No Laughing Matter

Paul W. Smith hosts a show on WJR-AM in Detroit and also writes for the Detroit News. Here’s his October 22, 2011 column entitled “No joke, our money going to Finland”.

“‘Outta’ my mind on a Saturday Moanin'”, he begins. “Even a guy as bright (no pun intended) as Thomas Edison would be shocked (again no pun intended … and that really would be a Ben Franklin joke anyway) to find his life-changing invention 132 years ago (yesterday), would be the hot potato, political line in the sand it is today. For him, it was the first workable electric bulb.

“Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of another life-changing technology: the iPod’s introduction. Oh, it’s also mother-in-law day (insert joke here, if applicable). On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will make his fourth visit to Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’. (Insert several jokes here.)

“Are you kidding me? Our president gave our hard-earned money to Henry Fisker to build his politically correct $ 97,000 electric sports car? You know, the $ 529 million loan that Vice president Joe Biden claimed was a bright new path to thousands of American jobs. Two years later, only 500 jobs have been created – at a cost of about $ 1.1 million per job. But wait, it gets better, well, actually, worse. Much worse. Those 500 great American jobs are in Finland.

“I’m not done. ABC network chief investigative reporter Brian Ross tells me Mr. Fisker told him: ‘There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle. They don’t exist here.’

“Apparently he’s never heard of Detroit and didn’t know we have a few empty available auto plants in ‘move-in’ condition. He apparently didn’t know we have a ‘few’ well-trained, excellent auto workers available, too.

And finally, as if he hadn’t spread enough salt into our wounds, Mr. Fisker finished with: ‘We’re not in the business of failing; we’re in the business of winning. So we make the right decision for the business. That’s why we went to Finland.’

“Why didn’t he get the $ 529 million from Finland then? Maybe he and his cars should just stay there – after he pays us back.

“Oh, that’s my final reference to jokes. And I don’t feel much like laughing right now.” –

[Can you spell “S-w-e-e-t-h-e-a-r-t D-e-a-l”?]

With that $ 529 million we could have revitalized at least five U.S. shipyards and created employment for more than a five hundred thousand onsite and offsite workers. For that matter, a lousy $ 10 billion would revitalize about 100 of our slumbering shipyards and end once and for all this depressed economy. It isn’t fantasy. We’ve been down this road before.