I’m sure those who work at the Lima, OH tank factory were happy to see their jobs saved. But economically speaking, everyone needs to remember that jobs building military hardware are in no way as economically valuable in the long-haul as nongovernmental jobs.
Those lost private industry jobs making consumer products at Lordstown, Ohio were far more important than those jobs saved at Lima. Every car made at GM plants affects the economy in every corner of the nation. The same is simply not true about rebuilding a decades-old war machine. And for Trump to put any part of the blame on the closing of Lordstown on union workers is simply assinine.
We’ve been hearing for a long time that the market for cars (sedans and coupes) has been shrinking as the demand for pickup trucks and SUVs expands. Several weeks ago I drove to Chillicothe and for some brain quirk, I started counting cars versus SUVs. At first, the cars were ahead but it didn’t last long. By the time I reached my destination, the SUV count was over double that of cars. I didn’t count pickups but if I had the divide would have been even greater.
General Motors, as stated, closed Lordstown because what they were making there wasn’t selling. Whose fault is that? Well, it’s certainly not the fault of the workers. The fault belongs squarely on the shoulders of a free enterprise economic system in which consumers have choices. If you want to point a finger at the unions make it a finger that says they did nothing but try to save those jobs. And, if you want to point a finger at GM, make it one that says they should have revamped that factory to meet their future needs. That they shouldn’t be shipping those jobs to Mexico and elsewhere.
And, while you’re pointing all those fingers, don’t forget to point one at automation. Untold millions of industrial jobs in America have been lost to the lower cost and efficiency of robots. John Henry beat that steam drill but in the end, it killed him. In spite of what Trump claimed his chart proved, the same thing is happening to industrial jobs all over the world.