Auto Bailout Hearings: Live Blog

Posted by: David Kiley on December 4, 2008

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9:53 AM: CNN reports that a CNN Opinion Poll shows that six in ten Americans are flatly against bailing out the U.S. automakers. The Big Three have a combined market share of about 45%. So, right off the bat, 55% of the country has considered an American car in the last year and passed. Now, consider the number of people who have shifted away from Detroit brands in the last few years. The point is that such a poll may measure the opinion, the feelings, of the moment. But it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not allowing the automakers to go bankrupt would be dreadful for an already awful economy, pushing the Recession into a Depression. If not acting to help the industry stay clear of bankruptcy pushes the U.S. into Depression, will the same people ask their lawmakers: Why did you listen to us?

10:17 AM: Chris Dodd sets the stage. Dodd restates his belief that the President already has the power to release money to the auto industry from the $700 billion bailout fund.
Then he asks rhetorically “Who among us believes we should risk the collapse of the auto industry and the consequences that would follow?” The guy to your left, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, is among you and is happy to see Detroit go down the chute and the UAW with it.

Dodd makes the point that this is not about saving a handful of companies, but that not loaning the auto makers is playing “Russian Roulette” with the economy.

The point Dodd makes is not new, but striking: $300 billion for CITI. $30 billion for Bear Stearns and $150 billion for AIG, but not $34 billion in loans that can be paid back to an entire auto industry, the biggest industry in the U.S. that actually still makes products.

10:25: Ranking Republican Richard Shelby (R-Ala.): I am once again interested to hear how they are going to deal with current management, labor and product development shortfalls…What happens if their sales forecasts are wrong…Do the changes go far enough? How is the money going to be used…How do we account for it? How will you pay it back…In just two weeks, the price has gone from $25 billion to $34 billion. What changed? [Senator…you imposed the $25 billion limit on the companies…it’s not a figure they said was what they needed]…Your sales forecasts are too optimistic.

10:31 am: Gene Dodaro, acting U.S. Comptroller General: Was it necessary to open with Mr. Dodaro? Comptrollers are deadly.
Dodaro talks about a board of oversight required to oversee disbursement of funds and ongoing financial scrutiny of the companies and how they are performing. The automakers support all that.

10:37 AM: Dodd asks Dodaro, whose office is part of the Government Accounting Office (GAO) if he thinks The Treasury already has the authority to release TARP funds to the auto industry. Dodaro says yes. But he says the Federal Reserve would have too determine that credit is not available to the companies through any other means, and that the money could be paid back. He also says that management oversight of the banks and investment banks has been a problem [ya think?] and that an oversight board of auto company management would have to be assured. President Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen are politically against using TARP funds for the auto industry, but they aren’t saying that there position is political, not practical.

10:46: Dodaro says he doesn’t have as much info from Chrysler as he would like owing to the fact that the company is private, not public like GM and Ford. Dodaro says that the magnitude of the impact of on the tax-payers is dependent on having more information. Senator Shelby is seizing on this because he wants to kick the issue down the road, claiming that Congress should stretch the automakers out for months in order to set up oversight and conditions before granting the automakers loans. Shelby favors the companies going Chapter 11 to restructure “if they are worthy of restructuring.”
Shelby also likes the idea of Treasury helping the automakers without him having to vote for loans. Alabama is home to assembly plants operated by Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Honda and numerous supplier plants that feed those factories. There are no Big Three plants in Alabama. Shelby maintains that loans to the auto industry will never be paid back.

10:55 AM: Senator Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota): This Senator has the guts of a lion. New viewers of C-Span may wonder why his speech is so slow. He had a stroke and has come back to the Senate. His speech is slurred, but his mind is sharp. This exchange with Dodaro spotlights the fact that these are loans, not grants. Also, the government would have senior status to be paid back over and above other debt holders. Dodaro says the best insurance for the tax payer getting paid back is a strong oversight board. The automakers wouldn’t get all the money at once. It would be doled out. If the money looked like it wasn;t working, the government could stop short of paying it all.

Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah): Raises an interesting point. Some of the auto industry debt holders are banks and investment banks already being helped by the Treasury. He wonders what happens to those banks if they are forced to swap debt they hold for equity in the auto companies. Will they be compromised? He also asks if the Fed and Treasury could help the auto companies by taking the automaker debt held by the banks, and thus relieve the automakers of some of that debt burden. This is an interesting idea that hasn’t gotten much traction in the last several weeks.

11:01 AM:Dodaro is proving to be better than he seemed when he began. He seems very positive toward a loan program or the Fed helping the automakers because he is clear that Congress has a lot of discretion to set up very specific conditions and oversight parameters. The Congress is in a position here to call the tune to which the auto industry dances. This could even extend to forcing the Big Three to give up fighting California’s emissions standards. But many members of Congress seem purely ideologically opposed, and also interested in busting the UAW.

11:23AM Would the government participate in making management decisions at the automakers? When the government loaned money to Chrysler,that was not the case. The govt. Would review big moves and big expenditures. But most of the oversight would be characterized up-front—limits on management compensation, ban on dividends, agreements on debt for equity swaps, etc.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) “I don’t trust the car company leadership.” And Schumer is in favor of the loans! Odd. Schumer does not favor an oversight board over the automakers, but rather a czar. Schumer says he wants to make sure that workers, dealers or bond holders get the shaft.

11:31 AMElizabeth Dole (R-NC), a lame-duck Senator embarrassed herself last month with an ill-informed and harsh rebuke of the auto industry. Today, she actually asks a worthy question. The Treasury has released some $155 billion to several bank institutions without exerting the proper management oversight. She asks how we can make sure that the auto companies are monitored properly. That’s the job of Congress to make sure it is set up properly. How about learning from your mistake with the banks. Of course, she will be retired when it counts.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has been harsh on the automakers, though he is widely expected to vote with other Democrats in favor of the loans. He is another lawmaker not happy that Ford and GM have closed plants in his state. But he does want the Big Three to cease opposition to California emissions standards, which NJ favors.

11:35AM Menendez is asking about Chrysler leaving open the possibility that it will be acquired by a foreign automaker. He rightly wants to know if the money it seeks would be subsidy for a foreign automaker. Chrysler is a real problem for Congress, because it is owned by a hedge fund and is being groomed fro break-up or sale. But if it goes Chap. 11, it could drag down GM and or Ford with it.

11:51AM:Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) admits that lack of oversight on bank bailout is “bleeding over” into this hearing and admits that the auto industry is dealing with fallout from that.

Dodaro wants collateral associated with the loans and interest rates associated with the risk…higher interest rates than maybe what the automakers are suggesting.
He also says that he is pretty sure that automaker pension funds would not be compromised in a Chapter 11, but will issue a finding tomorrow. That could be key, and may hurt the automakers’ arguments against Chap. 11.

Moodys Rating Service has cut the legs out from under the automakers by suggesting that it will take between $75 billion and $125 billion to keep the Big Three out of Chapter 11, a long way from the $34 billion being asked for today. Let's keep in mind, though, that the rating agencies completely screwed up their job on rating mortgaged-back securites containing sub-prime loans, as well as their analysis of bank and investment bank balance sheets.

