Yesterday at GM’s first dedicated EV assembly plant, Factory Zero in Hamtramck, adjacent to Detroit, President Biden presented his case for investing in the future by fixing our neglected infrastructure, thereby building and boosting the middle class. Virtually everyone knows that the future of the auto industry is electric; Some maintain the Chinese are leading. The President posed a question he has asked before: Will America lead or fall behind in the race to win the future?
Before his remarks at a plant once managed by Mary Barra, CEO of GM, Biden spoke to the country about what are the latest talking-trash points from the Republicans, the party of nope and insurrection. “Before I begin, I just want to mention three pieces of good news today. First, two of the leading rating agencies on Wall Street confirmed today, not a liberal think tank, two Wall Street outfits, that the economic proposals we put forward for the nation, the infrastructure law we just signed and the Build Back Better plan are being considered this week in Congress, will not add to inflationary pressures in the economy,” Biden said. “The reason? Because the policies I proposed, quote, ‘help…lift long-term economic growth via stronger productivity… labor force growth,’ as well as taking the edge off of inflation.”
The second point Biden made: “We’ve learned today that job growth in the nation has been even stronger than previously reported. Every month since I’ve been President, the Bureau of Labor Statistic reports the estimated number of jobs created or lost in the country of that month… What we found out today is when they looked back at the last four months, we actually created 710,000 more jobs in the country than was previously reported on top of the 5.6 million we already had created and had been counted that we knew about. So, it’s good news that Americans are working and wages are up as well.” (It took the former president two years to create ~2.5 million jobs, which he touted as his achievement -editor)
Biden’s third point: “Walmart and Target have made public today what they told me about a week ago: that they’re stocked up for the holiday season, their inventories are up, and they’ll have all the toys, food, and other items that shoppers are looking for in the holiday season. That’s going to happen,” Biden said.
As to the high voltage EV issue at hand: “Look, I got a chance to drive a pretty incredible machine back then.* (see below) I thought I, but I never could have imagined vehicles like the ones that I just took for a spin: the first-ever all-electric Hummer, which I first got to check out back in August when GM brought one of the White House, one to the White House lawn, in the South Lawn, along with the electric Ford 150, and the electric Jeep Wrangler,” Biden said.
“Masterpieces of modern manufacturing. Built by union workers. And proof (applause) and proof that America has what it takes to win the competition of the 21st century…
“The kind of conversations that take place around your kitchen tables, conversations, as profound as they are, are ordinary:
- How am I going to get to work on time if I-75 is flooded again?
- How can I be sure that my job at the auto plant is still going to be here a few years down the line?
- How can I afford to get my child degree, a degree beyond high school if they don’t start with the same opportunity?
- And more broadly, “How do we emerge from this pandemic not just with a little breathing room but with real fighting chance to get ahead?”
“They’re the things that take place at the kitchen tables I grew up in,” Biden said. “For most of the 20th century, we led the world by a significant margin because we invested in our people, we invested in ourselves. But something went wrong along the way: We stopped. We risked losing our edge as a nation, and China and the rest of the world are catching up.
“Well, we’re about to turn that around in a big, big way. We’re going to be building again. We’re going to be moving again. And, folks, when you see these projects starting in your hometowns, I want you to feel the way I feel pride in what we can do when we’re together as the United States of America. And it starts here in Detroit. In the auto industry, Detroit is leading the world in electric vehicles. You know how critical it is.
“Mary (Barra), I can remember talking to you way back in January about the need for America to lead in electric vehicles. And I can remember your dramatic announcement that by 2035, GM would be 100 % electric. You changed the whole story, Mary, wherever (applause) wherever you are. There you are. You did, Mary. You electrified the entire automobile industry. I’m serious. You led, and it matters, in drastically improving the climate by reducing hundreds of millions of barrels of oil that will not be used when we’re all electric.
“You know, up until now, China has been leading in this race, but that’s about to change. Because this law, because of this law, next year, for the first time in 20 years, in which American infrastructure investment will be far faster than China’s, the first time in 20 years.
“We’re going to put IBEW members and other union members to work installing a national network of charging stations along our roads and highways and our communities, over 500,000. And Governor Whitmer has already announced a proposal to expand electric charging stations along key travel routes across the state. And a few weeks ago, GM announced it’s going to install 40,000 public charging stations, as we’re going to unleash a lot more than that.
“Look, we’re going to make sure that the jobs of the future end up here in Michigan, not halfway around the world. You know, that means that here in Detroit you’re going to set a new pace for electric vehicles. This is not hyperbole; this is a fact. With this infrastructure law, along with my Build Back Better plan, we’re going to kickstart new batteries, materials, and parts production and recycling; boosting the manufacturing of clean vehicles with new loans and new tax credits; creating new purchase incentives for consumers to buy American-made, union-made clean vehicles, like the electric Hummer or the Silverado or any other of the 20 or more vehicles that GM is going to come out with in the near term that are electric; and spurring demand by covering federal government’s enormous fleet of vehicles, as I’m going to do,” Biden said.
“I pledged when I ran, we have hundreds, we have thousands and thousands of vehicles in the federal fleet. They’re going to all go electric, all of them, down the road, supporting electric transit systems, electric school buses. And, of course, that’s not all the law will achieve… This law makes the most significant investment in roads and bridges in 70 years, fixing so many of those 1,200 bridges, 7,300 miles of roads here in Michigan that are in poor condition, so when a family drives the car you built right here, they’ll be a whole lot safer and they’ll get there a hell of a lot faster.
“The law, the law includes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years and, again, in public transit ever. This bill also rewards companies for paying a decent wage, for buying American, sourcing their products from right here in America, not abroad,” Biden said.
“This will help the United States export clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles made here in Michigan, to the entire world. There’s so much more in this law. But most of all, this law does something truly historic.
“This law is going to help rebuild the backbone of this nation. When I ran for office, I said there were three reasons I’m running: one, to restore the soul of this country and decency; two, to restore the backbone of this country, working-class and middle-class folks, they were the ones that built America; and three, to unite the country.
To rebuild the economy from the bottom up and the middle out is the way I look at the world. The blue-collar, this is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America, and it leaves no one behind. The same goes for my Build Back Better Plan; it’s for our people,” Biden said.
*Biden’s auto dealership job: “I came up in an automobile family. My dad ran the largest automobile dealership, he didn’t own it, just ran it, for 30 years in Delaware. And so, I was raised on cars. And I have a 1967 Corvette that I got as a wedding gift when my deceased wife and I got married. My dad could afford the payments. He couldn’t afford to buy it. But the point was, I thought that was the hell’s bells, man. (Laughter.) 327/350, 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds. This truck (Hummer EV) three times heavier, 0 to 60 in 3 seconds. (Applause.) Woah! (Laughs.) And besides, there’s a beautiful red Corvette maroon Corvette I’m driving home over here. (Laughter.)