As Peter Finch said in the film Network:
'I'm mad as hell ... and I'm not going to take it anymore!'
This writer has heard quite enough of the bitter, selfish, vitriolic garbage flowing from the mouths of some Republican U.S. Senators with an axe to grind.
These guys, losers all, would sell your country down the river for another term and a few more votes, caring little if anything about the rest of our nation. They try to sell you on the idea that letting our biggest automakers go into bankruptcy is a good idea. 'They can restructure...' you are told. 'In the end, it will be better for them...'
This is NOT a good plan, and here are a few reasons why.
Between the autoworkers, the dealerships, and the small-to-medium size businesses who rely on the Big Three, it adds up to more than three million jobs. Assuming only an average of $200 per week paid out on a typical unemployment claim for 26 weeks, this adds up to $15 billion dollars for three million people. This doesn't include any extensions, which under an Obama presidency would be likely.
Wasn't that the minimum amount the automakers were asking for in loans just to stay afloat? Maybe we should let them go broke and pay out the money in unemployment claims.
This writer says NO.
There is the lost income and business tax revenue that would go into the HUNDREDS of billions of dollars when you count those additional businesses that will go broke if the Big Three go under. And you have to pay those unemployment claims, too.
The current foreclosure rate on homes in the U.S. is an astounding 15,000 a day. This is up from about 9,800 per day in the last quarter, and even adjusted for population, now exceeds the foreclosure rate at the height of the Great Depression. These will increase as people lose their jobs and cannot find another, causing even more turmoil, as well as more lost property tax revenue to states already struggling.
It's the biggest nightmare imaginable for trickle-down economics. The ramifications will vibrate through the nation like a coast-to-coast earthquake. It could easily tip the balance between a recession and a full-blown depression.
There is ONE glaring problem with Detroit and the Big Three, however. The management stinks. They shoved Detroit (and YOU) down the Road of Greed starting in the 1990's by foisting off huge gas-sucking pigs on Americans when they knew it was shortsighted and stupid.
So...management has to go. New blood is required. Don't feel sorry for them, they'll be fine and they will never have to file for unemployment.
Barack Obama already showed us the way. As he has said all along, American car manufacturers have to go green and offer up affordable vehicles made for the new rules of the twenty-first century. No more heavy steel tanks, no more gas-guzzling pigs capable of pulling your house off its foundations.
If those gas-greedy vehicles are made available to the public, they need to have a huge Federal tax put on them. Call me a Dennis Kucinich if you will, but I call for higher fuel prices at the pump for certain vehicles. Like anything that sucks gas through a radiator hose.
Obama has offered tax incentives, help with a medical plan, and other things to the automakers in exchange for MODERN thinking. This would be the sensible course.
These automakers are in serious trouble, and they will need even MORE help. But anything beyond an emergency life ring should wait until our new President takes office. Barack Obama is undoubtably angry right now about a host of things, and the major one is the monumental mess left to him by the previous Administration. It's appalling. It is unprecedented, only comparable to Herbert Hoover and FDR, perhaps.
Believe this: Obama is going to kick some butts and take names after January 20, as well he should. These automakers deserve our help if for nothing else but the common good. But like when the United States entered World War 2, these factories and the people who run them need to change.
They must adapt to current conditions and not only catch up to the Japanese in alternative power, but surpass them. Our homeboys in Detroit should offer up smart autos that working Americans can afford, and in alternative-power versions everyday folks can use.
No more Hummer commercials that say YOU TOO can acheive highway dominance. No more beautiful models slamming the gas pedal on Cadillac Escalades and insinuating the car itself turns her on. No more bragging in Detroit about a full-size SUV hybrid that gets 20mpg. That particular market has gone from popular to zero in a very short time.
At present, oil prices are down and are likely to go lower before the end of 2009. But it won't last forever. What it DOES do is offer America their one opportunity in an economic crisis. While fuel is reletively low, it is time to take control of how we create power and use it thoughout America, by going green, conserving, and developing the green technologies we need to regain our position as a world leader. It's our only way out of the current situation.
There are two main sources of true power in the near future. One is the control of information. The other is how we do energy. We're pretty much near the top on the information question. Now we must move on the energy problem - and solve it. We have the capability. We have the leadership.
It's time to stop whining and move forward. We do this by making sure the Big Three do NOT go under, and then forcing them to change their counterproductive, energy-hogging ways. This keeps people in jobs and offers hope for a better energy future.