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Buy American: Look At All Those New Cars

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  • Cheryl Young
    Look At All Those New Cars by David Glenn Cox December 31, 2008 at 00:14:39 The Christmas rituals are over; we ve eaten the pumpkin pie and listened to Aunt
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 1, 2009
      Look At All Those New Cars

      by David Glenn Cox
      December 31, 2008 at 00:14:39

      The Christmas rituals are over; we've eaten the pumpkin pie and
      listened to Aunt Martha's annual stories of her health problems, all
      in the face of incompetent and unfeeling physicians. While I was with
      my wife's relatives they pulled out their home movies and we watched
      as the family jumped from holiday to holiday in three-minute, Super 8

      As we watched and they commented on relatives lost long ago, I would
      periodically ask my father-in-law, "How did you ever get by without
      foreign cars?" Here was a looking glass into middle-class
      splendor. "That was my '53 Chevy, and that's my brother Michael's '52
      Pontiac," he'd say. Then, as it jumped to the next decade, "That's
      my '63 Super Sport. I can't believe I let the kids ride their bikes
      so close to it."

      No Toyotas, no Hondas, no Kia or Subaru, and yet somehow these people
      seemed happy. They had a nice home, a nice car, a good Christmas for
      the kids, and all on a middle-class income.

      A day later I had my son over who, as an adult, hadn't seen our home
      movies, and he made the same comment, "Look at all the new cars!"
      Joking, I answered, "Yeah, they just didn't know any better, all
      those American-made cars." We watched the movies and I realized that
      it wasn't just the cars. The cars were just the most visible
      manifestation of prosperity; it was the gifts, as well. The toys, the
      clothes, the lights, the wrapping paper, even the candles and the
      nativity sets were all made in America.

      The money stayed home and circulated through the economy and brought
      a prosperity envied and unequaled anywhere in the world. My mother's
      friend, Jean Spidel, was in one of the movies. Her husband was a
      milkman; he always drove a Mercury. Our long-time friends Helen and
      Bob Anderson were in there, too. Bob was a Ford man and he played
      Santa for the whole street when I was a child.

      Don't try and tell any of us kids on Elder Road that there was no
      Santa Claus because we had all seen him, the same guy, every year.
      Santa had a good red suit, not the crappy bootlets but real leather
      boots, and a wide leather belt. The street had all pitched in on the
      suit and the toys were left in the trunks of all those new American
      cars. Santa would pass out the toys and take one drink and move on to
      the next house.

      Each house celebrating the birth of Christ, but also celebrating a
      middle class prosperity unknown a generation before. A street full of
      young, American families, looking forward to tomorrow with bright
      eyes and hopeful ambitions. With enough disposable income to pitch in
      on a Santa suit after buying Christmas toys and paying for a new car
      and a home and doing it on one paycheck, to boot. My Uncle Tom was in
      some of the movies, too, in his brick house with a new Buick or
      Oldsmobile in the garage. Tom bought a new car every two years even
      though he drove them very little; it was a status symbol for him, a
      display of his prosperity for all to see.

      His wife was a homemaker who had never learned to drive and most of
      the time when Tom traded cars they had less than twenty thousand
      miles on the odometer. What did he do to earn such a level of
      prosperity? He was a foreman for International Harvester. My cousin
      Danny was a Chicago school teacher; he was the first person I ever
      knew that drove a sports car, a bad-ass GTO. Ray was a used car
      salesman at the car lot his father owned so he drove lots of cars but
      bought his wife a new Impala.

      Many of these people thought in old ways; they thought in terms of
      their country's well-being. The older men were veterans and I'd heard
      more than one say, "Buy Japanese? I already got this from Japan!"
      whereupon they would open their shirt or pull up a pant leg to show a
      war wound. Harry Truman was offered a new Toyota when he left office
      and he answered by saying, "It would be inappropriate for me to
      accept such a gift, but if I were to accept a car it would have to be
      an American car."

