Who Killed Detroit?

Who killed the w:st="on">U.S. auto industry?

To hear the media tell it, arrogant
corporate chiefs failed to foresee the demand for small,
fuel-efficient cars and made gas-guzzling road-hog SUVs
no one wanted, while the clever, far-sighted Japanese,
Germans and Koreans prepared and built for the future.

I dissent. What killed

was Washington, the government of the w:st="on">United States, politicians,
journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep
animus against the manufacturing class that ran the
smokestack industries that won World War II.

As far back as the 1950s, an
intellectual elite that produces mostly methane had its
knives out for the auto industry of which Ike`s treasury
secretary, ex-GM chief Charles Wilson, had boasted,

"What`s good for America is good for General Motors, and
vice versa."

"Engine Charlie"

relentlessly mocked
, even in
Al Capp`s
L`il Abner cartoon strip
, where a bloviating
"General Bullmoose" had as his motto,
"What`s good for
Bullmoose is good for

How did

Big Government
do in the

auto industry?


imposed a minimum wage higher than the average wage in
war-devastated w:st="on">Germany and w:st="on">Japan. The Feds
ordered that

plants be made the healthiest and safest worksites in
the world, creating

to see to it. It enacted civil rights laws to
ensure the
force reflected our diversity
. Environmental laws
came next, to ensure w:st="on">U.S. factories
became the most pollution-free on earth.

It then clamped

fuel efficiency standards
on the entire
car fleet.

imposed a corporate
tax rate of 35 percent, raking off another 15 percent of
autoworkers` wages in Social Security payroll taxes

State governments imposed income
and sales taxes, and local governments property taxes to
subsidize services and schools.

The United Auto Workers struck
repeatedly to win the highest wages and most generous
benefits on earth—vacations, holidays, work breaks,
health care, pensions—for workers and their families,
and retirees.

Now there is nothing wrong with
making w:st="on">U.S. plants the
cleanest and safest on earth or having w:st="on">U.S. autoworkers the highest-paid
wage earners.

That is the dream, what we all
wanted for w:st="on">America.

And under the 14th Amendment, GM,
Ford and Chrysler had to obey the same

laws and pay at the same tax rates. Outside the w:st="on">United States, however, there was
and is no equality of standards or taxes.

Thus when America was thrust into
the Global Economy, GM and Ford had to compete with cars
made overseas in factories in postwar Japan and Germany,
then Korea, where health and safety standards were much
lower, wages were a fraction of those paid U.S. workers,
and taxes were and are often forgiven on exports to the
United States.

All three nations built "export-driven"

The Beetle and early Japanese
imports were made in factories where wages were far

wages and working conditions would have gotten w:st="on">U.S. auto executives sent to prison.

The competition was manifestly
unfair, like forcing Secretariat to carry 100 pounds in
his saddlebags in the w:st="on">Derby.

South Korea

do not believe in free trade as we understand it. To us,
they are our
"trading partners."
To them, the relationship is not
like that of Evans & Novak or Fred Astaire and Ginger
Rogers. It is not even like the Redskins and Cowboys.
For the Cowboys only want to defeat the Redskins. They
do not want to put their franchise out of business and
end the competition—as the Japanese did to our TV
industry by

dumping Sonys
here until they killed it.

While we think the Global Economy
is about what is best for the consumer, they think about
what is best for the nation.

Like Alexander Hamilton, they
understand that manufacturing is the key to national
power. And they manipulate currencies, grant tax rebates
to their exporters and
thieve our technology
to win. Last year, as trade
expert Bill Hawkins writes,
South Korea

exported 700,000 cars to us, while importing 5,000 cars
from us.[To
rebuild the auto industry
, w:st="on">November 19, 2008]

That`s Asia`s
idea of free trade.

How has this Global Economy
profited or prospered w:st="on">America?

In the 1950s, we made all our own
toys, clothes, shoes, bikes, furniture, motorcycles,
cars, cameras, telephones, TVs, etc. You name it. We
made it.

Are we better off now that these
things are made by foreigners? Are we better off now
that we have ceased to be self-sufficient? Are we better
off now that the real wages of our workers and median
income of our families no longer grow as they once did?
Are we better off now that manufacturing, for the first
time in w:st="on">U.S. history, employs fewer workers
than government?

We no longer build commercial
ships. We have but one airplane company, and it
outsources. w:st="on">China produces our computers. And if
GM goes Chapter 11,
will soon be
out of the auto business.

Our politicians and pundits may not
understand what is going on. Historians will have no
problem explaining the decline and fall of the



Patrick J. Buchanan


no introduction
to VDARE.COM readers;
his book
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
is Churchill,
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,



Paul Craig Roberts.