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It Begins: Michigan Mayor Makes Purchasing American Name Cars a Requirement for Employment

We knew this would happen:

The mayor of Warren, Mich., has issued an executive order requiring that all political appointees drive an American-made car. For those who now drive a Honda or a Lexus? Get shopping.

According to Fouts, they have to guarantee that their next car purchase will be a vehicle made by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler or Ford.

To those who don't want to make the switch?

"They can find another place to work," Fouts said.

Seem harsh? Consider this: GM and DaimlerChrysler are the town's number one and two employers, respectively.

Tax revenues generated by the two carmakers account for 15% of the city's $98 million annual fiscal budget, and one-third of the Detroit suburb's 138,000 residents rely on the auto industry for their livelihood.

That's a lot of folks.

When someone dared to point out that Honda and Toyota make many cars in the U.S. with U.S. workers, Fouts shrugged.

"People understand," he said adamantly, "their salaries are dependent upon whether Chrysler and General Motors succeed, or whether they go out of business."

Fouts himself drives a new, midnight-black Dodge Charger, which he sheepishly admitted to getting pulled over for speeding in it a while back.

And he is determined that, someday soon, all city workers will join him in driving vehicles made by one of the Big Three. Teachers. Janitors. Sewer crews. Anyone pulling a paycheck from the city.

Hat tip: JWF

And why does he want to require purchasing an American name car? Because he can't pay his political appointees their good salaries otherwise. Yep, he said that:

Note that he also says in the video that America imports far too many foreign vehicles compared to other countries and then rattles off statistics to support his point. What he fails to realize, or maybe he does but doesn't care, is that those countries put a cap on how many foreign cars can be imported. In the United States, the reason why we import so many foreign vehicles is because Americans demand them and the supply is just a reaction to that demand. It's called freedom, Mayor Fouts. You may want to look into it. What you are proposing, that people be denied that freedom in order to support city government, is called collectivism. That means people are required to make decisions based upon what's best for the collective or group and not what's best for them individually. Collectivism is the antithesis of freedom, yet you promote it under the guise of economic patriotism, proudly.


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Comments (29)

People keep voting these ki... (Below threshold)
mag:

People keep voting these kind of politicans into office. It must be a lot people like be dictated to. Fools!

As if anybody needed anothe... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

As if anybody needed another reason to leave the metro Detroit area...

Hyundai makes better cars than Chrysler and General Motors, and tell me you wouldn't rather drive this than even a Mustang (which costs quite a bit more). And correct me if I'm wrong, but you can't get an American brand luxury sedan with a 375hp engine for about $40,000.

Funny anecdote: the car rental agency in my office building now heavily discounts Chrysler models. Rent a 300 for the same price as a Honda Civic? No thanks!

I would take a Cuda or Chal... (Below threshold)
914:

I would take a Cuda or Challenger over that Genesis tin can anyday Hyperbole.

While I understand the mayo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

While I understand the mayor's preference to appoint people who support local business, but owning a particular brand of car is only a minor part of that. If supporting business is a requirement then it seem that would exclude democrats who are quick to tax more and impose more and more regulations on businesses. Rather than help business compete in the market, Democrats want to mandate what people can by. What are the odds that the mayor's suite was made in America?

The other problem the mayor has is that many Honda and Toyota models are manufactured in the United States and actually have more domestic content than many GM and Chrysler models. Honda and Toyota are both publicly owned and traded on the stock market just like GM, so the argument that the profits go overseas is also false.

Maybe the mayor can get away with this for political appointees, but the next mayor could then require political appointees to own something other than a Ford, GM or Chrysler. It makes about as much since.

914: yes, and I would take ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

914: yes, and I would take a Dusenberg over a Challenger. Would be a biatch to parallel park, but as long as we're talking about cars that aren't being made for a market that no longer exists...

Chrysler's new "muscle cars" are laughably bad. If any of them are still on the road in 10 years I'll eat a Pinto.

Actually, I will probably e... (Below threshold)
brainy435:

Actually, I will probably end up buying a Hyunai Genesis Coupe next year. I will NEVER buy another Ford for the same reasons most Ford haters hate Fords... I own one. I will consider the Camaro, but after the last Auto show I was impressed by the Hyundais interior and not impressed in the least with the Camaros. Plus, the Hyundais warranty is better. I will never again own a car where I have to make payments after the warranty has expired.

Hyper, you can get a 400+ HP American lux sedan for a little less than 40k in a G8 GXP. Or even a Chrysler 300 SRT 8.

914, much as I like the styling of the new Challenger, the car is too heavy, too thirsty, too expensive and not nimble enough. It's only for reliving the Musclecar years and smoking tires at stoplights. Not that there's anything WRONG with that per se, but not my cup of tea. I like cheap nimble cars I can screw with to bump HP.

Were this a private busines... (Below threshold)
Morrissimo:

Were this a private business, I'd say: it's their right to place whatever restrictions and qualifications on employment that they wish to impose. Good luck with it and all, but whatever: it's their right.

Given that it's the mayor's office, however, I suspect only bad things, even beyond the shameless political pandering -- especially in this statement:

Teachers. Janitors. Sewer crews. Anyone pulling in a paycheck from the city.

That gives off the possible stench of some sort of complicated subsidy scheme to "help" city employees purchase these cars so that they can be in compliance with the policy. After all, it would be unfair to create a policy that established strict requirements for employment ...and then actually expect to FIRE people for not abiding by it!

This country is becoming more and more like the hellhole world of Atlas Shrugged with every passing day...

Well hyper, if Chrysler bui... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Well hyper, if Chrysler builds their transmissions the way they have been the last few years, they won't be on the road for six months before they start having problems. I once had a Plymouth Voyager and the tranny lasted about that long. The second tranny started to act up a year after that; so I learned my lesson about Chrysler vehicles. I have a Honda CRV and I haven't had a bit of trouble in five years.

Fouts himself driv... (Below threshold)
marc:
Fouts himself drives a new, midnight-black Dodge Charger, which he sheepishly admitted to getting pulled over for speeding in it a while back.

That raises an interesting question: When and what model car will he be switching to?

The Charger, as well as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger, are made at the Brampton, Ontario Canada plant.

The Windsor (Ontario) Assembly Plant, builds the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Chrysler Pacifica.

The Oshawa, Ontario Assembly Plant #1 and #2. builds GM's Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Camaro abd the Chevrolet Monte Carlo so I guess all those are off the list of cars the city employees can buy.

Gee hyper, wonder what would happen to the approx 6,000 employees at Oshawa if this idiots idea catches on?

hyperbolist,For $3... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

hyperbolist,

For $33,430 you can buy a 2009 Chevrolet Camaro with a 400 HP V8 and a six speed automatic. For $37,610 you can buy a 2009 Pontiac G8 with a 415 HP V8 and a six speed automatic. The G8 is a large sedan with ride and handling like expensive German sedans.

Problem is, the market is soft for such vehicles given people expect gas prices back in the $4 to $5 per gallon range within a year or two. With Obama's energy plan of no new drilling, no new coal plants, no new nuclear plants and a carbon tax the price of gas could go over $7 per gallon. Given the storm $4 per gallon caused last summer I don't think the democrats can survive such high prices regardless of how much spin they put on it.

marc--um, I'm guessing they... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

marc--um, I'm guessing they'd have to re-train and work elsewhere? Isn't a mobile workforce a feature--not a bug--of a functioning capitalist economy in the global marketplace?

I have no problem with Windsor drying up. It's already halfway there. If Koreans can make better cars than North Americans for less money--and they can--then unless we catch up in terms of efficiency (bye bye UAW!) and performance (sayanora, Chrysler!), let nature take its course.

The plants in Oshawa are already scheduled for shutdown. There are pipe dreams of foreign automakers purchasing them and using the relatively new infrastructure there, and it's reasonable to expect Toyota to continue to invest in Canadian manufacturing, but for now Oshawa will become a ghost town, a bedroom community of commuters that drive to Toronto and a sh*tload of retirees. Boo hoo, it's an ugly town anyway.

Hyperbolist, do you mean th... (Below threshold)

Hyperbolist, do you mean the Viper? If so, yeah, it's cool looking, but it just doesn't compare to the muscle cars from the 60's. When my husband was in law school he owned a 67 GTO just like this one. It was a money pit, so he had to sell it. What could he do. He was a poor law school student with no money. Just the other night he was looking at a muscle car sales magazine and was regretting selling it. Here he is all these years later and he still can't afford one. Ha! So right now he owns a '99 TA convertible. He just can't give up his fast cars.

hyper - "marc--um, I'm ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "marc--um, I'm guessing they'd have to re-train and work elsewhere? Isn't a mobile workforce a feature--not a bug--of a functioning capitalist economy in the global marketplace?"

I don't disagreed with that, what's obviously wrong is for some half-baked mayor to push the demise of assembly plants by making demands on his city employees he himself hasn't done to this point.

And the fact he's floated this "plan" while driving a Charger means one of two things, 1) he shot off his yapper not knowing where it was made or 2) he knows and don't give a rats ass.

The Detroit Free Press repo... (Below threshold)
pgg:

The Detroit Free Press reported in the last several weeks that a young professional working family leaves the state every 12 minutes due to the roaring economy in Michigan.