      Today such talk is looked upon as archaic. Bob Dole accepted a condo
      from Archer Daniels Midland; the Reagans had a mansion built for them
      by grateful well wishers, and George Bush the elder was given an
      undisclosed gift by the Emir of Kuwait. The Clinton foundation
      accepts millions from foreign countries and the message seems to be
      that this is all right, they are our friends, and we live in a global
      economy now so don't worry about it.

      But I do worry about it; even in a global economy there are winners
      and losers. Isuzu of Japan recently announced that they had canceled
      the planned layoffs of 550 workers. They said that they were doing
      this for the good of their national economy. Toyota has announced
      layoffs for the first time ever in America but will keep workers
      employed in Japan. The construction of the Prius plant in Mississippi
      has been canceled, the contractors told to pick up their tools and go
      home because it seems that the Japanese do what is best for Japan. I
      don't fault them for this; I praise them for it. Their government and
      business community have not forgotten that they are all Japanese

      In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree dropping ten days from the
      calendar; his power was immense yet still today not all follow his
      decree. Globalism is sold to us the same way, that it is inescapable,
      unavoidable and to believe otherwise is to believe in a flat Earth.
      Ross Perot was laughed off the national stage when he declared, "If
      they pass NAFTA you're going to hear a giant sucking sound of jobs
      leaving this country." They compared him to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff,
      which contributed to the Great Depression. The plan was to make Perot
      look like a nut with a funny, obscure name like Smoot-Hawley, and
      maybe he was a nut but even a broken clock can be right twice a day.

      Perot's giant sucking sound has turned into a cold wind that is
      blowing through the ruins of our cities. America is in recession a
      year before the experts will admit to it as millions lose their homes
      and the government piles up massive budget deficits that dwarf any
      ever run in the long ago days of American prosperity. Those debts
      then were owed to American banks that bought American Treasury notes.
      Today we must sell them to our "friends," the Japanese and the
      Chinese, who buy our raw materials which they turn into manufactured
      goods and the bulk of the profits stays in their home countries.

      So large has this list of multifarious tyrannies escalated that
      Southern senators are now working at the behest of foreign
      governments to keep American automobile companies from receiving a
      bailout. Is it so hard to imagine who will benefit from the demise of
      the American automobile manufacturers? If you speak against globalism
      like I do, you will soon hear the charge; "Do you want to start a
      trade war?" We are already in a trade war and we are losing it, and
      we are already in a class war and are losing that as well. We are
      being beaten so badly that we have little left to fight back with but
      our bodies.

      We have been sold a bill of goods by those in the employ of foreign
      corporations, Quislings who answer to the call of those who pay them
      while they wear their cheap, foreign-made flag pins on their lapels.
      Growth in America is negative and wages are flat for all but those
      same folks who insist that globalism is good for us. The Chinese will
      buy our Buicks and Chevys, and do. Products that are manufactured in
      China by Chinese workers in factories owned jointly by the People's
      Red Army and General Motors. Whose American executives then come to
      Washington to beg money of Congress and plan new factories in China
      while gearing up their plants in Mexico.

      Globalism is a sham, the proverbial wooden nickel. It benefits the
      very few and injures the many on both sides of the bargain. China is
      fast becoming an industrial wasteland and America an enfeebled,
      toothless tiger. America's poor and hungry are growing at an enormous
      rate while assistance is reminiscent of the nineteenth
      century "Jungle" industrialism. While the federal government must
      look everywhere for new buyers of Treasury notes as they pass the
      money out to the banks for free and then must pay interest to borrow
      it back.

      How far we've come from those once-prosperous, halcyon days when the
      middle class drove new cars. Where they saved for their children's
      futures, back when companies were hiring instead of shutting down.
      When Pittsburgh was known for steel and Muncie for transmissions,
      Detroit made automobiles and America made computers and satellites
      and put men on the moon and dared to dream that anything was
      possible, while today millions of Americans wonder if they will lose
      their home this month or next.

      An incredible price to pay for cheap junk from Wal-Mart.

      Bob Anderson, as Santa, reached the Westenburg's house at the end of
      Elder Road and the Westenburg children always insisted that their
      house was Santa's last stop because on Christmas morning when they
      awoke they found Santa Claus asleep on their couch.

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