Of all the missing-the-forest-for-the-trees, rose-colored glasses stories I’ve read, hell, probably even written, this story in the NY Times Friday about the Big Three auto makers is one of the worst offenders I’ve seen in a long time.
Start with the headline, “Detroit Goes From Gloom to Economic Bright Spot.” When I first saw that, I thought, the city of Detroit? They have got to be kidding. The city of Detroit is the most depressed American city I’ve ever been in, and I live outside Newark, N.J. I haven’t been to the Motor City since the 2007 auto show, but last time I was there it shocked me how abandoned downtown was. I am not kidding, I’ve seen Third World cities more vibrant than Detroit.
But, no, they weren’t talking about the city of Detroit. They were talking about the car companies: GM, Ford and Chrysler.
After a dismal period of huge losses and deep cuts that culminated in the Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the gloom over the American auto industry is starting to lift.
You know what? I’d be feeling pretty un-gloomy too, if the government gave me $50 billion and shepherded me through bankruptcy court. Covered my mortgage, paid my grocery bills, let me lay off the kids, then bring them back at half wages (that’s John’s joke, by the way.) I mean, come on, let’s get real here. Don’t sell me some fairy tale about the Phoenix-like rise of the scrappy American auto industry. It’s just not happening, Jack.