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Do You Want to Pay Billions to Keep Car Companies Alive?

3/18/2009 1:14:35 PM

Tags: bailout, General Motors, Chrysler, auto bailout

According to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, 63 percent of Americans disapprove of the government giving billions of dollars in loans to Chrysler and General Motors in order to keep the struggling automakers afloat. 

Currently, officials from the Obama administration are reviewing the automakers plans for restructuring (aka downsizing and going green). So you can expect a lot more about the auto bailout to be in the news in the coming weeks. 

As much as I think the domestic automakers are largely responsible for their dramatic decline, I worry about the everyday Joes and Janes who will be affected if any or all of the domestic automakers go under. It’s also ironic that as AIG hands out $100 billion in bonuses (paid for from the bailout funded by our taxes), it seems there’s a tough road ahead for the automakers to get any more than the $20-some billion bailout. In the end, I think the Big Three (Chrysler, Ford or General Motors) are going to become two, maybe even one, in order to survive.

Does anybody really know the difference anymore between $100 billion and $200 billion?

What do you think? Should our tax dollars keep Chrysler and General Motors alive? Are they victims of the times? Or have they dug their own graves through bad management, focusing on SUVs despite all the writing on the wall about higher gas prices, etc.? Will you ever again buy a car from Chrysler, Ford or General Motors?

Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

 


Update, 3/27/2009 

This just in from The New York Times:

The Obama administration is likely to extend more short-term aid to General Motors and Chrysler on Monday, but impose a strict deadline for bondholders and union workers to make concessions that would help the ailing automakers become viable businesses and avert bankruptcy.

For more information, read U.S. Expected to Give More Aid to Automakers. 

 


Update, 3/30/2009 

From The New York Times:

The White House on Sunday pushed out the chairman of General Motors and instructed Chrysler to form a partnership with the Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days as conditions for receiving another much-needed round of government aid.

The decision to ask GM's chairman and chief executive, Rick Wagoner, to resign caught Detroit and Washington by surprise, and it underscored the Obama administration's determination to take a hands-on role in the companies it is bailing out — a level of government involvement in business not seen since the Great Depression.

President Obama is scheduled to announce details of the auto package at the White House on Monday, but two senior officials, offering a preview on condition of anonymity, made clear that some form of bankruptcy — a quick, court-supervised restructuring, as they described it — could still be an option for one or both companies.

For more information, read Obama Issues Ultimatum to Struggling Automakers.



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Post a comment below.

 

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edwin c
4/11/2009 7:44:19 AM
I think we ought to put a huge tax on all of the imports and let the people who want them bear the burden!!!

John Adams_3
4/1/2009 10:17:52 AM
Dang! Sorry about that last post... didn't think I actually sent it. Anyway... GM does not make huge SUV's because they are evil and want to destroy the world. They make them because people buy them. It’s that simple. I don't think we should have to bail them out (they actually took Gov't LOANS, just like Chrysler did in the 1980's). That was pretty political. In a Chapter 11 situation, the company can render all contracts void, and really put the screws to employees (I know -- I used to work for United Airlines). A bankruptcy would have been better for GM and Chrysler anyway, and will probably be what happens, and then they won’t have to pay back all of those big loans. Seems to me that we should have skipped that middle step, but then I don’t think this has much to do with cars or the environment, or really anything outside of DC.

John Adams_3
4/1/2009 9:14:04 AM
per Sciantium progitemer

Keren S
3/30/2009 7:30:34 PM
Before we turn our backs on the Big 3, let's remember the law of supply and demand. Products don't sell unless the consumer wants them. - and the "Bigger is Better" consumer created the demand for those gas-guzzling SUV's. However, government bail-out is not the solution it's made out to be. "The borrower is slave to the lender." 2,ooo+ years later, it is still absolutely true. By accepting the government bail-out dollars, GM and Chrysler have effectively sold their souls to the devil. If we were bothered that Big Business was making decisions based less on human and moral standards and more on making more of the almighty dollar, wait until our government takes over Big Business......

b_11
3/30/2009 5:34:20 PM
I work at a factory that makes parts for vehicles and in the past few years we have seen most of our machinery shipped to foreign countries to build the parts we made here in the US. The reason, cheaper labor! We have had to face unemployment with the way the Big 3 are at this time. It's hard to see our fellow union people you have worked with for years go out the door. One of the things they first wanted with the auto bailout was for the union people to take a paycut or agree to lower wages. Nothing was ever mentioned about the Higher Ups taking lower wages or paycuts. Get rid of some of the 6 or 7 figure incomes and bonuses to all these "college educated idiots" and maybe the cost savings would be greater! As far as workers letting the company know when they could be making a bad decision(mentioned in a earlier comment) have you ever tried to tell someone who thinks they are better than you, what would be the best way to do your job?

gerry_1
3/30/2009 10:45:14 AM
If all these big companies getting bailouts affect so many people here and around the world, whatever happened to the anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws?????