I'm sure this is the first step to reducing that interval to 10 or even 8 minutes.

It's a good thing I read the post above this one regarding Fascism first, or I wouldn't be able to include these salient quotes:

"Fascist thought acknowledged the roles of private property and the profit motive as legitimate incentives for productivity--provided that they did not conflict with the interests of the state."

You can drive any car you want and can afford, provided it does not conflict with the interests of the Mayor!

"Mussolini, like many leaders at this time, believed that economies did not operate constructively without supervision by the government."

The local economy - particularly the automakers soon to be owned jointly by the UAW and the federal government - cannot succeed, believes this mayor, unless the city government and its hirelings prop it up by government fiat!

"As World War II approached, the signs of fascism's failure in Italy were palpable: per capita private consumption had dropped to below 1929 levels, and Italian industrial production between 1929 and 1939 had increased by only 15 percent, lower than the rates for other Western European countries. Labor productivity was low and production costs were uncompetitive. The fault lay in the shift of economic decision-making from entrepreneurs to government bureaucrats, and in the allocation of resources by decree rather than by free markets. Mussolini designed his system to cater to the needs of the state, not of consumers. In the end, it served neither."

This is sure to end well. Warren, Michigan will have the highest sales per capita of "green cars" in the nation. In 5 years it will be a neck and neck race between unemployment percentage and government jobs as a percentage of all jobs, to see which number reaches 50% first in Warren.

BTW - Where the Hell does h... (Below threshold)
Paul_In_Houston:

BTW - Where the Hell does he think the "Daimler" part of "DaimlerChrysler" came from?

-

hyper - "The plants in ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "The plants in Oshawa are already scheduled for shutdown. There are pipe dreams of foreign automakers purchasing them and using the relatively new infrastructure there,"

Speaking of pipe dreams, do you see Oshawa on the list?

Now, unless you want to back off the statement, and modify it to say something along the lines of "when and if the new for 2010 Camaro is built somewhere else Oshawa may be sold or shut down completely" your just sadly and woefully mis-informed.

And that's being kind.

marc--um, I'm gues... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
marc--um, I'm guessing they'd have to re-train and work elsewhere? Isn't a mobile workforce a feature--not a bug--of a functioning capitalist economy in the global marketplace?

Only in a fair market, which is not what we have. The U.S. has for too long spent it's economic advantage to buy peace and stability in the world. It's unlikely the U.S. can sustain that effort much longer. A federal balanced trade law would go a long way to solving that problem.

"BTW - Where the Hell d... (Below threshold)
marc:

"BTW - Where the Hell does he think the "Daimler" part of "DaimlerChrysler" came from?"

True enough although Daimler was dropped from the company letterhead after they sold 80% of their financial interest to the investment company Cerberus last June.

To the many who have here r... (Below threshold)
Paul_In_Houston:

To the many who have here recounted their experiences with Chrysler products...

From '91 to '94, I had nothing but praise for the '91 Dodge Colt that I owned, but that had been built by Mitsubishi and just had the Dodge name plastered on it. I wonder where it would have fitted within the mayor's requirement.

In '94, I traded up to a brand new '94 Dodge Intrepid. Quite frankly, I was mostly seduced by its' looks; it was AWESOME. Additionally,
Consumer Reports gave it good marks AT THAT TIME (that would change a few months later when more reports came into their database).

In a nutshell, that Intrepid was the most "snake-bit" vehicle I have EVER owned.

Numerous electrical problems (the entire wiring harness replaced under warranty for short in instrument panel and power windows)
and the automatic transmission blew around 89,000 miles.

That last item cost me about $1700.00, and was not MUCH worse only because the son of one of my best friends had become a service manager at one of the local dealers, and got me every possible discount when repairing it. Otherwise, figure half again as much.

Oh, as marc noted above, THAT vehicle came from their Windsor, Ontario, CANADA plant; NOT from any Detroit facility.

I now have a 2000 Honda Civic Hatchback that I bought new, and an now closing in on nine years of ownership. It WORKS, and has NEVER made me regret buying it. It too, came from a Canadian plant.

Most of the Hondas and Toyotas driving around here were built in American plants by American workers; just to the Japanese standards, and are indistinguishable from their Japanese counterparts in quality and reliability.

This is clear evidence to me that we CAN do it as well as they, with the right management in charge.

However, I suspect that a government bureaucracy is as far from "right management" as one can possibly get.

-

This is clear evid... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
This is clear evidence to me that we CAN do it as well as they, with the right management in charge.

