6.10.2009

Why Janesville won't get that new car line

Today, members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation met with GM management about the future of Janesville's GM plant. I appreciate the effort by our elected officials, but I'm afraid it's a waste of time.

Now, I hope I'm wrong. I really hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see how the Janesville plant will get the new car line.

It doesn't matter how experienced the Janesville GM workers are, or how hard they are willing to work. It doesn't even matter if it makes good business sense. The federal government now owns 60% of GM; these decisions are all politics now and Wisconsin doesn't have the clout.

I hate to say this but the decision is going to be based on political connections and power more than anything else. Michigan is going to get the new car line for three reasons: Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. John Conyers, and Rep. John Dingell. Those three men have more power on Capitol Hill than we do. They will get the plant.

Think about it. If you were President Obama - or his appointed GM CEO - who would you award this big of a win to? Would it be one of the rising stars of the GOP in Paul Ryan? No. Would it be to one of the least effective Democrats in Congress in Tammy Baldwin? No. Would it be the chair of the House Judiciary committee, John Conyers or the Senate Chair of the Armed Services committee, Carl Levin or the Chairman Emeritus of the House Energy and Commerce committee, John Dingell?

It's a no-brainer.

The government's takeover of GM changes everything. This isn't about what's best for GM, it's what's best politically. Unfortunately, I don't see how Wisconsin comes out on top in this scenario. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but I won't hold my breath.

In the meantime, what do you think Gov. Doyle and Speaker Sheridan are going to do about Rock County's massive unemployment rate? Will they look for other options for the GM plant besides the new car line, or will they stick their heads deeper in the sand and hope that President Obama makes everything better - just like he did with the stimulus and our budget deficit? You know, because that worked out so well...