Green Room

Beyond the Obama-Hoffa kerfuffle

posted at 4:00 am on September 8, 2011 by

We all had fun skewering the progressive hypocrisy over Teamster honcho Jimmy Hoffa, Jr.’s thuggish speech, but we should keep in mind the bigger picture behind Pres. Obama’s Labor Day appearance in Detroit.

In the 2012 election and beyond, GOP insiders want to win the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region. Obama has already made it clear he will use the auto industry bailout, begun under Pres. George W. Bush, as one of the central pillars of his reelection campaign, especially in these critical battleground states.

The Dems are going to tout a Center for Automotive Research study claiming the bailout saved over a million jobs, even though that study should be titled, “The Parable of the Broken Car Windows.” Commandeering the bankruptcy process for the benefit of the UAW was not the only hope for GM and Chrysler and the long-term costs of the bailouts will be enormous. Indeed, as bailouts go, the auto bailout was less successful than the bank bailout (which tells you how much this is about politics).

Ford, which did not get a bailout, is easily outperforming GM and Chrysler. Although the Obama administration wanted to turn these companies into flagships of its green jobs initiative, sales of the electric Chevy Volt are almost comically dismal; GM and Chrysler are making their money selling SUVs and pickup trucks. Indeed, while Obama blames our lackluster economy in part on the Japanese tsunami, the fact is that disaster helped US automakers.

As for Detroit itself, the official unemployment rate was 14.1 percent in July; the true unemployment figure in the city might be as high as an astounding 50 percent. The Big 3 automakers were the city’s top employers as recently as 2007; as of November 2010, the city’s five top employers were the Detroit Public School system; the City of Detroit; the Detroit Medical Center; the Henry Ford Health System (a non-profit, managed care health care organization); and the US government. It gets worse:

Though unemployment decreased in 2010, the share of people without work for 26 weeks or longer reached 50 percent — a greater proportion than during the recession of 1983. Among jobless adults aged 25-54, 55 percent were out of work at least 26 weeks.

And 26.6 percent of jobs people found last year didn’t pay enough to support a family, causing Michigan to drop from fourth best in the nation in 2006 to 36th place for the number of well-paying jobs.

Writers at the Detroit News have called Obama’s “victory” lap a “farce,” noting of his Labor Day jaunt:

He parachuted into this city’s sanitized, heavily-securitized downtown square-mile of corporate headquarters and Whole Foods markets – safe from the murderous streets of the city’s other 138 square miles that have claimed 250 lives already this year and put Detroit on path for a staggering 50 per 100,000 residents murder rate in 2011.

Hoffa’s vulgar rhetoric at the event — and the White House non-reaction to it — may expose the Democrats as gross hypocrites, but Obama’s appearance in Detroit raises more serious questions: Why should people vote to re-elect a man who is so plainly the political tool of the Big Labor goons who drove GM and Chrysler off the cliff in the first place? And why should people in the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region vote to empower a lame duck Obama agenda on the environment and energy calculated to kill jobs there?

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Part of the problem is the collapse of the Fourth Estate.
Just like the Congressional Black Caucus railing against the Tea Party, many Detroiters probably can’t see, due to the dried-up river of nominally impartial media, that they are supporting their destroyers.

cane_loader on September 8, 2011 at 4:53 AM

Why should people vote to re-elect a man who is so plainly the political tool of the Big Labor goons who drove GM and Chrysler off the cliff in the first place? And why should people in the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region vote to empower a lame duck Obama agenda on the environment and energy calculated to kill jobs there?

As for Detroit? Simple. Obama is black. Do the math. The city is shrinking into a hyper-ghetto. It lops off the gangrenous extremities in an attempt to save itself.

tpitman on September 8, 2011 at 6:21 AM

That’s amazing– in three short years the automakers have fallen behind five separate arms of government as employers in Detroit?

Great piece Karl. These points need to see wider exposure.

MTF on September 8, 2011 at 7:52 AM

cane_loader on September 8, 2011 at 4:53 AM


cmsinaz on September 8, 2011 at 8:09 AM

Detroit? A third world enclave run by democrats. Even Dearbornistan is in better circumstances.

Skandia Recluse on September 8, 2011 at 11:03 AM

It begins……
Obama-Hoffa ‘army’ takes hostages, damage railroad

Longshoremen Storm Washington State Port, Damage RR
LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — Hundreds of Longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview early Thursday, overpowered and held security guards, damaged railroad cars, and dumped grain that is the center of a labor dispute, said Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha.

mrt721 on September 8, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Detroit=Caracas without the good food and cheap beer.

Can Detroit be cast transferred into some sort of UN protectorate status complete with blue helmeted UN sanctioned African troops in charge?

They have a great record in such matters on their own continent despite racist press reports to the contrary and should be welcomed by the majority of the populace. Then rebuilding and revitalization can truly begin. It’s worth a try.

Mason on September 8, 2011 at 5:42 PM

The GM/Chrysler bailouts are one reason Ford is doing well. I know I will never buy a product from GM,Chrysler or GE.

gbear on September 8, 2011 at 6:01 PM

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