The Proposed Government Bailout of U.S. Auto Industries

December 11, 2008 at 1:14 pm 8 comments

In one picture or less:

 

[Picture courtesy of Skip Bronkie’s Facebook profile.]

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Entry filed under: Alison, Miscellaneous Musings. Tags: , , , .

The Soundtrack to My Life Tunde Adebimpe

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. parkrangerolivia  |  December 11, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    you know, the whole crash of the american auto industry is SUCH a good opportunity for us to make the switch to hybrid and electric power. why can’t they see the silver lining to this cloud? why do they have to go out of their way to subsidize these horrible hunks of plastic? this makes my blood boil.

    Reply
  • 2. alisaurus  |  December 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    i know, totally. especially when they knew they needed to re-structure their business to a) help the environment, b) reduce dependence on depletable oil resources, and c) compete with foreign automakers. they refused to make the changes that every other car company in the world was making, maybe because they’re obstinate or maybe to keep more cash in their pockets, and now don’t want to pay the price.

    Reply
  • 3. bill  |  December 14, 2008 at 12:35 am

    While you’re right about the need for the Big Three to restructure, you’re also forgetting that the American public bought in record numbers these SUVs that destroy the environment, increase dependence on oil, and spurred foreign automakers to do exactly the same. This was still a very profitable business practice up until last year when gas prices went into the stratosphere. Ask yourselves how many of your family members even now still drive a gas guzzler.

    These companies can turn themselves around if given the chance. More important than that, however, are the millions of people across the nation that would lose their entire livelihoods if this came to pass. From the vantage point of your posh NYC neighborhood, you might not be able to see the consequences of that. Or worse, you may not even care.

    Reply
  • 4. Skip Bronkie  |  December 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Bill-

    You simply fail on all accounts to put the bailout in perspective. The millions of people that would lose their jobs and benefits from a bankruptcy of these companies (I’m assuming you’re speaking about the UAW) is an unfortunate but necessary corrective measure if the american auto industry is ever going to restructure to be even remotely competitive. Look at the health care benefits alone and how damaging they are. GM provides health benefits for almost a million people (a good portion of whom are retirees and not even employees) and this cost adds $1500 to the price of every single vehicle created. I’d be interested to see, in respect to an auto bailout, how much American workers who have no health-care coverage at all will be taxed to basically help keep paying the many benefits of the UAW. I know myself, and my parents, none of whom have health coverage from an employer, will absolutely end up footing the bill for a bailout for companies who failed to foresee the changing tides of the auto industry and unions who have long gotten used to benefits that the vast majority of americans simply don’t have.

    These benefits may be well deserved for the work these employees do at their company, but when the company fails to adapt while other auto companies were more progressive, why should the taxpayers ever be held responsible for helping to maintain a private failing system?

    Reply
  • 5. bill  |  December 15, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Skip..

    I think I have the numbers in perspective here…how much tax revenue will be lost when these people lose their jobs? Just how badly will consumer outlets suffer when these people lose their discretionary income? Do you dare call these workers unentitled without sounding like a hypocrite? Take a hard look in the mirror and consider it.

    More perspective..$700 billion for a financial industry that was on the verge of collapsing due to its own sub-prime predatory loan practices vs. $14 billion for an industry that supports hundreds of thousands of middle-class American families. I don’t think that many would have objected if the Wall Street bailout had been $714 billion..and speaking of this comparison, where is the “necessary corrective measure” for Wall Street? Where is the regulation? Where is the end to the credit freeze that we were told to expect?

    Believe me, I have this in perspective…and I do agree with you that things never should have gotten to this point. However, it is important to remember that this is about saving working class Americans from being tossed out in the cold…this is ultimately about preserving the upward mobility that has defined the so-called “American Dream” for more than a century. What you call an “unfortunate but necessary corrective measure” for the Big Three amounts to the utter economic collapse of an entire region of the country. If you think the effects won’t reverberate throughout the already shattered economy, you’re kidding. And if you think that this is the appropriate time to go tit-for-tat about the cost of hard-won UAW health care benefits, please consider the greater consequences. I’ll even give you an example. My parents have worked on the line at Chrysler for over twenty-five years each. They’ve put three children through college and provided me the money pursue a $100,000 college degree, something that was never available to them as young adults. If that UAW hourly wage wasn’t there, there is no way I would have considered taking on those student loans by myself. Meanwhile, Chrysler goes under and they lose their retirement benefits, they lose their home. And they have nowhere else to go. Hopefully, in a few years, I will have used my education to earn enough money to support them. But really, is that the way it should be in America, Skip? Do you honestly care what happens to your fellow Americans?

