Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Time For Greater Compassion For Auto Employees Losing Jobs—The Need For A Program Of Full Employment

We all know that the American auto worker has taken a lot of hits in recent years and months.

It’s not only been auto plant workers. Car dealerships are taking cuts as well.

It’s become part of the routine when these folks lose their jobs, to criticize the American car industry for being out-of-touch with consumers and to criticize auto workers for not seeing the warning signs of trouble. 

These things may be true in some respects. Though we should not forget that much of the criticism of the UAW is coming from the right and what they are objecting to at core is the idea of unions.

We should also note that consumers were in fact buying the big gas-guzzling cars that now seem—to a degree since many people are still buying them and driving them —out of touch with the times. 

In any case, we all know the many issues involved. The point has been made—over and over again— that the auto industry had a large hand in its own troubles.

Okay.

It’s time for compassion for these folks. Anybody losing his or her job after years on the assembly line is in big trouble. You can’t leave a job like that and make that kind of money again. 

It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and go on about some other guy’s troubles.  The question now is what are we going to do to help these folks? 

I don’t think anybody has an answer to that question. Just as I don’t think anybody knows what to do with the urban poor and rural poor in our country.  

I question the commitment of President Obama and of the Democratic Congress to really taking on these questions. Doing so would mean addressing some core issues of our economic system, and addressing basic attitudes and stereotypes about people who have not had success in life or who are having a hard time in life.

Our criticism of auto workers seems in some ways meant to absolve ourselves of any oconcern for these people.

Here is a recent article from the Nation Magazine about the need for a program of full employment in our nation.  

From the article—

“The right way to earn our way back to long-term prosperity is through stimulus efforts that will help develop, broadly deploy, fairly compensate and, especially, fully employ our human capital, which will always be our greatest source of national wealth. Only then will we have refired the commercial engines needed to recover from this dismal recession. And only then will we have addressed Americans’ belief that unemployment is by far, with no close second, the most important economic issue facing the country….We need an all-encompassing strategy on the massive scale we used at Normandy to win the war in Europe and that we later had behind the sweeping Marshall Plan to help rebuild Europe’s broken economies. This time, however, our big-thinking strategy must be about creating the 24 million jobs that are missing so that American workers will be nearly fully employed.”

This is the big way we need to be thinking. For all the improvement in our politics and policy with Mr. Obama in office instead of George W. Bush, we are not there yet.

( Blogger’s note—I do not subscribe to The Nation. I buy it on the newstand about once a month. It’s important to realize that seemingly free online content must be paid for by somebody. Please click here to read The Nation and please consider buying it on the newstand or becoming a home suscriber.)

May 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Just got a restart your subscription notice from The Nation. I do believe I will. Appreciate your ongoing reminder re. seemingly free online content not exactly so.

    Comment by Newton | May 20, 2009

  2. Newton–Good work with your renewal. Thanks for the comment.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | May 20, 2009


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: