A number of key Republican senators who led to the defeat of the recent auto loan package have foreign-owned automotive companies in their states.   Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, has emerged as Detroit’s leading nemesis during two sets of hearings.  He seems to be everywhere these days giving interviews and his sage opinion on the Big Three.  And no wonder, his state has benefited to the tune of billions of dollars brought to the state through foreign car manufacturing and industry.

Almost every foreign auto factory that has opened since the 1990s has sprouted below the Mason-Dixon Line. Two of the three auto plants under construction also are in the South.  Plants typically establish their roots in what is known as the auto corridor — roughly a 200-mile-wide stretch that runs from Michigan to Alabama.

One primary reason for locating in the southern states is the lack of unionization.  Unions increase overall costs at plants, thus foreign automakers are drawn to the South where unionization is not mandatory and where workers have resisted calls to join voluntarily.   Unionization in the North requires that everyone must join.

No foreign assembly plants are unionized except for a few joint-ventures: the ones that started as projects between domestic and foreign companies.

Since the 1990s, Senator Shelby’s state, Alabama, has won three assembly plants from Honda, Mercedes-Benz, and Hyundai and an engine plant built by Toyota, as well as numerous investments by parts makers. They have been worth $3.8 billion to Alabama, or one-tenth the amount spent in the United States by foreign companies, according to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing foreign car companies.

Another opponent from the South, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee  also has been a Detroit critic.  Again, no surprise since his state  is home to Nissan’s North American headquarters, a Nissan plant, and a promised Volkswagen factory.

Although southern senators have been more vocal than many other detractors of the auto loan package, the north has its share of naysayers and one of them is right here in Indiana.   Representative Mike Pence – an extreme right-wing Republican conservative representing Indiana’s 6th district – stated during the opening of Honda’s new assembly plant in Greensburg, Indiana, that he would rather see the U.S. automakers file for bankruptcy than receive taxpayer money.

It seems Pence is blissfully unaware of the fact that the Third District, just to his north, has a GM plant which provides a tremendous amount of employment.  I would dare say some of those employees come from Pence’s district and take their incomes back to their homes to be put into the 6th district’s economic stream of commerce.  His righteous attitude is simply ludicrous.

Perhaps all along the efforts haven’t been to bust the unions – at least entirely – but to dictate what the working wage for the domestic auto industry should be compared to the foreign companies.  With the southern senators spewing their constant harangue against the Big Three, they have staked out their support of the foreign auto industry while forsaking the domestic industry – all for the almighty dollars flowing into their states.

Breaking ground at the Greensburg, Indiana plant



About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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  1. revolution2010 says:

    Why does it have to be about hate? Do you think some of those Senators could have opposed the bill because it also contained 2 other pieces of sketchy legislation? Section 18 of the Auto Bailout, which dealt with the “Guarantee of Leases of Qualified Transportation Property”. That sounds like something that would be in the Auto Bailout Bill, right? Negative, that is a section, which allows the banks that were making shady tax deferment deals, with the bus and rail companies to re-coup their losses. Basically, the Bus and Rail companies in an effort to secure more capitol for “other ventures” made a deal with some lending institutions. The lending institutions would buy their real property (like rail cars) and lease them back to the Rail and Bus companies at a discounted rate. The companies would get their capitol while the lending institution would get major tax breaks on the depreciation of the real property. Everyone gets to swindle the taxpayers… yet again!

    Now this probably would have worked without the fact that we have a credit crisis. With this tiny 5-paragraph insert, the lending institutions could get their money from the government for any bad loans that are outstanding on those leases. So, let me get this straight, you want to try and swindle us, and then when it goes badly, you want us to pay for your mistake. Thank you Senators for not allowing that, because obviously the Representatives (their name makes me laugh every time I say it!) thought that was OK.

    If all of this is not enough, there is also a nice section at the end (19) which is unassumingly titled “Coordination with Other Laws” that allows for a cost of living adjustment (Why don’t they call it an increase? Have you ever seen a negative cost of living “adjustment”?) for Justices and Judges. Now why would that be in there? Could it be because if the legislation were ever challenged, the ones who would have to overturn it would be overturning a raise for themselves as well? I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?
    The Southern Senators in some cases may have been protecting the interests of their charges, after all, they do Represent their state. Should they have voted to support Michigan because those are the people who will re-elect them?
    We are a union household and we did not support this legislation because it is a bad piece of legislation. You only heard what our liberal media wanted you to hear about that bill. It is about time the Congress started listening to what the voters actually wanted since this bill was opposed by a majority of Americans.

  2. Revolution2010:

    Thank you for your information. I don’t believe I mentioned the word “hate” though in my post. I do believe the public, in general, has an intense dislike for unions. Honestly, I don’t know why.

    But let me ask you this, how did you feel about the Wall Street fiasco? I certainly did not see either the House or the Senate railing against Wall Street they way they have against the Big 3 and their unions. The Wall Street bailout occurred in record time due to the institutions crying “wolf” over and over. And, guess what, no economic calamity – in fact the institutions are using the money to do what they want – not to help the credit crunch as they were to do.