    Judging from your words, I can’t think that you understand the true benefits that the unions have provided. It isn’t about fucking health benefits and how much you claim that it costs per vehicle. This is about preserving the strength of our working families and saving a middle class that has defined American identity for decades.

    Reply
  • 6. parkrangerolivia  |  December 15, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Bill, I can understand your recoil at what must be our bourgeois new york perspective, but you couldn’t be more wrong about where we’re coming from. My father, both of my uncles, and a number of my cousins were (and still are!) in the auto industry. I’m not going to pull a joe the plumber competition here on you, but yeah, it totally sucks. it blows. my uncle actually isn’t going to have a house this christmas because of the flailing auto industry. But you know what? that’s life. my family has gone through a lot worse, and we’ll stick together in these hard times, even if it might not be enough.

    And yeah, we totally care what happens to our fellow Americans. I just don’t think we should be bailing out an industry that’s going to continue being at the mercy of oil companies, or expect these employees to be, either. I would gladly put my money, YES, my comfy new york money (from the same wallet that is being raped by the MTA, from the same wallet of a family whose father is turning his car to corn oil) to restructure an auto industry that needs a serious makeover.

    Don’t tell me we’re going to bail out the same old piece of shit plastic on wheels just to put us in the black. Tell me my money is going to go towards something new, something that can promise me this won’t happen again. What’s the point of an identity built on outdated, agenda-filled technology? the only way we can save our families, yours and mine included, is by giving them the assurance that things will change for the better. bailing water out of a ship full of holes doesn’t guarantee it won’t sink again. I understand we need money to simply put our industry over the top, but to bail us out without plans for change is just too frustrating to bear.

    Reply
  • 7. alisaurus  |  December 16, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Exactly. I’m skeptical that this bailout will change anything long-term or prevent these companies from being in the exact same predicament ten years from now. I thought, as middle class Americans, which I am, believe me, (by no means do I live in a “posh New York neighborhood” and I work every single day to support myself) we should know that throwing money at a problem is never a long-term solution. It may fix things momentarily and get people through this holiday, but what about next year? Or 10 years from now? Even if they get the bailout, these companies will be required to cut costs (i.e., jobs and benefits) to try to get back on track, so I’m not even convinced that MOST people would be able to keep their jobs with the bailout.
    And also, the catastrophic lack of oversight in the Wall Street bailout is just another reason to stop bailing out private companies. I didn’t support that bailout and I don’t support this one. I think all that taxpayer money could be better used to invest in companies that are doing the RIGHT things to help them expand and create jobs, or invest in new automobile technology to help relieve dependence on oil, or to even rehabilitate public transportation all over the US, especially railways connecting major cities – all of which could help to create jobs and progress transportation. And while yeah, that won’t be enough to create as many jobs as those that are lost, everything is cyclical – there was a crippling depression in 1929 and the country didn’t crumble – we made it through to really prosperous times and now it just seems like we are heading for tough times again, not the end of the world. I am sorry for people who are suffering the consequences of poor leadership at the top of these companies, because it isn’t their fault, but these layoffs are happening to people in ALL industries all over the U.S., so don’t think that people in New York aren’t feeling the same fear and pain as people everywhere else.
    I think the money would even be better used to put into government programs to help those who have become unemployed from any industry, because that way it’s helping people who are on hard times even if they’re not affiliated with these companies, and it won’t go into any CEOs big fat pockets. I think we should be helping the working man and not making it a government policy to keep certain companies in business when they’ve failed to compete.

    Reply
  • 8. Betty  |  December 18, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    I suppose it’s a moot point by now, but the ideal situation would have been to make the bailout conditional, forcing them to adhere to more environmentally and ethically sound practices in order to receive the money they need to keep their business afloat. Yeah, it’s socialism, but let’s put a statute on it, so it expires when the money does, and we’ll be left with a stable, functioning industry.

    Wishful thinking, I know. Bill is right, though. Hundreds of thousands of people shouldn’t have to face unemployment just to teach a lesson to a few asshole executives. It doesn’t have to be an ultimatum.

    Reply

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