle and angry at their neighbors’ choices of vehicles. Some fear that simmering resentment could turn to outright hostility.

…In Woodhaven [Detroit suburb]on Friday, someone punctured the tires of five foreign cars — a Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Toyota and Volkswagen — and used a marker to scrawl “Buy USA” on the sides of the vehicles, in the lots of Lowe’s and Kohl’s stores near a Ford plant. A security camera captured a middle-aged white man defacing the vehicles, Woodhaven Police Chief Michael Martin said, who fears there could be more such incidents.

I remember when this was typical behavior in the 70s and 80s. Once again, we have to worry about leaving our Toyotas in our driveways. Now here’s the standard Detroiter comment concerning the auto industry (be forewarned, it’s embarrassing): “Not enough people recognize the importance of doing the right thing for their country, which is to buy American,” he said. “My dad, his brothers and his cousins all fought the Germans and Japanese to have what we have today. And with all respect to the German and Japanese people, I’m not going to give away everything my relatives fought for through the automobile industry.”

The guy who made that comment, a retired autoworker named Joe, started this website (note the completely amateurish presentation). With all of his auto-jingoism, it seems that autoworker Joe doesn’t understand business or finances. All he understands is that he and his ilk are owed high-paying jobs with cushy pensions. And all people in Alabama are evil because some of them have a well-paid, non-union job with a successful, financially-sound auto manufacturer. I wonder if Joe could ever open his one-way brain to the concept of General Motors as an insolvent machine with a monstrous negative equity position of $60 billion that cannot be overcome? Nah.

p.s. — My brother, who worked on the line at GM, always wanted a white Chrysler New Yorker. He bought one in about 1980 or so. The windows were smashed in because a Chrysler was parked in a GM lot. In this era, the Buy-American nationalistic fever (overall union unity) has replaced brand patriotism.

9:40 am on December 16, 2008