12:09:Evan Bayh: cites Dodaro’s finding that letting the auto industry go would have ‘significant ripple effect.” Bayh makes the point that it is impossible to know if the automakers would be back asking for more money. He also makes the point that AIG was back only a few weeks after it got an enormous amount of money and Treasury seemed to go blithely along. Senators are being refreshingly honest when it admits that the auto industry is staking extra harsh scrutiny because the AIG and CITI and FNMA and Freddie Mac problems are opaque to most members of Congress and voters. Cars—they understand.

Dodaro makes the good point that tight oversight of the auto industry will prevent any big surprises from the auto industry as the bailout help gets underway, unlike the surprise return trip from AIG.

There is a Senate aid digging and digging in his ear on TV. Doesn’t he know the cameras are rolling. Is his Mother watching?

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). He makes the point that several states simply don’t have the budget wiggle room to cope with the unemployment, healthcare and Medicaid expenditures that will arise from throwing three million more people out of work.

Sen. Chris Dodd drives a Ford Escape, but is looking at a Chevy Tahoe now. He’d better buy the hybrid version.

12:15PMGM CEO Rick Wagoner is the first CEO up. He is under the greatest pressure, and many believe his job is in jeopardy in the next few weeks. He notes its GM’s centennial year. He admits that they have made mistakes, but they also aren’t going to be bashful about spotlighting successes and accomplishments. “We have done best in our history…when we have kept close alignment between the goals of the company and the goals of country.” This line will be focused on by Detroit bashers who will say this has not been the case when GM battled against safety belts and higher fuel efficiency requirements.

12:38PM: James Fleming, President of the Conn. Auto Dealers Assoc.: Fleming makes a good and emphatic point that car dealers are small businesses. A lot of the rhetoric aimed against lending money to the automakers is that it would be better to help small businesses than GM and Ford. Three million jobs on the line are three million jobs. Does it matter how big each business is? Fleming also makes the point that the companies and supplier companies have gone out of their way to support women and minority-owned businesses, and that those hundreds of businesses will be impacted if the U.S. auto industry is allowed to go under. Fleming also makes the good point that automakers and healthy supplier companies have acted as "bridge financiers" to other supplier companies who have had trouble getting credit.

12:52PMMoody analyst Mark Zandi is killing the automakers. Her says that $34 billion wonl;t be enough and that it will take more like $75 billion to $125 billion because of how low industry sales will stay, buyers won’t come back to the Big Three brands because of bad publicity, etc.
He also is casting a lot of doubt on their ability to deliver on their plans and promises.
He suggests lending them $34 billion in exchange for stock warrants, and to give the money in two tranches. He is advising against a Chap. 11. If after the first tranche, the benchmarks aren’t met, then he says cut off the money.
Zandi’s testimony is confusing and I’sm sure is going to be the subject of much of the afternoon. He is basically saying it will never be enough, but give it to them anyway?

Reader Comments

Paul (Vw)

December 4, 2008 11:01 AM

>>> the price has gone from $25 billion to $34 billion. What changed? [Senator…you imposed the $25 billion limit on the companies…it’s not a figure they said was what they needed]

It sounds like the senator was asking why they didn't ask for this much when they took the corporate fleet to Washington a week ago.

Tejus Trivedi

December 4, 2008 11:46 AM

So, why did this question of oversight board never arise when funds under TARP were being discussed?

-Tejus
www.tejustrivedi.blogspot.com

No Way, No How

December 4, 2008 11:51 AM

There is an old adage:
The guy that gets lost in a swamp, doesn't have the faintest idea of how to get out.

Meaning Senator Dodd and the Big Three don't have the answer. The Detroit Boys certainly haven't had the time to develop a viable plan since the last time they jetted to DC. And Dodd should just shut-up. His complicancy in the credit crash makes him inelegible for any policy making.

What the BIG 3 have done is cobbled together some old sales projections and quarterly outlooks. They have wrapped those numbers in a pink ribbon and are making a grandeous PR-play in presenting their sack of trash to Congress. There is nothing new there, there hasn't been time to get new numbers. The numbers suck and they are just "putting lipstick on the pig" [to coin a phrase].

They need bankruptcy protection and they need it soon. What they are presenting is simply more posturing and no real substance.

Kathie

December 4, 2008 12:08 PM

No bonuses, cut salaries for executives, if your company is suffering. No rewards for anyone.They are part of the problem. Their bonuses would be their bailout money or loan

Kathie

December 4, 2008 12:08 PM

No bonuses, cut salaries for executives, if your company is suffering. No rewards for anyone.They are part of the problem. Their bonuses would be their bailout money or loan

Kathie

December 4, 2008 12:08 PM

No bonuses, cut salaries for executives, if your company is suffering. No rewards for anyone.They are part of the problem. Their bonuses would be their bailout money or loan

CarLover

December 4, 2008 12:13 PM

This entire proceeding is infuriating. It's really just a platform for ill-informed politicians to grandstand. Much of the problem with American car comapanies can be attributed to meddling in what should be business decisions by car company management. Insistance that management recognize and "bargain" with unions: a federal mandate. Insistance that companies adhere to an overall fleet mileage standard, regardless of their target product mix: a federal mandate. Now that the companies have floundered after failing to creatively grapple with various mandates and idiotic federal rules and regulations, the companies are looking to be bailed out by the federal government, which has certain members of congress and the public drooling over the potential to hand them even more mandates and rules. It's a no win situation for the car companies and the taxpayers. Let the companies use the courts and the bankruptcy system to file for pre-packaged bankruptcy and strip away the most egregious of these idiotic contracts and obligations. Only then should any taxpayer money be used.

Margherite

December 4, 2008 12:17 PM

These bailouts are turning out to be the biggest upward distribution of wealth in the history of mankind. Failed management does not need to be subsidized ad infinitum. Bailout funds should be distributed to those workers displaced by the bankruptcy of these corporate disasters, as well as to those workers still unemployed due to plant closings and outsourcing to cheap-labor overseas divisions. General Motors is the worst culprit of the three, building many of its "innovations" in India using minimally-experienced help and marginalizing its U.S.-based intellectual capital.

Lynne

December 4, 2008 12:46 PM

In short, if a decision is made to help bail the auto industry, this is the time to rid the union as part of the negotiation.

DMVawter

December 4, 2008 12:52 PM

Why has NO ONE asked Steven Feinberg (who is the real peer of Waggoner and Mulally, and who should be testifying beside them) what Cerberus's cash position is? Or how much he will take home this year? If these questions are not asked it is a complete dereliction of the Senate's duty.

James

December 4, 2008 1:15 PM

Don't bail these morons out they made there bed and so did the Union.

GM has the first electric car on the market EV1 and after 3 years they destroyed them when people wanted to buy them all they just ground them up for scrap and all those charging stations for Hydro and look how far that has gone.

Give the tax payers a break and make all this corporation responsible for there own actions and not the responsibility of the tax payers.

PLEASE FOR ONCE REPRESENT THE PEOPLE AND NOT YOUR OWN SELF INTEREST.

Carey

December 4, 2008 1:20 PM

How about a 25 billion dollar economic incentive bailout for the VA? and how come there are WWII veterans still waiting for benefits from the VA?.

Carey Von Urquidy

December 4, 2008 1:29 PM

How about a 25 Billion dollar economic incentive bailout for the VA? and come there WWII veterans still waiting for benefits from the VA?.

Dave

December 4, 2008 1:32 PM

Two questions:
1. What is the basis for the loss of 3 million jobs? Obviously if all three companies shut down tomorrow 3 million would be out of work. But we know that is not going to happen even if all three go into bankruptcy. What is a realistic estimate? 100,000? 200,000?

