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Wild Bill Turkey
Anybody else having trouble making ends meet? We can print as much money as anybody might need.
dakini_painter
Well if I could get an extra 10 or 20K I could work on expanding my operations. I'd even promise to pay them back. Y'all would vouch for me right?
Donnie Darko
That electric/steam powered alambic you have qualifies as an energy efficient vehicle. Just put some wheels on the little hot rod and they'll never know the difference.

Incidentally, Detroit's own idiocy in resisting increased fuel economy standards all this time is the main reason why they're in trouble, as if that even needed to be pointed out. A refusal of the government to regulate, once again, is the source of the problem. Now Detroit is having to play catch up to the rest of the world, just like when their resistance to fuel economy standards in the 70s nearly sank their boat. Talk about amnesia. Were all US auto executives born after the late 80s?

Unfortunately the choice is either help them, or watch even more American jobs evaporate and domestic spending shrink even further. Even though the problem was their own fault, much the like the continuing banking problem, it affects everyone, so it's better to help US automakers (hopefully mostly via loans rather than give-aways) than to say "sorry, you blew it, everyone else has to suffer because of your irresponsibility".
dakini_painter
And it's not just the auto workers themselves, but all the downstream jobs that support those folks including all the Joe the Plumbers, etc. I'm sure they'll bail them out, and like you say, use it to enforce green cars. Even if they work a deal with Toyota to buy the rights to their hybrid technology. For the sake of the planet.

Unfortunately, stills are horribly inefficient, energy wise. Now if I could use the waste energy I generate in the summer to heat the place in the winter, that would be efficient. I wonder if there's a way to turn the heat back into electricity that I could sell back to NYSEG?
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Nov 9 2008, 03:06 PM) *

A refusal of the government to regulate, once again, is the source of the problem.

And when laissez-faire advocates tell you how regulation is bad and that the market itself will punish businesses that perform badly or pay poor attention to the consumer's needs, isn't this what they're promising? That car makers that are still building Edsels will go out of business? Either we're playing by those rules or we aren't.

The '79 Chrsyler bailout sent the message to automakers that they were immune to the realities of a free market. Now they know they have nothing to fear. That's why American cars suck and always will. A painful lesson is in order. Maybe this isn't the best time for it, but when is?
Jaded Prole


If Warren Buffet bailed out GM he'd have a powerful seat on their board. If public funds are going to bail out the auto industry then it should be publicly accountable. As a publicly owned corporation it should be required to produce vehicles that meet set standards for efficiency and millage and the production of more electric cars should be required.
dakini_painter
In defense of the auto industry, so long as gas was cheap, they were selling tons of SUVs and trucks. Their customers (ahem, those Americans) demanded those kinds of vehicles.

A whole lot of people, made a whole lot of mistakes, for a long time. Consumers, the manufacturers, government. Everyone. No one took the oil crisis of the 70's seriously. And the few who did were laughed at. Those hippy-dippy-eco-commie-tree-huggers. Organic, too.

And saying, FUCK YOU, letting the people who are now screwed be even more screwed. Even Toyota couldn't produce enough Priuses to reduce our oil dependence and why give them all the jobs anyway.

Re-tooling Detroit under new management to produce efficient cars seems better than thumbing you nose at people. Especially since the workers had no choice but to make the cars they were told to make.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Wild Bill Turkey @ Nov 9 2008, 07:09 PM) *

The '79 Chrsyler bailout sent the message to automakers that they were immune to the realities of a free market.

The alternative message is to say "Sorry public, you have to suffer the painful consequences of your company's actions, even though you worked hard for them and aren't responsible for their failure". I think the only sensible foresight influenced direction is stiffer regulation with stiffer penalties. Yep, regulation will constrain rapid growth, but that's better than either letting the companies collapse and have intensified and prolonged public suffering, or having to use public money to bail industry out down the road for the umpteenth time.

Why don't European and Japanese automakers have this problem? Not sure exactly, but I'd guess higher gas prices, a culture not obsessed with consumption and stiffer regulation are probably the reason.
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Nov 9 2008, 05:06 PM) *

If public funds are going to bail out the auto industry then it should be publicly accountable. As a publicly owned corporation it should be required to produce vehicles that meet set standards for efficiency and millage and the production of more electric cars should be required.


QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Nov 9 2008, 05:22 PM) *

Re-tooling Detroit under new management to produce efficient cars seems better than thumbing you nose at people.

These quotes represent a direction I'd be more comfortable with than a repeat of the Chrysler bailout, effectively giving the big three public money to keep doing what they've been doing and hoping it works out better now that they've "learned their lesson".

This time, let's take over those companies. No more free money. From now on, you work for us, and we have certain requirements you're in no position to dispute or drag your feet on. The Chief executive officers should be making a high-school teacher's pay, and be held accountable for their performance in quarterly reviews that are made public. Seriously, the free ride is over. From now on, you guys take the bus, and if you lose your transfer you have to pay the fare when you get back on just like anyone else.
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Nov 9 2008, 05:22 PM) *

In defense of the auto industry, so long as gas was cheap, they were selling tons of SUVs and trucks. Their customers (ahem, those Americans) demanded those kinds of vehicles.

The American automakers aren't going under because they made SUVs instead of Priuses. They're going under because more consumers bought Japanese SUVs than bought American SUVs. We bought more Japanese economy cars than we bought American economy cars.

Was that because we hate buying American products, or because the American cars don't have anywhere near as good a track record for reliability or fuel economy?

The imports are better designed, better built and very competitively priced. The Japanese are working harder at this than we are, and their efforts have paid off. American automakers are in trouble because American cars suck, not American consumers.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Wild Bill Turkey @ Nov 9 2008, 09:38 PM) *

This time, let's take over those companies. No more free money. From now on, you work for us, and we have certain requirements you're in no position to dispute or drag your feet on. The Chief executive officers should be making a high-school teacher's pay, and be held accountable for their performance in quarterly reviews that are made public. Seriously, the free ride is over. From now on, you guys take the bus, and if you lose your transfer you have to pay the fare when you get back on just like anyone else.


I nominate Wild Bill Turkey as Secretary of whatever department decides policy for US automakers in Obama's new administration. Seriously.

QUOTE
The imports are better designed, better built and very competitively priced. The Japanese are working harder at this than we are, and their efforts have paid off. American automakers are in trouble because American cars suck, not American consumers.


Tell me about it. I had a Mercury Tracer (built in Mexico but an "American car") that had to be thrown out after 100K miles because of several cracked piston rings, in spite of regular maintenance. My grandparents' Lincoln MK VIII had to have a new transmission put in at 60K miles. Before that they had a Jeep Cherokee which needed a new transmission at 45K. We recently borrowed my in-laws' Ford Focus, and the fuel pump failed at 40K miles. Meanwhile, my dad had a Nissan Sentra that made it to 150K before anything broke, and my 1986 Volvo 240 made it to 180K before I had to replace anything significant (water pump broke at 180k), and it made it to 210K with the original alternator. Still had the original engine and original transmission when I sold it. My uncle's VW Rabbit made it to 190K before anything major had to be done to it.

If there weren't so many jobs that depended on them, I'd be happy to let US auto makers fail.
dakini_painter
I agree that American cars are much more poorly made than most foreign ones.

So instead of gripping about it, now that we know there's a problem, we can begin to investigate and address the actual causes leading to the problem. I can see that Donnie and WBT have a good handle on this problem and understand it well, so I'm going to let them lead the way (in the spirit of bipartisanship of course).

I'll help write up all the ideas and send it off to Barack's transition team. Together we'll get America rolling again!

And they'll have FV to thank! That will be Grand.
Jaded Prole
While they are at it they can investigate Donnie's cancer cure and legalize home distilling.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Nov 10 2008, 08:58 AM) *

I can see that Donnie and WBT have a good handle on this problem and understand it well, so I'm going to let them lead the way


QUOTE
I nominate Wild Bill Turkey as Secretary of whatever department decides policy for US automakers


As you can see from my quote above, I am very literate about the workings of government. In fact I nominate myself as Secretary of the what's-it-called department that decides absinthe policy and the thingamajig department in charge of scientific research grants for whoever does the science-y stuff.

QUOTE
I'll help write up all the ideas and send it off to Barack's transition team. Together we'll get America rolling again!


While I suspect you were speaking facetiously, Obama actually wants you to do that:
http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision

Yeah, in some sense maybe it's just a way to make people feel involved and nobody actually reads what is sent in, but at bare minimum it's a nice gesture.
Steyr850
And Detroit's solution…A Hybrid Tahoe that gets 20mpg and costs 50k. Brilliant!