I agree, U.S. workers can produce quality products just like Japanese and Korean workers. Unfortunately, the problems go deeper than just a company's management. Because of our culture and financial environment U.S. companies focus on short term profit, and in the long term, that strategy can't compete with companies that focus on market share, which is what Japanese and Korean companies do. Market share puts the customer at the top of the pyramid, while profit puts owners at the top of the pyramid. As every small business owner knows, the customer is always right and must be at the top of the pyramid for the business to do well.

Perhaps Warren should be re... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Perhaps Warren should be renamed "BorgTown". All hail the collective!

You do know how deeply inte... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

You do know how deeply intertwined Toyota, Honda, and the Japanese government are, right? An employee of Toyota died due to overwork: over 100 hours per week on a line, trying to impress his bosses. When his wife tried to sue, the local newspaper gave the company a free page with which to advertise its 'commitment' to the welfare of its workers. She was not allowed to file suit. And the government subsidizes the hell out of their manufacturing plants. Do you have any idea how much more it would cost to build a plant in Japan than anywhere else in the world? There is no way a single Japanese car would be built in Japan if the Japanese government wasn't subsidizing the hell out of Japanese car companies. Par for the course for the most nationalistic nation on Earth, though.

marc, every other day there's a scare story in the Globe & Mail or Toronto Star about pending plant closures in Oshawa. House prices have plummeted, and businesses are struggling. However, I didn't know that they had committed to building the Camaro in Oshawa--great! I guess they're keeping some of the shifts for the long term. That's a hell of a lot of manufacturing capacity with which to build a relatively small number of vehicles, though. Oshawa--and Windsor--are Canada's Detroits, minus the murder rate.

Kim: the GTO is a nice car. I'm a tree-hugging eco-twit but I see no reason not to appreciate automotive engineering of the last generation. And I really doubt that people will feel the same way about 2009 models thirty years from now, with the drastic shift in design priorities.

I would normally jump all o... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

I would normally jump all over this but the key qualifier here is "political appointee". He can demand his appointees wear light emitting bow ties for all I care. He can make up any (legal) prerequisites for his appointees and it's up to his voters as to whether it's appropriate or not.

Just to be crystal clear, if we were talking about any other kind of job, the requirement to buy a certain brand of car would be outrageous.

hyper - "Do you have an... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "Do you have any idea how much more it would cost to build a plant in Japan than anywhere else in the world? There is no way a single Japanese car would be built in Japan if the Japanese government wasn't subsidizing the hell out of Japanese car companies. Par for the course for the most nationalistic nation on Earth, though."

Do YOU know Japan has some of the highest real estate values in the world? Gee, that wouldn't have anything to do with the cost would it? Nor would VERY high taxes that not so coincidentally are a result of socialized medicine.

None of that comes into play in your hateful demented world-view.

As for the rest of that para - nothing but hot air and wild speculation.

I guess someone not able to sue doesn't include this one, or it does and your misinformed once again.

A piece of advice, I wouldn't get in a war of Japanese knowledge if I were you. I spent just under a decade living there and know the society, the people and their justice system very well.

On the other hand based on your knowledge of your own GM car factories I'd suggest you cease and desist debating that issue as well.

Geezzz...more loss of indiv... (Below threshold)
Pat:

Geezzz...more loss of individual freedoms and choice (has this been challenged - is it even legal?) This will just mean more people moving to Texas. Sigh.

This will just mean more... (Below threshold)
Paul_In_Houston:

This will just mean more people moving to Texas. Sigh.

As a Texan, I wont sigh about it.

The only people who DO move are the ones who choose to actually DO something about their lot, instead of just whining about it.

THOSE people enrich us and are welcome here. :-)

-

marc: um, yeah, that's what... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

marc: um, yeah, that's what I was saying. A thousand acres in Japan is worth as much as, say, Oklahoma.

The brouhaha over the dead Toyota worker was several years back, and ultimately led my brother to withdraw his application. Even in Canada they work people to the bone, on the assumption that $100,000/year is compensation enough for never having two day weekends and developing arthritis by age 35.

It's great that you lived in Japan and took advantage of their first class health care system. Must have pained you to move back--why did you?

First they tell you what ca... (Below threshold)
T.M. Whitworth:

First they tell you what car you can drive then what stove to buy, then what shoes...where to shop... what to eat...hey, it looks more like Russia 1930 everyday. Obama is the new Stalin! Is everybody scared to death of this clown? Stand up now or be tread under!

read the book about the 10 ... (Below threshold)
J paquete:

read the book about the 10 year warranty on the hyundia and joinall the other owners who are floored they got conned , 100,000 miles and the products and parts are prorated you will notice there is a line up every morning at the dealership at Honda , toyota , and kia to have their cars service or are they just waiting in line to get free coffee and donuts wake up you bone heads buy what feeds you!




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