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You Didn’t Build That

Original Article

Posted By: Pluperfect, 12/14/2019 4:33:54 AM

Detroit’s success was a very complicated story. Its failure is a simpler one. How did Detroit become the “Motor City” at the center of the U.S. automotive business? It wasn’t obvious that it would be: At the end of the 19th century, more than 100 automobile companies were organized in the United States, most of them in New England and Ohio. But Michigan won out because it had a hugely important advantage in one natural resource: smart people. Ask a half-dozen car guys why Detroit beat out the rest, and you’ll get a half-dozen answers: Maybe because Henry Ford and Ransom Olds lived in Michigan,

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Trapper 12/14/2019 5:37:27 AM (No. 261729)
Maybe we didn't build it, but we all know who wrecked it. So, there are not enough trained manufacturing people to fill the open jobs? Well, wasn't it this same author, Williamson, who advised them all to move away and just let their towns die after their jobs were shipped to China? Perhaps too many people took that bad advice.
17 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: Highlander 12/14/2019 5:53:51 AM (No. 261739)
Since our California state government has gone to the dark side, our local infrastructures has started to degrade due to businesses and skilled (conservative, family-oriented) workers migrating out-of-state. Without a steady tax base and available manpower, our once-vaunted freeways are now rife with dangerous cracks and chuck-holes. Welcome to our progressive paradise.
13 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Chabis 12/14/2019 6:27:01 AM (No. 261752)
Williamson plays with words and "ideas," quotes and argues with others who do the same, and spits on people who focus on doing while ignoring what such people actually accomplish. It is not so much that he and his kind are "wrong." It is that they are irrelevant. (Or should be.)
12 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: George R. 12/14/2019 6:34:09 AM (No. 261754)
The author is a blowhard or buffoon (your choice) who really likes "the sound of his own voice"...or maybe to read the script with his name attached thereto. Somewhere there is a point in his 10,000 word essay, although it got lost somewhere around word 1,000.
17 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: F15 Gork 12/14/2019 7:01:06 AM (No. 261772)
Detroit used to be known as the “Paris of the Midwest” - they don’t have that problem anymore.
8 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: ROLFNader 12/14/2019 7:01:14 AM (No. 261774)
Two words. Labor Unions
20 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: Patchy Groundfog 12/14/2019 7:18:26 AM (No. 261784)
FTA 1 'But you could have avoided [Detroit]'s catastrophic failure' FTA 2 'And a very wide array of politicians and activists, from local union leaders to President Ronald Reagan, took extraordinary steps to try to preserve the position of the U.S. automotive industry' FTA 3 'Detroit’s fall happened hard and fast' After I read the first quote I did a word search for 'union.' All I got was the second quote. This is a nearly 4,000 word piece about Detroit and the auto industry that dons a blindfold and walks past the UAW halls that sat opposite every factory and plotted the factory's demise. Local union leaders tried to save it? Not a bit of it. They called strikes. They fought tooth and nail against QA initiatives, retraining of staff, reengineering of procedures. They refused to identify and expel a huge percentage of bad apples - goldbricks, addicts, violent types, no-shows, militants. In fact, they protected their comrades. Hard and fast? How about slowly and painfully? Williams lived through the 70s and 80s. Did he not see the absolute junk being foisted on the public over two decades? Japan and Germany waxed Detroit's tail with quality motors, quality cars, quality interiors, better mileage and a near-total lack of union gremlins in factories or in products. They did so well that they decided to move production to the States - where grateful blue-collar types snapped up the jobs, embraced the culture of accountability and steadfastly refused to let the camel's unionized nose under the tent.
29 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: Turninggrey 12/14/2019 8:05:34 AM (No. 261824)
Sorry, I am smart enough to read "National Review" and realize the content is bull schiff.
10 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: HotRod 12/14/2019 8:21:08 AM (No. 261835)
The argument that ''you didn't build that'' because other people, such as engineers, scientists, teachers, laborers, and tax dollars ''made it possible'' is all wrong. All those people and the money are resources to be used by someone who ''builds'' things. No, I didn't create that tree, but I turned it into a beautiful piece of furniture. The tree was a resource that, by itself, was just a tree. Same for the people and money available to be used in building things. All those resources, just by existing, can't build anything. It takes an individual that is willing to use them and take the risks of failure.