Geoff Brahm
3/30/2009 12:01:43 AM
Let's kill off union labor! Then Toyota and Nissan will be able to lower their labor costs further. Let's continue to give sweetheart tax breaks and infrastructure improvements so maybe we can bribe the Japanese to build more plants here. Let's also sell off all our highways to some rich business man so he can turn them into toll roads. I'm sure that will lower the costs of transportation. Why would anyone want the public to own the roads? Public ownership is socialism and I'd really like my freedom reduced so I can pay business to travel on a privately owned road. Plus let's do just like Spain in 1500s, the Dutch in the 1600s and England in the 1800 and 1900s. Let's offshore all manufacturing. Let's financialize our economy and do whatever we can to help the rich turn a greater profit. It did wonders for the status of the 3 nations I mentioned. Why waste a few dozen billion dollars on the auto industry when we can give hundreds of times more to the banksters. Most of you make me sick.

davisonh
3/29/2009 9:14:35 PM
Ok,here's my two cents also..Yes,let capitalism run it's course and let the automakers go under.It's time.As many have said above the action would be the best for all parties concerned,even the 170,000 directly employed and the millions more indirectly employed.I got the whiff of money mongering from the big three in the 80s when their commercial vehicle strategy went back to big bulky junky trucks.I'm sorry but my family ran a small construction company for years with small Jeep Comanches(remember them?)and utility trucks back when they were just called D-300 or F-100 trucks.You dont need 250 horsepower to pull 20 sheets of plywood & 2x4s down the road at 55 mph,you just dont.We did have a 1 ton dumptruck,but even that was stripped and geared down,a small 318 V8 did just fine.We did'nt see the need for more power.A V-10 engine is a total waste of fuel,thats why for years they never made them for residential and small commercial use.Again,no need to run a huge engine to pull a rolling load half its capacity.Why the Big three did that I have no clue.Maybe the same reason we see the new/old Dodge Chargers now.No,let them die,there's a crying need in the industry for new ideas and frankly I see none that impress me.They wasted their time and now its time for them to go.

Stella_8
3/29/2009 8:37:09 PM
Four years ago I knew I had to find a car with better gas mileage than my mini-van. Who had the cars with the best mileage? Not the Big-3! I wanted to buy American and support the workers here in the States, but there was no car that had mileage superior to the Japanese car that I purchased. Why didn't they get the message four years ago? Why didn't the Big-3 notice gas prices? Why didn't they design fuel efficient cars that compare to foreign cars? Due to their complacency, I say let them fail. I do not want my tax dollars supporting business that does not keep up with the competition.

Bill Hess
3/28/2009 8:28:55 AM
The government shouldn't be bailing out GM or any other company. By filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, GM would follow a legal process which would allow them to reorganize but which would force them to make tough decisions necessary to remain a viable company. Companies that can't compete even with a fresh start would be forced to liquidate. A bailout for GM without forcing tough but necessary decisions will in my opinion only delay the inevitable. Mr. Rockhold briefly mentions AIG bonuses in his article. The outrage over AIG bonuses is unfair and in many cases based on misconceptions. Retention bonuses are typically offered to key employees that are deemed essential to the on-going operation of a struggling company. Without these retention bonuses the best people will often jump ship leaving the company in the hands of employees who are not capable to carry the load. AIG implemented these bonuses long before the bailout in the form of legally binding employment contracts. Congress knew these bonus arrangements existed and did nothing. Now they are using emotional outrage over the $165 million bonus agreement as a tool to whip up the masses and divert our attention from more grievous matters. Chapter 11 would have provided a legal pathway for resolving these issues by eliminating these and all other contractual agreements. Congress needs to demonstrate some honor & integrity and follow the Constitution even if it causes some necessary and temporary pain.

Dominic Ebacher
3/27/2009 2:26:25 PM
No bailout. Better to have a faulty system fail and rebuild something better from the ashes. Why would we support the same companies that built all of those gas-guzzling resources wasters? To help the workers? Why didn't the workers speak up and get the companies to build better cars, so america could be a leader and an example instead of THE problem? Its all circling the drain - just let it burn.

Benjamin Lincoln noble_1
3/26/2009 7:11:09 AM
I grew up in rural America have travelled been self employed and tried to live off the grid it's tough I commend those who do. Why aren't the big threes owners and employee's pooling money when a little guy struggles he takes money from his pockets the problem is America doesn't back the ideas they believe in god forbid you risk loosing a little yourself. We need some pride in community state and federal governent. We the people need to invest ourselves in our work treat it like a family buisness not just a check.... Let's see the people of those companies invest into there own jobs ceo millionares take a average wage show character and. I'll back them. Show some honor and courage and the rest will follow.

Melanie S
3/25/2009 4:42:17 AM
No bailout. Let capitalism do it's job.

