Progressive spinning their failure exposed by Detroit’s bankruptcy

Expect a lot more articles like the following Detroit News Politics Blog post. Articles extolling the virtues of unions now that Detroit has fallen off the cliff into bankruptcy, exposing the results from the Democrat / Progressive Liberal / Union agenda:

Of course, no amount of productivity enhancement could dissuade the private sector from decades of attacking workers’ rights for the sake of greater profits. Rick Snyder loves to talk about how Michigan (and Detroit) have been in decline since the 1960s. But as Michigan has declined, in tandem with the American middle class, union membership has collapsed. The funny thing about Detroit’s glory days is that they coincided with a time when nearly half of working Michiganians were union members.

Where to begin, where to begin…

First, the off-cited claim evil corporations are squeezing the poor workers in a never ending chase for increased profits. Did you know, last year Ford averaged $3,533 per-vehicle profit before taxes?

Ford’s pretax profit per vehicle reached $3,533 in the third quarter, which is probably a record, Shanks said. Consumers on average paid $700 more per vehicle in the third quarter over the year-earlier period, he said.

That might sound like a lot of money, however based on the billions of dollars they spend bringing a vehicle to market, the Return On Investment (or ROI) isn’t something to write home about.

Next, the claim that Michigan’s middle class ‘declined’ as union membership declined is, to put it mildly, a fantasy.

Michigan per-capitia income

You will note in the above graph that Michigan’s per-capita income only began to significantly diverge from the national average at the beginning of Jennifer Granholm’s eight year reign of economic terror.

Lastly, our Detroit News progressive’s corporation bashing reminds me of a funny picture floating around the internet during the Occupy Wall Street temper tantrum:

Protesting Corporations

All those evil corporations providing products and services we couldn’t make ourselves.

  • geek49203 July 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Where to begin, indeed.

    1. Ford is headquartered in Dearborn. Their largest plants in the area haven’t been located in the City of Detroit since (if memory serves) the 1920’s. So any quotations of Ford (which did NOT receive $1 of government bailout!) is a non-sequitur here. The Ford Glass House (world headquarters) signs are often shown by national news, probably ’cause they are close to the airport.

    2. Ford used to employ 110k people in the Dearborn Rouge plant, now it employs about 45k in all of North America. GM used to employ about 100k in Buick City, and last I heard, they were at 50k for North America. The jobs didn’t go overseas, they just vanished when robots replaced workers, and cars started lasting 250,000 miles. Manufacturing jobs world-wide, even in China, are in decline, must like what agriculture did in the 20th century.

    3. The auto industry (and Detroit) grew wealthy at a time when the rest of the world’s auto production facilities were in ruins after WW2. By the late 1970’s Japan and Germany had caught back up. The UK and France would’ve been competition if they hadn’t been hampered by quasi-socialist governments in the pockets of the local unions (akin to Detroit!). Wages also increased in the 1950’s and 1960’s because there was a shortage of male labor due to the war.

    4. This isn’t a race issue. Southfield (next door to Detroit) has a 70% black population — indeed, many are former Detroit residents! — and you don’t hear anything about Southfield falling apart on the national news.

    • steve July 21, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Sometimes these posts turn into a ‘stream of consciousness’ commentary.

      I used Ford to illustrate how an evil corporation abuses it’s workers in order to make obscene profits. Also, if I remember correctly, Ford usually does pretty good (compared to GM and Chrysler) in the profit per vehicle measure.

      Thanks for the excellent (per usual) comment.

  • geek49203 July 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

    My bad. I thought that the Bloom’ article was one of the many national press outlets that are misreporting this situation.

    • steve July 21, 2013 at 9:53 am

      No worries. Your post covers many interesting facts.