USA Today makes the current economic crisis personal and understandable by visiting a quaint little town where the simple folk are dazed by the goings on:
KOKOMO, Ind. — Ever since Elwood Haynes revved his horseless carriage up to 7 mph on the Pumpkinvine Pike in 1894, this has been a car town. It calls itself "City of Firsts," site of the first American gas-powered car, the first carburetor, the first pneumatic tire, the first push-button car radio.
Two decades ago, local auto plants employed more than 20,000 workers, and Chrysler and the parts maker Delphi still account for 20% of all local jobs.
But now, as Washington argues whether to give automakers just enough money to limp into the new year, a growing number of people here feel that the car, which took Kokomo so far for so long, has turned into a dead end.
Meanwhile, ABC News makes the current economic crisis personal and understandable by visiting a quaint little town where the simple folk are dazed by the goings on:
Nowhere else in America has the unemployment rate jumped so high, so fast than in Elkhart.
A year ago, this northern Indiana community was prospering, with unemployment hovering at 4.4 percent. But this summer the recession hit and it hit hard.
Several big recreational vehicle manufacturers slashed jobs. Then their suppliers followed with layoffs. Unemployment has now reached 10.7 percent -- that's nearly one out of every nine people without work.
"Our plant just closed down," said Ed Neufeldt, who lost his job with RV manufacturer Monaco Coach Sept. 17. "They just closed the doors."
ABC gets the "put the poignancy high in the story" award with "just closed down . . . They just closed the doors." But USA Today gets the Overwrought Metaphor prize for the car taking Kokomo so darned far before it turned into a dead in. Or maybe it was just a cul-de-sac, and the driver will eventually figure out he just has to make a U-turn.
If GM goes under and the plant here closes, I wonder who we'll get. Maybe it's my print prejudice, but I hope it's a classy newspaper like The Wall Street Journal instead of one of those annoying jerks from "20/20" or "Inside Edition." Do you think we're too big to be a quaint little town? I hope not. I want to be the guy who just shakes his head and says, "We never, ever dreamed this could happen here, not in a million years," but if somebody else wants that, I suppose I could be the guy in the restaurant sipping his coffee and musing, "We'll get through this. We've seen worse."