Detroit’s got a fever, and the only prescription for what ails it is more government-run health care. That’s just the medicine the liberal media recommended for the traditional “Big Three” automakers Ford (NYSE: F), Daimler-Chrysler (NYSE: DCX), and General Motors (NYSE: GM).
“With billions of dollars in losses and the elimination of some 80,000 jobs, there was little choice but to ask for help. On health care, Detroit hopes for an expansion of government-run plans that would lessen the automakers’ private obligations,” ABC reporter Dean Reynolds noted on the November 14 “World News with Charles Gibson.”
“With a huge number of older and retired employees, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are hobbled by the billions they spend in union-mandated healthcare every year. More than they do on steel,” he added, before showing viewers the complaints of liberal Democratic Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.
“We’ve got to tackle health care, we’ve got to take health care off the back of business,” said Stabenow, the state’s junior senator. Reynolds failed to follow up with a note that taking health care off the “back of business” would lead to a heavier strain on the taxpayer. What’s more, he failed to explore how Honda, Toyota, BMW and other automakers with American employees provide health care for their workers but yet remain profitable and sell competitively priced automobiles.
All three broadcast networks presented the American auto industry as in dire straits. NBC’s Brian Williams contrasted the auto industry in 1961, when it was 85 percent American in market share, with 2006, when it’s only 54 percent.
Never mind that fuel efficiency, quality and selection have improved for American consumers over that time or that in the past 45 years numerous auto plants have opened up throughout the country in states such as Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, California and Ohio.
Indeed, American operations from foreign-owned firms are expanding even as Detroit faces problems with high costs and declining market share – a fact that all three networks left out of their stories.
Member companies of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), for example, “are spending an estimated $1.7 billion in the construction of four new U.S. auto and auto parts manufacturing plants,” according to a September 20 JAMA press release.
“Two of these plants opened earlier in 2006, a third will open in November 2006 and the fourth is scheduled to open in 2008. In addition to these new investments, JAMA member companies are spending $382 million in two existing engine plants to increase their manufacturing capacity,” the statement continued.
And it’s not just Japanese-based auto companies that are growing auto manufacturing and design jobs in the United States. German automaker BMW this August announced a $50 million investment in a South Carolina metal stamping plant. The plant will make “sheet metal stampings for the exterior” of a new vehicle to begin production in 2008.