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From the President, A Foreign Concept

In announcing his plan for GM and Chrysler on Monday, President Obama -- talking about the auto industry -- said, “Year after year, decade after decade, we’ve seen problems papered over and tough choices kicked down the road, even as foreign competitors outpaced us.”

It seemed almost quaint to hear the word, "foreign" in describing the competition of the Detroit 3. Honda and Toyota, for example, came to our shores decades ago and in the eyes of most consumers -- certainly the post-baby boomers - are viewed as much as an American employer as GM and Chrysler -- the latter for a spell owned by a German company. Together, the so-called "transplants" employ over 90,00 Americans directly, with an annual payroll of over $6 billion and indirect employment well over a half a million.

This fact sheet has some very impressive statistics about that part of the industry - the part that isn't looking for a bailout, the part that hasn't consistently given the store away to the UAW, making promises they knew they couldn't afford.

The President ought not feed the nation's xenophobia by talking about "foreign" competitors. Competitors are competitors, regardless of where their global corporate headquarters happen to be situated. As the President mingles with his colleagues at the G20 meeting in London this week, he'd be well-advised to put aside the language of a different era, before the economy went global, and embrace foreign investment -- in both directions -- as way to grow the global economy in these difficult times.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 31, 2009 9:16 PM.

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