By Melissa Melendez for RealClearPolicy
Ford Motor Company, an American icon, is the home of the iconic Model-T. It also gave birth to the Thunderbird and the Shelby GT 350. And, yes, it’s the beloved Mustang.
The story of Ford is really the story of America told in microcosm: an ever-unfolding saga of overcoming struggle with grit; progress through innovation; and the bold and sometimes daunting belief in bringing to life what is possible but not yet is – all thanks to the potent combination of American ingenuity and unrelenting perseverance.
Ford seems to have moved on from those times. Americans can thank Gavin Newsom, the governor of California.
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Governor. Newsom toured Ford’s Greenfield Labs research facility in Silicon Valley. He was there to tout a nearly $2 billion investment of California taxpayer dollars in cleaner and more cost-effective transportation as a component of the Golden State’s aggressive emissions and climate agenda.
Critical to his policy prescriptions are a swift shift to no-emission vehicles, including for Ford, whose gas-guzzling F-150 remains the most popular pickup truck in America.
Naturally, Governor. Newsom wasn’t in Palo Alto that day to tout the F-150; his visit was focused on the news Ford Mustang Mach-E, which, unlike its fuel-injected predecessor, is a 100% zero-emission electric vehicle (EV). It represents the future of the automotive sector globally – unsurprisingly, China currently dominates the market – and could be a major economic and environmental opportunity for the United States.
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At this point, you may be wondering where the problem is, and you’d be forgiven for not knowing. The thing Gov. Newsom didn’t mention during his taxpayer-funded trip to Palo Alto was that the entirety of Ford’s global production run of Mustang Mach-Es are made not in California – or even in America – but, rather, in Mexico.
For the governor, this kind of chicanery has become a routine. This $2 billion project will have its greatest tangible benefits south of the border. It was funded by California taxpayers and will be celebrated in Palo Alto instead of being announced at Mustang Mach-Es.
The Mexican political and business community are not surprised by this. On March 2, an editorial appeared in Mexican newspaper Mexico Now. The author, Julio Di-Bella Roldán, vice president of public relations for the El Gran Bajío regional chamber of commerce, noted the significant financial outlays made by Ford into the country and the obvious resulting benefits: “These U.S. capital investments in facility upgrades, skills training, and new job opportunities will benefit all of Mexico, helping sustain the recovery of millions of Mexican jobs lost during the pandemic and imparting vast economic benefits well beyond a single factory.”
Roldán also refers to this as an “increasingly familiar story,” raising the obvious question about what our leaders here at home are doing to protect American jobs and support a green, American manufacturing vision for the future, with EVs aplenty.
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Plainly speaking, the governor’s event did nothing more than give Ford credit for its investment in EV technology with merely the appearance that the state would reap some direct benefit. Instead, jobs that should be going to hard-working Californians, and Ford’s capital investments in a greener and cleaner future, have ended up in Mexico. It makes America less global competitive with China especially, and is also less environmentally friendly.
Men like Henry Ford built America. Our story tells Henry Ford’s story. Americans share his hard work ethic and commitment to excellence that helped us build American enterprise.
By contrast, the governor was satisfied with what amounts to a very expensive photo op – all while consigning the possibilities of a vibrant, green, American-engineered economic future to a foreign country. That’s a legacy I know most Californians – and most Americans – would rather not embrace.
Real Clear Wire granted permission to syndicate.
State Senator Melissa Melendez represents California’s 28Th Senate district.
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