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familiar feeling

March 16, 2010

Dear California,

Now you know what it feels like.
I read the first few sentences of that article with a gasp of pain. I remember when Pfizer closed it’s A2 plant. I remember the collective gasp around town. I remember reading facebook posts of high schoolers bereft as they realized what that meant for their parents. I remember the outcry in the local newspapers, the feelings of betrayal, shock, sadness, and anger evident in most articles.
I remember, though less personally as I was more strongly connected to Pfizer, auto plants closing throughout my life. I remember plants going through production halts, and the effect mass layoffs and shutdowns had. I remember hearing about the ripple effect, and throughout my whole life there has been a feeling of a downward slide throughout the state. The Michigan economy just keeps getting smaller which each mass layoff or plant closing. There’s not a lot of hope left.
So yeah, at first I felt the pain of Fremont, and I was glad to see the ripple effect of other jobs mentioned. But then there was, well, schadenfreude. We’ve been there, those of us from Michigan. We know what it does to a community and to the state. People laughed at the Big Three when they flew to DC to beg for bailout money, but we knew just what that money meant. And now, I promise, the people of Fremont understand.
Yeah, I feel bad for them. But they’re pretty damn lucky, honestly. The California economy is so very much larger than the Michigan economy, and doing better. And maybe, now, they understand what big businesses do, that they will take your tax breaks and then leave, because they could increase their margins going elsewhere. 4.700 newly laid off employees and their families and community members now know what Michigan knows, (and to a lesser extant northwest Ohio and some other parts of the country)

Anyway I lost my train of thought, so I’m gonna post this without really concluding it.

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