New York’s last romantic gets his own magazine.
In case you missed it, Mitt Romney today decided that the way to endear himself with the state he grew up in was to brag that he buys a lot of the cars it makes. This included uttering a line that will resonate far beyond the all-but-empty football stadium in which it was spoken: “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs.” Not surprisingly, Michigander Jon Chait has the best theory on what the heck Romney was thinking with this riff, which will take its place as number, what, 27 on the clueless list: It does make sense, in an extremely narrow way.
President Obama visits the Detroit area on Friday, and his timing couldn't be better: Today's Detroit Free Press brings more good news from the auto industry: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all plan to add jobs in Michigan, which stands to benefit more than any other state. Nissan, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Kia and Mercedes-Benz also are hiring. Suppliers are looking to add engineers and technical people, but at a more gradual pace. About 15,000 auto-related Michigan jobs could be created this year, said Sean McAlinden, economist at Ann Arbor's Center for Automotive Research.
This is the new column in TNR’s weekly series of"Mad Men" episode recaps. Caution: It contains spoilers. Click here for last week's review. Great films and TV series tend to distill in the memory to a particular type of camera shot.
On Labor Day, President Obama appointed Ron Bloom, head of the administration’s auto industry task force, as his manufacturing “czar.” A former United Steelworkers staffer, Bloom recognizes the importance of high-wage manufacturing to the U.S. economy and to the well-being of the Great Lakes metropolitan areas that have been its center for more than half a century. But his experience is mainly in structuring financial deals. Does he understand the non-financial obstacles to reviving American manufacturing?
Via Dave Roberts, a handful of Democratic and Republican senators are now touting a bill to set up a more promising variation on the "cash-for-clunkers" concept—namely, feebates. The idea here would be to slap an excise tax on gas-guzzlers that don't meet CAFE standards and recycle the money into rebates for efficient cars that beat CAFE standards. The fees and rebates would all sit on a sliding scale, so that the more efficient the car, the bigger the rebate (while bigger gas-guzzlers get hit with bigger fees).
General Motors has come to Washington, begging for a $25 billion bailout to keep it and its ailing Detroit counterparts going next year. But nobody seems too thrilled about the prospect. Liberals dwell on the companies’ gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles. Conservatives obsess over all the well-paid union members with gold-plated benefits. And people of all ideological backgrounds remember how they used to buy domestic cars, years ago, but stopped because the cars were so damn lousy.
If you've been following the auto industry's crisis, then you've probably read or heard a lot about overpaid American autoworkers--in particular, the fact that the average hourly employee of the Big Three makes $70 per hour. That's an awful lot of money. Seventy dollars an hour in wages works out to almost $150,000 a year in gross income, if you assume a forty-hour work week. Is it any wonder the Big Three are in trouble?