Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I "Expect" You to Read This

Unfortunately, this article was a little bit more out there yesterday, before what I'm sure had to be a very angry mayoral office informing The Free Press that they better change or remove some of the content. It is still pretty interesting as it stands, but crazier would have been better.

The mayor of Warren (which you might be surprised to hear is the 3rd largest city in Michigan), Jim Fouts, "expects" each of his mayoral appointees to make their next vehicle purchase a Detroit 3 vehicle. In concept, I feel comfortable saying that I agree with the mayor's sentiment. Warren's two largest tax payers are Chrysler and GM, and a mayor typically desires taxes to fund city projects and initiatives. OK, I get that. I have also not hidden my thoughts that all people, but particularly Michigan residents and lovers, should at least consider an American vehicle for purchase.

However, I do not agree with this pseudo-ultimatum made by Fouts. He did not say "Buy this or you're fired", but since he is talking about his mayoral appointees, I don't think it would be particularly difficult for him to de-appoint any of these individuals. When you were younger and your parents said to you "I expect you to not crash your car into the house" they were not saying "eh, I hope you don't crash your car into the house, but either way it'll be ok." The parents controlled the access to the car, and you did not want to mess with that.

At this juncture, we also do not want to generate any sort of resentment for Michigan cars, and unfortunately this is the kind of story that can gather some national momentum. It is not that the story is that interesting, but the news has to come from somewhere. It also seems pretty clear that national media is more than happy to level claims at us of being closed-minded, ignorant, or incapable of understanding our own shortcomings. Having a Michigan mayor "expect" his employees to buy American will do nothing to change this perception. The idea is just, but the execution is errant.

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