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Cross-posted on Michigan Liberal

I've been somewhat busy preparing for finals and doing other assorted fun and quasi-productive things, and I haven't had much chance to talk about the auto industry crisis/bailout attempt.

I guess that's not a bad thing, since Mark Phelan and Virg Bernero are doing a pretty darn good job of it.

Phelan's column in the Detroit Free Press pretty much shoots holes in the lame excuses bailout opponents are offering. Those myths?

  1. "Nobody buys their vehicles"
  2. "They build unreliable junk"
  3. "They build gas-guzzlers"
  4. "They already got a $25-billion bailout"
  5. "GM, Ford and Chrysler are idiots for investing in pickups and SUVs"
  6. "They don't build hybrids"
  7. "Their union workers are lazy and overpaid"

Then there's this interview of Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Michigan, on yesterday's Washington Journal on C-SPAN.

Enjoy the truth - it's refreshing!

Originally posted to Live from Kentwood, It's... ScottyUrb! on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:12 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One thing I haven't heard anyone talk about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BTower, Larsstephens, chrome327

    If the Detroit 3 go under, that takes almost half the vehicles sold each year off the market. With a lack of supply, the price of cars and trucks sold by the foreign car companies will go up a few thousand dollars each on average (more for trucks, for which companies that need trucks will have to pay through the nose).

    If foreign companies manage to sell 10 million vehicles in the US in 2009, with an average price boost of $3,000, that's an extra $30 billion that Americans will pay for cars in just one year. One way or another, we will pay the money. Lending it to the Detroit 3 would seem to be a much smarter way to go.

    I'm more concerned with fixing America than I am with destroying the Republican party.

    by mdb on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:23:05 PM PST

    •  If all the jobs lost by not bailing out (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greendem, BTower, Larsstephens, chrome327

      Detroit are considered, people will not be buying new cars.  They will be buying used; doubling up with relatives, friends, and neighbors; walking or using public transportation.

      Much as I hate to do it, there will need to be some sort of automaker bailout.  If the United States simply took over the healthcare for everyone, that would save the automakers ever so much money.  Aren't they constantly bitching about the amount of money they spend on healthcare for workers, dependents of workers, and retirees?  If the government took over that burden, it would free up a tremendous amount of capital.

      Another plan, as Michael Moore recommended, is to nationalize the industry, and have them make what we the citizens want them to make.  Those factories were quickly turned into airplane and tank factories during World War II.  They could just as quickly be turned into windpower generating machine factories.  Or make coaches and engines for commuter railroads.  Or--who would dare think it!--small, efficient transportation boxes without all the silly frills like DVD players.

      To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

      by Dar Nirron on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:33:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended Kos post reading... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga, chrome327

    See more truth Here.

  •  The thing about the coverage of t/hearings (8+ / 0-)

    surrounding the Big Three is this new shoulder shrugging while spouting some variation of "timing is everything, so, it sucks to be the Big Three, Wall Street did the smart thing and got in there first and sucked up all the political will to act gravy."

    The lies that autoworkers were all walking around making 70+ dollars an hour had almost a full week to rattle around in the punditry bullshit/discourse before the 'reality pushback' started, but the rationalizations for letting millions be fucked is constantly evolving to allow for the same dire punchline.

    Almost all the conventional wisdom from the punditry class that I am seeing is pining for the most toxic possible outcome of "inevitability".

    Conventional Wisdom is not just stupid, its actually dangerous. It really is. The CW around the auto industry is gelling around the idea of 'they are fucked no matter what anyway'. This is one of those times where what the gasbags fart out there could really trash the country.

    The quickest way to turn a major and deep recession into a second Great Depression is a complete auto industry collapse. Once you add in all the companies that service the auto industry that would go into the crapper soon afterwards, you are talking about between ten to twelve million Americans being suddenly unemployed at the same time in a specific region of the country.

    If the auto industry goes under, it isn't cheaper.

    There is this weird assumption that 4% of America's GDP can vanish and it will be a blessing compared to an expensive bail-out.

    No.

    It means hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency social spending to an entire region of the country over the course of Obama's Presidency.

    Not cheaper at all.

    Worse, the GOP has only one way to bounce back in 2010 and 2012: the Obama Presidency must be a failure. If it isn't, they have no answer to their ills as a party.

    Letting the auto industry die gets rid of the UAW and mauls the Obama Presidency with a longterm handicap before it even starts, and all the Right has to do is sit back and watch.

    Jindal May Be Republicans Obama By Michael Leahy Washington Post Staff Writer 11/30/08 (Not even sworn in!)

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:29:00 PM PST

  •  UAW fought CAFE increase law in fake "protests" (0+ / 0-)

    Organized by the bosses.

    The made-for-TV-cameras rally put together by a public relations firm -- the first of at least two by the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers -- garnered about 20 reporters, including 9 TV crews. Organizers conducted about 25 radio interviews as they sought to push the message that a rival [watered down] fuel economy bill that gives automakers more time and is less severe would improve gas mileage but not at the expense of auto jobs...During the 30-minute rally, a group of three Boy Scouts, a Girl Scout and a scoutmaster piled out of a Ford Expedition to demonstrate ways Americans need larger vehicles -- i.e. on camping trips, said Jeff Kunst, 52, a scoutmaster from Troop 697 in Lowell, Ind.