I can't wait to get my '09 Tdi.
Kirk
If I wanted to own stock in GM I would have bought some, let the bastards bail themselves out.
They already got 25 billion this year, now another 25 billion, it's socialism and I don't even have a say in it.
More welfare for the rich.
Donnie Darko
It isn't really welfare for the rich though since GM does happen to have a few employees. How many jobs go in the shitter if we don't give them loans and buy their stock? We're not just talking about Detroit's economy. We're talking about car dealerships and car manufacturing plants across the country. Are those people rich?

Michael Moore keeps wailing about how we shouldn't bail out any of these companies, apparently unaware that the majority of the people he is supposedly the champion of will lose their job which will cause a domino effect across the country for all people that work in auto-industry related jobs. I thought he was against corporations fucking people over, but when they act irresponsibly then suddenly he's a Libertarian laissez-faire guy?

We could pursue the alternative of letting all these business collapse and then just putting everyone who will lose their jobs on welfare indefinitely, but when jobs go away it's really hard to get them back. It's better for those businesses to stay solvent and to continue employing as many as they can than to allow the domino effect to yank the country into even further financial disarray. Then we WILL have another great depression, probably even worse than 1930.
dakini_painter
Thanks for the link to change.gov, Donnie, that's awesome! I really am going to write a long email and let them know what I think on a whole host of issues domestic and foreign. While I doubt much will change, perhaps things can be nudged in a better direction. If enough people express their views in a positive way, maybe we can overcome the narrow minded thinkers.

I really liked the NYT article on Littleton, PA and how people who were like totally against Obama (mainly because he was black) where able to overcome their initial feelings and pull the lever for him. Now that's change.

Doctor Love

Anything short of a complete restructuring of these companies will just result in more failures down the road, the same as we've seen from U.S. automakers for the last 3 decades. I don't see how handing them another fistful of cash is going to help when GM is burning through $2.3 billion every month. Filing for bankruptcy would get the creditors off their backs temporarily and allow them to fundamentally restructure their business. Yes, job losses would occur, but the reality is those job losses will likely occur eventually anyway if they do not fix their failed business model.

Of course the CEOs and executive teams of these large automakers know that a bankruptcy filing very well may lead to them losing their own jobs, so it's not surprising they want the tax payers to allow them to continue hemorrhaging vast sums of money.

Donnie Darko
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Nov 10 2008, 11:54 AM) *

I really liked the NYT article on Littleton, PA and how people who were like totally against Obama (mainly because he was black) where able to overcome their initial feelings and pull the lever for him. Now that's change.


The same applied to my grandparents in Indiana who voted for him. I think the main impetus in a lot of normally racist leaning people that voted for Obama is that some of them nonetheless watch Oprah, and also Obama doesn't fit their stereotype of "black", and white people who normally are bothered by "black" culture love that. It also makes them feel good because then they can say "I'm not racist, I voted for the black guy". I think what is often labelled as racism in this country isn't really racism anyway, but rather cultural xenophobia. The press, as usual, didn't get that, and kept making a big issue out of the race thing, predicting Hillary would win and then predicted the mythical Bradley Effect would influence the election. Neither was true. The press will of course over-simplify anything in order for a eye-catching story, so it's nice to see this election prove them wrong on so many things. The press shouldn't be in the business of "analysis" anyway. They're story-tellers, and should leave the analyzing to the people who actually are qualified to do so.

As for the bailout stuff, in normal economic times, yes, absolutely let the company fail, go bankrupt, reorganize, etc. But when unemployment is already increasing and most states have huge deficits and many programs are facing across the board cuts, to then allow the US auto industry to rapidly contract is to guarantee and even larger contraction of the general economy, making an even deeper hole harder to climb out of. If the American public is willing to sacrifice their own jobs in order to punish corporate irresponsibility, well, OK, but that is no recipe for economic recovery any time soon. Once the economy is in better shape, then perhaps we should allow GM to hang itself and its employees with its own rope, and hopefully there will be other jobs their employees can find. But to allow a GM failure right now, when states are already struggling to raise revenues, would so royally fuck many state economies that the states themselves could very well go bankrupt.
Kirk
Fuck 'em Donnie. If they were going to prop anybody up it should have been the railroads, long before Exxon and GM started paying to have them all turned into walking trails.
I live in the middle of nowhere, with no public transportation. I found a letter written in 1905 from here where the young lady talked about walking down the hill and catching a train to connect anywhere in the country. The depot is now on the New River trail. Rails to Trails was the big slogan a few years back. Seems like backward progress to me.
dakini_painter
There used to be railroads here. Used to take milk and beef to NYC. I'm sure people moved here too.

