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THE FBODFATHER
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I've been known to strongly disagree with Mitch Abolm over a variety of subjects - but I think he hits it on the head with the HYPOCRISY of Washington!


Hey, you senators: Thanks for nothing! A few parting words for the senators who squashed the auto rescue By MITCH ALBOM - FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Do you want to watch us drown? Is that it? Do want to see the last gurgle of economic air spit from our lips? If so, senators, know this: You’ll go down with us. America isn’t America without an auto industry. You can argue whether $14 billion would have saved it, but you surely tried to kill it.

We have grease on our hands. You have blood.

Kill the car, kill the country. History will show that when America was on its knees, a handful of lawmakers tried to cut off its feet. And blame the workers. How suddenly did the workers — a small percentage of a car’s cost — become justification for crushing an industry?

And when did Detroit become the symbol of economic dysfunction? Are you kidding? Have you looked in the mirror lately, Washington?

In a world where banks hemorrhaged trillions in a high-priced gamble called credit derivative swaps that YOU failed to regulate, how on earth do WE need to be punished? In a bailout era where you shoveled billions, with no demands, to banks and financial firms, why do WE need to be schooled on how to run a business?

Who is more dysfunctional in business than YOU? Who blows more money? Who wastes more trillions on favors, payback and pork?

At least in the auto industry, if folks don’t like what you make, they don’t have to buy it. In government, even your worst mistakes, we have to live with.

And now Detroit should die with this?

In bed with the foreign automakers

Kill the car, kill the country. Sen. Richard Shelby, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Mitch McConnell, your names will not be forgotten. It’s amazing how you pretend to speak for America when you are only watching out for your political party, which would love to cripple unions, and your states, which house foreign auto plants.

Corker, you’ve got Nissan there and Volkswagen coming. Shelby, you’ve got Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and — like McConnell — Toyota. Oh, don’t kid yourself. They didn’t come because you earned their business, a subject on which you enjoy lecturing the Detroit Three. No, they came because you threw billions in state tax breaks to lure them. And now you want those foreign companies, which you lured, and which get help from their governments, to dictate to American workers how much they should be paid?

Tell you what. You’re so fond of the foreign model, why don’t you do what Japanese ministers do when they screw up the country’s finances? They cut their salaries. Or they resign in shame. When was the last time a U.S. senator resigned over a failed policy? Yet you want to fire Rick Wagoner? Who are you people?

More money for the lords of Wall Street

There ought to be a law — against the hypocrisy our government has demonstrated. The speed with which wheelbarrows of money were dumped on Wall Street versus the slow noose hung on the auto companies’ necks is reprehensible. Some of those same banks we bailed out are now saying they won’t extend credit to auto dealers. Wasn’t that why we gave them the money? To loosen credit?

Where’s your tight grip on those funds, senators? Where’s your micromanaging of the wages in banking? Or do you just enjoy having your hands around blue-collared throats?

No matter what the president does, history will not forget this: At our nation’s most uncertain hour, you senators stood ready to plunge hundreds of thousands of American families into oblivion. Leave them unemployed, with no health care, on public assistance. And you were willing to put our nation’s security at risk — by squashing the manufacturing base we must have in times of war.

And why? So you could stand on some phony principle? Crush a union? Play to your base? How is our nation better off today now that you kept $14 billion in the treasury? Are you going to balance the budget with that?

Don’t make us laugh.

Kill the car, kill the country. You tried to slam a stake into our chest; you don’t realize how close you are to the nation’s heart. Shame on your pettiness. Shame on your hypocrisy. This is how lawmakers behave two weeks before Christmas? Honestly. What has become of this country?
 

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I agree with everything but:

And now you want those foreign companies, which you lured, and which get help from their governments, to dictate to American workers how much they should be paid?
You need to match wages to bring prices down and stay competitive.
 