15 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: bigfatslob 12/14/2019 8:55:57 AM (No. 261873)
After the 60s Detroit auto industry met the competition, foreign car makers, that the unions and government had to stop. You're right I didn't build that junk foisted on American consumers. Think Gremlins, Pintos, Vegas as the answers to Toyota and Nissan. Detroit and the UAW had to learn the hard way. Williamson has to go blow smoke up somebody else.
3 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Kae Arby 12/14/2019 9:08:45 AM (No. 261885)
It must be getting near election time again. Williamson feels the need to denigrate Trump supporters again. KRB
13 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: zoidberg 12/14/2019 9:15:54 AM (No. 261895)
Detroit could have survived the UAW. It could not survive Coleman Young.
2 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: unionriverman2316 12/14/2019 9:16:46 AM (No. 261898)
Williamson doesn't know Jack. Henry Ford was born there and lived his life there. His River Rouge plant was just a short boat trip from all the iron ore in the world he needed, and it was delivered to his door. He was the first manufacturer to pay good enough wages to attract good workers from all over the country. National Review has become an "anti-trump" rag, full of that kind of garbage. My dad was a subscriber for decades...and talked me into it too. He gave up just before he died in 2007. I gave up shortly after that. WFB was the heart of it, now it is just part of the DC elitist cartel that thinks it ought to run Washington. Bah humbug on them and the horse they road in on. Hope they end up buried in that deep hole that Billy Kristol and his (former) rag are buried in. They deserve it.
14 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: walcb 12/14/2019 9:43:07 AM (No. 261936)
Double ditto to what #7 said.
6 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: LC Chihuahua 12/14/2019 10:42:49 AM (No. 261985)
Things like the auto industry in Detroit are from another era. Today we have globalism which primarily imports cheap labor and exports expensive jobs. Many industries are in the same boat. Millions of good paying jobs went overseas thanks to globalism. Michigan is part of the rust belt. Along with Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and New York. There are a lot of people to blame for this: Dirty politicians, parasitic labor unions, greedy corporations and CEOs, greedy parasitic towns. The first to leave in these situations are skilled labor. What stays behind? The poor and the lazy. Prosperous towns become poor towns. When these towns completely run out of other people's money, they completely collapse. Its shades of Atlas Shrugged, and Starnsville.
3 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: MickTurn 12/14/2019 10:45:43 AM (No. 261987)
We "personally" didn't build the infrastructure, but our TAXES paid for others to do it...and gave them Jobs. It appears our politicians have been stealing from us for as far back as anyone can remember...they give money to other countries then solicit bribes/kickbacks for themselves and friends/relatives. They also make really self serving trade deals and take bribes/kickbacks on top of that. The bottom line is our political class all need to be taken to the woodshed for some lessons. Those that stole our money need to be HANGED, those too stupid to know what they did should be put in prison. The reason they are all against Trump is that he is taking their scams apart and letting us know what happened. I still think a lot of this criminal behavior is going on, we need a FULL accounting for every penny to get to the bottom of how we're being ripped off!
3 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: Strike3 12/14/2019 10:47:20 AM (No. 261989)
Good philosophical discussion on what might have happened in Detroit. On top of the fact that working a factory job sucks and the employer must provide top benefits to keep people, the labor unions killed the automotive industry there and the Government helped. A total hourly cost per worker in the $70.00 range requires a lot of profit in a car. Uncle Sam's constant requirements for useless safety devices did the rest of the job. Constant addition of lights, buzzers, cameras, and other silly reminders that the seat belt is unfastened, the door is ajar and my personal favorite, the universal "check engine" light telling you that your gas cap needs another turn. It takes a trip to the dealer for their computer to interpret that one. I can also do without the tire pressure sensors that cost a fortune to replace once you have used Fix-a-Flat in an emergency. There is a five-dollar pressure guage that can tell you the same thing, in addition, which tire is low and by how much. Air bags everywhere are a huge expense. Race cars can crash at 150 mph and the driver walks away without the benefit of air