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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cross Your Fingers

posted by on June 3 at 9:19 AM

I’m surprised this didn’t make the morning news…

General Motors is closing four truck and SUV plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico as surging fuel prices hasten a dramatic shift to smaller vehicles.

CEO Rick Wagoner said Tuesday before the automaker’s annual meeting the plants to be closed are in Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; Janesville, Wis.; and Toluca, Mexico. He also said the Hummer brand may be discontinued.

Please, please, please….

RSS icon Comments


With no Hummers, what will douchebags drive?

Posted by damnqueerfuck | June 3, 2008 9:27 AM

What do you mean, I've read this story three times already this morning.

I still think GM stock would be a good purchase right now.

Posted by monkey | June 3, 2008 9:30 AM

@1; Smart Cars?

Posted by demo kid | June 3, 2008 9:30 AM

And they will probably keep building the big Hummer for the military and just stop making the H2 and H3's.

Posted by monkey | June 3, 2008 9:34 AM

However they still won't bring back the electric car.

Posted by Trevor | June 3, 2008 9:34 AM

Why close? Because the executives would lose too much $ if they switched to producing practical cars? Sometimes America is stupid. You don't think that the workers in those plants would love to produce a decent hybrid and keep their jobs? Executives make way too much $ and don't give a shit about the communities that they are leaving. They could work on ideas to keep the plants open to produce sensibility, but, ah, fuck it, let's bail. Cocks.

Posted by P to the J | June 3, 2008 9:56 AM

Dan: "please please please..."? Those plant closings mean lots of people losing their jobs and sending their local economies further in the tank. The nice people in Janesville who are losing their jobs are NOT the ones who decided to build an economy on gas-guzzling SUVs, and the people who did make that decision aren't losing their jobs. They probably won't even see their bonuses shrink. The fact that fewer SUVs will be made is a silver lining, but it lies under a very gray cloud created by the auto industry and gas industry.

Posted by Mary F. | June 3, 2008 9:56 AM


Actually i heard on NPR this morning that they were bringing back the team that developed the Volt in the 90's and are planning for a 2010 production.

Posted by C | June 3, 2008 9:57 AM

@ 1: They still make Camaros, don't they?

Posted by Mike in MO | June 3, 2008 9:57 AM


It might be cheaper and more efficient to just increase production in plants that are already manufacturing smaller cars. And, of course, those executives only care about saving money, except when it's bonus time of course.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 3, 2008 9:59 AM

Hooray! Thousands of people get unemployed!! Another wave of good, blue-collar jobs gone forever!! Not saying I'm sorry to see the demise of hummers and SUVs but let's just not get so excited about the people who will lose their livelihoods.

Posted by heywhatsit | June 3, 2008 10:12 AM

Those people will find other jobs.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 10:13 AM

Aren't you the same guy whining yesterday about nondairy topping having been served on your sundae, while on your most recent pointless jet airplane flight?

Posted by bluh? | June 3, 2008 10:19 AM

The Hummer will be killed and they're bringing back the Volt.


Posted by Will in Seattle | June 3, 2008 10:21 AM

@12: You know this how? Because you've heard there are openings at the OTHER auto plant right down the street? Or at one of the local businesses that supply the auto plant or rely on the workers' purchasing power? Have you ever been to any of these affected towns? Or do you just mean that eventually - hopefully before unemployment runs out - these workers will find jobs where they earn 40% of their previous wage rate and have no health insurance or retirement benefits? 'Spose you're right.

Posted by Mary F | June 3, 2008 10:24 AM

Mary F, thats life in the world. Always has been always will be.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 10:30 AM

yes, but the execs will be alright. That's all that really matters, isn't it? That wealthy, white powerful families maintain their wealth, power and whiteness?