2. How does the "failure" of GM and/or Chrysler lead to the failure of Ford? Obviously they use the same suppliers, but that doesn't mean these companies automatically go down just because GM or Chrysler reduce their business. Again I don't see how failure is the correct word. Bankruptcy is more likely.

Laurie Hennig

December 4, 2008 1:35 PM

If the people are posting bail, we have the leverage...to CHANGE THE MANAGEMENT!

Web Smith

December 4, 2008 2:26 PM

This is a loan, not a gift. When you relieve a bank by buying their bad assets, it is a gift.

Nacy Pelosi recently said, "It is ridiculous to ask American taxpayers to support an industry that is handing out millions of dollars in bonuses while it is losing billions of dollars". Was she talking about the banks or the automakers? It must have been the car builders because she ramrodded the bank bailout through. After we supported them with trillions, they hoarded the money forcing thousands of companies to close and tens of thousand of people to lose their jobs, continued to foreclose on our homes, continued to charge us loan shark rates on our credit cards, and continued to pass out millions in bonuses while flying around in corporate jets.

You would think that our legislators could loan out 50 billion instead of trillions so that millions of us could keep our jobs.

http://ewebsmith.com/gov/autobailout.html

Angela

December 4, 2008 2:36 PM

If Ford is handed a my tax $$ I will roll over & die. They have ruined my families life from a mistake one of the their employees made, and they refused to take responsibility for it. Here is a letter about the whole ordeal I sent to a local news person named Becky Oliver:
Dear Becky,
I have a story that I am hoping you will be interested in investigating, as I am at a loss as to what to do.
My story begins with my husband & I purchasing a Ford Ranger through Ford motor credit back in 2001. We are a family that lives paycheck to paycheck with nothing left over. We were never late with a payment. In the summer of 2004 my husband lost his job, and I had some health problems (diabetes and a heart stint), and I knew we would not be able to make our payment on time. I called Ford and arranged to skip 2 payments.
After the 2 months passed, I went online to make my payment the way I always had. It would not take my password. I called Ford to inquire if they were having problems with their website because it would not take my password and let me sign into my account. The attendant informed me that once the account is paid off, then the account is closed. I told her I had NOT paid off my account, and that I still owe over 7000.00. She put me on hold, returned only to tell me that somebody had paid it off. I asked her who, she stated that she could not tell me at that point. I was completely amazed, and was dying to find out who had done this for me & my family. I gave a testimony at our Church about how the Lord had blessed us with this anonymous gift. I called Ford an additional 4 times over the next few weeks (BEFORE the title was mailed out to us) trying desperately to find out who the Angel was that did this. The last attendant I talked to told me that she was not able to tell me who had done it, but to look at it as an Angel had done it, and that it looked as if it was an anonymous payment. We then received the title and a letter from Ford stating the account had been paid in full.
About 2 months later a woman ran into my husband, and the truck was totaled. It went to the insurance company, and the insurance company gave us a check for just under 4000.00.
A whole 2 more months after that, I receive a call from a lady saying she is with Ford, and that we owe months worth of payments and late fee's. At first I thought it was just a sick joke. Then she said that they had made a mistake by applying somebody else's payment to our account which was 1 number different. I informed her that we no longer had the vehicle, and that I had tried months ago to make the payment.....and the whole story. Her response to me was, "Who do you think is going to pay off your car payment like that" I told her that I just thought it was an Angel and a divine intervention with God since I was unable to ever find out who had infact done it. She then stated "Well, God took it back". I was devastated to say the least. We had already obligated ourselves with another payment, and in no way had the money to make a second payment to them. They were not willing to take the responsibility of their own mistake, and did not care about the other obligations we had, and that we were a poor family.
They harassed us continuously, they would hire a collection agency....I would fax the copy of the title and the letter we had received from Ford saying the account was paid in full to the collection agency, they would drop it, and Ford would hire another. This went on for 4 years. Then they hired one that never even contacted me, (Calvary Portfolio Services), they just had me and my husband served that we were to show up in court and were being sued. Becky, I don't even have the money to take my kids to Mcdonalds...much less hire an attorney to defend myself. But then I thought, I have done nothing wrong, I will just go to court, tell the truth, show the judge my title, and that will be that. NOT! Their attorney stood up there and lied to the judge, saying I had not responded to their deposition, which I saw my fax in his notebook, (that was how I knew he was the attorney for them before our case was even called up). My friend that went with me asked the judge if the outcome would have been different had I had an attorney, and the judge said "Probably so". And that he would encourage me to file an appeal, and that I could get an attorney through legal aid. Well, first of all I did not have the 200.00 it would have taken to file an appeal. and second of all, I live in Collin County, and the court was in Garland (Dallas County), so I was not illegible for legal aid for either county. You have to live in Dallas County to get legal aid there, and Collin County legal aid will only work in Collin County...they wont go to Dallas county.
Now I have this 7000.00 judgement against me. I have recently received a court ordered Interogatory from their attorney wanting to know our assets, which we have none, and how much has a our tax refunds been in the last 2 years. I am told they can take our tax returns. Becky, this will ruin out family. We use that every year to pay down our 1 credit card that we use through the year in emergency.....my RX, our childrens needs, car & home repairs, to live on when my husband can't find work (he is a construction worker), if that is taken from us this next year, we will not have anything to fall back on. I am currently on over 500.00 a month in RX medications and no insurance. I am scared to death.
I cannot stop thinking of how vicious people can be......I mean this lawyer who probably lives in a very nice home, has money to take his kids out to dinner and probably goes on vacation every year, has nice clothes, and can terrorize a family who barely has anything but their income tax to get them through emergency situations, and they want to take that from them, only to ruin their lives, and possibly cause them to loose everything. How in the world do they sleep at night. And why does a huge corporation like Ford not take responsibility for THEIR mistake?
I hope you can help to expose this very unfair & awful situation.

jmb

December 4, 2008 2:46 PM

where is my bailout? i only need 200,000

M F

December 4, 2008 2:51 PM

Rather than bailing out the auto makers, the Federal government should commit to replacing all 650,000 cars in the federal fleet over the next five years with the most fuel efficient domestically built vehicle capable of doing the job.

That commitment should spur investors to back whichever car companies have the best chance of building cars that will meet the governments needs. Those car companies are likely to be the same companies that are prepared to survive selling unsubsidized cars to consumers.

Even at $40,000 a car, the 650,000 cars would cost less than a bailout.

David

December 4, 2008 3:24 PM


Support the bailout BUT only under these conditions:

A prepackaged bankruptcy that includes:

*Replacement of current management
*Concessions from both the UAW and automakers
*A wipeout of existing equity and debt-holders

We need to rebuild our manufacturing base in this country to have any hope for the future but it has to be rebuilt to be competitive in the global economy and that means the American people need to wake up to the fact that the 'American Way of Life' is over!

Now its time to roll up our collective sleeves and get back in the game instead of looking for the easy way out.

There are NO easy fixes for over three decades of arrogance, greed and gluttony.