Robert Morriss
3/25/2009 1:29:33 AM
Why is everyone so happy to have the "big three die". Remember Y'all we all voted with our pocketbooks. Go to any Home Depot early in the the morning, what do you see, a fleet of Pickup's loading up for the day's work, how are you going to bring 35 sheets of drywall and ten two by fours over to fix your house in a EV or Prious. Do we really want to send any more of our jobs overseas', just so we can feel better about ourselves? Look at China's record of human rights over the years, killing baby's, restrictions on the number of children? Tibet? Leaving female baby's out in the cold to die ? Your local wall-mart, products all from China. Both my grandmothers worked many years producing shoes, now what does the U.S. produce in the most simple of needs, shoes, clothes. Electric vehicles are both a joke and a unobtainable dream for us! In a high speed vehicle accident where does the ACID go? This is the greatest country on Earth, why do we punish ourselves so? WE have freed France, Brittan, Germany, Russia et all from tyranny. Did they offer us assistance's from Katrina's wrath? Never', EVER forget that many thousands of young moon faced faced American children are lying face up in Vietnam, Korea, Normandy and so forth because they believed in our system The last question, what are we going to do, sell each other hamburgers and car insurance? No, we can build and offer assistance to each Amercian that needs help. What a strange dream. That America would put Americans first!!!

Ron Duft
3/23/2009 10:50:54 AM
Sink or swimm. Let them borow or crash and burn reinvent them selves. I have been Victim to three corporate down size attemps by three diferent companys over the past 25 years and may be facing a fourth. Of those companys one is dead one bought out the third changed ownership but is still around and the company im currently with has cut our hours 20% and 10% of it's 1500 people. We are just comming to our slow season and work loads are down 70%. You should try starting at the bottom all over again after having lost everything for the second or third time. Retire! not in the near future, have not had a saveings account in 10 years investments are worthless. Sold our house got out of debt ($100000) live in a 10 year old fifth wheel at a year round RV park. Truck and van are 10 and 14 years old bought with cash used at 10% new price. Stay out of debt, buy used, live within your means, read and live what Mother says. God Bless you all.

JMN
3/23/2009 5:56:35 AM
Let them fail. For 3 decades, if not more than that, the "Big 3" TOLD us what we wanted instead of acting on what was proven as a need and requested. Gluttonous SUV's, poorly-constructed and low-mileage clunkers, and wasteful autos and trucks are what killed Chrysler and GM, not the lousy economy. Bad business, period, is what did them in. And we shouldn't be on the hook for it. Industrial Darwinism lives.

ken_23
3/22/2009 9:47:22 PM
No the money shoud of been givin to the people!!!!!!!!!! they go out and buy,pay off bills!!!!!!!!!! Ken

CAfarmer
3/22/2009 5:37:39 PM
Visit an auto museum and you soon learn that real creativity in the automotive business occurred long before the Big Three monopolized the U.S. auto industry. Let them die and perhaps we'll see a resurgence of independent auto makers who will give us what we want. Same holds true for the banks we're bailing out. Local banks have always done a better job for small businesses. Simple rule of economics: when four or five companies collectively control over 60% of production in an industry they effectively can fix prices even without collusion. Witness: cars, gasoline, grain, banking insurance(read AIG), pharmaceuticals... We need to outlaw these oligopolies like we once did in this country.

Brian Alexander
3/22/2009 2:17:06 PM
In a word, NO!!!!!!!

bob_50
3/21/2009 9:10:33 PM
If you think about it , we , the consumer are just as guilty , we refuse to drive older vehicles and have become a replace don't repair society, look at some of the other areas of the world where they can't afford a new car every 3yrs. or so they are more than happy to keep that 40ish car in top shape and are proud to even have a car,or truck that does everything from family transport to stump pullin' duties, but in our country , if it 's older than 10 yrs, you're lucky if you can even find a part for it ( had to buy a GPS as there isn't a speedo for my 92 dodge in existance,and if there were it would be $300. let them die a slow death, and as for the workers, (hey, I'm union too)there should be plenty of jobs opening up at toyota/honda/mazda etc. as they will pick up the slack I'm sure.

Christine Danner_2
3/21/2009 8:52:21 PM
I live in Michigan and we are really hurting here and have been for years. Don't forget that what affects the Big 3 also affects thousands and thousands of the companies that supply them with various parts, etc., which in turn affects thousands of other companies that supply the suppliers. Not to mention the effects on the companies that service the people who work for all those companies. This is a case where "trickle down" has real meaning. Yes, we should bail out the auto companies! And yes, there should definitely be strings attached to that money.

Teresa_21
3/21/2009 8:50:30 PM
We need to let the inevitable happen, a complete economic meltdown. There is nothing that will save us from that. In addition, the greedy few that brought us here should be held accountable. Bailouts and Bonuses? I don't think so. Strip them of everything they have. Isn't that what they would do and have done to us? Then once everything hits bottom, build it back up again. Except this time lets build on solid ground, and not castles in the sky.

