In this week’s address, the President-elect oddly ignores the elephant in the room. What is on most people’s minds right now is the recently defeated effort to rescue the Big 3 automakers. The sticking point appeared to be the UAW’s refusal to take immediate pay cuts in order to get the 14 billion bailout. The Republicans in the Senate have been accused of union busting. At first, I was disappointed that the UAW stuck to its guns on this until I was reminded that no where in the proposed bailout plan is an immediate requirement for executive pay cuts or even better, executive resignations.
As I have said before, no matter how this goes down, the blue collar worker is the one who will get shafted. If the GM and Chrysler (Ford finally said “we don’t need your money”) don’t get the money heads will roll. If they get the money and re-tool their business, heads will roll. It really does not matter. I still stick to the principle that in a capitalist society, companies that cannot succeed, deserve to fail.
Here is the solution that I have not heard from anyone. The Fed and the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm should sit down with Toyota, and Volkwagen, to name two good companies, and work out a plan where these companies would receive government subsidies to purchase and operate all of the GM and Chrysler plants. They would agree, at least for a period of time, to take over the brands made famous by GM and Chrysler (Cheverolet, etc.). Essentially, GM and Chrysler would sell themselves to these companies who are doing quite nicely, thank you, down in Alabama and other Southern states.
Many have said “America cannot afford to not have an auto industry.” Nonsense. America cannot afford to have millions unemployed. The notion of an American company is passe. We live in a global market and where a particular company’s headquarters resides has little relevance to international economic health. What we are talking about here is nationalistic pride and in this case, pride goeth before the fall. We need to save jobs not companies.
As for Barack Obama’s address, while he did not discuss our most pressing problem, he did discuss his plans for one of our other very distressing problems, namely the housing crisis. He announced today the appointment of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, a former HUD employee from the Clinton administration who has most recently done outstanding work under Mike Bloomberg in New York City.
And now, the President-elect: