The Frontstretch: NASCAR Stars Weigh In, For Better Or Worse, On Big Three Bailout Debate by Tommy Thompson -- Wednesday November 19, 2008

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NASCAR Stars Weigh In, For Better Or Worse, On Big Three Bailout Debate

Thompson in Turn 5 · Tommy Thompson · Wednesday November 19, 2008


The growing worldwide financial crisis seems to be growing larger, more confusing and more controversial every day. While not be a topic particularly appropriate for the sports page NASCAR, more than any other major sport in the U.S., is directly related to the business world. One look down pit road is a colorful exhibit of corporate logos and company colors attesting to how important corporate sponsors and good economic health are to NASCAR.

In the past couple of decades it has been a darn good relationship for both corporate America and NASCAR. The sport provides to the corporate world sophisticated billboards capable of speeds reaching 200 mph at venues that can be seen by fans and potential purchasers of their products throughout the country and by millions more 38 weeks a year during national television broadcasts. In return, some of the country’s most successful and well-known companies have poured tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of the sanctioning body, track owners and team owners. Seemingly a win-win arrangement for everybody concerned…at least until now.

Tough times have arrived for U.S. corporations, and thus NASCAR as well. This has prompted some of the sport’s best known and respected personalities to come to the aid of stock car racing’s most important partner – the U.S automobile manufacturers. As the heads of the Big Three car builders gathered in Washington D.C. yesterday with hats in hand to beg for further financial aid to stay afloat, a “grassroots” campaign kicked off within the NASCAR community to encourage fans to support Chrysler, Ford and GM in their quest to be the next segment of the U.S. economy to get in on the new trend of taxpayer-backed loans.

General Motors is leading the charge. The 2008 Sprint Cup manufacturer’s champion has called on the most successful team owner in the business, Rick Hendrick, and some of the Chevy brand’s most popular drivers to appeal to their fan-base to rally around the bailout notion. Drivers such as Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and 2008 Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson are lending their support to the cash-strapped auto seller’s cause.

Said Johnson in a press release from General Motors in conjunction with NASCAR’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday, “I have been with Chevrolet my entire racing career, and I honestly can’t imagine what our sport would be like without them, let alone what our country would be without Chevrolet. I’ve raced their Silverado trucks in off-road and both the Monte Carlo and Impala SS in NASCAR. Our personal and business relationship has grown over the years and now includes Jimmie Johnson Kearny Mesa Chevrolet near where I grew up in Southern California, so it is far-reaching for me. I hate to see all these economic troubles and we are all affected by the current situation. We need to reach out. I hope everybody will contact their congregational representatives and ask for their help and support in this current economic crisis for Chevrolet; in fact, for all three U.S. automakers.”

Jimmie Johnson has quickly gone from celebrating three Cup titles to advocating the bailout of the Big Three.

Does Johnson’s statement seem just a tad self-serving? Would anyone, based on the three-time champion’s statement contact a U.S. Senator or Representative because Chevrolet has been good – apparently real good – to Jimmie Johnson? The other drivers issuing statements in support of government financial assistance for the Big Three were pretty much on par with Johnson’s, not much in the way of substance on a very complicated and far-reaching issue. The message to fans was more that if you like me as a race car driver – please do what I ask in this political matter.

The sport’s most popular personality, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., stated, “All I ever raced is Chevrolet. They’ve been with me throughout my entire career and have supported everything I have done. Now I want to do everything I can to support them. I have awesome fans and I hope they will reach out to our leaders in Washington to help Chevy and our other domestic car makers. There is nothing more American than Chevrolet and we need to make sure it stays that way.”

Would any NASCAR fan, based solely on not much more than testimonials by their favorite driver as to how much a manufacturer has meant to their career really lobby their government representative to commit to billions of dollars in risky loans to any U.S. auto maker?

We can only hope that the answer is no and that NASCAR fans are smarter than that.

That’s not to blame GM for trying. These guys are clearly getting desperate. Estimates have them running out of operating cash sometime in mid-2009. Heck, they have been a big supporter of NASCAR and it doesn’t hurt to try and get a little of the love back.
You really can’t fault the drivers either, or for that matter a team owner such as Rick Hendrick, owner of many GM / Chevrolet dealerships, that have decided to throw in with the manufacturer(s) on this issue. What the heck, they might as well protect their good standing with the automaker – it can only help if they are successful and are around for years to come. And besides, regardless of what they truly believe is the right thing for Congress to do with regard to the bailout, they probably know that their influence in the final outcome will be negligible.

There is nothing wrong with a fan loyal to a particular driver supporting the sponsor that allows the driver to compete. Shoot – spending a few cents more for a box of laundry detergent to say thanks to the soap company for financing a driver’s race effort is understandable. When a fast food franchise that supports a fan’s favorite sport is located next door to one that doesn’t, which drive-in to choose is understandably not difficult.

Loyalty though has its limits. The decision to make billions of dollars more available to the U.S. auto industry at a risk to the tax paying public is not quite the same as a fan’s choice to purchase wall paint at Home Depot instead of Lowe’s because of a driver preference. Certainly the good of the country trumps any loyalty to NASCAR or its drivers.

Whatever the thought process was for General Motors to solicit the support of NASCAR personalities in their efforts to avert the bankruptcy courts – it is a futile effort. Fans of the sport will not unquestioningly follow the advice of a driver on such an important issue without fully investigating the facts and weighing the various pros and cons that exist in the matter.

At least I hope so.

And…That’s my view from Turn 5.

Contact Tommy Thompson

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NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
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11/19/2008 07:35 AM

Oh great! Just friggin great!

The MULTI-MILLIONAIRES of the sport, the Jr.‘s, the Johnsons, etc, are asking the fan base, you know, the ones working at Wal-Mart for some $7/hr, to support a “bailout” for the “BIG 3”!

Yep, thats good thinking, I am gonna run right out and contact my congressman or senator and implore him or her to send $25billion to the Auto Industry so the millionaires can stay millionaires, at the expense of the McDonalds employee, and the K-Mart employee, and so forth.

And on CNN yesterday, a GM UAW employee was pleading the case also, when asked about what he earned, he (finally after much hesitation) said he made $29/hr + benefits!

And would not answer when asked if he would be willing to take a pay cut to help his very own company!

So we are being asked to bailout a poorly run organization, with tax dollars, and their very own employees, the fat cats if you will, the only ones that can afford their big oversized SUV’S, are not willing to sacrifice on their own!

How sick is that scenario?

I don’t want a single $$ of my money eventually lining Brian Frances pockets as that is exactly where some of this “bailout” money would end up via the Big 3! He, (specifically the ISC) already have some $150million in tax breaks for running their own race tracks!

11/19/2008 10:35 AM

Reminds me of the cigarette company having Richard Petty as their shill .” cigarettes don’t hurt anyone and we sure don’t want to talk bad about R J Reynolds “ . Some racers have no integrity , some do .

Blair L. Kriner
11/19/2008 10:41 AM

I AGREE!! Let the UAW make some cuts I aint maken $29 an hour + Benifits

11/19/2008 10:46 AM

If my options are “Bailout” or “Chinese auto companies SAIC and Dongfeng buy GM and Chrysler”…I’ll take bailout, thank you.

Currently, that’s the hot read…that 2 of the big Chinese auto makers want to buy GM and Chrysler. Make no mistake, they have the cash to do it.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that UAW and the Big 3 need to renegotiate, because they do…but they need to stay afloat long enough to do so.

11/19/2008 11:50 AM

Hey “chris”, may I remind you of a few facts:

1. GM’S largest mfg. facility is OUTSIDE the USA! and bailout money will go to help expand that plant for sure.

2. Just how much of the $25billion will actually be spent by the big 3 buying domestically? Not much for sure, have you ever walked an assembly line and taken notice to where all their parts come from? Certainly not the USA! I venture a guess that at least 50% of the bailout money will be sent overseas for “supplies”!