Posted by Mike in MO | June 3, 2008 10:37 AM

i guess working part time for minimum wage at the kum and go and mowing old lady mccoys lawn for a piece of her pension while trying to feed 4 kids is technecly emloyment...your right bellvue dwelling yuppie

Posted by linus | June 3, 2008 10:37 AM

Mary F, if there were a way to end the production of Hummers for consumers without the people who make Hummers losing their jobs, I would consider it preferable. I'd also be happier if, say, reduced demand for deadly weapons in this world wouldn't lead to gunmakers laying off employees. But there is no way around that.

Posted by tsm | June 3, 2008 10:41 AM

@ Mary F, I am of course sorry that the gas prices are closing down auto plants and that people are being put out of work.

Unfortunately, GM and other car manufacturers made a calculated decision. They drowned their baby the EV1 in the bathtub for a myriad of reasons. Had they decided to press forward with the electric car, GM might be what Toyota is today. But they made stupid decisions, and now the workers who never had any decision making power, are forced to pay.

Not to mention the fact that the US is holding back its economy because it refuses to get on board government health care. But again, the car companies never really tried to flex their muscles to get the govt to properly deal with health care. They were short sighted in many more ways than one.

It is sad when people lose their jobs. I am sympathetic. But at the same time, continuing to make Hummers is NOT THE ANSWER. Making more hummers so that some people could keep their jobs would be as short sighted as GM discontinuing the EV1. It's a bandaid that would maybe save a couple jobs today at the expense of thousands (maybe millions) of jobs in 10 years.

Posted by arduous | June 3, 2008 10:44 AM
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and the lion shall lie down with the lamb.

About time they clued in.

Posted by Captain Obvious | June 3, 2008 10:47 AM

@12. Your a fucking pinhead. Cause when the factories closes everyone just lines up and gets an new job, right? I went to college in a small town in upstate NY. They were lucky enough to have a strong economy thanks to the Smith-Corona typewriter plant, that is until production was sent to Mexico after NAFTA was signed. The closure of that factory has brought nothing short of the full blown economic collapse of that small town. Now the town is famous for its rampant alcoholism, unemployment, and wait for it.... the highest rate of sexual abuse in the state.

Posted by Rotten666 | June 3, 2008 10:48 AM

everyone here, I'm not saying that theyll instantly have new jobs lined up, but I am saying they will find new jobs eventually.

Rotten, a fucking typewriter plant doesnt have the right to exist (no business does) and if people in 1995 upstate NY can't see the writing on the wall for typewriters then I don't have a problem with a small town going kablooey when they give new opportunities to mexicans.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 10:58 AM

I don't disagree with any of you realists, and I'm not arguing that Hummers should be manufactured just so people have jobs. But blue collar workers taking a hit for GM's mistakes and our country's energy policy is not an event worthy of cheers. And to dismiss thousands of people losing their livelihood because that's the way its always been is just cold. Obviously it happens all the time. Bad things happen every day - earthquakes, child abuse, drunk drivers plowing over bikers - but it still sucks and its still wrong. Must be nice when your life is so comfortable and insulated, and the idea of losing your job so foreign, that you feel completely unmoved by the thought of real people suddenly losing their paycheck, health insurance, and economic security.

Posted by Mary F | June 3, 2008 11:01 AM

Bellevue: Yeah, you're right. If some little girl's dad had the gall to work in a typewriter factory then she deserves to grow up poor and abused. We're having two different conversations here: You win on the macroeconomics and Adam Smith theory, which is apparently all you know because you give no impression of every having met a real person living with microeconomics.

Posted by Mary F | June 3, 2008 11:11 AM


Asking BA to have sympathy for anyone else is an exercise in futility.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 3, 2008 11:13 AM

I love The Slog. You are all fucking insane!

Please don't ever make us register!

Posted by Mike in MO | June 3, 2008 11:15 AM

Good news about the reduced production of gas-guzzling vehicles.

Terrible about the loss of employment. This and similar scenarios have played out for decades (closing of a factory devastating a local economy), this situation is not new (but not any less sad for it).

Some will move away and find another job, or find another job in their local area. Some will possibly even be moved to one of the other plants where production will be increased. A good chunk will not fall into either camp and have hard times ahead.