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I personally think Albom is a Genius. I wish I could articulate my feelings the way he has here. Too bad nobody will listen. Where has our country gone? :(
 

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maybe if we get the guy that set up the anti Shelby site to go looking into things I am sure people that support his site will find this BS out.
 

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Thanks Scott passing this around to other places for people to understand..
 

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Thanks for the column.

It would be nice to know how much was spent to lure those car companies to their state.
Sigh. After many months spent here enjoying the information on the new Camaro, digging Jinx's photoshops, and dreaming of my future Camaro, I must now commit 5thGen apostasy.

So be it.

http://www.cargroup.org/pdfs/North-SouthPaper.PDF

Short answer: It doesn't really matter how much was spent to lure the foreign manufacturers to the South. The decisions to place the plants in that region are made long before any incentive money is offered or spent. The North doesn't have a chance for multiple reasons, including demographics, shipping costs, energy costs (think TVA), before you even begin to consider incentive money. The UAW and their allies in Northern (DNC controlled) state governments just ensure that they keep themselves priced out of the market.

Oh, and it's not just Dixie throwing money around and the money isn't just going to Toyota. Behold Michigan's gift to FoMoCo to build the Camaro's most direct competitor:

In Michigan, and many other states, an economic impact analysis is a
mandatory precursor to any state and community assistance. For instance, the State of Michigan and the City of Flat Rock awarded Ford Motor Company a combined $125 million in tax breaks in 2003 to be used to offset the $644 million the company will invest to upgrade the Flat Rock facility to begin building Mustangs. The State estimates that over the life of the incentive package, $850 million will be paid in taxes by the 1,945 current workers, the projected 1,400 additional plant employees, and the estimated 6,300 indirect jobs created by the spending of the company and its employees.
Here's the article's conclusions:

Conclusion
There appears to be scant evidence that auto companies are locating facilities in the south based chiefly on the size of incentive packages. In fact, incentives don’t seem to enter the equation until the site selection has been reduced to choosing between two or three communities, which are almost always in the same region. Instead, there are fundamental changes occurring in the auto industry and the population growth patterns of the country that are affecting the location of new manufacturing facilities. States,provinces, and communities have little control over these changes that are affecting the core business model of the industry.

Evidence indicates that the industry is going through a “right-sizing” of its regional and North American capacity, with traditional domestic automakers firmly entrenched in north central U.S., and southern Ontario—a region that is growing slowly at the same time the domestic automakers are collectively losing market share. Meanwhile, the transplant companies are predominantly locating in the southern regions of the country, at the same time their aggregate market share continues to grow. As long as the transplant companies continue to take market share market share away from the traditional domestic manufacturers, and the population of the southern part of the country keeps on growing, the movement of high-paying automotive jobs south is likely to continue.
What right- wing, domestic automaker hating, GOP propaganda machine put out this article? Why, the Center for Automotive Research. The same Center for Automotive Research that put out the recent study claiming that 3 million Americans will be living in refrigerator boxes if the Detroit 3 go under. The study that Rick Wagoner and the other CEOs have been waving around while they go to Washington to pick our pockets.

Look, I want GM to make it because I want a new Camaro really bad. However, IMO, without bankruptcy GM will ultimately not survive for the long term. Bailouts just delay the inevitable and thwart the reforms needed.
 

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That was awesome. He said exactly what I was thinking. I couldn't have possibly put it in words, but he did it so flawlessly that I found myself saying "wow" a few times while reading. I will surely pass this on.
 

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Isn't (or wasn't) Mitch Albom a sports columnist?
 

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Look, I want GM to make it because I want a new Camaro really bad. However, IMO, without bankruptcy GM will ultimately not survive for the long term. Bailouts just delay the inevitable and thwart the reforms needed.
Bingo! The one major point that helped the bailout fail was the lack of concessions the UAW proposes.... Mitch can point out 3 senators as the bad guys all he wants but other than pure emotion what is really his point. Boo hoo...Mitch...Booo freakin Hooo. He doesn't want the Big 3 to file Chapter 11! That is his big problem....why? Could it be because the Big 3 would be allowed to renegotiate their contracts potentially causing just one UAW worker to lose their job. Oh the horror! Everyone is losing jobs in this country. UAW jobs are no more sacred than the guy working at PEP Boys.

