In an interview with Wood TV news on Tuesday, March 31st, Jennifer Granholm compared the Detroit auto crisis to a natural disaster. She did not use an appropriate simile: This crisis, like a tornado, formed under a specific set of conditions and then struck suddenly. Nor did she employ an corny metaphor: The tectonic plates of Michigan's economy have been shaken.
Granholm said that she is pushing for support of the auto companies and families, because "this is our Hurricane Katrina... so we need a response that is like that."
Katrina victims could empathize with Detroit families who have lost their jobs and homes. But in the interest of everyone involved, the governor shouldn't be drawing comparisons between foreclosed homeowners and rooftop survivors, between an unemployment rate and a death toll. And perhaps the government's response with helicopters, food and shelter (reportedly inadequate as it was) should look different than the government's response to a failing business and its employees.
This is the American automobile industry and these are struggling families; I hope the government can assist both where it should. But there are about 600 miles between Michigan and the ocean, which is roughly the same metaphoric distance between Michigan's economy at the tragedy of Katrina.