No ad in yesterday’s Super Bowl has been more talked about than the one in which Clint Eastwood pitches for Chrysler, declaring it’s “halftime in America.” Forget that Eastwood opposed bailouts and has little love for Barack Obama, some say the ad is a re-election ad for the president, sounding as it does the same themes of Ronald Reagan’s “morning in America” ad:
Unemployment in the U.S. is about 1 percent higher than it was when Reagan (whose birthday is today) sounded the “comeback” theme in his famous commercial.
But this latest ad is another in a long line of attempts to hold Detroit up as a model for sticking to it through time times.
A success story? Don’t tell Comerica Bank chief economist Robert Dye, who issued his forecast for the Detroit area just last week. One of the reasons the unemployment rate has fallen is 150,000 people have moved out of the area. Dye says that trend may continue and for those staying, “prospects for near-term re-employment of most of the unemployed look dim,”
The ad also ignores another truth: There’s more to an economy than making cars in Detroit.
True, Detroit may no longer be the nation’s basket case. That distinction belongs to El Centro, California, where the unemployment rate — the official unemployment rate — is 26.8 percent.
Even Harry Callahan can’t put lipstick on that one.