The 1950s Were Not a Golden Age for Detroit’s Autoworkers

The Industry’s Booms and Busts Brought Instability That Kept Workers From Getting Ahead

In the popular as well as the political imagination, the 1950s were a golden age for American industrial workers, especially for the hundreds of thousands who toiled in Detroit’s auto factories. The story holds that lucrative contracts negotiated by the United Automobile Workers resulted in rising wages and improved benefits like pensions and health care. A blue-collar elite emerged: primarily white male, industrial wage earners who stepped up into America’s middle class and bought homes in the suburbs, eagerly purchased new cars, owned cabins “up north” in Michigan, and sent …

Your Electric Car Isn’t Making California’s Air Any Cleaner

The Environmental Benefits of Rich People’s Teslas Are Canceled Out By All the Gas-Guzzling Clunkers Still on Our Roads

This is a tale of two zip codes.

First there’s 94582: San Ramon, California.

Since 2010, the roughly 38,000 citizens and businesses of this prosperous Bay Area suburb, where the median household …

Go Ahead, Texas: Just Try to Recruit This Californian

Interstate Competition Is Fierce. But Texas Didn’t Win Toyota For the Reasons You Think.

I forgive you, Toyota.

I now know firsthand what it’s like to be recruited to the suburbs of north Dallas, the region that just stole away Toyota’s North American headquarters, and …

My Horrible, Hopeful L.A. Commute

The Hours I Spend Stuck in Traffic Are Bad for My Health. But Along the Way I Get a Front Seat View of Southern California’s Transportation Transformation.

If you want to know why this column isn’t better, I’ve got an excuse for you: I have a killer Southern California commute.

Since I started driving from my South Pasadena …

Ode to My Oldsmobile

Night blue, the size of a walk-in closet,
so long, it was like driving a big fish,
back seat bustle finning behind.

My parents bought if from an old couple
at …

Our Ignorant Gas-Price Bliss

No One Wants To Talk About the ‘Crack Spread,’ But That Obscene-Sounding Term Is a Key To Understanding Your Spending At the Pump

Sigh. Everyone wants to talk about gas prices—$4.25 a gallon for regular in L.A. last week. But no one wants to talk about crack spreads. “Crack spread” sounds a bit …