Do we REALLY need people to be making RVs?

Yesterday, Mayor Bob Coble of Columbia said President Obama either had been, or would be, invited to address the National Hydrogen Association’s annual conference here in April. The mayor said, rightly, that such would be a great opportunity for the president to demonstrate his seriousness about the "green economy" and energy independence.

I heard the mayor say that yesterday afternoon.

So imagine my surprise to see that the president's first high-profile road trip beyond the Beltway (or one of the first; I'm not really keeping score) was to Elkhart, Indiana, which is suffering double-digit unemployment because…. well, because people aren't buying so many Recreational Vehicles these days.

Now, I consider it to be a BAD thing that all those people are out of work. But as the author of the Energy Party Manifesto, I have to say it's a GOOD thing, in the grand scheme and all that, that fewer people are buying RVs… In other words, I'd like to see all those good people of Elkhart working at good jobs doing something else.

One would think, given the things that he says about green technologies and energy independence, that Obama would think that, too. So I have to puzzle over the choice of Elkhart as a place to go campaign for his stimulus plan that is all about putting people to work AND protecting the environment and making us more energy-independent. It's just an odd setting. I mean, why not choose another town that's hurting, only from people losing their jobs building tubines for windmill farms or something, or printing Bibles or doing something else virtuous.

Obama's speechwriter seems to have been aware of this, so while he empathized with folks and promised jobs, he did NOT promise them jobs making RVs. Nor did he mention, specifically, that they needed to be something OTHER than making RVs, for the good of the country and their own economic future. He finessed it.

But he wouldn't have had to finesse it if he'd just made the speech somewhere else.

15 thoughts on “Do we REALLY need people to be making RVs?

  1. p.m.

    The Obama formula: Find Democrats who are suffering. Promise them a new overpass. Thus Elkhart.
    Obama’s already running for re-election. Think how many states people with RVs can vote in by virtue of claiming parking spots as their permanent residences. Obama’s courting the nomad voter.
    And today, he’s taking his 2012 campaign to Fort Myers, Fla.
    Apparently, our new president really likes to travel.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, but think about it: Energy Party concerns aside, aren’t there more voters who find RVs a pain in the rear end (trying to see around them, dodging them on the highway) than there are people who LIKE them? Seems like a poor electoral strategy to me…

  3. Lee Muller

    Brad’s ego-centric view of the world, and desire to make everyone behave the way he likes, is what is wrong with too many Americans today.
    They don’t have an SUV or RV, so outlaw them.
    They don’t smoke, so tax tobacco to maximize GovCo revenues.
    They don’t like to pay for medical insurance, so get the government to force healthier, wealthier people pay for the medical treatment of those who shirk responsibility.
    Democrats killed the jobs in Elkhart.
    Democrats are killing off the other automobile jobs.
    Some of the radicals really think they can create a “green economy” where everyone makes a living without working very hard, doing nice things to help the butterflies and polar bears. Most of them are just socialists who hate freedom and prosperity.

  4. Doug Ross

    I assume The State will still take ads from companies selling RV’s, SUV’s, and Hummers?
    I mean that would be one way to cut the demand down. Just refuse to take the money of people working hard to sell them.

  5. Jason F. McBrayer

    Lee, your knee is jerking a bit. Maybe try putting a heavy book or something on it for a minute.
    No one is talking about banning RVs or SUVs. They’re already failing in the market, and we’re talking about why it isn’t such a good idea to rescue a failing business model.
    Now it would be nice to see the RV companies retool and start producing something of actual value, like streetcars, or sleeper cars for passenger trains. But being state-capitalist corporate enterprises, they’re not going to do that without ‘incentive’ money from the government. And odds are that Obama, good state-capitalist that he is, wants to offer them exactly that.

  6. Lee Muller

    Brad Warthen suggested that the voters decide if the minority gets to own an RV.
    Obama and the Democrats have already said they intend to dictate to GM, Ford and Chrysler what models of vehicles to make, regardless of customer demand. They have said they intend to remove SUVs from the highways, by punitive taxes, by manipulating MPG and pollution requirements, and by outright legislation.

  7. Doug Ross

    > Now it would be nice to see the RV
    >companies retool and start producing
    >something of actual value, like streetcars,
    >or sleeper cars for passenger trains.
    Hmmm… just because we are headed for a Depression, does that mean we have to go back to 1930’s style transportation???

  8. Lee Muller

    Trucks and SUVs are still the best-selling vehicles for GM and Ford.
    It is the hybrid cars which are not selling, and are being dropped from product lines by Toyota and Honda.

  9. Matt Foley

    You kids are probably saying to yourself, “Now, I’m gonna go out, and I’m gonna get the world by the tail and wrap it around pull it down and put it in my pocket!” Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re probably gonna find out, as you go out there, that you’re not gonna amount to JACK SQUAT! You’re gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!

  10. Reader

    Instead of an RV, I suggest you help out the Lexington County bozos that kept making pontoon boats, *knowing* nobody wanted them. They are in the pontoon graveyard on Two Notch Road in Lexington:
    Bentleys, they were called.

  11. Brad Warthen

    Just in case anyone makes the mistake of thinking I said what Lee says I said — go to the top and read what I said. Then p.m. said RVs were good politics; I expressed my doubt about that, in exceedingly mild terms. Somehow that translates to me leading the villagers with torches and pitchforks. Sheesh.

  12. T

    “They don’t like to pay for medical insurance”
    Not being able to afford something is not the same as not liking to pay for it. I can’t believe I have to point that out to an old man, but there you go. I pay for catastrophic coverage for myself and my children because it’s all I can afford; I pay for all of my medical expenses out of pocket. I know it’s difficult for someone who probably received health benefits from the auto industry for most of their life to understand, but many working families cannot afford health insurance premiums. Painting that fact as “not liking to pay for it” is ignorant, and if you use Medicaid it’s hypocritical.

  13. Lee Muller

    I have posted the studies here before about how the vast majority of “the uninsured” can afford coverage, but prefer to spend the money on vacations and new cars. Most of the rest of “the uninsured” are just that way for 90 days or less between jobs. A very small percent cannot afford it, because of chronic low income.
    The solution to medical insurance is to get rid of it and pensions as an employee benefit, so everyone would pay for their own and stop trying to game the system.
    Instead, Obama and the socialists play to the greedy instincts in order to drive Americans in the wrong direction, to dependence on a government monopoly of expensive, mediocre care, rationing and denial of treatment.

  14. p.m.

    I was joking, Brad. I know only one RV owner, who hails from Arkansas. He makes his own beer and jerky (both good) and lives in Mayesville, the town cotton built.
    He’s one RV owner I promise you will never vote for Obama. The Clintons had him swearing long before most Americans knew they existed.


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