Posted by Toby | June 3, 2008 11:15 AM

While it is true that people who work in destructive industries will have to lose their jobs, it is not true they alone are to blame.

Consumers who demanded the SUVs or cigarettes or Lawn Darts are too blame too, as are the voters and leaders who let those industries grow without anticipating the damage they would cause. Sometimes nobody is to blame because nobody can see the future.

The point being that the losses should be shared equally, and not borne only by the factory workers who are unemployed. That's what a social safety net is. It can happen to you or me, and if it is you, will you want my help then?

Any of us could wake up tomorrow and find out that we work in a job that has to be eliminated for the greater good. But when you believe selfishness is a virtue, as these Austrian school/Greenspan/libertarian types do, you have to pretend bad things only happen to those who deserve them. Until it happens to them, then they suddenly become enlightened.

Posted by elenchos | June 3, 2008 11:25 AM

Mary, how is anything you said supportive of microeconomic theory? If anything GM's decision to close the plant is indicative of the microecon theory that companies produce the amount of products at the point where the marginal costs don't exceed the marginal revenue.

what you've spoke about is personal finance and vocational decision making. The idea that I'm rooting for plants to close isn't accurate. In reality Im stating that these people will eventually be employed at the rate and position that the economy needs and if people are poor, then it is what it is. It might serve as an incentive to, i don't know, improve the skills they have and use the skills they currently have.

These people got lemons but they also chose to live in a fucking lemon tree.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 11:29 AM

@23 Well you missed the point again. It is not an issue of just getting new jobs. These are real people these are real communities and when there are grave consequences when these factories (car or typewriter) close down.

Posted by Rotten666 | June 3, 2008 11:33 AM

BA is the reason many working people vote against there intrests. It's not that they like republicans, it's juust they see decadent yuppie elitist voteing democrate and think..."I'm voteing against whoeverhe's for" belive me I nearly voted for bush out of sheer spite in 04 I'm ashamned to say, I'm a "liberal" guy but at the time I was surrounded by so many smug self satisfied people that even looking at kerry made me want to projectile vomit on the guy before punching him in the face..luckily my rational side won out

Posted by linus | June 3, 2008 11:35 AM

oh typos. Sorry. Never type angry!

Posted by Rotten666 | June 3, 2008 11:35 AM

I have to get into the habbit of reading before posting. I'll admit I'm one of those "key-board starers"

Posted by linus | June 3, 2008 11:46 AM

Only in the SLOG comments section is there NEVER any thing as good news. Once again you've all managed to find the dark cloud behind the silver lining.

I have no pity for any soon-to-be unemployed people who had jobs making Hummers or any other car.

For the past decade, I've taken shit from dual-SUV, 80MPH driving douchebags who thought I was the moron for structuring my life so I would be immune from rising gas prices. They never took the time to think that there were good reasons that my family has one car instead of two, spends time in the garden and lives in less desirable areas close to work and necessities instead of buying McMansions in BFE. Now, I'm spending $35 a month on gas while they wonder how they're going to make it to Christmas.

Welcome to the real life version of "The Grasshopper and the Ant," MotherF-ers. You had fun at my expense when I told you this would happen, and now it's my turn.

Posted by JA3 | June 3, 2008 12:18 PM

What do the citizens of these towns have to do with this, JackAss3? There is a product that is built by skilled labor, and now there is no more product and the people who have worked for 30 years in the plant are out of a job. Can they all move to Seattle from around the country to help you in your garden? I dislike SUVs as much as anyone, but the people who built them are not living in BFE in McMansions. They are living in small towns, going to meetings, being involved. I know these people, and this is a blow to them and their respective state/province. Go hang out with Worthless Mudede and the other anti-everything crowd.

Posted by P to the J | June 3, 2008 12:42 PM

I'm sorry, are you suggesting that a TYPEWRITER FACTORY is a sensible kind of business in the modern world, Rotten666? Can you even buy those anymore? What about all the blacksmiths that used to be all over America, should we have propped those up too? Do you want to live in the Soviet Union, where they continued to make the ball bearings in the obsolete size, and then ground them up and made them again because there were no buyers?

