25 billion for the big three?

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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Generic » Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:46 pm

I think, in my original tirade in response to JB's post, I conveniently skimmed over one particularly important thorn in this issue: the fact that when a company the size of Ford or GM crumbles, hundreds of thousands of employees suffer the consequences, even though these employees may not have had anything to do with the failure of the company. It's true that we shouldn't project punishment on the many for the idiotic and shortsighted actions of the few in charge.

Unforunately, that's how business works. The only thing that makes the Big Three issue tricky is the scale. If a company with two owning partners who are bad businessmen and twenty competent employees with no executive power, those twenty employees will lose their jobs for no reason other than the incompetence of their bosses. But that doesn't mean that a mismanaged company shouldn't fail.

In a perfect world, no company would ever fail and no one would ever get laid off. In this world, when CEOs manage their businesses badly, low-level workers pay. My main concern at this point is simply making sure that the CEOs suffer the repercussions of their mismanagement as badly as those sacked employees. Not gonna happen, but that's what passes for justice in this day and age.

In short: I'm sorry, JB, if my initial response to your post seemed to embody the dismissiveness and glibness that it decried in the first place. But I remain unconvinced. I still don't feel that the fact that a company or group of companies employs an unusually large number of people is not justification enough to spare them the consequences of poor management.

Also: boing.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby jb » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:43 pm

Well, I thank those of you who expanded on your thoughts.

Generic, your most recent response doesn't address the collateral damage that a collapse of companies of this magnitude would incur.

As I heard Sheila Bair, current chair of the FDIC (and a member of the Administration who has a remarkable amount of respect from basically everybody) say in a recent interview, the question now isn't "should these companies fail" it's "can we afford to allow them to fail"? Is the principle of "poorly managed companies should fail because that's how the system works" important enough to sacrifice a large chunk of our economy?

So far, it seems, many of us haven't felt the impact of these economic problems. At least, I haven't seen anybody here describe it affecting them, I dunno any of us who has had to default on their mortgage or has gone into foreclosure. I know that I personally haven't felt it yet. Aside from the constant threat of layoffs, which is nothing new to me working for a company that's basically declining, life has actually gotten a bit easier recently what with the decline in gas prices.

The economic crisis is all very abstract, which makes it so much easier to make grand pronouncements. When the first of us gets laid off, or we have to cut back on milk or something basic like that, I think it'll hit home and some of us may change our minds. It's easy to be hardnosed when we're talking abstractly about somebody else having to pay the piper.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Generic » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:41 am

It's a good point, JB, but that argument is pretty dangerous. What is the magic number of employees you must hire before you're too important to fail? Obviously 100 is too few, but you argue that a group of companies employing 270,000 people is too important to let fail. And it's a troubling thought, because that basically means that the Big Three are holding their own employees for ransom. "Pay up $25 Billion or these 270,000 people get the ax," they're saying. And by giving in, we decide that the management of these three companies can get away with all kinds of bad business decisions and never have to answer for it.

Personally, I'd rather stick to our good old system of meritocracy, even if it does mean taking heavy short-term losses, than set the example that a CEO can do pretty much anything he/she wants, provided the company employs enough people.

(It has been suggested that the government provide that $25 Billion loan to the Big Three, but only on condition that they completely change their upper managements. I'd be slightly more amenable to that, but it's still a huge gamble, because how can we ensure that the new bosses will be any better than the old?)

By the way, unlike a couple of the more vocal people in this thread, I was in favor of the bank bailout (which, by the way, has been implemented extraordinarily poorly), even as I'm against this. Why? Because everybody uses banks, and not everybody uses Big Three cars. The panic people and naysayers will stress that anywhere between ten and twenty percent of Americans are directly or indirectly employed by the auto industry, but what they don't mention is that the majority of these people work for sectors of the industry that aren't directly linked to the Big Three. If you own or work at a gas station, people with VWs and Lexuses will continue to fill up their cars at your pump. Foreign cars get dirty, too, so car washes won't go out of business. Detailers, auto mechanics, valets, and taxi drivers will all continue to work without GM, Chrysler, and Ford pumping out new gas-guzzling vehicles.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Billy's Little Trip » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:11 am

They don't have any clips up yet, but Saturday Night Live was spot on last night with "The Big Me". <<that's mine, lol.
But I did find this still shot.
This is what Wagoner brought out when asked if they came up with a plan yet. :lol:
Image

Which really goes back to what I said before. 25 billion gets them by for 5 months, then what?
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Lord of Oats » Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:38 pm

UM

Do you folks understand that a company can operate in bankruptcy? Chapter 11? The company keeps operating. Crap keeps getting maid. But they have to work out a way to make their business profitable again.

