In case people weren’t keeping track, North Carolina’s two U.S. senators split on the vote to kill the legislation that would have provided bridge loans to the auto industry. Elizabeth Dole, in what was presumably her final act, got in touch with her old moderate self and voted to help the industry and the millions of people that it supports, while Richard “Scrooge” Burr voted “no.”
Lest anyone (like Burr himself) think this was a “safe” vote because it was only about helping out “those people” up in Michigan and Ohio (and, of course, helping out his buddies in the Senate Republican caucus who represent southern states with big foreign-owned manufacturers that have received oodles of public “incentives” handouts), he or she may want to check the facts.
As John Quinterno reported in this space last week:
Media accounts of the financial problems buffeting the nation’s “Big Three” automakers frequently portray the fallout as being limited to a handful of industrial states in the Midwest. Yet in reality, the failure of GM, Ford and/or Chrysler would exact a heavy toll from all 50 states.
Although North Carolina has no passenger vehicle assembly plants, it is a major producer of automotive parts and supplies. Such firms would be harmed irreparably by a failure of any or all of the “Big Three” manufacturers.
New estimates compiled by the Economic Policy Institute show that that a shutdown of GM alone would eliminate 26,400 jobs across North Carolina. Meanwhile, a shutdown of all American-based passenger vehicle assembly operations would cost North Carolina some 95,600 jobs. Under either scenario, only ten states would lose more jobs.
Burr actually forecast his vote a couple of weeks ago in an interview with a Raleigh right-wing radio screamer named Bill LuMaye in which he placed all the blame for the Big Three’s tough times on (surprise!!) union contracts.
So, when the new rounds of layoffs start coming in for the thousands of North Carolina workers who stand to lose their jobs as the result of the collapse or bankruptcy of the Big Three, it looks like workers will know who to thank.