Tuesday, June 3, 2008

2,000 more nails in the coffin

It was just announced this morning that GM will be shutting down their Moraine truck assembly plant here in Dayton within the next year or so, depending on just how bad truck sales get, putting over 2,000 people out of work. Sounds like they're going to get rid of Hummers entirely soon, too. Odd thing is, I just heard a radio ad the other day touting how Hummers get great mileage at 20 MPG! (Probably EPA highway, empty, downhill, etc.) Of course, some people are trying to blame Clinton for signing George HW Bush's NAFTA nightmare, but the plain truth is that those jobs aren't going anywhere, let alone Mexico or Canada. High gas prices have simply killed the market for trucks and SUVs that Americans have been in love with for the past 10 or 15 years, so I'd say this is another casualty of the Bush "energy policy" and war machine.

Remember how W. said he was tight with the OPEC producers and could persuade them to keep oil prices in line? Well, he's asked repeatedly, and OPEC has basically told him to go fuck himself; they like getting $130 a barrel for the same stuff they were selling for $38 a barrel when Bush took office. Bush also tried to blame Congress for not having more refinery capacity, almost as if we had a nationalized oil industry. Maybe it's time we did... seems to work pretty well in Venezuela.

The higher energy prices are being reflected in everything, from food to consumer products to travel, partly because we dismantled the rail system in favor of putting everything on trucks that now cost more than ever to operate. Of course, it doesn't help that we're now trying to burn all the corn to make ethanol -- just about the LEAST efficient way to make ethanol, but most US farmers don't seem to know how to grow anything else.

And another way the Moraine plant closing really hits home is that, besides devastating so many individual families, putting 2,000 or so more local people out of work is going to really hurt the local economy in general, and ruin the already bad housing market, and make the mortgage crisis situation even worse. The area's other big employers have been quietly laying off a few hundred here and there, too, so it's not looking good. The national "prosperity" of the last few years has been built entirely on American home "owners" sucking every dime of equity out of their houses to buy these SUVs and cheap Wal-Mart shit and buy bigger houses they could never afford. I'm no better than anyone else in this regard, I'm the first to admit. It's all coming due, and it's probably going to get ugly.

P.S. As a result of the announced shutdown, today (6/5) another local GM parts plant is laying off 290 more people... the aftershocks will no doubt continue for a long while.


unbearable lightness said...

Lin explored a similar topic on fluffytek today. Looks as though it's a global tragedy of epic proportions.

On a positive note, your polar bear picture is enjoying many hits on my mayhem site and just got a comment on the jam blog. I think I'll move to the Arctic and look for my bear!

Far Rider Photography said...

Very well put my friend. My thoughts to a T.


Lin said...

Back-atcha from the UK.
Oil is projected to be $200 a barrel by Christmas. How are we doing to buy food, heat our homes and drive our cars then?

Something's gone horribly wrong.

A. Owen Layne said...

Nice informative blog piece and I was curious if you are more attracted to this story because GM and Gary M share the same initials. Yeah, I know... but it doesn't hurt to ask anyway.

innisphoto said...

Well you just ruined my day. I try to live in denial! WAAAAAAAA

James M Graham said...

Oh, it's going to get really ugly, my friend...

Zombie Edward said...

That thread is in response to:

I heart post secret and it seems a bit fitting for your topic. :)