Typewriters are OBSOLETE. Nobody wants them anymore. Do you own one? Use it often?

Continuing to make typewriters (at a huge loss) long after anybody wants them destroys capital, and results in the employment of FEWER people, not more. Workers who make stuff nobody wants are not productive, no matter how skilled they are.

SUVs are like typewriters.

Posted by Fnarf | June 3, 2008 1:15 PM

make keyboards instead, keep your boys employed

Posted by linus | June 3, 2008 1:40 PM

linus, in a heterogeneous population dispersed over a large geographic area, creating a message of national economic solidarity is hard to push forward. We've seen what subsidies for "energy independence" aka ethanol has done for both fuel and food prices but to yank away subsidies at this point would be like an act of war to many Iowan or Nebraskan small towns that wouldn't exist without an influx of money from the rest of the country.

The point that fnarf made is "where do you draw the line on supporting local industries that can't compete against other domestic producers or foreign producers?"

Shifting producting capabilities from typewriters to computer keyboards isn't an answer that shows a lot of thought about either industry.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 1:51 PM

Hey Fnarf, read the fucking thread. The story about the Cortland typewriter factory was an example of the economic effects of manufacturing job loss in blue collar towns. It was in reaction to Bellevue Ave who glibly suggested that out of work factory laborers can simply find other jobs (see comment #12). It is not about typewriters, it is not about Hummers, it is about the lack of empathy for the working class that emanates from the so called progressives on the slog.

Think before you speak.

Posted by Rotten666 | June 3, 2008 1:57 PM

Bellevue is neither a progressive nor a Democrat. He is one of those guys who coyly acts like he's diligently making up his mind every election cycle, then always votes Republican. He's embarrassed to say he supports the religious right, so he pretends he doesn't.

Anyway, it's neat that we have people like that to kick around on the Slog.

Posted by elenchos | June 3, 2008 2:05 PM

How am I able to show empathy for a vague categorization of people?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 2:09 PM

shush elenchos, i've never voted for a republican at an executive level of government.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 2:13 PM

and to be fair elenchos I was a delegate for Obama in the 43rd district. I think the guy is good for democracy even if i disagree with a lot of the economic policy he has.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 2:15 PM

I still think you're going to vote for anything with a pulse that promises to make your tax cut permanent. That's all you really care about. Obama delegate or not.

Posted by elenchos | June 3, 2008 2:21 PM

elenchos, I dont have a problem with personal income taxes being raised. I have loopholes for that kind of shit.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 3, 2008 2:26 PM

@40: I did think -- you appear not to have. What does empathy get you? Seriously, what are you suggesting -- that the typewriter factory should have stayed open? How I feel about the workers there doesn't matter one way or the other.

Those jobs were already gone. You blame NAFTA, but NAFTA didn't do it; the lack of interest in buying typewriters did. There's no way to protect those jobs, there just isn't.

And in fact tying up capital in making stuff that nobody wants HURTS the job situation. That capital can be used to create jobs elsewhere. Even if some of the jobs are in Mexico, the improved profitability of the company CREATES NEW JOBS HERE TOO.

Same with GM. Those old factories making Hummers are killing GM. They are REDUCING the number of jobs GM has. By redirecting their resources towards making stuff people want, jobs will be created. This closing will almost certainly result in an increase in employment in the long term. Maybe not in Janesville, but somewhere.

So, yeah, think before you post instead of popping out with the knee-jerk reaction. Sure.

Posted by Fnarf | June 3, 2008 5:59 PM

If you're referring to "The Morning News" that slog posts it might be because it was posted last night around 1 am instead of what the time stamp said which was 7:35 am. So someone's obviously cheating - oh probably all the slog posters are... And the comments were not working for obvious reasons. Lame

Posted by gawd | June 3, 2008 10:16 PM

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