The 'Today Show' ran a nice little piece this morning on the "fact" that foreign automakers are just as "American" as can be — and yet again we're wondering if the mainstream media ever does their homework on these pieces or if they do — what's their litmus test for what makes a company "American." We feel like maybe we've got to give them a little primer so they've got the right notes for next time.
You see, it still amazes us when the MSM ignores the reality of facts like "employment numbers" and "profit repatriation" in order to make an argument that companies like Toyota, Honda and Nissan are "American." Yes, they've got manufacturing plants here and yes, they buy some parts from suppliers here — but the big dogs — GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group have US employment numbers far and away exceeding the numbers of US employees of foreign automakers. In 2004, the Automotive Trade Policy Council provided testimony on Capitol Hill that these three US auto manufacturers directly employ 382,000 American workers, and indirectly employ over 4.4 million. On the other hand, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai directly employ 91,000 American workers, and indirectly employ 840,000. We mean, come on — 4.4 million jobs versus 840,000? That's not even close by a long shot.
But don't even get us started on repatriated profits. Off of every automobile sold here in the US — the profits (or losses in some cases) are, for the most part, going to the automaker spawning it. In Toyota and Honda's case, it's Japan — and in GM and Ford's case, it's here in the US — we dunno where Chrysler's is going — they're like a hybrid German-American hodgepodge.
But we digress, the real point here is this isn't even an argument — you're supporting American workers if you buy American — if you buy non-American you're supporting foreign manufacturers and a small number of American workers — which isn't bad, it's just not enough to be able to call yourself "American." It's as simple as that.
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