3. Never, ever, have I seen mention from anyone in the big three that these dollars will not go to improve the plants in Mexico, India, China & Thailand!

4. And the UAW is the first to go on strike if wages were to be reduced!

5. Pray tell me just who makes $29/hr PLUS BENEFITS in the country? Nurses? Workers at suppliers? The McDonalds clerks? None of them for sure, and thats the dollars the big three are after!

Kevin in SoCal
11/19/2008 12:37 PM

Our domestic auto makers have plants in Canada and Mexico because our lovely US Gov’t has made it difficult to compete with tax laws and environmental laws. At the same time, our gov’t has given huge tax breaks and incentives to foreign companies (including Toyota and Honda) to come over here and build plants on US soil. Not to mention the greedy UAW unions and get-rich-quick CEO’s have gobbled up all the available money instead of spending it on making quality cars and trucks the public wants.

I’m with Chris, I would rather have GM, Ford, and Chrysler remain owned by Americans rather than the Chinese, but the bank bailout has created a slippery slope that has left everyone with their hand out waiting for a bailout. I certainly dont have the business sense to know what to do here.

11/19/2008 01:44 PM

Douglas, thanks for agreeing with my second point.

“1. GM’S largest mfg. facility is OUTSIDE the USA! and bailout money will go to help expand that plant for sure.”
…proof please that this is will happen.

“3. Never, ever, have I seen mention from anyone in the big three that these dollars will not go to improve the plants in Mexico, India, China & Thailand!”
…right. Of course not. Because there’s no money given yet, so noone knows what stipulations may or may not be placed on them. In other news: Noone in Salem ever proved they weren’t witches, either.

As far as the terms of a bailout, well…I’m pretty hardline on that. But, that has nothing to do with whether or not to help them, or let companies that are fronts for the Chinese government buy them.

Personally, I’d like to see the Bailout Money be used to acquire a stake in the manufacturers. After all, Japan’s government owns a stake in all of it’s auto manufacturers. Same in China. Same in Korea. The government retains Majority voting power in VW due to a law regardless of the amount they own.

My point is, there can be stipulations placed on what can be done with the money, and that’s primarily what the argument is about.

btw, My wife bought a Jeep about 3 months ago. Percentage of US parts in it: 74. That’s not too bad for a “world economy.”

11/19/2008 02:26 PM

Considering that the 700 billion wall street bailout has done absolutely nothing for the man on the street…all the big banks are doing are acquiring smaller regional banks and I am sure in another year or two citibank will be asking for more money on the grounds that they are too big to be allowed to fail, the bailout for the auto industry doesn’t seem like much more than chump change. I remember Chrysler being saved from bankruptcy and paying 100% of the loan back. I would like congress taking the money out of the remainder of the bank bailout, lending it to the auto industry with STRICT strings attatched,including only allowing it to be used in the USA and be done with it. AS to the drivers contacting Congress, why not? They have as much right to do so as I have and yes. I have contacted my Congressman and senators in favor of of the bailout, just as I contacted them some months ago against the bank bailout.

Shayne Flaherty
11/19/2008 02:42 PM

“During the House hearing Wednesday, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., asked the three auto chiefs seated at the witness table before him to raise their hands if they had come to Washington on commercial airliners. No hands went up. Then he asked if any planned to sell their corporate jets. Again, no hands went up.
Sherman and Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., told the auto executives they were having a hard time justifying to their constituents bailing out companies whose chiefs fly around in expensive private jets.
Ackerman said there was “a delicious irony in seeing private jets flying into Washington D.C. and people coming off them with tin cups in their hands.” Ken Thomas, AP

11/19/2008 02:44 PM

And more arrogance from the big three: “Ackerman said there was “a delicious irony in seeing private jets flying into Washington D.C. and people coming off them with tin cups in their hands.”

From the congressional hearing today!

