Who killed the
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
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
Big Government do in the
imposed a minimum wage higher than the average wage in
plants be made the healthiest and safest worksites in
the world, creating
OSHA to see to it. It enacted civil rights laws to
force reflected our diversity. Environmental laws
came next, to ensure
became the most pollution-free on earth.
It then clamped
fuel efficiency standards on the entire
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,
Now there is nothing wrong with
cleanest and safest on earth or having
That is the dream, what we all
And under the 14th Amendment, GM,
Ford and Chrysler had to obey the same
laws and pay at the same tax rates. Outside the
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
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
The competition was manifestly
unfair, like forcing Secretariat to carry 100 pounds in
his saddlebags in the
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
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,
exported 700,000 cars to us, while importing 5,000 cars
rebuild the auto industry,
idea of free trade.
How has this Global Economy
profited or prospered
In the 1950s, we made all our own
toys, clothes, shoes, bikes, furniture, motorcycles,
cars, cameras, telephones, TVs, etc. You name it. We
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
We no longer build commercial
ships. We have but one airplane company, and it
GM goes Chapter 11,
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
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
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
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.