Friday, December 5, 2008

Why is this man smiling?

In the Senate, the leading opponent of giving aid to the domestic auto firms is the man to the left. No, it’s not Rip Torn. It’s Alabama Senator Richard Shelby. And why is he so opposed? Could it be because, according to the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association, the number of automotive manufacturing jobs in Alabama has increased by 80% since 2001, and the state is home to nearly 300 plants? Close to 500,000 cars were manufactured in Alabama in 2005. Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota all have a strong presence there.

And every one of those jobs is there for two reasons: First, because there are no unions in the south; and second, because Alabama gave enormous tax abatements and other financial inducements to the manufacturers in order to lure them to Alabama. Those inducements included things like building roads and railway lines to the plant locations at no cost to the manufacturer, but at great expense to the taxpayers. Hundreds of millions of dollars were given away.

It would be a major imprudence, in Sen. Shelby’s view, to use taxpayers’ money to help Detroit, but it was no doubt a highly prudent investment in the future of Alabama to set Toyota up with some free roads in order to get the jobs.

In fairness it must be said that if Alabama had not, then Tennessee, South Carolina and Michigan too would have happily done so. It’s a buyer’s market when you are looking for a location for a few hundred jobs.

Senator Shelby would be happy to see the Big 3 go under. He’s betting that will just mean more manufacturing jobs for his state, while the taxpayers of all 50 states will bear the cost of supporting hundreds of thousands of displaced workers, and their families, in the Midwest.

21 comments:

Birdman said...

Maybe the good Senator is hoping that the displaced workers from Michigan will move to Tuscumbia, Gadsden or some other rathole in AL. It would raise the SAT scores considerably.

But I must say (tongue in cheek) that I'm shocked that a Republican US Senator would take a national crises and attempt feather his political nest with it. He gets the added benefit of essentially destroying the UAW as well. This guy could replace Sarah Palin as the darling of Republican party. He certainly seems to be adhering to their "core principles".

leslies said...

y'all picking on my peeps?

Birdman said...

Not picking on Alabama. My wife graduated from Davidson High School in Mobile.

Republican Senators on the other hand. Yes.

leslies said...

totally joking. this CT yankee lives here now. There are lots of Alabama politicians to have fun with. Just this week, our mayor was indicted (over 100 counts) on federal bribery charges. Among other things, he favors very expensive clothes on someone else's dime!

Agree w/ DB and you....pretty obvious motives on Shelby's part

kgwhit said...

First, I am impressed that anyone can understand the good Senator. I mute the sound and read the subtitles. Hell my Grandmother was born near Florence Ala, sister city to Tuscumbia and it was easier to understand Tuscumbia's most famous citizen, Helen Keller, than Richard Shelby.
I drove by the Mercedes plant in Shelby's hometown a few years back going to a Tenn-Ala football game. It was gigantic and as clean an industrial site as I have ever seen but stuck in the middle of nowhere in Tuscaloosa County.
I suspect that letting the Big 3 go under could push us towards a depression but I also suspect that throwing money at them won't save them and down the road they will restructure.
Is it possible that both Bama and the Gators could lose the SEC title game? I hate both those teams.

Kaz said...

For our entire adult lives local governments have been giving job generating businesses tax abatements and infrastructure improvements to build their tax base. The first big story about this I remember was the Volkswagon plant in southwestern Pa back in the '70s. These kinds of benefits amount to tens of millions, not the billions we're talking about here. I support the big three bailout but holy cow, where does this end?

Woody said...

I am not sure a displaced auto worker from Detroit or Flint could tell the difference between a rathole and a wolverinehole.

Gaga said...

Want better cars at afforable prices? Eliminate the deal. Put the salesman out to pasture & put the price of the car on the windshield. No haggle. Prices would drop overnite. Sales go through the roof. Next, you sell it here,you gotta make it here.

Birdman said...

Well said Woody. At this moment Duke is playing Michigan. It's hard to know who I want to lose more. They're basically the same school. Having associations with OSU and UNC it must doubly hard for you.

d'blank said...

Roll Tide!

Gaga said...

ROLL BIG

Birdman said...

Yes, indeed Roll Tide.

Gaga said...

God is a woman who lives in Florida,who was abused by her Ohio parents.

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