Vin DiCator
3/21/2009 5:10:16 PM
High tariff walls i.e. taxing all imports to one's nation but NOT taxing it's own products/people domestically is the answer - as well as letting the free market decide. If a company produces gas-guzzling rubbish - it should be allowed to fail since people do not trust such a company any longer. All economic decisions should include at least these factors! The BEAST government is just that - a ravenous animal that should NOT be fed. Oppose antiChrist Marxism in all its forms and replace the 'government' with God. Piss on 'parens patriae' (the doctrine that the government is the 'father of the people'.

Darci
3/21/2009 5:04:16 PM
LET THEM FAIL! The government isn't knocking on our door as a small business owner saying, "Aww, everything will be fine!" Our family is bracing for the worst in ALL aspects. Trying to be as independant as possible. Why wouldn't a business want that. Our founding fathers would absolutely crap themselves if they could see what we have become today. They spent YEARS away from their families and away from their obligations to create a free world we all live in. Now, we look at it as if the government OWES us. The government was meant to be a guiding body, to make rules and regulations to keep us free. NO MORE! Now they are into everything. Goodbye freedom, hello socialism. If the BIG 3 can't pull it together, let them go. There will be new innovation andmaybe that is what the country needs, to stand up and be heard, instead of being a HERD, as in cattle. Everyone just eats and MOOS, but never does anything about it.

Phil_3
3/21/2009 3:43:47 PM
I am a recently hired GM employee working in an assmebly plant which makes high quality full size trucks. Despite rumors to the contrary I work hard (going home sore EVERY DAY, spending my cash on chiropractors and message therapy) and gross less the $55,000 per year. I resent CEO's who used to make @35 time more than us now milking the company of salaries over 350 TIMES MORE| And they say we are overpaid. I only have a mortgage, small car payment, and child support to pay- and STILL had to borrow from my retirement account to make up for recent economic struggles! You take a pay cut or give up you job if you want. This, and all, U.S. citizens who are losing "living wages" will go bankrupt if that happens. Who will bail us out then- pay our unemployment, our retraining, our food stamps, our welfare? Loss of our economic bedrock of manufacturing jobs and corporate greed are the cause of ALL THIS MESS! I learned in Govt. Econ. in school our country will not survive on a service(health)/retail based economy. Buy from you local fellow U.S. citizen, from corps. who pay taxes-not steal our funds, and whose profit STAYS HERE in the U.S.A.! Otherwise kiss this way of life goodbye and pray to God he comes soon or we will be like the ancient who fell before us.

BRENDA HOWARD
3/21/2009 1:29:17 PM
I THINK THAT WE SHOULD TELL THEM NO BAILOUT BUT THEY CAN BORROW THE MONEY THE SAME WAY ALL OF THE OTHER AMERICANS HAVE TO . WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE THE MONEY GIVEN TO THEM? THEY HAVE ALREADY PROVEN THAT THEY CAN'T MANAGE THEIR OWN ACCOUNTS AND THEY ARE IRRESPONSIBLE IN THEIR SPENDING AND ALSO ARE VERY GREEDY WHEN IT COMES TO THEM HELPING OTHERS.THE PEOPLE NEED MORE HELP THAN THEY DO. START HELPING THE PEOPLE THAT REALLY NEED IT. I DON'T MEAN THE MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS. I MEAN THE OLDER PEOPLE THAT HAVE ALREADY PAID THEIR DUES . THE ONES THAT HAVE PUT IN THEIR TIME ON THE WORK FORCE AND NOW BECAUSE SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED AND THEY CAN'T WORK ANYMORE THEY ARE TOLD "NO" YOU CAN'T HAVE ANYTHING AND YOU CAN'T EVEN HAVE A EXTRA BANK SAVINGS ACCOUNT BECAUSE YOU ARE DISABLED NOW .PEOPLE THAT ARE DISABLED THAT HAVE WORKED IN THEIR LIFETIME AND PAID IN ARE NOT ALLOWED A DECENT INCOME TO LIVE ON. AND IT IS ALL BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE THE BIG 3 COMPANIES.THEY WANT A HANDOUT FIRST BEFORE THE PEOPLE THAT REALLY NEED GET IT. GREED,GREED,GREED. THAT IS WHAT OUR COUNTRY IS MADE OF NOW.

Cheryl _3
3/21/2009 6:29:52 AM
I just want to get my two cents in and say how much I love my Jeep Liberty. Not everyone's lifestyle and/or work is conducive to driving a small car. I love the 4 wheel drive that allows me to be able to get in and out of my driveway in the winter and navigate some of these back roads I travel. Safety is an important issue that many are overlooking in their quest for the smaller vehicle. I recently had a building under construction fall on top of my jeep. It could have smashed it completely. Instead, there are a few dings where the wall directly hit the side and the roof racks are toast. But the jeep (as my son said) 'took a licking and kept on ticking'. This is comforting to think about in an accident situation. I know that the vehicle is able to stand up to a WHOLE LOT. Also, one of my sons is in construction. Anything less than a pickup truck is not an option for him. I do think fuel economy is important and I would love to be independent from foreign oil. But in our quest for more efficiency, let's not trash all the SUV's and pickups. They serve a definite need in our country and many of us could not operate without them.