bags. Why? Because they have a well-designed double harness seat belt that doesn't allow the body to slam into the windshield. I could go on but government meddling in design and safety probably increases the price per car by 30%, not to mention the gas-eating weight. The average commuter car should look something like a side by side 4-wheeler with a lawnmower engine but no, they are not "street legal." If you need additional safety wear a helmet. Detroit has produced many good cars that can be described as adequate. They run well most of the time, look reasonably good and go at least 100K miles before major maintenance is required. I have owned three American cars in my life and have been disappointed by all of them. Japan, a relative upstart in the business, kicks Detroit's butt every year in all categories and that's why Detroit is dead. Whatever superior brains that Michigan housed in the early nineteen hundreds were quickly neutralized by Beavis and Butthead types.
6 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: jeffkinnh 12/14/2019 10:50:49 AM (No. 261991)
Employers need workers but we still have millions unemployed? Here is a hard reality. Many people simply do not have the temperament or stability to work reliably and well. THAT is what employers need, people who show up reliably and do well the work required. Many people are incapable of balancing work/life demands. Or they have issues (of all types) that, at frequent times, make it impossible for them to work. I agree that the best solution to economic strategy is for government to get out of the way. Business moves to fast and unpredictably for government to keep up. This is part of the perception that Trump, operating at a business tempo, is surrounded by chaos. The government structures around him just can't keep up. By the time government decides and implements what to do, business has moved on and government actions are just as likely to hurt as to help. There are some simple and needed things that government can do. Unemployment insurance is an example. When business crashes, how do you prevent human wreckage? You need something in place to help bridge the gap, provide funds, training, and job search help. That is a predictable and needed use for government.
4 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: stablemoney 12/14/2019 11:09:13 AM (No. 262007)
Look at what happened to the 20th Century Car Company in Atlas Shrugged and you will see what happened to Detroit.
2 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: NotaBene 12/14/2019 11:28:37 AM (No. 262034)
This is from our National Review band of enemies.
2 people like this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: sternben 12/14/2019 1:17:13 PM (No. 262130)
Paywall
0 people like this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: Pluperfect 12/14/2019 1:25:20 PM (No. 262143)
There is no paywall. Perhaps you saw an ad.
0 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: DVC 12/14/2019 1:46:45 PM (No. 262163)
A long, complicated (with the near mandatory swipes at that cretinous fool, Trump) wander around "industrial policy" with no clear purpose, no clear summation and no clear goal. I kind of agree with many parts of his wandering train of thought, like Rubio trying to make more centrally planned "industrial policy" is good, and using garbage ethanol in our fuel as a transfer of wealth from the average American to already well off farmers in the midwest is a bad idea. But when he goes off on tariffs.....sorry, the world is a VERY, VERY uneven playing field and when Britain, France and Germany heavily subsidize Airbus, us letting Boeing be unsubsidized and suffer financially is a very stupid thing. And how is it a good thing letting China steal all our intellectual property while we help them finance their military buildup with US factories moved there so that one man or two could wipe out thousands of US jobs and make a bunch of money? Leveling out that playing field a bit with tariffs is a GOOD thing. And I absolutely do NOT mind paying more for American made goods because I want OUR country and MY neighbors to have good jobs, NOT Chinese and Mexicans. I sorta guess he is in favor of good schools, and competent government. Yeah, and who can argue against that? Seems like a guy who needed about 3000 words to fill a space for a deadline. Yawn.
2 people like this.

Reply 24 - Posted by: WV.Hillbilly 12/14/2019 2:26:32 PM (No. 262220)
Detroit became a pension plan that just happened to build cars.
0 people like this.

Reply 25 - Posted by: sternben 12/14/2019 2:28:41 PM (No. 262221)
there is a limit on access to articles unless you are a paid subscriber. That constitutes a paywall
0 people like this.

Reply 26 - Posted by: Miceal 12/14/2019 4:17:48 PM (No. 262297)
Two things lead to the downfall of Detroit: Unions AND The Democratic Party...
0 people like this.

Reply 27 - Posted by: DanvilleBill 12/14/2019 5:46:03 PM (No. 262340)
Bad union Bad government Bad management Bad cars
0 people like this.

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