Ever since the General Motors Plant closed 8 yrs ago, the people of Janesville, Wisconsin have continued the struggle to survive and thrive.
Janesville is the City that at one time was a two – Corporate town, Parker Pen and General Motors (GM). In fact generations of Janesville citizens worked for GM. The UAW was “born ” there in 1934. GM closed in 2010. Amy Goldstein, a writer for the Washington Post, went there to write the individual stories of the townspeople. She writes about the impact of the GM Plant’s closing on the economic and emotional stability of the town. Sadly, Janesville went from comfortably middle class to the working poor.
They had a cohesion few towns had since the town supported multiple generations of GM workers. And while the first generation retired with their pensions, their children and grandchildren didn’t have the plant or pension to live on. Training centers were set up but when people finished training, no jobs were available. So the townspeople ultimately developed their own NGO’s and food and clothing pantries.
The town survives today. They have retrained and become retail clerks, managers or GM “gypsies”, traveling hundreds of miles weekly for years to remain employed by GM.
Many of the townspeople have not recovered from the loss of the Plant. Their lives and emotional stability are weaker than before because the job had defined them. These people are suffering from shame and emotional stress. Because Janesville is a cohesive community, they have not succumbed to opioid addiction. However, they, like workers everywhere, are waiting for the day when new industry will bring new jobs and better wages.
It’s the American story. In many ways, they represent the resilience of the American spirit. But sadly they also remind us of that tragic tale heard over and over across America where towns and cities are waiting in vain for the manufacturing and/or businesses to return to their communities. When Paul Ryan was first told of the plant closing in his home town, he was stunned. He tried unsuccessfully to bring in another GM product. Fast forward to 2017, Paul Ryan has changed. He supported the Trump Tax cuts, that will forever change America’s economic landscape and promotes Corporate off shoring at the expense of American workers.
The article below makes it quite clear why many Americans have never recovered from the 2008 recession. “Jobs continue to go overseas due to the lucrative nature of the Trump Tax Cuts” and these Tax Cuts maintain Economic inequality.
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