Interesting, found a web site dedicated to a WW II searchlight unit. Has info about Walton.

http://www.skylighters.org/memories/belmont.html

The railroads here all disappeared by the late 60's and early 70's.
Jaded Prole
QUOTE
Obama doesn't fit their stereotype of "black", and white people who normally are bothered by "black" culture love that. It also makes them feel good because then they can say "I'm not racist, I voted for the black guy".I think what is often labelled as racism in this country isn't really racism anyway, but rather cultural xenophobia.


Exactly. "Race" in America is far more of a cultural phenomenon than a physical one. That's why they tried to connect him with Rev. Write.

And Kirk, you're right concerning the rail system. Obama should focus on rebuilding our rail system. We need it to transport goods more efficiently and people too. Trucking everything is not ecologically sound. Rebuilding our rails and our power grid could create the jobs to pull us out of this depression recession.

Beats bailing out the auto industry too.
Donnie Darko
I'd LOVE to have a national railroad that didn't blow like Amtrak. It stinks the auto companies stopped that from happening a long time ago.

Should only take several hundred billion and about 25 years to make a new one. I'll get right on that.
Jaded Prole
Long term job creating projects are a good thing.
dakini_painter
I spent an hour writing a long message on change.gov. I was surprised that I actually sent a lot of time on foreign affairs.

I mentioned the railroads and fixing them. I mentioned taking over AIG, the auto industry and the big banks (the ones still standing).

I mentioned helping small business (and was open that I am a small business, or trying to be one).

And several hundred billion, well Donnie, that's nothing…
Wild Bill Turkey
I'm all for retooling a portion of the failing auto industry to help in an effort to rebuild and upgrade our rail systems and public transportation infrastructure. In fact I followed DP's example and wrote as much on the weblink Donnie posted earlier.

Hell, we could set our trains up to run on banana peels if we wanted. And this kind of investment in infrastructure is not only what helped us get through the last depression recession, but all the cool kids are doing it:
QUOTE
Much of the $586 billion stimulus package China unveiled this week will go toward building highways, railroads and airports. Already, according to official estimates, infrastructure spending had been increasing by an average of 20% annually for the past 30 years -- a tried and true engine that has helped power the Chinese economy's explosive growth.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Nov 10 2008, 06:34 PM) *

Long term job creating projects are a good thing.

That's just plain crazy talk. harhar.gif
dakini_painter
QUOTE
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For silver waves of AA,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the wormwood plains!


That's my plan for long term job creation. evill.gif
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prole @ Nov 10 2008, 06:34 PM) *

Long term job creating projects are a good thing.


Certainly better than the policy over the last 8 years of long term job elimination.
Kirk
I have always payed my bills, I think they should lower my interest rate to 3% and kick those other dumb asses out of their McMansions and burn the damn things down.
I always wondered how people could afford to live in those disgusting houses, now I know, they can't. While I scrimped and saved and lived within my means, now I have to help pay for them too.
Doctor Love
Not a lot of incentive to make good choices in life, is there?
Nephrite
Sure there is, go into business for yourself and follow Kirk's advise.
Kirk
Working hard, living within my means, paying my bills. I like all those things, so there is plenty of incentive for me.
John Dillinger
Thought I'd throw this article about Detroit's future in here.
Donnie Darko
Given how you describe your situation, Kirk, I doubt it's much if any of your tax money that would pay for any loans or purchase of shares anyway. The other thing is that loans have to be repaid with interest, and purchasing shares incurs dividends and potential profits, which could very well offset any tax money traced back to you, effectively making your contribution to any assistance $0.

Obviously GM and the others don't deserve a "bailout". Dillinger's link is very illuminating. Any assistance should come with a mandatory firing of the board and executives who have presided over the failures of the company, and should require massive restructuring and a new vision for the companies centered around fuel efficiency that can compete with imports.

