Great Lakes state of mind

Another wrap-up of Great Lakes regional issues and news…

Great Lakes liberalism

E.J. Dionne has a nice column about how Senators Clinton and Obama seem to following in the footsteps of the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. We could all follow his example.

War profiteering comes to the Great Lakes

Kudos to the “Chicago Tribune”.

Make way for two-tier labor

So Detroit’s automakers will finally get their lower labor costs. Okay, now it’s time for them to put up or shut up. I covered the auto industry for seven years. It’s the knee-jerk response of most auto journalists, pundits, and analysts to blame the unions for the precarious state of the U.S. auto industry. It’s true that the U.S. automakers have higher labor costs. However, it’s also true that managers at the automakers had to agree to every contract that raised those costs. It’s also true that no one in the union actually tells the design and engineering folks at U.S. automakers to make boring and uncompetitive cars. That one rests at the feet of management, and most of the financial trouble of the U.S. automakers is their decades long inability to design vehicles that people actually want to buy in comparison to their overseas competitors. So now they have lower labor costs. Will we actually start seeing competitive automobiles?

Speaking of Michigan

The Great Lakes state has the basket case economy of the region. Here’s one proposal to make it strong again. During those seven years covering the auto industry, I also followed the larger economy in Michigan. These proposals have been floating around for years. Will Michigan find a way to turn it around? I’m not so sure. The Northeast used to be the manufacturing capital of the nation, but what are big chunks of it known for now? The leaves turning color – a portrait of Michigan’s future if it doesn’t stop talking and get moving.

And as for our industrial heritage…

We’re going to be living with it for a long time, thanks to industrial waste, even if we don’t turn our manufacturing economy around.

And lastly, the Great Lakes are going wild

Look out for the cats.

That is all.

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