Cartoon Tuesday: Detroit Double-Feature


Click through for cartoonist Lisa Benson’s take on who calls the tune in Detroit (though maybe no longer in Washington).

After the jump, Pat Oliphant peers into a possibly not-too-distant future.


Click through for the writing on the … plaque.

  • Pretty weak sauce to put up a cartoon that casts the UAW as the malevolent muscle behind the curtain.

    If you’re looking for a villain in this story, you certainly don’t have to try too hard: Detroit has been wasting time and money for decades pursuing a retrograde strategy, both politically and in its manufacturing.

    Faulting workers for doing their best to look out for their own interests seems like a pretty cheap shot, especially coming from people who enjoy employer-paid health care and generous vacation.


  • “Weak Sauce” could be the title of a compilation of Lisa Benson’s editorial cartoons. Not to get all meta, but a cartoon of her would have to depict issues going over her head.

  • Mike

    Unions and their members pursue their short-term interest without worrying about the long-term implications. (Yes, their benefits are long-term, but that assumes that their company or organization can support those benefits long-term, which they don’t concern themselves with.) How are they so different from auto execs? Everyone is human.

  • Erik

    I agree with Nathan on this. Making the Union the fall guy on this issue puts the final nail in the coffin of organized labor in the US. Something Reagan and Republicans have been pretty successful doing for the past 30 years.

  • For what it’s worth, I chose the Benson comic because it’s topical and somewhat provocative. I don’t doubt that the intended message is more pernicious, but my overall impression from it was that the UAW is, in this case, more of a consideration than the Big Three. Having toiled in “right to work” states for many years, this, to me, is not a bad thing.

  • MisterBadExample

    Not funny. NOT fair. NOT true.

    When I was following the union struggles in the ’70’s and ’80s, one of the things that stood out was that the UAW was trying to trade hourly wages for a seat at the table. In every contract they tried to negotiate, they tried to get senior membership into corporate decision-making circles. They saw this as being in their own best interests–if a high school dropout on the line could figure out that Fords weren’t going to sell, why couldn’t the management guys?

    In all cases, the result of contract negotiations was the same–the money went up, but the line workers got no say in decisions.

    And gee–last year, when Congress threatened to tax hedge fund managers’ income at the same rate as, say, dishwashers or carpenters, the hedge fund guys had some very up close and personal private meetings with Schumer and the talks went nowhere. That’s only a six BILLION dollar difference for the treasury. But I don’t remember a single cartoonist drawing the hedge fund guys as angry gorillas or organized crime guys.

    Do we need hedge funds more than we need industrial infrastructure?

  • We need industrial infrastructure for transit but we don’t need people building cars. To the extent that the UAW is an organization of people who build cars, it is as obsolete as the automobile itself. And it is rather large and rather powerful, so a cartoon picturing it as a gorilla is not inappropriate.


Cartoon Tuesday: More Car (Company) Trouble

Cartoonist Mark Fiore has more fun with Detroit this week. Click through for what to do when your car company breaks down. We’ve noticed that, in the midst of all the Big Three bashing, some are wondering how white-collar institutions like Citigroup can secure so much money from the feds while the blue-collar-employing automakers are […]

Man Walks 21 Miles to Commute Each Day Because of Detroit’s Awful Transit

A piece in the Detroit Free Press about 56-year-old factory worker James Robertson and his 21-mile round-trip walking commute to the Detroit suburbs is going viral this week. It is both an amazing story of individual perseverance and a scathing indictment of a failing transportation system. Robertson’s total commute is actually a 46-mile round-trip, split between different […]