I'm not necessarily against giving them money, if they can tell us exactly how much they need, what they're going to do with it, and how it will save them. But they've done nothing of the sort.

It seems to me that the union-labor model is not sustainable. I heard a statistic mentioned somewhere in which GM employees average $75 per hour (possibly including benefits?). In any case, What?! It's not just the executives here that make too much money. It's even the blue-collar workers. All the big three need to do is copy the model of all the foreign companies that are still making money. That certainly means getting rid of or renegotiating union contracts. Wouldn't you rather take a pay cut than lose your job? Union workers are living in a fantasy world, and it's not fair to the rest of us. No one DESERVES $75 per hour for unskilled labor, anymore than their execs deserve their jets and shit. They're a wasteful bunch. If they refuse to cut it out, they shouldn't be helped. I could afford my car, a GM vehicle, because they made it in Mexico. They're obviously heading in the right direction, at least as far as their survival is concerned. But it hasn't been enough. And that doesn't help US jobs, does it? Well, I say, build plants in the south. People here would jump at the opportunity to work for $15 an hour.

BLT - Chrysler was purchased by Cerberus Capital Management quite a while ago, no?

roymond - If tobacco goes away, a lot of people are going to be pissed. And are you suggesting that tobacco isn't sustainable and renewable, nor useful? That's a pretty bold claim.

Generic - IN A PERFECT WORLD - we would not have a monetary system. People would not "work for a living". It's already an outdated idea. We shouldn't be striving to perfect the fractional reserve system - inevitable failure of the weakest players is already built into the structure. We should work on becoming independent from the system. It has very little to offer us as it is, and soon it will be completely irrelevant.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Generic » Sun Nov 23, 2008 2:38 pm

Would you buy a car from a company that has recently declared bankruptcy?
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Billy's Little Trip » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:49 pm

Lord of Oats wrote:BLT - Chrysler was purchased by Cerberus Capital Management quite a while ago, no?

Yes, Daimler dumped 80% on Cerberus for a fraction of what they paid. We'll see how that plays out.

Would you continue to supply a company raw materials if they claimed bankruptcy and have protection from having to pay you back what they already owe you if they don't pull themselves out of BK?.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby slats » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:25 pm

Lord of Oats wrote:I heard a statistic mentioned somewhere in which GM employees average $75 per hour (possibly including benefits?). In any case, What?!


Just wanted to drop in to say that $75 an hour meme is complete bullshit. The average line worker earns $28 an hour. I can guarantee you the companies aren't giving them $47 an hour in benefits. What they do to get that figure is add up all of the employee costs including benefits to retirees and divide that figure by the current number of workers. Complete and total bullshit designed to demonize the American unionized workforce. Don't buy into it. Those same UAW workers have made concession after concession, including a landmark contract that hands over the maintenence of their health benefits to the union. In their latest deal, they've cut new employees wages by 50%. The workers have done everything they can to keep their jobs, and their companies viable.

The Big Three's management have done a terrible job. They want to sell their SUV's, because that's where the big markups are. Going for the jugglar on every sale, rather than taking back the market share with volume sales.

Management clearly does not deserve a bailout. But if it's tied to a sharp reduction in the size of management, severely limits their compensation, and (most importantly) is used to fund a real plan for getting the car companies back on track, I could be in favor.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby roymond » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:06 pm

Lord of Oats wrote:roymond - If tobacco goes away, a lot of people are going to be pissed. And are you suggesting that tobacco isn't sustainable and renewable, nor useful? That's a pretty bold claim.

Yes, I overlooked the usefulness of killing half a million Americans a year who use it as intended. Sorry for that little omission. You're right, I obviously tread in thin ice here.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Caravan Ray » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:47 pm

roymond wrote:
Lord of Oats wrote:roymond - If tobacco goes away, a lot of people are going to be pissed. And are you suggesting that tobacco isn't sustainable and renewable, nor useful? That's a pretty bold claim.

Yes, I overlooked the usefulness of killing half a million Americans a year who use it as intended. Sorry for that little omission. You're right, I obviously tread in thin ice here.