Adam

December 4, 2008 3:37 PM

@Paul(Vw): The automakers never ASKED for $25billion. That was the amount of money set aside earlier by the government specifically for green cars, prior to the economic crisis, and that's the amount that came up the first time around; it was not calculated based on specific needs. When DC asked the automakers to come back with specific business plans based on economic forecasts, the numbers changed accordingly with more data available.
@Dave: "But we know that is not going to happen even if all three go into bankruptcy." Really? Would you buy a car from a bankrupt automaker? If not, start writing off the thousands of car dealers selling American-branded cars. Then start writing off businesses--restaurants, stores, etc--whose customers are primarily auto industry workers. As far as the supplier question, could your company survive if 30-50% of its revenue were to suddenly disappear? I doubt it. If there's no money, you can't keep the plants running, and you can't supply parts.
@Kathie: No bonuses and executive pay cuts (and no golden parachutes) are already part of the plans submitted.

Maureen

December 4, 2008 3:41 PM

How quickly the world forgets what Detroit did for this country.

Without Detroit, there literally would be no people on the West Coast. There would be no interstate freeway system, there would be very little of the world we live in. We would all be living in crowded cities with a lot of crime and taking the train to work.

This may be a great lifestyle for some people but it isn't for everyone. You also still need rural areas to grow food.

They forget there wouldn't be any unions with any bargaining power. They forget if it wasn't for Detroit we would all make $8.00 and hour.

I think the representatives beating on the auto execs need to remember that we aren't forgetting about all of the money they gave to the banks to play with. They have a lot of nerve. In 1999 I paid almost $23,000.00 in payroll taxes so those idiots could sit there and blow hot air. Now they want to sit there and whine and let my entire state get flushed? I want my tax money back!

I live in Michigan and it makes me sick to listen to these people. They have no idea what they are talking about. If those companies go out of business the farther reaching impact of it would be unbelievable...the entire economy of the state of Michigan is dependent upon them and the entire midwest needs the state of Michigan to survive. 3 million jobs is the tip of the iceberg.

Do you have any idea what would happen to a society when that much day-to-day spending from just the payroll of 3 million people just went away?

The increase in gas prices over the last two years is what put about 25% of the small businesses I know out of business.

There is only one industry to blame for this most recent economic calamity and it is the oil companies.

You cannot multiply the cost of energy in a society by three times during the same period of time that jobs are going overseas and wages are going down.

NAFTA is what started this - and the oil companies had a party and finished us off.

No one is going to tell me the economists did not see this coming and no one is going to tell me the Bush administration and the congress isn't squarely to blame for this mess.

They bailed out their greedy friends and they left the lower and middle class tax payer to starve, freeze this winter and then - pay the bill for it.

Oh and by the way... I just bought a Durango to buy American and those clowns had better help me keep it running.

4wheel

December 4, 2008 4:12 PM

Senators, Just ask one question: Why is GM, Ford and Chrysler failing while their competition is not. I am totally against a bail-out which, by the way, would be the second one for Chrysler.

kendra

December 4, 2008 4:50 PM

Attached is a well written "Letter to the Editor" from Elkins Fordland.
Editor:
As I watch the coverage of the fate of the U.S. auto industry, one alarming and frustrating fact hits me right between the eyes. The fate of our nation's economic survival is in the hands of some congressmen who are completely out of touch and act without knowledge of an industry that affects almost every person in our nation. The same lack of knowledge is shared with many journalists whom are irresponsible when influencing the opinion of millions of viewers.
Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama has doomed the industry, calling it a dinosaur. No Mr. Shelby, you are the dinosaur, with ideas stuck in the '70s, '80s and '90s. You and the uninformed journalist and senators that hold onto myths that are not relevant in today's world.
When you say that the Big Three build vehicles nobody wants to buy, you must have overlooked that GM outsold Toyota by about 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. and Ford outsold Honda by 850,000 and Nissan by 1.2 million in the U.S. GM was the world's No. 1 automaker beating Toyota by 3,000 units.
When you claim inferior quality comes from the Big Three, did you realize that Chevy makes the Malibu and Ford makes the Fusion that were both rated over the Camry and Accord by J.D. Power independent survey on initial quality? Did you bother to read the Consumer Report that rated Ford on par with good Japanese automakers.
Did you realize Big Three's gas guzzlers include the 33 mpg Malibu that beats the Accord. And for '09 Ford introduces the Hybrid Fusion whose 39 mpg is the best midsize, beating the Camry Hybrid. Ford's Focus beats the Corolla and Chevy's Cobalt beats the Civic.
When you ask how many times are we going to bail them out you must be referring to 1980. The only Big Three bailout was Chrysler, who paid back $1 billion, plus interest. GM and Ford have never received government aid.
When you criticize the Big Three for building so many pickups, surely you've noticed the attempts Toyota and Nissan have made spending billions to try to get a piece of that pie. Perhaps it bothers you that for 31 straight years Ford's F-Series has been the best selling vehicle. Ford and GM have dominated this market and when you see the new '09 F-150 you'll agree this won't change soon.
Did you realize that both GM and Ford offer more hybrid models than Nissan or Honda. Between 2005 and 2007, Ford alone has invested more than $22 billion in research and development of technologies such as Eco Boost, flex fuel, clean diesel, hybrids, plug in hybrids and hydrogen cars.
It's 2008 and the quality of the vehicles coming out of Detroit are once again the best in the world.
Perhaps Sen. Shelby isn't really that blind. Maybe he realizes the quality shift to American. Maybe it's the fact that his state of Alabama has given so much to land factories from Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes Benz that he is more concerned about their continued growth than he is about the people of our country. Sen. Shelby's disdain for "government subsidies" is very hypocritical. In the early '90s he was the driving force behind a $253 million incentive package to Mercedes. Plus, Alabama agreed to purchase 2,500 vehicles from Mercedes. While the bridge loan the Big Three is requesting will be paid back, Alabama's $180,000-plus per job was pure incentive. Sen. Shelby, not only are you out of touch, you are a self-serving hypocrite, who is prepared to ruin our nation because of lack of knowledge and lack of due diligence in making your opinions and decisions.
After 9/11, the Detroit Three and Harley Davidson gave $40 million-plus emergency vehicles to the recovery efforts. What was given to the 9/11 relief effort by the Asian and European Auto Manufactures? $0 Nada. Zip!
We live in a world of free trade, world economy and we have not been able to produce products as cost efficiently. While the governments of other auto producing nations subsidize their automakers, our government may be ready to force its demise. While our automakers have paid union wages, benefits and legacy debt, our Asian competitors employ cheap labor. We are at an extreme disadvantage in production cost. Although many UAW concessions begin in 2010, many lawmakers think it's not enough.
Some point the blame to corporate management. I would like to speak of Ford Motor Co. The company has streamlined by reducing our workforce by 51,000 since 2005, closing 17 plants and cutting expenses. Product and future product is excellent and the company is focused on one Ford. This is a company poised for success. Ford product quality and corporate management have improved light years since the nightmare of Jacques Nasser. Thank you Alan Mulally and the best auto company management team in the business.
The financial collapse caused by the secondary mortgage fiasco and the greed of Wall Street has led to a $700 billion bailout of the industry that created the problem. AIG spent nearly $1 million on three company excursions to lavish resorts and hunting destinations. Paulson is saying no to $250 billion foreclosure relief and the whole thing is a mess. So when the Big Three ask for 4 percent of that of the $700 billion, $25 billion to save the country's largest industry, there is obviously oppositions. But does it make sense to reward the culprits of the problem with $700 billion unconditionally, and ignore the victims?
As a Ford dealer, I feel our portion of the $25 billion will never be touched and is not necessary. Ford currently has $29 billion of liquidity. However, the effect of a bankruptcy by GM will hurt the suppliers we all do business with. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy by any manufacture would cost retirees their health care and retirements. Chances are GM would recover from Chapter 11 with a better business plan with much less expense. So who foots the bill if GM or all three go Chapter 11? All that extra health care, unemployment, loss of tax base and some forgiven debt goes back to the taxpayer, us. With no chance of repayment, this would be much worse than a loan with the intent of repayment.
So while it is debatable whether a loan or Chapter 11 is better for the Big Three, a $25 billion loan is definitely better for the taxpayers and the economy of our country.
So I'll end where I began on the quality of the products of Detroit. Before you, Mr. or Ms. Journalist continue to misinform the American public and turn them against one of the great industries that helped build this nation, I must ask you one question. Before you, Mr. or Madam Congressman vote to end health care and retirement benefits for 1 million retirees, eliminate 2.5 million of our nation's jobs, lose the technology that will lead us in the future and create an economic disaster including hundreds of billions of tax dollars lost, I ask this question not in the rhetorical sense. I ask it in the sincere, literal way. Can you tell me, have you driven a Ford lately?
Jim Jackson
Elkins

