Detroit Memes Business: Class Warfare is Breaking Out All Over

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
detroit memes business class warfare is breaking out all over

Over the weekend, Washington Post carmudgeon Warren Brown framed the pro and anti-bailout debate as a form of class warfare, pitting wealthy college-educated selfish bastards (i.e. journalists, Wall Street, Washington) against UAW-protected American-dream-seeking assembly workers (i.e. Detroit). This morning, The Detroit News’ resident poverty and employment policy specialist picks-up Warren’s placard and mans the barricades. In “Washington’s whipping boys,” Amber Arellano bites the hand that’s about to feed. “While Wall Street was welcomed into the front door on a Sunday night and served a bail-out with hot cocoa, Michigan’s auto chiefs have been publicly humiliated before the national press so Congress and the Bush administration can show voters they’re finally holding someone accountable for this disaster of an era.” I said, “While Wall Street’s 1990s orgy of deregulation wrecks the economy and the Manhattan Brooks Brothers set gets a true bail-out of more than $170 billion, the Detroit Three automakers beg for a loan — and get mocked as if they’re janitors at an arrogant New Jersey country club.” You might not agree with Amber’s assertions (here’s hoping), but this girl’s got some spunk!

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“The United Auto Workers slash their wages down to $14 an hour — little more than McDonald’s wages — and humbly prostrate themselves [?] in front of the altar of Beltway egos. What did Wall Street sacrifice? A few brokers and Starbuck’s mochacinnos.”

OK, OK, I get it.

“Wall Street isn’t easy to pick on, but Detroit is. We, the folks with ties to old economy industries in the very un-hip Heartland, are perceived by many as the weakest on America’s new socio-economic ladder. You can hear it in the nasty undertone lurking in the debate. It’s hardly just about the automakers’ past mistakes, though there are many.”

Such as? Amber? Hello? Amber…

“Throughout history, the poor and working classes have always had to work harder to prove themselves and their worth. Much of the Bible is about busting that myth. Wall Street didn’t have to deal with this lurking, ignorant bias. Wall Street doesn’t have the United Auto Workers and rough-and-tumble factory workers linked with it.”

Fortress Detroit is a bizarre place these days. The people who destroyed it get a pass while the people who are trying to save it (from itself) are vilified. Passive aggressive? Seriously.

“It’s easy to pick on the desperate and vulnerable — and Michigan is that right now. It’s tougher to do what true leaders do: look out for everyone with equal respect and investment, taking care to leave no one region or group jobless and hungry in a ruthless global world.”

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2 of 24 comments
  • Kevin Kluttz Kevin Kluttz on Dec 08, 2008

    I "Yahoo'd (Yahooed?)" Amber Arellano. and she is pretty hot. It took me to DetNews.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 09, 2008

    psar, The problem I have is that the framework you want, redistribution, has a reverse effect. It INCREASES actual disparity. Until I lived in Canada, I had never met so many people with hidden assets and internationally diverse portfolios. There were millionaires everywhere, but the goverment had NO idea who they were. The middle class is the weakest everywhere there is an economically liberal climate. The redistrubition isn't effective at taking from the rich, only the middle class. Lastly, I believe much of the numbers produced by the government are simply BS. My favorite red herring is average household income. It's a bogus number that is used WAY beyond its reasonable applications. The other is how we classify people based on their incomes. The minute I retire, I will be middle class, even though I will likely be much wealthier than I am today. Today though, I am one of those filthy rich people that should be giving back. It's just stupid. Disparity in wealth is really meaningless. Disparity in political power is not, but we know nothing about it without transparency which the left is always against. The real thing is whether people know they will eat tomorrow, have a warm bed, and decent clothes. Practically the only people in the US that are really in poverty are mentally unstable, or dysfunctional. Institutionalized poverty was best reduced with welfare reform. Better progress was made by that than anything done since Kennedy.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.