George Works
3/21/2009 5:20:53 AM
I've read several books and many articles on peak oil as well as doing my own analysis. I'm convinced that we are nearing the end of the oil age that made the automobile so central to American life. In the future we will need efficient public transportation and small, light electric cars for short trips to work and around town. On that basis, I expect the big automakers to be overtaken by manufacturers geared to making small, cheap electric cars, a thing that at least GM seems unable to do profitably. If I'm right, the big American automakers will fade away with or without bailouts. It will be a tragedy to see the autoworkers go the way of the lineotype operators. We need to offer training programs and other benefits to help them move into the industries of the future.

Mark Langway
3/21/2009 3:24:27 AM
It's a no brainer that our world, our way of life has been evolving. One either adapts to the times or becomes extinct.

dd611
3/20/2009 10:55:35 PM
What would giving money to overpaid nut and bolt assemblers accomplish if no one can afford to pay for their overpriced vehicles? Why doesn't the government do as in Germany and offer 3500 euros to buyers of new and up to one year old vehicles. This would entice people to get their older gas guzzlers off the roads and also would help the car makers because now they would be selling some of their vehicles. This way everyone would benefit not just the car companies. As for the money being a loan rather than a gift- what if the car company went bankrupt anyway then that loan would be down the toilet with the bankrupt company. The other way only stimulates the economy and if the car companies go bankrupt they don't take any bailout money with them.

Phillip Deane
3/20/2009 9:35:26 PM
In view of the AIG bailout of 150 bilkion (more to follow),the 15 billion or even another 35 billion seems a real steal! Take Automobile manufacturing out of the country plus the supporting manufacturing etc and we had better be ready to become "Greece" a former Powerhouse which now caters to tourists. Don't be flimflamed by the "Union" haters who would throw out the baby with the bathwater to spite them. Spite has a bite and it comes around behind one sometime later and one can only give themselves the dunce slap to the forehead and exclaim whatever in particular they are suited to say at such times usually an experlitive dressed self accusation like "What a dumba-- I am" but by then it is a bit like farting in the wind! Simply useless! Yes some stupidity was about in the management but it was not mixed with greed and stupidity,selfness etc. that brought the fall of the now government owned AIG!! Nobody regardless of party can deny the above!

gilbert counts
3/20/2009 9:25:43 PM
Seems to me, the industry has ignored us who wanted vehicles like the vw or the isuzu pup or the civic and pandered to the unions, oil sluts, insurance execs, etc. ad infinitum. So I agree let them sit on their squelched patents and overpaid asses, no bailouts only loans. Start listening Detroit or die of deafness.

Sandra_38
3/20/2009 9:23:04 PM
Let true capitalism and the constitution prevail. No bailouts! The large corporations should not be given any more privilege than the small business man, yet they are the ones that receive government funding, low interest loans, etc.. This is not constitutional and does not represent capitalism. Let them sink or swim.

ss whitted
3/20/2009 7:15:21 PM
The following is a proposal given to me by an associate. I wish I could claim it as my own as it a great idea. He proposes that we allow the auto industry to go bankrupt and then when they've cleaned up their liabilities and labor costs to have a one time lottery. 1.Depending on the price of the tickets this could provide 250 million-575 million dollars (no cost to the taxpayer!!) 2.To purchase a ticket you must be a citizen over 18 and agree to accept the vehicle that you won(no choice as to make, model location etc) and pick it up at the vehicles location. Also you must agree to scrap your current vehicle(to reduce a glut on the used car market) 3. Then the government can loan them start up money as investment capital and they can produce new vehicles that will have a market. In addition the government should key executive pay as a multiple of the average workers wage and as a stockholder reign in executive perks. As a side benefit the airlines and hotels would benefit from the increased travel in picking up the vehicles as would states from increased registration fees. For the life of me I can't come up with the downside to this idea.

ccm989
3/20/2009 6:05:27 PM
I am of two minds regarding the automobile bailout. First, I dislike the idea of 10,000 of more auto workers being out of work. All of Detroit is collapsing, home values are down to nothing. But on the other hand, I dislike the idea of bailing out Auto Fat Cats. I believe all the Big 3 will not be getting bonuses (which is good -- why reward failure?) but are they working toward "GREEN" cars? That's what we need to build. If one of the Big 3 were allowed to fail, the other 2 could pick up some business but they still need to be encouraged to build greener cars -- all electric? solar powered? Otherwise they will just go back to the same old same old. And we can't afford that anymore. We need innovation.

SteveR
3/20/2009 5:50:19 PM
I worked for GM 30 years ago and they were crap then. How have they lasted so long? Let them fail. The world would be a better place without their lousy products. Others will take their place. That's the nature of free enterprise.