    - Detroit News 8/16/07

    "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

    by greendem on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:32:10 PM PST

  •  So what's the problem? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Asherd

    People apparently buy their vehicles, they are reliable and their workers are productive.  So why do they need help?

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

    by Gangster Octopus on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:34:29 PM PST

    •  The problem is that they are burdened (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stormhit, chrome327, Phobolene

      with decades of legacy pension and health care liabilities.

      •  Makes you wonder if Public Health is the answer.. (0+ / 0-)

        How many businesses are burdened with employee Health costs?  Even those that don't cover retirees are paying out the wazoo...

        •  I think this could unleash a wave of innovation. (0+ / 0-)

          If we had full public health care.  It would greatly benefit our manufacturing sectors and enable more people start their own businesses.  Give the corporations  run for their money.  I know many people that would be willing to give their hand at a small business if it were not for the lose of good health care.  

      •  and the additional problem, pstoller78, is that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, chrome327

        the credit crunch has hit them hard.
        the banks got their bit to hoard, and hoarded it to stay comfy.
        producers? heh. nope, sorry, you're screwed if you want to be liquid in credit terms and your primary business isn't finance-sector, Bush-cronyism.

        John Edwards:"One America does the work, another America reaps the rewards. One America pays the taxes, another America gets the tax breaks."

        by BlackSheep1 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:10:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Detroit Disco (0+ / 0-)

      Disco short for disconnect. Everything's hunky dory. It's all their fault. Real American's don't want small cars. Real American's live out in the desert somewhere, and need a fucking Humvee. There's no money in small cars. Air bags will add $4K to the cost of every vehicle.

      They've been spewing nothing but lame excuses and self-serving bullshit for four decades.

      •  There is no money in small cars. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrome327

        Due to their legacy costs and health care.

        The facts get in the way of your self righteous gibberish.

        •  My gibberish? Detroit Gibberish. (0+ / 0-)

          Here's a gibberish-filled factoid for you. Detroit cars are for shit, and legacy costs have nothing to do with it. It's because management is too lazy and self-serving and disconnected from market reality to ever design and build a decent small car. You know, for Cities, where almost all the customers live? Where everybody drives Hondas and Toyotas and Subarus, because mighty Detroit won't deign to build them a decent small car? Detroit's had 40 fucking years to work the problem, and NEVER FUCKING DID!

          Legacy costs... Health care. Facts my ass. More lame bullshit excuses is more like it. Go test drive a Honda Fit. It's positively pathetic how far behind the curve Detroit has fallen. They're a decade away from building anything even remotely that simple and competent. Legacy costs. Heath care. What a steaming crock of shit. Try impatient stockholders and greedy, half-wit management. That fits.

          Build a better car than the Japanese. How's THAT for an idea? Lighter, stronger, more fun, more attractive, more useful, better mileage, more durable. You know... INNOVATE! With an eye towards value and a frugal green future. As they should've done 35 years ago, when the virtues of quality and economy were obvious to EVERYONE, except useless, self-serving Detroit and their whining excuses. Well, fuck them.

  •  Build it in Detroit (or Mexico and Canada) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScottyUrb, chrome327

    and you save a lot of shipping costs as well as union jobs.

    Of course, in a Rethug post-partisan world, those things don't matter.

    Chrysler should drop the ugly stuff and build four to six vehicles: the Challenger/Charger, the Dakota which could have a sibling in the form of the Cherokee, a minivan,  and a Neon -- which could have an alternative form as a Jeep like the original Liberty.

    GM could do a similar thing. I'd rather see the Sierra trucks survive than the (stupid) Avalanche/Suburban.

    John Edwards:"One America does the work, another America reaps the rewards. One America pays the taxes, another America gets the tax breaks."

    by BlackSheep1 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:16:58 PM PST

  •  Tarp (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stormhit, Larsstephens, chrome327

    If we let the car companies, and all of their affiliated suppliers and service contracts (how many here know that the big-three are among the largest purchasers of IT software and services on earth?) go out of business, several million homes might potentially go into default.

    So why not give them the TARP money, Mr. Tres. Sec?

  •  Exploding cigar we willingly smoke... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    Linda Barry said, "Love is the exploding cigar we willingly smoke."  SUVs are the car equivalent.  Built on truck bodies, SUVs, like trucks, are not subject to the same regulations as cars - an exemption originally meant to make farm trucks less expensive since they were predominantly used for local hauling.  Did the Big 3 pass on the multi-thousand dollar savings they experienced, by building cars that weren't as safe, to their customers?  No.  Just like their financial-sector counterparts, Big 3 managers saw a marketing opportunity to scam their customers and did so.
    Also, no matter what you hear, production factory workers are not to blame.  You can be the most productive, accurate, efficient workers in existence and, if you are given bad designs to build, all you can do is be excellent at building shitty cars.
    Government has been complicit in this by taking such a hands-off approach and allowing this to happen.

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