13 February 2014

Flaherty bribes automakers—globalization at work

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's $500-million handout to the auto industry has engendered a bit of controversy. Dino Chiodo, president of the union representing hourly workers at Chrysler's Windsor assembly plant, says it isn't enough. Mark Milke of the Fraser Institute says it's way too much, claiming corporate welfare is a bad idea and the money would be better spent on social welfare programs and retraining.

I find myself—and this doesn't happen very often—in agreement with the Fraser Institute's Mr. Milke. At least in theory. In practice, however, Dino Chiodo may very well be right when he says, "If they don't do this, Windsor will be a ghost town."

Mr. Chiodo is simply recognizing the reality of globalization, or at least globalization as we have come to know it. And that is as a system where corporations reign supreme. They have been granted the upper hand over both workers and government. If a government doesn't bribe them generously enough, they move somewhere that has a more amenable government. And more amenable workers. And they are quite prepared to leave a ghost town behind.

Apparently Flaherty's largesse is supposed to be repayable, however as the automakers have the advantage we can't expect the government to be too demanding. Corporate handouts have a checkered history of repayment.

So as much as Flaherty's corporate generosity ticks me off, I have to admit he may be doing the necessary thing to keep jobs in Ontario.

No comments:

Post a Comment