Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
September 8, 2013
When you’re from Flint, one of the most annoying things somebody not from Flint can say to you is, “You never should have become so dependent on the auto industry.” Well, yes, in hindsight, smartypants, that may be right. But when the town was booming (and it was booming for decades) it was awfully hard to say “thanks, but no thanks” to well-paying jobs and a sturdy tax base. Think about it — how many people, let alone communities, have the foresight to turn down good money in the short term because at some undetermined point in the future it could possibly go away? Yeah, not many.
And so here we go again. Car sales in August were through the roof. The industry is on pace to make and sell nearly as many cars in North America as it did before the Great Recession. And even though all the jobs will never come back, Michigan is certainly benefiting. We still design, engineer, and build cars here. We’re doing what we do and making money doing it. So it’s okay if you’re from here to poke a little fun at our willful blindness in the good times. For those not from here, you can shut the #&@* up. (But keep buying those cars.)