Great, 74% domestic content on a Jeep, so if thats the percentage, than 24% of $25billion, or some $6billion to be spent overseas of OUR money! (Or more)

And for Chris, where do you think all of GM’S operating money is going? To build plants overseas! That’s how they “got broke” to begin with! And if I am not mistaken, GM right now is making a HUGE addition to a plant that makes motors in a far eat country!

11/19/2008 02:56 PM

Hey Shane Flaherty, I was writing while you were posting, sorry! But great minds think alike, and if someone does not believe me, they have you to fall back on!


What a sick scenario we have in the big three. And they, GM particularly, is burning thru some $4 -$6 billion A MONTH! So my question to all you “supporters” (no, not jock straps) is how long do you think GM can operate on their share of the $25billion?

Two months max! Then what happens? Oh I know!!!

The UAW will offer a new contract at 50% of the current wages and benefits wages to help out!

Yah! right!

11/19/2008 03:10 PM

Hey Douglas, Visit the import statistics site and see how much crap is imported into the States and then tell me where you think the Auto Industry is gonna get parts? Not here in the States, know why? Cause they are not made here anymore. Know why? Cause nobody took a stand and said enough is enough! You think the Auto Workers make to much? If they didn’t have the Unions, just like the Teachers, Nurses, Doctors Electricians, do I need to go on? Everybody in the States would be working for that $7.00 hour job. By the way most Walmarts have Unions or are working on it. Instead of running your mouth at every post that is written or arguing with every one why don’t you take a stand for once and make it count. You want to lose that many jobs to overseas and then pay the workers and the support companies workers unemployment benefits, medical cards, welfare? Later on you can pick up the retirees medicare and medicaid while the Chinese and other Foreign Countries finish taking over what’s left of our Country.

Kevin in SoCal
11/19/2008 04:05 PM

If everyone in the United States made around $7.00 an hour, without unions, then maybe houses might still cost $50,000, cars might still cost $3,000, and a college education might still be afordable. Instead, I firmly believe that unions forcing employers to pay outrageous salaries for general work (unskilled labor) has caused prices to skyrocket out of site in the last 30 years. Face it, without the big three having to pay so much in pensions, benefits, and salaries, one of their cars might cost $20,000 instead of $30,000.

Señor Obvious
11/19/2008 04:05 PM

I’m not defending douglas (tire management) but you ask “You want to lose that many jobs to overseas…?” jobs that are negotiated by a union that would allow those jobs to go away instead of renegotiating a contract to keep the jobs? Sure.

Won’t happen though. That’s what Chapter 11 bankrutcy is for. Which also won’t happen since the socialist government wants to be your over protective mother and not allow anyone to fail.

When everyone is special, no one is special. I forget who said it first.

Señor Obvious
11/19/2008 04:11 PM

Chris: “I’d like to see the Bailout Money be used to acquire a stake in the manufacturers”

Are you insane Commrade? That’s nationalization and that’s against everything that this country was founded on.

How about allowing the companies to fail so that the market can reorganize, taking care of any union or legacy issues. People are eventually going to need to buy new automobiles. Others will take the place. Like DeSoto, Studebaker or AMC. OH! Wait, they already were allowed to fail and we’re none the worse for it.

I do miss the 2010 Retro-AMX though.

Carl D.
11/19/2008 04:40 PM

Hey, we bailed out the banks and the insurance giant. Now the Big 3 want a piece of the pie and who can blame them? Next will be the airlines… we can’t let the airlines fail, right? And besides, we bailed out Amtrak some years back.

Where does it all end? When we let the markets do what the markets always do. If that means Jimmie Johnson has to drive a Nissan and Carl Edwards a Honda, then so be it. If it means I have a difficult time finding parts for my Mustang down the road, well, that’s not the taxpayer’s fault.

Big Jim
11/19/2008 05:59 PM

Gotta keep it up, I suppose.