Ideaman_2
3/20/2009 5:33:21 PM
I say let them fail. It's business. They have been making CRAPPY cars for so long, I won't even buy an american made car. Maybe it will get in their heads to make a better car. Then there will be other start up companies who will build better built, more efficient, cars than the big 3 do now. I mean come on now, ot's almost 2010 and just now they are talking about efficient cars? They should have done that back in the 70's, then now we would have cars that get at least 100 MPG and run on a myrid of things from biodiesel, to electric, to Hydrogen to H2O. They have had their hands in the oil companis pockets for so long that it's costing the consumers $$ and costing our environment. They should have cleaned up thier act long ago. Let them go down, along with all these other companies that are floundering. Other companies will start up. Let the Phoenix rise from the ashes!!!

altexbird
3/20/2009 5:18:32 PM
There is a lot of blame to go around. People loved their cushy gas guzzlers that would save them and kill someone else in a collision. The government didn't institute a higher tax for gas guzzlers like they do in some countries in Europe. The car companies were arrogant and short sighted, not willing to acknowledge global warming and oil cost spikes. The unions were slow to accept the reality that the overhead costs of wages, benefits and legacy costs were not sustainable. Unfortunately letting the companies fail will add to the death spiral of the economy. For now, jobs must be saved with as little cost as possible. Maybe a structured bankruptcy where Chrysler gets dismantled and liquidated.

Holly Jones_4
3/20/2009 4:59:04 PM
I am so sad and disgusted with the US car companies, who have blamed everyone but the top management for decades. I am sorry for the workers and the parts industry; the rules have changed on them. Welcome to the bitter fruits of capitalism! I think the folks who KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR should be allowed to fail. Imagine if the EV were the industry standard on the freeways today, how much cleaner the air would be, and how much cleaner our hands would be as a nation. How many people would not now be DEAD so that big oil and big three could make their profits? (Big food is even worse, but that's another issue.) Look up Robert Moses, whose bias for the automobile caused him to rebuild NYC over the graves of vigorous ethnic neighborhoods. He gets a big share of the blame. We all share it. Why, why, WHY buy a car that wastes fuel like the Detroit cars do? We let marketing talk us into supporting one of the more environmentally ruinous industries, and our grandchildren will pay for it with their lives. Thanks for listening.

Holly Jones_4
3/20/2009 4:41:22 PM
Let them fail.

Linda Pierucki
3/20/2009 4:13:06 PM
There are many misconceptions being bandied about: so many think they are 'experts' who have little real knowledge of the situation except what they've heard on from partisan group or another. Some facts, from one who has grown up with the US auto industry, worked in the industry and now watching the death throes of American manufacturing: First, the automakers are not floundering because of building SUV's. YOU may not want to buy an SUV, but that's what their main customers want-so that's what they make.The best-selling SUV in the world is the Ford F150 pick-up. . .mine always last 300,000 miles. The main reason they're floundering right now is the entire economy is floundering. Small businesses cant afford a new work van or truck. Those that cite the foreign car makers here who are doing better fail to understand these manufacturers have all-new manufacturing plants, paid for in large part by tax breaks and give-backs from the states they're located in. They are also subsidized by their home countries-something that is never discussed. Our domestic companies have an aged industrial system that they continually spend dollars on to upgrade and dont have the money (or tax breaks) to replace. The unions didnt strong-arm anyone into signing a union contract. Those contracts were voluntarily signed by management. The wages between domestic and US-domiciled auto workers are within $2 of each other. The difference is, our US companies have been here in business long enough that they have 'legacy' costs-the cost of providing the retirement and health benefits of a large number of retirees. They are suffering for their phenomenal past success and now have huge numbers of retired workers to whom they voluntarily promised benefits that the government allowed them (as they did so many other US companies) to underfund-and they had to catch up. Current contracts call for the unions to take over those retiree costs in 2010-but they ca

jw1213
3/20/2009 3:36:19 PM
When did it become wrong to make a mistake and fail? For a country that believes so strongly in evolution where survival of the fittest is the central theme, we seem to not believe that it applies to corporations. I laugh because historically we took so much time to break up monopolies and yet now we have these huge corporation and they "CANT" fail. Well big animals go extinct (dinosaurs ring a bell). Let them fail and out of their ashes will rise innovation and commitment to doing things better. I'm glad that I still have the freedom to make mistakes and fail, because those are the times when I learn about myself, the strengths and the weaknesses of my ideas, and how to make them better. I hope my children have the same privilege and that I don't have to bail them out because they will learn from making their own mistakes. I'd like Obama to think of his little girls every time he bails out something because not only is he teaching them it is unacceptable to fail but he is also leaving them debt to pay off.