kendra

December 4, 2008 4:52 PM

to the people who are talking about it being the 2nd time for Chrysler... THEY PAID THAT DEBT BACK!! If the big 3 go in to bankrupcy it will still cost tax payers becasue of unemplyment rates- Come on- stop being so dumb!

BriOs

December 4, 2008 5:30 PM

The government should just become the DIP(debtor-in-possession) lender in a Big 3 bankruptcy. That way the Gov's money will be superior to existing debt and will also give them near total control of the bankruptcy process. Without bankruptcy how can you really undertake drastic restructuring? Under bankruptcy the Big 3 will not have to acknowledge labor contracts thus the UAW will have little leverage allowing the feds to fix the labor and legacy costs immediately (the UAW is the main reason these companies are failing – high labor costs leaves little money for R&D and design ultimately creating a slowdown in customer demand). Just remember, a chapter 11 bankruptcy is a restructuring not a liquidation. If the Government becomes the DIP lender the Big 3 will have the money to continue to pay employees, suppliers, warranty costs, etc and will also have the leverage to make drastic changes. When the Big 3 come out of bankruptcy they will be as mean and lean as ever… the industry will flourish again and we as Americans will be proud of our automobiles. The short term pain of bankruptcy will lead to very long term gain.

Trevor Butler

December 4, 2008 6:10 PM

Don't bail these automakers out. if Delta Went bankrupt and came back the automakers can make it. Flying in there private jets make me sick. If we bail them out now, down the road they will only ask for more. Let the Big 3 bail there own butts out. Don't help them please. all of us need help specially the small buisness group. we are hurting but don't get a bailout. crew you big 3

Skoots

December 4, 2008 7:42 PM

In my opinion and most of common sense Americans all of the financial bailouts or loans from the Govt to these failing organizations is simply absurd. Corporations and markets are based on risk vs reward only now Washington has forgot how to govern (to say NO!) and thinks for some reason we have to help failing companies that assume the risk in the first place not to mention there extremely bad decisions. They all want everyone to believe if Congress say's NO that we are all going to fall into a big black hole. I got news for you we are already in the big black hole. When Corporations take on risk it should be just that the risk of failure if you do not make or do the right things and if not from your actions the economy is suffering then you better sell some ASSETS to cover your behind during the storm or just close up shop.
Pass it on to someone who can get er done! But, Washington started this bailout and loan crap because they lack the basic education to actually do simple math. So they are all lining up at the watering hole. Please for the love of God and Country put Obama into office now and get rid of the people who cannot do the job because even a cave man could fix this with the exception of Bush. We are acting like unlicensed physicians putting small Band-Aids on large wounds in an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging. Sincerly "The Unemployed Caveman"

Beast

December 5, 2008 12:08 AM

Let the oil companies bail out their cronies.

Shannon

December 5, 2008 12:59 AM

Let's see, how can we the public help the automakers in this time of crisis?

Here are a few suggestions, please feel free to add or subtract from this list.

1) trim the fat, including the unions. Enough union fat cats already.
2) trim the fat, life went on when oldsmobile (who?) died. we can live without other brands.
3) give the people what they want, real cars, made by people who love cars, not bean counters and robots.
4)check the automakers books before they cook them beyond recognititon.
5)stop the golden parachutes.
6)use some of the money to buy other relevant emerging technologies - (e.g.:Sirius/XM Co.) that may be struggling at this time, aquire and consolidate
7) end fake rebates and fake low financing - we want value for our dollar. build us a good car.
8) end sexual and racial discrimination in the car companies, be leaders in the world market, not just white males with private jets.
9)drive a honda and a porsche to see what's being made out there
10)stop wasting time and money building killing machines (e.g.:saab fighter jets -big boys toys) and concentrate on the job at hand

Rich Jaccard

December 5, 2008 7:31 AM

The way out of a recession is with technology to advance the factories. This has to be harmonous with the parts to baords to final assembly and be a good commodity. To bail out the car manufacturers, I would offer a large rebate to consumers who purchase an alternative powered auto. For example suppose anyone who purchased a hybrid was to get $10000 or 1/3 back. I would do this as a stimulous instead of a bail out. It will also help with the energy issues.

Laura

December 5, 2008 9:07 AM

We need to do whatever we can to help this industry, including firm oversight and requirements to transform it for the new economy and transportation model. I am appalled at the tone of the questioning of the lawmakers, particularly republicans, that are supposedly pro-business and capitalists. This is an industry that produces durable goods that has been important historically to our economy and is a sector that globally is still a growth industry. Who cares whether the CEOs drove by themselves to DC or had someone drive with them. I wonder how Sen. Shelby arrived in DC. Unbelieveable.

alex

December 5, 2008 9:08 AM

I am not to big to fail. So I have to make the hard choices. Cut salaries, Reduce hours, layoffs etc... Things I started doing 8 months ago. (Sheet metal fabrication & machining) These "captains" of industry, with 13 months of falling sales, failed to act in their own best interest and do not deserve a do over. Bankruptcy would be the result of their actions, not the result of congress's actions. The automakers did not shed capacity or make any money saving moves in the months leading to their current situation: I guess they are not "to big to fail".

John R Bull

December 5, 2008 12:06 PM

Do the senators realise just how many people throughout the world will be affected if the USA looses the Big 3? It not just the USA. These Companies are global.

I worked for Ford Europe for more than 30 years, and if Ford USA go under, so does my pension!

A Edwards

December 5, 2008 5:26 PM

Yes, give us a coupon to buy a car, this way they would get money and we would get a car. Otherwise, it will be money down a rat hole. Please stop this bailout mess, it is makingme sick. $28 billion will only keep them going for 12 months. Things are not going to be better in 12 months. Bankrupcy is perfect solution for GM.

A Edwards

December 5, 2008 5:42 PM

Remember the car companies have the slickest sales force. Car company reps have lied so much, as it is in there blood. Remember how one feels, after going to car lot. They lie, cheat, and say anything to get the deal done. The leaders of these car lot jerks, are the best at cheating. SO beware, GM is gonna skin a big one if we do not stop this auto bailout.