The UAW is trying to get away with making no concessions at all. Don't tell me about getting rid of the Jobs Banks either. They said they would suspend them not get rid of them. Dems were bought and paid for by the UAW many moons ago....and its payback time. But don't worry, Obama will be in office soon and he will make things right. Big money bailout, same bad UAW contract, don't address the legacy costs, and generally let the UAW continue to rape the Big 3 balance sheets.
 

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you pointed out the fact that were saying..Michigan helps out ford?? Yes that is a good thing.. the biggest gripe is that we are sending out billions to lure companies here from other countries...that is a big problem. You think we would be in this mes if we took Japans way of thinking? How many plants do the big 3 have in Japan???
I think we would of crushed Japan in the auto industry 30 years ago if they let us sell our cars in thier home country as easy as we let them in here..
 

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I am very torn in this whole debate. On one hand I want the bail out to pass I dont think our economy can take a hit that large. I also think it is funny how the government is so reluctant to give the money up but are spending tons and tons of money on useless sh!t. I have worked for the government for 8 years now and I see the spending first hand. They are just as **** careless with their money as anyone else. Then as mentioned before how we give Billions to AIG and all of these other failed companies. Yet closing the doors with the big three this will affect a ton more people.

Now I do believe change is in dire need. I cant seem to justify having to raise my taxes or any of your taxes when some of us are making pennies on the dollar to bail out people getting paid 60/hr to change a tire. These unions need to go bye bye. Hey union people what is more important having a job with a few less benefits or seeing your company go under and you being unemployed and unable to support your family. Everyone needs to help out not just the government.

One thing i wish would happen is to slow the imports. Instead of the foreign car companies being able to bring everything over. Why limit the amount of foreign cars into the states. This would limit the amount of hondas and toyotas and bmw's. Maybe even raise their prices a bit. That gives our people our country the advantage over japan and germany. Why not start helping our country instead of all of these other countries. Why not pass a law where you cant out source anything if you are an american based company you employ american people located in the states. That will provide us with more jobs. **** all these companies that want to fatten their pockets and let our american people suffer for it.

Sorry for the rant.... just my 2 cents.
 

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If anyone saw the interview The U.A.W. President gave CNN on Sunday, he reminded them that the U.A.W. HAS made MANY concessions already. Lowering my and the other members wages is NOT going to fix this problem. Even if we took ZERO pay it would not help in the short term. Any new people hired to replace retiring workers now come in at a much lower (about half) pay scale with NO pension and insurance that is not as good and costs much more. QUIT blaming the U.A.W.!!! Labor is only about 10% of the cost of the vehicle. The other 90% is the part that needs to be fixed. The top of all the large corporations is EXTREMELY heavy and needs to be brought back down to earth. Cutting a little more off the bottom won't work.
 

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If anyone saw the interview The U.A.W. President gave CNN on Sunday, he reminded them that the U.A.W. HAS made MANY concessions already. Lowering my and the other members wages is NOT going to fix this problem. Even if we took ZERO pay it would not help in the short term. Any new people hired to replace retiring workers now come in at a much lower (about half) pay scale with NO pension and insurance that is not as good and costs much more. QUIT blaming the U.A.W.!!! Labor is only about 10% of the cost of the vehicle. The other 90% is the part that needs to be fixed. The top of all the large corporations is EXTREMELY heavy and needs to be brought back down to earth. Cutting a little more off the bottom won't work.
Nobody is blaming the union for all this. But they are definatley apart of the problem. There needs to be change through out the whole organization from the top down.
 
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