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Monday, February 20, 2006

Ind. Econ. Dev. - Anderson, front-page, above-the-fold in the NY Times today

But one might wish it were better news. The headline: "Company Town Relies on G.M. Long After Plants Have Closed." The lengthy report begins:

ANDERSON, Ind., Feb. 16 — General Motors once had so many plants here that it had to stagger their schedules so that the streets would not be clogged with traffic when the workday ended. At the city's peak, 35 years ago, one of every three people in Anderson worked for G.M.

Now there is not a single G.M. plant left, and just two parts plants that G.M. once owned still survive. Anderson, about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, had 70,000 people in 1970 and now has fewer than 58,000.

But in many ways, Anderson is still just as dependent on G.M. as it once was. Only now, rather than being dependent on General Motors, the corporation, it is dependent on General Motors, the welfare state.

The company's generous medical plans, prescription drug coverage, dental care and pension checks are a lifeline for the 10,000 G.M. retirees and an untold number of surviving spouses and other family members who still live in the Anderson area.

They in turn help to prop up the doctor's offices, hospitals, buffet restaurants and shopping centers that might otherwise vanish along with the G.M. plants around the city that are fast becoming rubble. Anderson's G.M. retirees outnumber its remaining auto manufacturing workers by nearly four to one.

"When we all die off, this city will die," Jesse Lollar, 83, said last week, as he finished an early dinner of lima beans and macaroni and cheese at the MCL Cafeteria in the Mounds Mall.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 20, 2006 06:52 PM
Posted to Indiana economic development