A friend recently shared a Detroit News video report from 2007 about Camacari, "Ford's most advanced assembly plant," that opened in 2001 in Brazil.
The piece ends with the following claim:
"Sources in Dearborn say privately that this is the sort of facility Ford would love to build in the U.S. if only the UAW, historically adverse to this sort of supplier integration, would allow it."
Let me begin by saying that I've never worked in the automobile industry, although very close friends have. I've never been a member of the UAW, nor any other labor union.
That said, I have to wonder about the kind of thinking and reporting that leaves the viewer with the unchallenged conclusion that it is labor's fault that good paying, middle class jobs like building cars goes overseas because the UAW won't "allow" modern plants in America.
The auto industry is clearly one of the central pillars of our economy, and the web of dependencies that has been created seems completely entrenched and undoable. The reason it will be almost - not quite, but almost - impossible to change any of that and build a broader, more sustainable, diverse, and healthier economy is simple.
And who controls the money?
This report says it's the unions. Has to be them, right? I mean, the piece ends by saying that Ford supposedly wants to build plants like the one in Brazil in America with automation and JIT suppliers integrated inside and all that but the unions won't allow it.
Really? Unions? Are they the people who decide where to invest capital to build plants? Seriously? Is that really the reason Ford doesn't build plants like that in America?
Or is it possible that it might be because the Brazilian factory worker lives in a country where the minimum wage is less than $300 a month (http://tinyurl.com/24v5l8k)?
Ford's employees in Brazil probably have no health care or other benefits, and while they may be "middle class" in Brazil I'm willing to bet just about everything I have left that they can't even afford to buy one of the cars they make.
This is the kind of bullshit news reporting that really pisses me off, mostly because too many Americans are gullible enough - especially my friends on the right - to believe it. They buy this line of thinking that those poor bastards in the boardrooms and corner offices of corporate America are being held back by labor and government. All those magnanimous and benevolent capitalists want to do is invest more money into more businesses to create more jobs, but labor and the big bad government are keeping them from doing that. What a crock of shit!
It comes down to money. Yes, organized labor has money and power but make no mistake, dear reader. The money that matters and that makes these decisions is the real money - the richest 2% kind of money. GOP kind of money. It's why I'll never understand how middle-class Americans could ever, ever, EVER vote Republican. They're voting against their own economic self-interest. The trickle-down, Randian economic model that was sold by Alan Greenspan and bought hook-line-and-sinker by that moronic B-movie actor and GOP god, Ronny, and his minions in the GOP has proven not to work.
None of those facts seem to matter, though, to the latest crop of defenders of the wealthy and so-called free markets; the tea baggers, the Boehner/McConnell crowd, and the real whack jobs like Rand Paul and his Libertarians. Less regulation, more wealth protection, and even tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans has become religion for them, and that belief system has been perpetuated by liars and haters like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and others so much so that uninformed and easily-duped Americans actually believe in the magnanimity of the rich, and worse, the fallacy of the American Dream that they, too, can someday be rich.
Devotion, admiration, and even worship for wealth, the wealthy, and the so-called captains of industry is how we got to the sorry-ass state we're in now. Maintaining that devotion and electing devotees of Ayn Rand and Ronny Reagan to high office is how we'll go over the cliff for good, too.
But, hey, not to worry. Our children, grand children, and great grand children will have it better. Unregulated, unfettered, and under-taxed free markets and the absurdly wealthy who run it are making sure that we're going to be a big part of the third world by the end of the century - maybe sooner. Then maybe all those middle class jobs will come back.
How, you ask?
Because we'll be the nation of poor, desperate people willing to do anything for a few bucks an hour.