Technological change always creates winners and losers in the jobs market. But as the Wall Street Journal points out, the disruption among autoworkers is being caused by the Biden administration, not market forces.
Is this completely necessary? Is anybody measuring the ruined lives against how bad global warming actually is, whether it is really the end of the world, whether it makes some things better, and whether electric vehicles – with their own emissions and their needs for special minerals – are going to make any measurable difference?
The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes:
President Biden sold the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a giant climate jobs program, but then how does he explain what happened Friday at the StellantisJeep Cherokee plant in Belvidere, Illinois? Some 1,350 workers are losing their jobs so the auto maker can finance its government-mandated and subsidized electric-vehicle expansion.
Stellantis broke the news to workers on Friday that it will idle the Cherokee plant in February, citing “the increasing cost related to the electrification of the automotive market.” Merry Christmas! The Jeep Cherokee has been a popular model, though the plant has cut shifts since 2019.
But Stellantis, which formed through the merger of France’s PSA Group and Italian-American Fiat Chrysler, needs to come up with money to finance the more than $35 billion that it plans to invest in EVs over the next few years. Government industrial policy doesn’t give the company much of a choice.