    Where is the oversight for the Wall Street bailout? Why is the Senate so anti-Big 3/Unions and not the Wall Street gang? I believe it is a sell-out by Congress because it thinks it cannot truly manage Wall Street whereas it can destroy the automakers if it chooses by forcing them into bankruptcy. I would think as a union family, whether or not you agree with the Big 3 deal, you would be asking yourself why the difference in treatment.

    This should not be a regional issue. Even the foreign car makers are starting to support the loan plan for the American industry because they know full well that they are tied to them in many different ways through production and manufacturing of collateral items.

    I also really grow tired of everyone labeling the media “liberal” like it is some sort of sin to be liberal. The conservatives have their media – all you have to do is turn on FOX. I am a liberal, and I am proud of it. If you look up the definition of liberal, it stands for many good things and the way we view our relationships to our fellow human beings.

    Congress did not listen to the voters about the Wall Street bailout, and now the public is screaming even louder on the Big Three plan. Perhaps Congress understood it would only be able to get away with one bailout and not two. It is just too bad they chose the wrong one. But they chose the one where their own interests would be most protected. Answering to Wall Street is much harder than answering to Main Street.

  3. revolution2010 says:

    You make a lot of good points. I am not a Republican or a Democrat I am a Libertarian. I am liberal in that I believe that everyone should have their rights to live as they choose, but I don’t believe that I should be responsible for funding them.
    I also do not agree that the general public dislikes Unions, but I live in Baltimore and the unions here are smart and strong. It is a union town from way back.
    As far as the Wall Street fiasco, I opposed that legislation as adamantly as I did the Big 3 Bailout, so much so that I actually started my Blog because of it. My Blog was dedicated to exposing just how apathetic Americans have become when it comes to paying attention to what their politicians are doing in Washington and how much their politicians have taken advantage of it. The American people grew complacent and thought the Bureaucrats were handling the voters agenda and have realized in the last 2 months that they serve their own agendas in an awful pocket-stuffing way. When the first Bailout was going on, I was e-mailing everyone I knew, calling everyone and talking to people on the streets urging them to call their Senators and Representatives. I did, and when I asked if they were getting a lot of calls, the response was, well, some. This last bailout after asking the same question, they said they were getting swamped.
    The American public has gotten the idea that they are being fleeced and they actually need to call Congress and tell them how they feel about legislation.
    If you recall on the first Bailout Bill, it didn’t go through. It took Congress sticking in an additional $150 Billion in perks (PORK) for their constituents, only then did they pass the second one. Shame on them, because with little exception, they can apparently be bought. The Bailouts are a joke, all of them. There are plenty of industries that have been in the same position and have filed chapter 11 to restructure, and it works. Millions of people were not jobless and thrown on the street. The Steel industry went through it not long ago, and while painful, no one bailed them out and those people are fine… we don’t have entire cities of people who are homeless and starving. We would however have a much larger problem if the government starts bailing out every company who is poorly run at the taxpayer’s expense. Where does it stop if we bailout the Big 3? Why did the government not lend a hand when 3 of my friends, all living in different states lost their businesses to harsh economic times? Why did they not get a bailout… after all, part of that is my money, so why shouldn’t they have gotten it? I attribute the difference to the American people waking up and calling their Congressmen.
    As far as being regional, it absolutely should be a regional issue. Congress is supposed to be voting to protect their voter’s issues. If the southern states rely on the car manufacturers who are already in their state and those manufacturers employ many, then the Representatives have a responsibility to protect the interest of the voters who elected them. If the call came from the voters not to vote for the bill, that is how they should have voted, so yes, it may have very well ended up being a regional issue.
    As far as the media goes, when I speak of a liberal media, I am referring to a media who finds liberty in reporting things that will sell their show. It has become no more than a Dog and Pony Show. Americans know more about Sarah Palin’s personal life than they do about who and what the Speaker of the house does. The media is negligent at best, if you want information; you have to research it yourself. How many people do you think actually went and read that Auto Bailout Bill? We all have opinions on it though, don’t we? Better yet, how many Congress members actually read it? I would stake my house on less than 100%!
    Again, I have nothing against liberals; if you are referring to the fact that everyone should have their freedoms, as intended by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but nowhere in the Bill of Rights does it tell me that I have to give my money to someone else’s cause. I should be able to help those I want to support with my money!
    While you think that answering to Wall Street is harder, I think there is a big shift coming. If I had my way, every incumbent would be voted out over the next 3 elections. Congress was meant as a place to serve your country, when it started, it was very part-time and Congress still had real jobs, they were farmers and lawyers and doctors. They didn’t expect to be in Washington for 35 years as a career. They were protecting their own interests as well of those of the Constitution. Washington has become a cesspool and hopefully the American people will act on a change for the new in the coming years.
    Just as a side note, I am glad that you are at least talking about these issues. People don’t talk enough, and I believe that is part of the problem, so thanks for the forum… I hope more people are concerned enough to comment!

  4. Jim /TEXAS says:

    Biggest union USA, the Local unions 50 of them will be busted one at a time. May God bless the Republicans, who wants the Union of USA workers be paid like 3rd world countries.

    Just stop and think we could import/out source the congressmen and senators with HB1 Visa and save billions or trillions of tax payer’s money.

  5. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    1- The Wall Street bailout was stupid. It would not have passed without the massive support the Democrats.

    2- Because we made one stupid mistake does not mean we have to make more and more. I think it falls under learning from one’s mistakes!

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