Sustainable?


In one in four tobacco-growing countries, 'environmental criticality' due to tobacco-related deforestation has occurred, and there is not enough forest cover to provide for the fuel needs of the population.

Woodland is cleared for growing other crops too, but in some countries, such as China, Zimbabwe and Malawi, tobacco is responsible for about a quarter of the annual deforestation.

http://lists.essential.org/intl-tobacco/msg00109.html
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Spud » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:59 pm

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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Hoblit » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:40 am

roymond wrote:
Lord of Oats wrote:roymond - If tobacco goes away, a lot of people are going to be pissed. And are you suggesting that tobacco isn't sustainable and renewable, nor useful? That's a pretty bold claim.

Yes, I overlooked the usefulness of killing half a million Americans a year who use it as intended. Sorry for that little omission. You're right, I obviously tread in thin ice here.


Yeah, but what about all those things they are investing in to sell you to help you get OFF of their product!

Its the circle of life! Renewable resource indeed! Don't forget about all the postmortem products as well!

/yeah, totally.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Billy's Little Trip » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:00 am

Now they're asking for 34 billion. But at least this time Rick Wagoner drove from Detroit to Washington in the new Malibu hybrid and from his hotel to the Russell Senate Building in the new Chevy Volt electric car. :lol:

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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Spud » Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:02 pm

Yeah, take that congress. Two weeks ago, you could have saved us for a mere 25 bill. Now, cuz you made us go back and do homework, it's gonna cost you 34.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Hoblit » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:24 pm

Spud wrote:Yeah, take that congress. Two weeks ago, you could have saved us for a mere 25 bill. Now, cuz you made us go back and do homework, it's gonna cost you 34.


That's exactly what I was thinking. They have the nerve to punish Congress for not acting efficiently enough with our money. Otherwise, what changed in the last two weeks that would equate to 9 BILLION more dollars.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby slats » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:16 am

So now it's all the way down to $14B, which is really a drop in the bucket when compared to the financial sector bailout. They had money already earmarked from $25B already approved for helping the Big Three get greener. So a relatively small amount of money that the government already had on hand. And it still can't get thru the senate.

Why? Two big reasons.

First, it's southern Repubicans looking to protect the foriegn car manufacturers by not giving an "unfair advantage" to the US auto companies. Never mind how much taxpayer money those states have given all the Japanese and German companies building cars in their backyards.

Second is good old-fashioned union busting. The same Republicans who moan and cry about what a disaster it would be in a recession to repeal Bush's tax cuts in 2009 rather than just letting them expire in 2011 want UAW workers to accept a reduction in salary in 2009 rather than (a reluctantly agreed to) gradual decrease to those lower levels - in 2011. Which would hurt you -or the economy- more? Higher taxes or lower wages? Hypocritical scumbags.

These Republicans, who had their asses handed to them in November, clearly seem to prefer the perceived political benefit to them of an all out depression under Democratic rule to doing what's right for the country.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Hoblit » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:35 am

slats wrote:So now it's all the way down to $14B, which is really a drop in the bucket when compared to the financial sector bailout. They had money already earmarked from $25B already approved for helping the Big Three get greener. So a relatively small amount of money that the government already had on hand. And it still can't get thru the senate.

Why? Two big reasons.

First, it's southern Repubicans looking to protect the foriegn car manufacturers by not giving an "unfair advantage" to the US auto companies. Never mind how much taxpayer money those states have given all the Japanese and German companies building cars in their backyards.

Second is good old-fashioned union busting. The same Republicans who moan and cry about what a disaster it would be in a recession to repeal Bush's tax cuts in 2009 rather than just letting them expire in 2011 want UAW workers to accept a reduction in salary in 2009 rather than (a reluctantly agreed to) gradual decrease to those lower levels - in 2011. Which would hurt you -or the economy- more? Higher taxes or lower wages? Hypocritical scumbags.

These Republicans, who had their asses handed to them in November, clearly seem to prefer the perceived political benefit to them of an all out depression under Democratic rule to doing what's right for the country.


This bill died in the Senate. Senate did not approve of the 14b measure. They decided against it and it is not going through.

With that said, the White House is deciding to use money that was approved ...
FOR SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY
...towards the auto industry for the benefit of Wall Street.