Wondarwie

December 5, 2008 5:56 PM

This auto bailout crisis is all about dinosaurs. Our manufacturing industry is no different than anything else that can no longer function in a new environment. United States manufacturing had a nice run in the 20th century, but the 21st century brings what is clearly an "extinction event" for this industry. The rest of the world understands that the U.S. is now a service economy. Most Americans concede this as well. So why drag this out? How many heartaches can we bear as we gather around the dying? Let the manufacturing sector die in peace and let's move on. Yes, you can cut auto wages from $73.20 an hour to Toyota's median of $48 an hour. Yes, you can cut executive wages 40 percent. Yes, you can make fewer models of cars. But NO, you can't breathe life into an extinct dinosaur. No bailout! Let's bury our dead and move forward.

Mary Mack the Cash Machine???

December 6, 2008 12:32 AM

"OR ELSE"???? They ACTUALLY said this!! WHAT!!??!!! I can't believe it!! Racketeering is illegal!!! All of cr@p this stinks of that. How dare they! We already have the insurance industry as our federally-sanctioned racketeering, we can't afford more. Fire EVERY politician that votes for this bail-out. STARTING WITH **SEN. DINGLE** WHO IS A PROFITEER ON THE TAX-PAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has millions in stocks/options/and dividends in the auto industry.
I am furious that ANY ONE of these businesses have asked for and gotten away with our hard-earned dollars. Give me a free car you car-making fobs! They aren't worth even that much! Of course now I am paying for them and am not getting anything. Your cars are such cr@p and ALWAYS have been. Shoot and quarter Paulsen, Gettelfinger, Dingle AND EVERY CEO of these businesses who live it up and steal our money!!! Shoot and quarter with horses in the D.C. squares. Then see how many big businesses will come to D.C. to ask for money from the tax-payer! NONE!! They NEED to know that would be the result of bad gambling, and they would be better off restructuring under Chapter 11, rather than stealing money from us. Loads of businesses do this and are still operating!! As for the workers, tough times are here, get used to it.
FIRE THE POLITICIANS THAT VOTED FOR THIS! KICK THEM OUT!! And take the other bums (Paulsen, Gettelfinger) with them!

And to MAUREEN who states "How quickly the world forgets what Detroit did for this country." What ever!! Read and remember this comment from Carey Von Urquidy: "How about a 25 Billion dollar economic incentive bailout for the VA? and come there WWII veterans still waiting for benefits from the VA?" How quickly YOU have forgotten. Double shame!

RLT

December 6, 2008 12:18 PM

Who is left to buy the cars ??
Reading most of the comments it's clear that the assumption is that there are enough employed americans that can afford 15 ~ 30 thousand dollars for a new car / truck.
Unemployment numbers are multiplying every day. Companies are reverting to "temp agencies" to fill production needs and avoid "costly" benefit packages.
Ask yourself what you can afford and what will you buy, can you or the majority of your circle realistically afford a "new" car ?
How "safe" do you feel that your job will be there for the next 5, 10 years. Who will bail you out ?

Louis Sellers,Jr

December 6, 2008 12:20 PM

No one bailed out the air lines when they were in trouble.Now we find out that Chrysler is owned by a private funding group (Cerberus) that is very secretive about its dealings,and we the public are suppose too bail them out.How much is Sen. Pelosi and Dodd getting from the Big-3.As a tax paying citizen I want the same deal.It is time for us citizens too speak up.

Dave Yox

December 6, 2008 1:02 PM

Maximum wage
There are no foreign cars, just foreign Jobs, that don’t pay taxes here!
Who What When Where How much & Why = USA JOBS
GM Ford & Daimler Chrysler Products are full of foreign (not made or assembled in U.S.A.) Parts. The steel & everything is ordered from the lowest Bidder as it should be. Foreign car makes have good JOBS HERE to.
All Autoworkers Industry Sales & Service Jobs paying good wages with benefits, USA Jobs. Lets temporarily Help Them compete with the WORLD.
How, if The Job is here, lets kick in there. By a Maximum wage
(No Over-time No Bosses No Executives No Lear Jets No Bonuses No shift differential & No New Employees).
Union Hourly - Not To blame them, But to Honor our Country.
In The United States and its Territories only. My Load Lets build plants here!
Lastly Retired Auto Worker From any company that pays pensions
For an hourly job finished here.
Minimum wage of $7.15 hr. helps new workers Starting out.
Maximum wage of $45.00 hr. including benefits costs will helps old companies compete with the new companies all over the world now.
A bridge Investment purchase of new common stock, will work with reasonable conditions of change. The United States Government aid to all auto companies here, sales, & service hourly and hourly retired employees.
Help to retool unions from a thankful people and nation.
Over The Next score (20 Years) as union contracts expire and change, As Jobs in other Countries pay better wages with benefits. I know this will faze away,
I Sincerely hope new auto jobs here don't lose the hope of a good living wage.
Also this will begin to move new jobs here now and later.
Stock prices will fly so high you won’t believe it…
From an Ex Steel Worker, plant closed 1981.
Dozervice@msn.com

joe dirt

December 7, 2008 12:55 AM

This is absolute B.S. Detroit. I hate the auto industry, and whether you bastards get the money or not, I will never buy a car from the big three for the rest of my life. The big 3 and your unions can get on the unemployment line with the rest of the world. Why don't the big three try to sell your crap to a third world county and screw up the rest of the world. Is this not the American way. All of the bailouts from the inception are nonsense, and I have given up my American Spirit. I will be a burden like the rest of you, and do my level best to destroy the American way of life. I already exchange my money for euros, and have pulled my money from this cracker jack nation. To all you left of America, I hope you are all in a lot of pain. All of you ignorant fools have never kept your congress in check. I know I have tried. If you are too lazy to do anything, then you deserve to lie in your own feces. If you do not think you will be affected, every domino affects the other physics 101.

Sincerely,
Reality

AmeriCAR

December 7, 2008 11:43 AM

If stimulus package for the BIG THREE is to be urgently approved by USA Government, to alleviate greater risk the bankruptcy of any or all three of them would pose to the overall US economy, how much of this USA tax payers money (financial aid, bailout etc.) given to the BIG THREE would they reinvest in their USA based operations (product development, manufacturing, dealer network, auto financing etc.) or loopholes will be left for them to finance and invest THE BAILOUT funds in their global operations elsewhere?

AmeriCAR

December 7, 2008 11:45 AM

Are the BIG THREE, UAW and STATES where “USA” automakers conduct their business, capable of ENGINEERING a strategic relationship motivated with reaping a LONG TERM mutual benefits rather then continue to make SHORT TERM profit driven (CEO) and politically motivated (UEW/STATE elected) deals. The lack of long term strategic planning (automotive in this case) only makes recently televised hearings from Washington DC more grotesque and embracing to all participants involved.

Scott Hartung

December 7, 2008 3:26 PM

I would support the bailout with 2 small additions.

1. Give the American public the choice of who gets bailed out.

2. Reward the purchasing of more fuel efficient vehicles.

This can be done simply. Give every American purchasing an American-MADE vehicle a government paid discount on the vehicle. For Example an American Made vehicle getting 40+ MPG could be eligible for a $10k government discount. 30-40 MPG could be $5k discount. Under 30MPG no discount. This rewards the automakers that American's want to succeed, build good products, and are fuel efficient.

zee

December 7, 2008 5:54 PM

I bought my first car back in 1982, right out of college. It was an Oldsmobile Cutlass. What a mistake! The first time I brought the car back for warranty service, the line stretched around the block. Every time I went back it was the same story. The hassle of taking time from work to get the car service and somehow the dealer just didn't seem to be able to make it right. Across the street of this GM dealer there was a Honda dealer, there was no line in front of their service department. I knew then that I made a bad mistake. Granted that GM and Ford have improved their quality over the years but I never looked back. Since 1982 I have bought numerous vehicles and none are GM or Ford. Currently I own Toyota and Honda, and both are made by Americans but under different set of management. I vote to take the bail-out dollars and invest in technologies that Toyota and Honda developed. Detroit will just waste it!

