NYT: Not Everyone In Michigan Is Pro-Bailout

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

As the battle over bailout bucks rages, it’s easy to get the impression that Fortress Detroit is unanimous in its support for the home team. As usual though, there’s more to the story than just the loudest voices. The New York Times conducted interviews across the state over the last two weeks, and found that opposition to the bailout, if only in private. “There are plenty of people who are rolling their eyes,” said Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics newsletter. “You keep your head down if you’re one of them, but they’re out there.” And much of the opposition seems to come from Michigan residents who lost their jobs before the automakers even came begging for a bailout. “How many other, small companies would like a bailout?” asks Heather Davison, an unemployed graphic designer who lost her job at a real estate publication a year ago. “It seems to me that the car companies saw the banks getting a bailout and said, ‘Oh, let’s go!’”

Even those who work within the orbit of the once-big three have their reasons for opposing a bailout, even if it comes at the expense of their jobs. “I remember when G.M. shut down 11 plants, some of which were in the Great Lakes region,” says John Raterink, who works at a small machine shop that supplies the auto industry. “They said, ‘We can’t afford to keep doing business like this.’ But do you know what happened at the upper echelon of G.M.? They got six-figure bonuses at the end of the year. If we look at thousands of workers in counties around here, they got no sympathy. We got hurt, and we got hurt badly. As a result of their practices, I haven’t seen a raise in six years, and I’ve seen my health benefits decline.” And Raterink acknowledges that things will get worse than they already are if there’s no bailout. “But bear in mind that we’ve already been dealing with this since the last quarter of ’99,” he says. “If I have to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, I hope G.M. faces that same reality of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Boofie59 Boofie59 on Dec 03, 2008
    I did expect some lecture from Thomas Friedman on how to construct smart government managed company (still may come, since Mr. Friedman has no education or experience in either government or management or auto industry). Autonut, you just learned the definition of a pundit.
  • Runfromcheney Runfromcheney on Dec 03, 2008

    Well, I am sure you guys at TTAC knew about this for a while. I am from DETROIT and I am against the bailout. I want GM and Chrysler to go down, as opposed to just propping them up when they are dead just to "save jobs!!"

  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.
  • Foo Eh. Net present value is in the red, once you add in rapidly rising insurance, late by months basic repairs-and-no availability, battery replacement, future hazmat recycling fees, and even faster depreciation. Wait until litigants win for "too heavy" in accidents... The math is brutal but if you value virtue signalling, some will pay anything.
  • Lynchenstein @EBFlex - All ICEs are zero-emission until you start them up. Except my mom's old 95 Accord, that used to emit oil onto the ground quite a lot.
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.