Or we can let them fail, thumb our noses at them, which we will then be cutting off to spite our face. Any renter of yours who works at a car dealership or who receives any income related to any activity linked to US auto manufacturing could lose their job, and I think you can visualize the downstream effects from there.

The big shots already raped us, they've been raping us for years. Tax cuts to benefit oil companies, regulations written for oil companies, the Iraq war, farm subsidies, etc. We've got a size 7 poop chute by now. Loans and stock purchases for US auto manufacturers is honestly mild in comparison to what has gone on in the past. This is essentially past corporate and government failures coming home to roost. A bit of taxes going to prevent potentially 3 million jobs being lost means less public consequences for corporate irresponsibility than the alternative.
Shabba53
There are plenty of successful auto manufacturers that are operating in the US and employing thousands of Americans.

The only companies that are asking for the bailout are those who have failed to have the foresight that they might want to switch gears from producing gas guzzling SUVs and start to produce more fuel efficient, smaller cars. Bailouts won't fix that problem. Banckruptcy and restructuring might.
Kirk
Nature doesn't like a vacuum.
Doctor Love

QUOTE(Kirk @ Nov 12 2008, 06:28 AM) *
Working hard, living within my means, paying my bills. I like all those things, so there is plenty of incentive for me.


I like those things too, I just wish the Federal government did.

dakini_painter
Which auto manufacturers are you referring to Shabba? GM is burning 2 billion a month. Ford not much less but has more cash on hand. Chrysler is in a bad way, but you don't hear about them as much.

The only other manufacturers in the US are Japanese companies with factories here. Or so I thought.

This is actually another problem with consolidation. If all the little car makers hadn't been bought out years ago, maybe one or two of them would have been working on hybrids or electrics and developed some products. It could have happened…

I wrote another big missive to nameless, faceless government entity today. Yet another one that will go unanswered, and be ineffectual. But I'm still motivated by Hope and Change. Here's the September 2008 Preliminary Report, of the New York State Law Revision Commission, on New York's ABC Law and the State Liquor Authority. It shows how totally out of touch with reality these people are.

Their number one concern is: maintaining the integrity of the three-tier system (which means maintaining government sponsored monopolies at the wholesale level). Considering that due to consolidation there are now only 8 wholesalers in all of NY, only two of whom serve upstate NY, that doesn't seem very reasonable. Especially given that concern number three is: promote competition.


Provenance
IPB Image
Doctor Love

QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Nov 12 2008, 11:19 AM) *
The only other manufacturers in the US are Japanese companies with factories here. Or so I thought.


BMW has a plant in Spartanburg, SC. Dunno about other German makes.

Doctor Love
In other bailout news, we seem to be flailing about with no real plan after all the scare tactics of impending economic doom, all the while the foxes watching the henhouse were making sure they had plenty of chicken to eat.
dakini_painter
And now we want to bail the states out too. There may well be some well run state governments, but NY's is bloated in many areas.

I'm still amazed at the whole idea of a $1 billion dollars for a new Tappan Zee bridge.
Donnie Darko
The problem is the old Tappan Zee was built really poorly using a design that was intended to be temporary. It's bad timing to need to rebuild it, but I could see that bridge collapsing like the one in Minnesota if we don't rebuild it soon.

As for Robert Rubin, Obama should really give that jerk the heave-ho. I know he isn't directly influencing Obama's policy because he's only advising him on who to pick, but I wouldn't even trust the guy to do that. Shucks, I guess Obama isn't Jesus after all.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Doctor Love @ Dec 3 2008, 12:35 PM) *

QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Nov 12 2008, 11:19 AM) *
The only other manufacturers in the US are Japanese companies with factories here. Or so I thought.


BMW has a plant in Spartanburg, SC. Dunno about other German makes.


Volkswagen is building a huge plant in Chattanooga, TN.

I'm beginning to think the best option for the US auto industry would be for the government to buy a controlling stake in GM, Ford and Chrysler (which would actually be way cheaper than the bailout they're asking for), toss the board and executives and shrink the fleet with a focus on fuel economy and building reliable cars.
Kirk
Let them fend for themselves, if they don't make it back into the igloo, we'll eat 'em.
dakini_painter
I guess no bailout for me.
Doctor Love

I was wondering if I ate enough at Thanksgiving if I could manage to become too big to fail?


Tibro
The way you're shoveling in the xit you xould be ready to bust before you fail.
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