The Detroit News: Jobs, The Economy, Fairness

By March 14, 2007Economy, Energy, Global Warming

From the House schedule of committee meetings:

ENERGY & COMMERCE——————————————–2:00-Open
Energy & Air Quality Subc. Hrng. on climate change and perspectives from automobile industry. Ron Gettelfinger, President International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; Jim Press, President and Chief Operating Officer, Toyota Motor North America; Thomas W. LaSorda, President and CEO, Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler; Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO, General Motors Corporation; Alan R. Mulally, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company. 2123 RHOB.

Anticipating this afternoon’s House hearing on the automotive industry and its purported role in climate change, the Detroit News has published an outstanding, cautionary editorial, reminding committee members of the real consequences of demonizing those who testify. Do not reach for comparisons between the tobacco industry and automakers, the News warns.

An excerpt follows, but read the whole thing.

Roughly one in seven Americans is employed directly or indirectly in making cars and trucks. Subject the auto industry to the same strangling noose of punitive regulations that were intended to choke off the tobacco companies and the nation’s economy will plunge into recession. The big trucks and sport utility vehicles targeted by the global warming warriors are an important part of the economies of 19 states.

The auto executives are not criminals, nor are they sinister operators who set out to hook American consumers on harmful products.

They are honorable men and women who are doing their best against long odds to keep alive three companies that are crucial not only to the health of Michigan, but of the nation.

The News notes that Committee Chairman John Dingell, R-MI, has promised not to let the hearing turn into a public flogging, but others — the paper mentions political grandstanding — have different goals. The conclusion: “The more responsible committee members should keep in mind that the executives they are grilling today sign the paychecks of a whole lot of voters.” A useful, useful reminder.

UPDATE (5 p.m.): The hearing has just concluded. Quite mild, full of comity. AP story here. Perhaps Members took the paper’s cautions to heart.