Hey… Where’d the Manufacturing Base Go?…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, November 17, 2008

Instead of trying to smith some additional words for this post, I’m much better off linking you to Mitch Albom’s column in the Sunday Detroit Free Press titled, “If I had the floor at the auto rescue talks.” And if you don’t feel like going there, here’s how it starts:

Good morning. First of all, before you ask, I flew commercial. Northwest Airlines. Had a bag of peanuts for breakfast. Of course, that’s Northwest, which just merged with Delta, a merger you, our government, approved — and one which, inevitably, will lead to big bonuses for their executives and higher costs for us. You seem to be OK with that kind of business.

Which makes me wonder why you’re so against our kind of business? The kind we do in Detroit. The kind that gets your fingernails dirty. The kind where people use hammers and drills, not keystrokes. The kind where you get paid for making something, not moving money around a board and skimming a percentage.


  1. Dominic Costantini said,

    November 25, 2008 @ 10:11 pm


    Interesting comic this week. As an automotive employee going through the severe down sizing of one of the “big 3,” I am quite puzzled why our government officials are so uneducated regarding the state of the domestic automotive industry and its impact on the rest of the country. I marvel at the representatives from states such as California and Alabama who feel the domestic automotive industry has no impact on their states. It is interesting that they seem to forget the supply base and the dealers in their respective states that are service buying and tax paying constituents. Do representatives from Alabama understand that Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai use the same steel, tire and brake manufactures as the “big 3?” Auto supplier manufacturing requires high investment and high volume production in order to achieve the ROI necessary to stay in business. So if the volume is not there, the suppliers have to survive by making small quantities and raising prices or go out of business. Surely (stop calling me Shirley), this will have an impact on transplants in state Alabama, Tenn, Ohio, etc. The point is…most states will be impacted by the loss/reduction of the domestic automotive industry. I hope our representatives in Washington get the true message from their staffs and constituents before it is too late. The good news is, as you show in your comic, the financial industry will be healthy and intact! Thanks for listening, I feel better now. Dominic

  2. John Auchter said,

    November 30, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

    Yeah, puzzled is a good word. It’s always unsettling when you discover your “superior” has no real idea what is going on.

    Here’s hoping everybody gets their act together this week — the Detroit 3 show up in the quality high-milage cars they build with a detailed plan and Congress actually takes the time to consider and understand it.

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