Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics does a bit of research and catches the Times' liberal hyena in a slander against the state of Alabama. Krugman wrote that:
"Maybe we should discount remarks from the president of the Toronto-based Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, who claimed that the educational level in the Southern United States was so low that trainers for Japanese plants in Alabama had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech equipment."
The 'maybe' is an artful bit of deniability but it hardly hides his desire to air the statement.
Gerry Fedchun, the President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, wrote this to the Birmingham (AL) Times in response:
I never used the word "illiterate," nor would I. I have been in this industry a long time. The use of diagrams and illustrations is common. I was horrified that my remarks were reported as they were.
I have led four trade missions to the Southeastern United States. Several Canadian suppliers have set up plants there as a direct result of these trade missions. If I believed what the article implied, would I have done so? I think not.
I must profoundly apologize for the agony the interpretation of my comments has caused. I hold a high regard for the residents of the Southeastern United States. I do not think in the way the newspapers have made it seem.
Luskin also takes Krugman to task for calling for a hike in Alabama's rock-bottom taxes on the affluent to pay for worker training. The marginal state tax rate in Alabama is 5%. 17 states, including liberal bastions Maryland and Taxachusetts, have the same or lower top tax rate.
Luskin also finds Krugman's sudden love for Canada's national health system incompatible with his vociferous stand against President Bush's medical prescription plan for Medicare.