Joyce, Detroit, MI

December 8, 2008 1:12 PM

Every person that is against the loan for the auto makers should be ashammed of themselves. You are not giving a loan to the auto executives, you are giving a loan so 6 million jobs are not lost. Most of the people that are against this loan are not from detroit. We are suffering already as our unemployment is among the highest in the US. We are losing our jobs and our homes. If the big three go under, it will be devasting for Michigan and for the rest of the country. These executives will be fine, it's the hard working American's that are already suffering that will be hurt. I believe, if you vote against the loan, you should have to move to Detroit to feel the pain. Wallstreet does not need the entire $700 billion bail out. They did not have to go through everything the big three went through to get the money needed. It goes to show you, Republicans will always be for the rich. I thank God everyday that Democrats are taking over in January.

Alex Bartra

December 8, 2008 5:34 PM

Combine big threes' hybrid, alternate fuel and fuel efficient technologies to come up with one superior technology to blow away the competition. Then, each auto maker can compete based on their individual approach.

Bryan H

December 8, 2008 5:52 PM

Here's an idea that I feel could help stimulate people buying US assembled vehicles:

1. For any American made car (assembled here in the US), people would be able to write off the interest on their taxes.

2. Instead of only giving each manufacturer billions in loans to survive, generate a government loan program which people can gain access to at low interest (0% to 1%) interest to buy cars. This will compete with the banks and cause them to release money at a lower rate to borrowers. I am sick of these banks getting 0.25% interest and sticking it to hard working Americans!

3. Eliminate state personal property on vehicles. I live in MO and I should not have to pay taxes each year on a vehicle I already paid sales tax on at purchase.

I understand the state gov't is also hurting for funds but, this money should be supplemented from job creation and projects. For 10 billion per month in the Middle East, this could also be dispersed to the states and more than cover expenditures.

4. Eliminate the sales tax on American made/manufactured vehicles for a period of time until the economy gets rolling.

Overall, we need to provide the public incentives to buy American built cars. Our government needs to make sure that any imported car is getting taxed at a level that makes our wages equal to those cars being made overseas.

I am not an isolationist but, we cannot compete with countries who pay their workers at a different rate. If the US is going global, lets make sure that we are on equal ground.

There are a lot of issues that need to be address in the US and I am really tired of our government paying more attention to countries in need overseas than in our own country. Let's start spending the tax-payers money at home!
Let's take on health insurance companies and hospitals who overcharge hard working Americans! Let's help kids gain higher education at lower costs to allow them to compete in future generations. Let's get blue collar workers employed working on improving the US infrastructure (highways, sewers, water, levees,..). Let's start investing money here at home!

To me, if the US starts spending more money here at home, business overseas will be forced to invest here to gain access to our dollars!

Dick Altman

December 8, 2008 8:46 PM

Congress has it wrong. It should treat the industry as a start-up, a new venture needing venture capital. Following in that tradition, lawmakers need to ask for a new-business plan, set benchmarks, recruit directors and dole out funds as goals are met. Next,
invite an elite committee of venture capitalists to serve as oversight. VCs know how to manage risk and squeeze productivity from every dollar. Their participation at this juncture is especially appropriate, since they've begun to take the lead in investing in new green technologies and initiatives.
As in most start-ups, employees (let's not call them "labor") would get a lower base for a piece of the action later on. We're talking about creating a new age of the automobile, and an equally new industry to build it.

Holden Moss

December 9, 2008 11:25 PM

Hey I have some debts to pay off!!! Why doesn't somebody come up with a "Holden Moss bailout" Plan. Its nowhere near being my problem that they can't run their own companies successfuly; therefore, it is not my responsablity to pay there debts. When it was obvious that the economy was going south, Why would they continue producing outragously priced cars? Higher price - less people buy - less profit to pay off your debts.

Rodney Orta

December 10, 2008 12:51 PM

I think before any automakers get any government funds, they must first explain why the cars that they manufacture immediately lose $10K in value as soon as they are driven off of a car lot!! I own a 2005 Chrysler 300C that is now valued at $10K lower than what I owe and the car is in pristine condition. How can ANYONE expect for us to continue to buy American vehicles when we are being RIPPED OFF with cheaply made cars and trucks that NEVER hold their value?? Now you want money to pay your debts so you can continue to manufacture pieces of crap with wheels? YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF NERVE COMING TO US WITH YOUR HAND OUT WHEN ALL 3 OF YOU HAVE SOLD US LIES AFTER LIES. You have NO intentions on changing your process as long as you can make money, therefore, you should not receive a penny. You deserve to go through Chapter 11 and start from scratch under new management, a new direction, and new engineering that rivals that of the Japanese. When any business fails to meet the needs of the consumers and fails as miserably as you ALL have, you deserve to fail and if that means going out of business, then so be it. That's what happens to every other business if they aren't producing quality products so why should you be any different. Do you think that because you've been around for so long that you deserve a free pass? This is the free market, a capitalist society and a new age. You have the freedom to grow and become as successful as any just as you have the freedom to fail. This should be a lesson to any and all, that if you put out a poor quality product, your business will dissolve. How about you guys make cars that don't fall apart before people are done paying for them! How about you make a car that actually holds it's value so years down the road, the depreciation doesn't end up hurting the consumers that have put their hard earned money into them. To the bank that gave out loans for cars knowing that the value of the car didn't match the size of the loan. SHAME ON YOU! All of you had your hand out too and it should have been slapped. The government doesn't know how to run a vehicle enterprise. They aren't smart enough to do so. Chapter 11 will allow the right minds to intervene and figure out the right way to move forward with the auto industry and there is absolutely nothing the government can or has the ability to do to save them. NOTHING! GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE ANSWER, INNOVATIVE MINDS ARE! REINVENT YOURSELVES AND START OVER!!!!!!

Rodney Orta

December 10, 2008 12:51 PM

I think before any automakers get any government funds, they must first explain why the cars that they manufacture immediately lose $10K in value as soon as they are driven off of a car lot!! I own a 2005 Chrysler 300C that is now valued at $10K lower than what I owe and the car is in pristine condition. How can ANYONE expect for us to continue to buy American vehicles when we are being RIPPED OFF with cheaply made cars and trucks that NEVER hold their value?? Now you want money to pay your debts so you can continue to manufacture pieces of crap with wheels? YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF NERVE COMING TO US WITH YOUR HAND OUT WHEN ALL 3 OF YOU HAVE SOLD US LIES AFTER LIES. You have NO intentions on changing your process as long as you can make money, therefore, you should not receive a penny. You deserve to go through Chapter 11 and start from scratch under new management, a new direction, and new engineering that rivals that of the Japanese. When any business fails to meet the needs of the consumers and fails as miserably as you ALL have, you deserve to fail and if that means going out of business, then so be it. That's what happens to every other business if they aren't producing quality products so why should you be any different. Do you think that because you've been around for so long that you deserve a free pass? This is the free market, a capitalist society and a new age. You have the freedom to grow and become as successful as any just as you have the freedom to fail. This should be a lesson to any and all, that if you put out a poor quality product, your business will dissolve. How about you guys make cars that don't fall apart before people are done paying for them! How about you make a car that actually holds it's value so years down the road, the depreciation doesn't end up hurting the consumers that have put their hard earned money into them. To the bank that gave out loans for cars knowing that the value of the car didn't match the size of the loan. SHAME ON YOU! All of you had your hand out too and it should have been slapped. The government doesn't know how to run a vehicle enterprise. They aren't smart enough to do so. Chapter 11 will allow the right minds to intervene and figure out the right way to move forward with the auto industry and there is absolutely nothing the government can or has the ability to do to save them. NOTHING! GOVERNMENT IS NOT THE ANSWER, INNOVATIVE MINDS ARE! REINVENT YOURSELVES AND START OVER!!!!!!

MM

December 11, 2008 12:56 PM

I am amazed by the strong opposition to the auto bailout plan. The #14B is a drop in the bucket compared to the $700B given without any restrictions or grilling to the financail sector. My biggest concern falls in the hands of the senators and congressman from three key states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana) that seem to be the most vocal in their defiance to this plan. Their claim that this money has no chance of being repaid is nothing short of laughable knowing how much federal aid has been given to their states recently. According to US Today over $150 billion has been given without any provisions to be repaid to repair these states from Hurricanes and floods over the last three years. Why do we continue to throw good money into areas that we know will continue to be destroyed from weather related issues over and over again. New Orleans is built under water and it should be left there. Where is the solid business plan to make the ROI on these $$$'s.

George Wesley

December 11, 2008 4:52 PM

no way, no how.
the big three have conspired to build the same disposable crap since the early ninties. they've pressured and lobbied banks not to give loans on used vechiles. they've charched dealers interest on their stock of "disposable merchandise". when they fail, the infrastrusture is in place for the foriegn car companies to pick up. remember, in their greed to usurp power and not share wealth with middle and common america, they exported jobs. even through this bailout fraud, they continue to dunk us in cocktail sauce.
they build junk and try to force the public the public to believe that the public relies on them. i don't, and i'm a single dad of two children, that i fear will see the same and even more greed by corporate earth than we have ever imagined.

Danny

December 11, 2008 7:13 PM

NO BAILOUT FOR THE DIMINISHING THREE: Unless there is massive pressure to make changes towards a competitive sustainable auto industry, you’ve guessed it, no one will made the REAL CHANGES, nor sacrifices that a normal business enterprise would do to survive. I have been thru Corporate Chapter 11 proceedings and I think that is what is needed to motivate changes to these small three. Giving them bailout money out front just plain does not make sense. Meaningful concessions from all parties, shareholders, management, union, suppliers, creditors only come out when there is real possibility of losing everything. Why would we treat these corporations unlike other corporation in other induestries; pharma, communications, ag, oil, food, entertainment, airline, hotel, medical, aerospace ... aren't we all essential? Let them go into Chapter 11 like a regular US corporation will do and watch how quickly solutions, concessions come out.

jc

December 11, 2008 10:37 PM

To start, I don't agree with any of the bailouts thus far. Our government continues to aggrivate me with their lack of morality and disregard for their one and only job, acting as a voice of the poeple. The decision making of the people we have entrusted with our votes is absolutely unacceptable and disgusting. In addition, I find it very difficult to comprehend an auto industry that has a base rate of roughly $28/hour for many of it's employee's. I know many physicians who started at a lower rate than that. Our auto makers and unions need to jump back into the real world if they are planning to compete and succeed in the future. We cannot continue to bailout companies and industries that have made horrible business decisions, jobs will be lost and companies will go under but that is the price we must pay for the mistakes we have made and continue to make. When it comes down to the possibility of the executives losing their multi-million dollar jobs I truly believe they will 'find a way' to keep these companies afloat. With restructuring and salary reduction across the board I believe the big three will find a way to stay in business. Even if the big three went away tomorrow, the need for cars would not, therefore, a buyout or restructurinig of some sort is guaranteed to occur. I agree that innovative minds will be the answer, not a bailout of decades of bad decisions.

Yeah Right!

December 11, 2008 11:43 PM

There is NO WAY that Chrysler should be bailed out of this mess!!! Any company that is dumb enough to hire Bob Nardelli as the CEO after what he did to EVERY company he has worked for should be forced to go bankrupt! The only person that Bob Nardelli looks out for is himself! Take it from a former Home Depot employee, Home Depot did things right at one time - then they brought in Good Ol' Bob and the company went right down the tubes and he made a very pretty penny to destroy that company. I quit because Bob's theory was he didn't care about Harry and Harriet Homeowner and that meant that he didn't care to hire the professionals that HD used to employ. Bob Nardelli has a track record of running companies into the ground and he walks away with a hefty bag of cash - HD paid him $210M settlement to make him go away! Now he wants my tax dollars to help Chrysler??? No, I don't think so - the government should think about bailing us out before they take all of our money and just give it away to these morons. I'm sure that Bob is frothing at the mouth to get his hands on the bailout money, and I'm sure his co-hoarts from GM and Ford are doing the same. Big bailout will make for some very large Christmas Bonuses!!!

Robert Lee

December 12, 2008 12:38 PM

No bail! Nothing! Government leave our money out of this! The american people overwhelming disapprove of this bailout, and all the other bailouts, but we seem to no longer have a voice. Our President and government officials speak for themselves and no longer seek to work for the people whom elected them. These bailouts will obviously not end until the american people rise up and take control of their government. We are rapidly moving towards a Nationalist Socialist Society. Government is not the answer to our economic problems. They are sending us on a downward spiral which will result in troubles that this country has never imagined. How much more of this are we the people willing to take from these idiots in Washington? We will soon be at the 8 trillion dollars point with all these bailouts. That equals right around $26,000 per man, women, and child, in the united states, considering there is approx. 300 million people in the U.S. today. This money should have been given back to us, not the banks or corporations, they have basically stolen our money from us. If this $26,000 would have been given to the american people, we the people could have stimulated the hell out of this economy. Don't you think ?

tm

December 12, 2008 2:38 PM

is it legal for the president & treasury to use TARP funds outside of it's intended purpose?

obviously gm and company are not banks.

who's next????

KCM05

December 14, 2008 11:57 AM

The UAW wont give an inch, CEOs are lining their pockets with our money. What would happen if we let the over-priced GM Ford & Daimler Chrysler Products sit on the car lots till the wheels rot off? We have the power in the end, dont buy from these thugs! I for one was a diehard Ford man, driving nothing else.( 2004 Mustang, 2002 F250, 67 Mustang, 63 T-Bird) Now all 4 will be sold and replaced. It makes me sick to see them in the driveway.

Steve Williams

December 14, 2008 12:19 PM

I am not totally against helping the auto industry. However the stings attached are the keys (no pun intended). I do not trust management and woudl require that they invest significant portions of their private fortunes in these companies. I agree with forcing concessions from the auto workers unions. Hopefully that makes us all equally invested in these companies and their futures.

Joe

December 18, 2008 10:45 AM

My mom brough a Ford years ago, no longer has it. The reason is because of the true definition of Ford.

FORD:

F IX
O R
R EPAIR
D AILY

THEN

F OUND
O N
R OAD
D EAD

Go in for service, leave with more problems then you went in with.

So how do WE spell FORD -- its spelled J, U, N, K !!!!!

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Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

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