The trip to Michigan was like a visit to In-N-Out Burger, a drive-by as President Joe Biden flew to California to campaign for reelection.
Biden flew on Air Force One to Detroit and, after carefully descending the stairs of his Boeing 747, spent just 12 minutes at the picket line of the United Auto Workers strike. They are asking for a 40% wage increase and a 32-hour work week.
Biden spoke for 87 seconds, took some photos, and then went back to his motorcade and sped to the airport, where he carefully walked up the short stairs installed for his aged abilities, and jetted to California for fundraisers with Hollywood celebrities.
It was a “Dark Brandon” move, showing the fighting, edgy and slightly sinister side of Biden. Dark Brandon is a term the Biden Administration coined a year ago to describe Biden’s alter ego.
Biden was stealing the thunder from former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination, who has plans to attend a rally with the strikers in the auto industry, long planned for the same time as the Republican debate on Wednesday evening.
Biden fist-bumped strikers for the cameras and told the crowd, “You deserve the significant raise you need and other benefits,” joining the list of elected officials who choose to put their thumbs on the scale of worker-management disputes in an age of spiraling inflation and worker shortages.
Biden has called himself the most “pro-union president” in history, and indeed, this is the largest strike to ever get the explicit support of an elected president.
But the people of Instagram were not particularly impressed with his PR push in Detroit. They pointed out his policies killing the oil industry and propping up electric vehicles, and how high the cost of living is in America under Bidenomics.
The three factories the UAW has targeted for strikes are the ones that are most profitable for the American auto industry: General Motors’ plant in Wentzville, Mo., makes Chevy Colorado and the GMC Savana. Ford Motors’ plant in Wayne, Mich., makes Ford Rangers and Ford Broncos, and the Stellantis mothership in Toledo, Ohio, makes Jeep Wranglers and Jeep Gladiators. The strike did not call attention to the money-losers — the electric vehicles that are being made but are not being sold.
The supply of EVs in stock has swelled nearly 350% this year, according to Axios. The surplus is now more than 92,000, representing a three months’ worth of EVs sitting gathering dust as their batteries drain. It’s nearly twice the industry average for traditional cars. An average EV costs more than $64,000.
“What do all these vehicles have in common?” asked the Washington Examiner in an editorial that called attention to the strike’s focus on the profitable traditional vehicles. “Unlike electric vehicles that lose money, these vehicles are among the Big Three’s most profitable products. They are also exactly the type of vehicle President Joe Biden wants to eliminate by 2032, when his new regulations mandate that two-thirds of all cars sold in the United States must be EVs.”
EVs have fewer parts than gasoline models, which means fewer jobs for auto workers. And all the manufacturers for things like mufflers, catalytic converters, and fuel injectors will have to close, the newspaper pointed out.
Vice President Kamala Harris said that auto workers’ fears over a shift to electric vehicles is a “perspective that some people have [that] is grounded in a very old, false choice.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, running for president, told CNBC, “American autoworkers know that Joe Biden has chosen Beijing over Detroit and that is a key factor driving the UAW strike.” Former President Donald Trump called it a “PR stunt.”
Biden, however, was not on the picket line so much to support the workers as he was to get the UAW endorsement — well worth an hour of his time, and hundreds of thousands of gallons of jet fuel. According to GoBankingRates.com, during the Obama Administration, which ended in January of 2017, it cost over $206,000 per hour to fly the president on Air Force One. For the hour and a half trip from Washington, D.C. to Detroit, the cost of the flight alone for Biden was well over a quarter million dollars — just for the Detroit leg of his trip, a campaign junket paid for by U.S. taxpayers.