GandolfTheWise_2
3/20/2009 3:30:56 PM
I'd say that maybe they should be helped but only if they bring out a car for The People (VolksWagen?)! If the MAX can be constructed in a garage for around $10,000, then a factory should be able to produce something similar for half that because of mass production and paying less for already available parts. If they could sell us an efficient car for $5K, then I'd be all for closing down all the government funding to the banks and credit systems, who are raping us all anyway, and stopping the useless OINK PROJECTS of different SINators and put that money into a company that would make something that would allow even the poor to drive. Come to think of it, maybe we should just let our auto manufacturers go down the tubes too, and have some more efficient foreign ones use the money to build new factories here producing cars like the MAX and creating usable electric cars. Then, since we would be on a roll, redo the entire housing industry by building efficient homes costing 10% of a standard stick built by using Grancrete and some of the other methods that are well-tested, but not allowed by the county (union rules) regulations for construction. Do we really think that our SINators and CONgressmen are looking out for the best interest of this country?

Shelton_1
3/20/2009 2:52:50 PM
I don't really mind helping out any company with a loan. There are millions of jobs involved. BUT they need to meet certain criteria just as we do to get our loans. The US auto makers have duped themselves into this problem. First and most important, they have let the Union make the decision on how much to pay. I cannot accept that a blue collar non-educated person can earn up to $140 per hour. Sit on the rear ends while each person takes their turn to install their particular part, and the others sit back and do nothing. Other companies base your increase in wages on your production and quality. Second, the manufacturers have cut quality to keep the price competive. I well remember in my youth that products that were made in Japan were junk. Now they offer unexcelled quality, and very competive prices. Previously I have owned 10 Toyotas. All purchased new. All had over 300,000 miles put on them, and ALL I ever did was expected maintenance. I finally decided to purchase a Chevy van. 80,000 miles later the vehicle started to fall apart. First was the transmission, then engine. So I traded it last year for a Chrysler SUV. Now with 25,000 miles on it, the transmission is going out. Guess what? This fall I'm buying two new Toyotas, made in the US! I know some of my money goes back to Japan, but at least I can get my monies worth from it. My comments on Union labor is just not for the auto industry. It is for all Union shops. I have been in many of the and have witnessed practally thhe same in all of them. It is the same problem in many US factories. There was a simple machine that I witnessed being used in the UW and Mexico. The US worker would insert one cycle, stop and let the machine cycle empty several times. The Mexican worker never missed a cycle. Another person that I knew, was a maintenance person at a major factory. He worked the night shift, would go the the restroom, lock the door, drop his pants, and sleep for the

MEIBAO Nee
3/20/2009 2:49:39 PM
It's interesting that Ford makes a car for sale only in Europe that gets 70+ mpg What is wrong with this picture? I think the oil industry is very powerful here and controls the auto industry. The SmartCar gets 83 mpg in Europe. When they import it to USA, it only get 40+ mpg. The reason, the company said, is because of the catalytic converter. My Swiss friends said European catalytic converters are more stringent than American ones and that it's because of the low octane gasoline in the States. In Europe, the lowest octane is 95. Highest is 105. The higher the octane, the better the mileage. The auto industry is in cahoots with the oil industry. How can we separate them? Ask the oil industry, who made billions in profit from charging over $4 a gal to help their pals. We as consumers can vote with our dollar and we have. We've chosen to buy cars that get better mileage. This is enough of a message for Chrysler and GM--either they change or go down. Who killed the electric car?

Jeanette Redmond_1
3/20/2009 2:35:43 PM
No bailing giant companies out. Let them struggle like everyone else. They should reinvent themselves and mass produce green cars! The new Honda Insight coming out in late March looks promising, because it is under 20,000 and as green as present technologies allow us to be. The American car companies could have had something like that by now, but they were influenced by BIG FAT OIL companies, and killed the electric car which had been around a long time. See the movie "Who Killed The Electric Car". If only we had been smart enough in the 70ies to change our dependence on oil. JBR

Gg_2
3/20/2009 2:30:33 PM
It is so sad that the American automakers are held hostage by the unions. Now the American taxpayer is also in the same situation. While caring about the union members as people, I will not support the union or any product it produces, as long as I know about it. In the south we work a job, get our benefits and our auto factories are doing ok. They did not need a bailout. AIG got its goodies because it hold most of the retirement fund for congress and gave 90% of its charitable contribution last year to Senator Dodd and President Obama. Look it up, it all available to read. American autos are, at this time, an inferior product to the foreign ones. All the data supports that and it is sad. Union contract keep certian technologies out of our factories that would help our companies compete. It keeps the workers dependent on the union so that they cannot imagine life without it. And it buys politicans with money we can't imagine. I don't save seed from heirloom tomato plants that are not the best or fittest. I want the best ones to continue. American autos are the ones that need to be culled out, it is not worth continuing in the current form. They are not the best seeds for the future. Bailouts keep defective systems alive. Let the bad ones go so we can work together on something that works and keeps everyone employed for real.

Marie Geffy
3/20/2009 1:35:56 PM
I think that the money should be given back to the people of the US where it came from. If that was split up between every legal citizen of the US it would stimulate our local economies, put food on the tables of those who lost their jobs etc. Who ever thought a car or truck could be worth up to 60,000? Ridiculous!

