Globalization Hits Indiana

By March 13, 2006General

This morning, Toyota is expected to announce that it is adding some 1,000 jobs — and a few hundred million dollars of investment — to a Subaru plant in Indiana that is currently operating well under capacity. Toyota bought about half of GM’s stake in Subaru’s parent company last October and is moving quickly to reap the benefits of that deal.

We wrote in this space last week about the Dubai ports imbroglio and the political firestorm that it ignited, the victory of politics over policy. We cited numbers from the Organization for International Investment that showed how much foreign investment there is in the US: about $5 trillion, millions of jobs, billions in wages. We cited Toyota then as one shining example, having brought some 400,000 jobs to our shores, according to a recent report. Now they bring that message home once more, increasing by a third the number of jobs at this lone plant in Indiana. This, by the way, is in addition to the almost 135,000 jobs already in Indiana “insourced” from foreign-owned firms.

It is a reminder once again that trade is a two-way street. As we said last week, had we given the red light to Toyota’s initial investment here in the US back in the 70’s, this Subaru plant would not exist, for they followed the path to our shores blazed by Toyota. But we gave the green light and so they came, and came, and came. Now, workers are employed by Toyota in Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, and Texas, by Honda in Ohio and elsewhere, by Subaru in Indiana, Nissan in Tennessee, BMW in South Carolina, and Mercedes in Alabama. Every one of these represents an investment of hundreds of millions in capital in the US, and as much in wages. And guess what? All boats rise with the tide.

So we want to take this opportunity to congratulate Toyota on this expansion. For this day, this moment, it is Indiana’s turn to celebrate. But over the long haul, since 1975, we have all benefited from foreign investment. In a day and time where the term has almost become a dirty word, this is a day we can all sit back and bask in the glow of globalization.