Can they circumvent congress like that? W T F ?
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Billy's Little Trip » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:36 am

What's 14 billion going to do when they are 5 billion in the red every month, according to Rick Wagoner. They have to put the brakes (no pun intended) on all hybrid R&D and let them sit until further notice. Then continue with their tried and true designs that sell cheap and suck for the environment.

One of the ideas on the table is to reduce the bumper to bumper warranty period to 6 months or a 1 year and after that you're on your own. US auto makers spend billions a year on warranty because MOST of their cars are shit and designed not to last. Now they want consumers to accept the responsibility of their poor quality.

Pros:
1. They save billions annually
2. They sell OEM parts with huge profit margins
3. They don't have to cut jobs

Cons:
1. Consumers pay billions a year fixing their cars
2. Trust in the US auto makers hits an all time low
3. People stop buying American cars
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby slats » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:39 am

Hoblit wrote:This bill died in the Senate. Senate did not approve of the 14b measure. They decided against it and it is not going through.

With that said, the White House is deciding to use money that was approved ...
FOR SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY
...towards the auto industry for the benefit of Wall Street.

Can they circumvent congress like that? W T F ?


Just about everyone in Washington seems to recognize that just allowing the auto industry to tank would be the bale of straw that breaks the back of the US economy. Problem is that no one wants to be on the hook as the guy/entity that handed over "free money." Congress balked, and the president seems to've blinked. Maybe he's hoping there's one last thing he can do so as not to go down in history as the worst president of anything, ever.

An alternative, it seems to me, is telling these banks that we've already bailed out to put $14B of that liquid we gave them to the auto industry in short term, low interest loans. That amounts to less than 5% of what's already been given the financial sector - or roughly the price of one good AIG getaway.

Billy's Little Trip wrote:What's 14 billion going to do when they are 5 billion in the red every month, according to Rick Wagoner. They have to put the brakes (no pun intended) on all hybrid R&D and let them sit until further notice. Then continue with their tried and true designs that sell cheap and suck for the environment.

One of the ideas on the table is to reduce the bumper to bumper warranty period to 6 months or a 1 year and after that you're on your own. US auto makers spend billions a year on warranty because MOST of their cars are shit and designed not to last. Now they want consumers to accept the responsibility of their poor quality.

Pros:
1. They save billions annually
2. They sell OEM parts with huge profit margins
3. They don't have to cut jobs

Cons:
1. Consumers pay billions a year fixing their cars
2. Trust in the US auto makers hits an all time low
3. People stop buying American cars


I think any gov't bailout should include a provision for the tar & feathering of Rick Wagoner, but they didn't let me in on the hearings.

Obviously this is a terrible idea. The bottom line is your bottom line: People [would] stop buying American cars.

But that's the exact problem with not helping to prop these companies up financially, either. Because if a company goes bankrupt, what's their responsibility in regards to any of their existing warranties? If you were in the market for a new car right now, would you buy from a company on the verge of bankruptcy?

It's a bitter pill helping these remarkably poor run companies stay afloat, but the alternative is worse.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Hoblit » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:23 am

slats wrote:
Hoblit wrote:This bill died in the Senate. Senate did not approve of the 14b measure. They decided against it and it is not going through.

With that said, the White House is deciding to use money that was approved ...
FOR SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY
...towards the auto industry for the benefit of Wall Street.

Can they circumvent congress like that? W T F ?


Just about everyone in Washington seems to recognize that just allowing the auto industry to tank would be the bale of straw that breaks the back of the US economy. Problem is that no one wants to be on the hook as the guy/entity that handed over "free money." Congress balked, and the president seems to've blinked. Maybe he's hoping there's one last thing he can do so as not to go down in history as the worst president of anything, ever.

An alternative, it seems to me, is telling these banks that we've already bailed out to put $14B of that liquid we gave them to the auto industry in short term, low interest loans. That amounts to less than 5% of what's already been given the financial sector - or roughly the price of one good AIG getaway.



That would be an obviously unsound investment that the banks wouldn't be interested in. (Right? Wouldn't that be one of the reasons congress didn't loan?)
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Spud » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:06 pm

banks... interested... I get it.
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Re: 25 billion for the big three?

Postby Hoblit » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:18 pm

CNN's story...

nah, I'm going with CNN spokeman for the White House writes:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/12/news/co ... 2008121209

Just so ya'll don't think I'm makin' it up.

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