A favorite movie of mine is “Wag the Dog” the 1997 dark comedy with Robert DeNiro. In it, his character who is a political consultant, keeps using the phrase when referring to the press, “Now they get it.” I was thinking of that expression when I saw the piece in today’s Wall Street Journal written by Josh Mitchell, “Car Chiefs Grilled on Dealer Closings.” Now Congress and the press are "getting" one of the untold stories about the entire mess with the auto industry, and that’s the problem that shutting down thousands of dealerships will cause for small towns all across the USA.
As one example, over the years I’ve spent a lot of time in Cody, Wyoming, and in that town of around 7,000 year-round residents, the car dealers were among the biggest and best employers, they were big contributors to charity, and they were the ones youth baseball, soccer and hockey teams went to for sponsorship. Truth be told, youth sports in our country the last twenty years would have been in a world of hurt without car dealers as they were the ones who paid for lots of uniforms, bats, and balls.
This same story about economic impact for communities can be told across the USA, and with these dealers going out of business, the trickledown effect for our country will be huge. This should have been something that was addressed with Detroit before the billions in bailout money was given to them, but as is often the case, “Now they get it” is heard later rather than earlier and the impact has yet to be felt. Rest assured though, it will be felt.