On Monday, October 23, 2006, the
Detroit Economic Club (DEC) is pleased to welcome the Reverend Jesse
Jackson, Sr., founder and president, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Inc. to the
Rev. Jackson will share his ideas on providing a tax incentive-based
formula for reinvesting in America. This will be his third appearance at
the Detroit Economic Club, dating back to 1984.
The thing that frustrates me the most about Rev. Jesse Jackson and other Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive Fundamentalists is that they are seen as "having good intentions" in their quest to provide increase to Black America, a people who have long faced oppression. Thus they are judged by their "attempts" and words of focus on the poor........instead of their actual results or effectiveness.
No one bothers to measure the "squandered potential", that which COULD HAVE BEEN achieved had a better strategy and a message TO BLACK PEOPLE had been operated upon. All shortfalls today as compared to other races is blamed on that blanket catch-all.....RACISM. In plastering everything as "racism" one fails to do objective inspection of what others did to create the living standard that is used as the reference point. The corollary to this is that within the Black community the focus is put on what "the entire society" has FAILED to do for Blacks.
So often we hear "We are the wealthiest nation in the world". This is used to call for some mythical common standard of living to be applied to everyone "who's father inseminated their mother in the qualifying parcel of land". What this speaks of is that there is an assumed RIGHT TO RESOURCES and not just the right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". By the way the phrase originally said "Pursuit of Property" rather than "happiness" but was changed via debate. In taking this disposition those that chose this course set themselves up as CONSUMERS of what America has to offer. Their notation about America's wealth says NOTHING about how it got that way. Indeed many of the policies and actions that created the abundant wealth in America was repugnant to many of the people who now seek to draw upon it for the "COMMON GOOD". Environmental destruction, exploitation of labor, pursuit of greed and the production of products that later causes harm to the consumer - are all legacies that brought us to where we are today.
Though those on the activist side of the equation fought and squealed along the way at every step, the corporate power being their enemy, they now bemoan the decline of the American industrial base.....their long time adversary.
To Rev. Jackson I say "tax policy" was NOT the main driver for the development of Detroit as the centerpiece of the US automotive industry. My review of documentary footage tells me that plain old CAPITALISM was the driver. Those who had the vision to change America by making her mobile as they pursued their quest for profits is what built up the city which Jesse Jackson plans to lay the ground work for its revival. The most rapid growth of the city took place at a time at which the average worker had a mere fraction of the pay and benefits they would later receive after the union powers took hold as powerful adversaries to the industrial powers. There is no doubt that a counter balance was needed to represent the interests of the works as a collective rather than as an individual but perspective was lost once the labor-management conflict exceeded the focus on the competition in the marketplace that would turn out better quality products.
The fall of Detroit from the early 70's on was had because Detroit and the region became too expensive of a place to conduct business. The "big automobile industrial complex" looked southward to construct their next generation of auto plants. These plants were more efficient because state of the art industrial processes were deployed and the corporations faced a lower base of expenses due to less regulation, less development as compared to urban industrial locations and lower costs of living that afforded lower salaries compared to their northern, union dominated counterparts.
The United Auto Workers would have none of this. Over time national labor agreements with the auto manufacturers was seen as the key means of defending the COMMON INTERESTS of all of the employees. This national contract worked to make the southern labor nearly as expensive as that in the north, sans a cost of living multiplier. The UAW also demanded to have a say in the corporation's production targets, plant retooling schedules and construction of new plants and facilities. Anything that impacted the employee - the UAW wanted a virtual seat on the board to make the call along with management. Several wildcat strikes ensued over the years that brought production to its knees.
The nail was put in Detroit's coffin and the US Auto Industry when the Japanese began to improve their first generation of underpowered, "junk cars" into attractive vehicles that were known for quality and relatively affordable costs. The key protection of the American auto industry was had at the federal level with the US's protectionism with tariffs and caps on the number of units that were allowed to be imported in a given year. This should have given Detroit a breather to reorient itself prior to being slaughtered. Instead the relatively entrenched powers on both sides (management and labor) squandered the opportunity and kept doing the same old same.
Years later trade liberalization as well as the increased construction of Japanese plants within the United States (using non-unionized labor) allowed the Japanese to skirt the trade policies that previously capped their growth. Today's massive restructuring and layoffs within the American owned companies is nothing more than a long overdue reformat, putting them in line with their painful realities. As with the airline industry, steel industry, and manufacturing in general - in order to establish a bottom as a basis for an upward incline - hard choices had to be made. Severe cost cutting and a true up of production with market realities was at hand.
So you see Rev. Jackson - the story of Detroit was NOT crafted in the legislature....it was crafted in the boardrooms, the negotiating tables between management and labor and the sales desk between consumer and auto saleman.
OF COURSE government had a strong hand in accommodating the environment in which all of these forces played within. Rev. Jackson, however, is not an objective broker in the entire scheme of things. Though his Rainbow Push organization was forced to lay off staff members in the face of a dramatic decrease in donations (mostly corporate) during the recession of the early 2000's this policy is unacceptable for the major corporations as they attempt to reorient themselves.
Mr. Jackson stands for "Living Wage Laws", high punitive damage lawsuits against corporations, strong government regulation and a general "common governance" of corporations. This IS NOT an environment that will resurrect the Detroit that once was.
My question is - When will REVEREND JACKSON have the "reformatting" that was forced upon America corporations and labor in the face of REALITY?
If there is no ACCOUNTABILITY to the bottom line results then Mr. Jackson will not face up to such a fundamental transformation. How do we MEASURE Mr. Jackson and his cohorts?
This brings me to the title of the.
Wow here is a clip from an article about the new Kia plant planned for Georgia (which is in the South by the way. :-) )
The addition of the Kia plant will add auto production capacity at a time when the Big Three Detroit auto makers are struggling to reduce capacity and compete with foreign auto makers who have opened plants in the South and have a cost-advantage because they use nonunion workers and have virtually no retirees to support with health-care and pension plans. General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. are both in the process of closing several plants.