Credit Where Credit Is Due

The administration noted Wednesday that the U.S. auto industry has added 77,300 jobs since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, that vehicle exports are up more than 40 percent from 2009, and that the nation's Big Three car companies posted operating profits for the first three quarters of this year...Those millions of lost jobs would have been an significant number even in an economy as large as ours. The economic crisis we still face today would have been made much, much worse had the Federal Government led by Obama and the Democrats in Congress failed to act, and act promptly. - Alternet

I, like many other progressives have been highly critical of this President and this Congress in the last two years concerning many of the missteps they have made. However, their actions in bailing-out GM and the auto-industry is worthy of credit. It is one thing to criticize other people and only be willing to highlight the negative and God knows we have turned criticism into a new art form. With the advent of the 24/7 cable news cycle and the need to fill all of those empty hours with distractions and nonsense it is especially important to identify those policies and efforts that do what they are designed to do.

When the wing-nuts were pontificating on the demise of the free markets and the federal takeover of the private sector with efforts like the auto industry bail-out this administration made a calculated decision to step in and save American manufacturing jobs and a staple industry. The lack of repentance on the part of the wing-nuts should be proof for anyone in or out of Washington that these folks have no intention of changing the tone in Washington. You add to this intransigence the results of the last election and the wing-nuts believing they have received some sort of mandate and the prospects of our getting anything done to solve the massive problems facing this nation are almost non-existent. The fact that we have not heard from one Republican to step up and acknowledge they were wrong says volumes about who they really are and what their true intentions are.

At some point in America we have to be willing to overcome our selfish tendencies that have been exacerbated over the last few decades and once again consider what is best for the nation as a whole. The greed that was exemplified during the Reagan years has been pumped full of steroids and we now find ourselves in the grips of this me, me, me mentality. We have become a nation of special interests being led by the wealthiest among us. These folks are willing to flaunt the laws and rules of our country to advance their profit margins at the expense of our country. As a result we have become so tribal that instead of our politicians and many of our citizens asking what’s best for the country the mantra is now what’s in it for me and my group.

The time has come for those who have received the most among us to demonstrate one of the most American of traits and that is self-sacrifice for the sake of our country. We have a history in our nation of people who are willing to look beyond their own self interest for the benefit of the group and often times those people have been wealthy. How many wealthy folks were willing to make major sacrifices during WWII because of the call for self-sacrifice by FDR and the need for the benefit for all Americans? Today instead of an atmosphere of shared sacrifice we have this atmosphere of what can I get out of it. This attitude of selfishness permeates every area of our society. Over the last few decades the rich have done better than most Americans and now is the time for those people to step up and ask what they can do to help the country.

This administration has made a number of miscalculations but in this case they made the right decision despite the protests of the wing-nuts. I hope this success will embolden them to begin to stand up for the American people against the onslaught being waged by the wealthy through their political and media minions. I think this President should call for an end to all of the Bush tax-cuts and return the tax rates to the levels of the Clinton years. I know this is considered treason by many folks who want to consider raising taxes during a recession as insanity, but the truth is that having these lower tax rates in effect have done little to create jobs which is how the middle-class will see their lives improve. Some may say this will be political suicide for the President because of the successful campaign of the rich to equate tax-cuts to this panacea of economic growth that has little if any basis in reality.

Making tough decisions in the face of a crisis is the definition of leadership. The President must be willing to use his political skills to educate the American public on the nature of the challenges they are facing. If I were advising the President I would schedule weekly television addresses and town halls from now to Election Day to allow the President to make the case for what he believes in. My hope is that he believes in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure through public works. I hope he believes in retooling American manufacturing and creating new entrepreneurs through investment. One of the things I think that has been lost in our loss of manufacturing is that the manufacturing industry was built by small plants that over time expanded. We should be providing investment to people who have ideas and products that we can develop for mass manufacturing to rebuild our base and middle-class. This idea that we can never make anything again is insane and being perpetuated by the ruling class to maximize their profits and not to keep America strong.

"Just giving them $25 billion doesn't change anything," Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, said on Fox News Sunday. "It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning." - Senator John Kyl

The Disputed Truth

Tags: Automobile Industry, Bail-Outs, GM, President Obama, Bush Tax-Cuts, Republicans, manufacturing, Wing-nuts (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Credit where credit is due

Yes bailing out GM had to be done because the cost to the government of paying unemployment to all those workers would have been MASSIVE.  Even if we lose money we are still losing less money than GM going under.

 

But looking at the entire picture

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a8gcKnWHJGWk

"

Under the restructuring plan on the table, GM’s retirees would get 39 percent of the company, along with the promise of a $10 billion payment into their health-care trust fund. That is in exchange for $20 billion GM owes the fund.

Not making out so well are current or future retirees who depend on the performance of mutual funds, 401(k) plans and insurance companies that invested in GM bonds. These debt investors, who are owed about $27 billion, will get just 10 percent of the company."

 

By favoring the Union owed 10 billion(they are getting 10 billion cash remember) over the bondholders owed 27 billion by a staggering 3.9 % per billion for the union and 1/2.7 % per billion for the bondholders Obama created a 10.5:1 favoring the union ratio.  Union workers got $10.50 for every $1 bond holders got.

 

Obama being willing to step in and steal from common retirees to protect union retires is a big part of why no one trusts him in the business community.  No trust means no investment, no investment no growth, no growth no jobs...

 

No Jobs means no 2012

by donkeykong 2010-11-22 02:12PM | 0 recs
RE: Credit where credit is due

Unfortunately, you miss the larger picture again. The loss of the American auto industry affects more than just auto workers, it also affects all those companies that supplies the auto industry. The loss to jobs would have been catastrophic in what is arguably the worst recession in the history of recessions. Also, this is just the beginning of the comeback but if they never get profitable then instead of getting a percentage of their retirement they get nada.

While I may agree that not enough is being done to create jobs, I will do what many progressives and no wing-nuts will do and that is to say that this administration did the right thing. You can tell who you are debating with when common facts are in dispute. We have entered a time in history when facts are trumped by nonsense and that is a dangerous place to be.

by Forgiven 2010-11-22 02:37PM | 0 recs
RE: Credit where credit is due

It was right to save GM.

It was wrong to bail out the unions at the expense of bondholders.

 

Obama did one thing right and one thing wrong.  

 

I give credit to the one and discredit to the other.

by donkeykong 2010-11-22 02:55PM | 0 recs
RE: Credit where credit is due

...and celebrate his impending defeat, of course.

by Strummerson 2010-11-22 04:17PM | 0 recs
Yep. Obama did a good job

And let's face it, the unions need an upgrade. They're working on a 1930's type model. Unions need to take an active presence on the board of directors, just like they are in Germany.

 

This is what GM is now - the Volt is coming out in less than a few months, I'm excited to buy one of their cars for the first time in like. Forever.

 

But GM would be just like Porsche if they did what Germany did: Let the Unions take a presence on the board of directors. The Union presence in Germany is very, very strong.. and so are their cars.

Strong car. Strong company.

by Trey Rentz 2010-11-23 11:06AM | 0 recs
RE: Yep. Obama did a good job

Trey, I couldn't agree more. The American public and worker has been sold a bill of goods by the corporations and the wealthy into believing they don't need unions, but if you look around the world where they are hemorraging jobs it is because they don't have strong unions. It was the union shops that were the first to be outsourced.

by Forgiven 2010-11-24 10:08PM | 0 recs

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