Rick_26
3/20/2009 12:55:05 PM
Get the Government and the Unions out of the auto industry, and it will do just fine. It will then give the people what they want. Our government is determined to make us a third world country. Rick

Al Wheeler_1
3/20/2009 12:38:09 PM
I don't think we have a choice but to loan the money to the big three, after all it is the American consumer that caused the situation. We chose not to buy american cars. After we defeated Japan in WWII we gave them the money to retool with the latest technology and then we chose to buy the cheap cars they started to build. If the big three go down your next car may cost you 122,000 YEN

Phil T
3/20/2009 12:27:56 PM
So,,,, the way I see it, NO human being can control the future. All they (we) can do is hope things turn out the way we plan. This according to what the bible says about our imperfections. The bible also says that if we look after our spirituality, our creator will give us what we need to survive. Not all share in this view, but it comes from God's word.

lemon
3/20/2009 12:20:37 PM
They have never THOUGH OR wonder about what the American buyers wanted. It was what they wanted, us to have and with all the little add on, increased the cost, which should have been part of the package. How much are we willing to pay for a lemon? We are into 7-year payment plans. It sounds like a house payment. Then after 7 years of large payments, you may be able to sell it if you can. On the other hand, just sell it for scrap metal I am speaking as a buyer, of an x -type 2.5 jag- u -are 2002 with 56,000 miles served by a JAG-U-AR DEALER IN TAMPA. WHICH COST ME 40 THOUSAND DOLLARS $40,000.00 AND NEED OF A NEW ENGINE. BUSINESS IS BUSINESS LET THEM GO UNDER. THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT HAVE TO WORK AS HARD. HOWEVER, WE DO, JUST TO MAKE THAT BIG PAYMENT.

mary ellen thurman
3/20/2009 12:18:06 PM
If it was a loan, like Chrysler took out, fine, but no no more automobile bailouts!

Margot Heard
3/20/2009 12:17:34 PM
All business should compete on the same footing. The concept of too big to fail is absurd. Bankruptcy is the available tool to reorganize and get a second chance. All the bailouts are a mistake. Now the taxpayer and small business will have to pay the bill. And our money will be devalued. Small business owner and rancher.

PaulB_3
3/20/2009 10:50:28 AM
Whether or not the Government should bail out car companies with loans ought to be based on the same criteria any sensible person would use. IS THE BUSINESS ABLE TO BE SAVED? At the moment Ford is the only traditionally American car maker that is (according to the April 2009 issue of Consumer Reports) making cars that are likely to be able to successfully compete in the World market. See page 15 - Automaker report cards and page 16 - how manufacturers compare. IMHO Chrysler is clearly rated a very poor risk for any investor. The overall range of scores for car makers scores is from 78(Honda) to 48(Chrysler) General Motors is next low at a score of 57. The CR gives 15 automakers a score. The top 9 out of 15 are all scored between 70 and 78 and are ALL either traditional Japanese or German car makers except number 9 which is Hyundai with a score of 70. I don't believe that Chrysler CAN be saved. Remember - Mercedes has already tried to save them. It might be possible to save GM, if they abandon their really poor older models. Ford seems likely to save themselves

Diana_15
3/20/2009 10:38:57 AM
No more bailouts to anyone. If these people can't run their companies, maybe someone else should! They have to start looking at themselves not the Fed!.

Sharon B
3/19/2009 9:07:01 PM
I think the car manufacturers are worthy of the government loans. Everybody acts like the bailout money is a gift, but as I understand it, it's supposed to be a loan and be repaid to the taxpayers in the future. The car companies are more important than Wall Street, IMHO. They actually MAKE things we need, not just shuffle money around. We need to save whatever manufacturing we can in this country and not be dependent on the rest of the world to make things for us. American car companies are still getting unfairly bashed for some cr@ppy cars they built in the early 80's. I have driven a variety of GM cars over the years, purchased used, and all of them gave me over 150,000 miles of service with only an occasional parts failure such as alternator or starter, and were still roadworthy when I traded them.

Pat Miketinac
3/19/2009 7:56:35 PM
The government should not bail out anybody. The Fed has caused our economic problems by debasing our currency. For evidence, go to lewrockwell.com and mises.org. I will probably never buy any new car, I will keep driving my '68 VW bug or another like it.

John Adams_2
3/19/2009 7:44:08 PM
Well... Maybe. Back in the 1980's Chrysler took a gov't loan, got their compost together, turned into an acceptable company, and paid the loan back -- early. If they do that again, then "okay". But it looks like we are just throwing money at them (and everything else). I love GM. The EV-1 was genius (and moronic). Both of my Saturns get over 32 mpg highway. Still, WHY are we giving money to companies who are laying everyone off? If they're not going to actually employ anyone, why give them money?

TomS
3/18/2009 9:44:32 PM
Personally, I think if a company is "too big to fail" then they're just plain too big. If the government is going to prop them up, we should require they split up the company so if one of the smaller companies gets in trouble in the future, it won't have such a large impact if they go out of business.







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