From the article:
For all of Detroit's mistakes, it is also a victim of something it did right: ensuring a middle-class lifestyle for bluecollar workers. When the carmakers, pushed by unions, agreed to provide workers with a steady level of purchasing power, comprehensive health benefits lasting into retirement, and various forms of workplace rights, they were promising something that all Americans covet. And, while the financial costs and managerial constraints associated with that effort have helped bring domestic carmakers to the edge of collapse, ultimate responsibility for this situation lies beyond
In a more enlightened society, after all, government would have made those promises and extended them to all workers, thereby spreading the burden of financing them to all taxpayers. That's how it's done in Europe and in Japan--which, not coincidentally, is the home of Detroit's most successful competitors. But the U.S. government never took that step. So, instead of a public welfare state, we got a private one, administered for only some workers and paid for by their employers. Sooner or later, this arrangement was bound to fail.
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