April 18, 2006

Lifestyle drugs — chiefly Viagra
— are costing General Motors $17 million dollars a year and the cost is passed along to car, truck and SUV
consumers. The blue pill is covered under GM’s labor agreement with United Auto Workers, as well as benefit plans for salaried employees.

11/19/2008 07:09 PM

mmmm, hey graceann, I said what?

“You want to lose that many jobs to overseas and then pay the workers and the support companies workers unemployment benefits, medical cards, welfare? Later on you can pick up the retirees medicare and medicaid while the Chinese and other Foreign Countries finish taking over what’s left of our Country.”

Not sure where you are going with that statement
because I never said ANYTHING should go overseas. I did say however the reason for the big three’s trouble is self imposed!

And it makes no sense whatsoever to bail them out when they pay their workers in excess of $29/hour plus benefits!

Please do not interepret things differently than stated, or assume things not stated!

I personally know UAW hourly employees making over $200,000/year in an assembly plant.

And these are the folks (partly) responsible for the exhorbitant prices of new vehicles.

And lets now get back to reality. A few years ago, the big three in total, spun off their supplier divisions and sold/turned them over to private ownership. Why? Because each of these divisions were UAW and REFUSED to negotiate contracts with lower wages! So, the supply division, the Delphi’s and such, were dumped by GM so they could then go overseas to buy parts and avoid the UAW high wage plants. Do the research. FORD did it! GM did it! CHRYSLER did it!

And a big part of this was to generate even more profits that were eventually sent direct to the stockholders, and not used to re-invest in their own companies!

And further, ask yourself just how many times GM has been hauled into court because they, GM, took benefits away from retirees?

11/19/2008 09:32 PM

I support the bailing out of Ford, GM, and Mopar.

Right after we bail out Hudson, Bantam, and Studebaker.

You have got to be kidding me. They are failed business models and need to die.

Gas cost has been up since the Mid 1970s, quality has been down since then too. What have they done?

They make cars people don’t want and they don’t care.

They are a perfect fit for NA$CAR today, same motto “screw ‘em, they’ll take what we give ‘em”..

11/19/2008 10:07 PM

The original “bail-out” from a few weeks back was to cover Barney Franks ass. Along with Chris Dodd.

This auto “bail-out” is to kiss the union’s ass.

Our current congress has done more damage than Enron did ten times over. But somehow I doubt justice will be carried out.

11/20/2008 01:05 AM

Yep, the Dems owe the unions big time for helping them win OH, MI, and PA.

I’m not in favor of ANY bailouts. If I lose my job and can’t pay my bills, who will bail ME out?

11/20/2008 06:40 AM

All of you have made your views clear. I assume you were not one of the fans protesting when Toyota entered NASCAR? If you were that would make a hypocrite. You are not willing to help save an American Company, they will not file bankruptcy they will move those jobs over seas like the rest of our jobs. All of you will be affected in some way whether you want to admit it or not, if you are to blind or stupid to see it that is your problem. You have consented to take part in helping spread the poison that has now made it impossible for these companies to recover be it by Government aid or on their own. Don’t sit back and say I am being dramatic because it will be devastating to our economy. The loss of Tax dollars from the employees of these companies will be in the billions. Whether the Government helps them now or not does not matter anymore, you see you will pay with your tax dollars. You will have to take up the care of these people that lost their jobs, close to 3 million people. The retirees losing benefits will fall back on the Government to pick up the tab, well I guess that would be you people again. So you see it would have been cheaper to have given the bail-out and support an American Company with hope they survive than to condemn your fellow neighbor because of your GREED. Humm you sound like the CEO’s.

11/20/2008 07:46 AM

Hey graceann, if I may?

So shallow, your so very shallow! Your quote, one of many that are “suspect” as to their meaning, “ Don’t sit back and say I am being dramatic because it will be devastating to our economy. The loss of Tax dollars from the employees of these companies will be in the billions.”

As you sit at your Chinese made computer, and watch the Sunday race on your Chinese wide screen, and lounge around in your Mexican made Levis & Wranglers, all the while talking on your Taiwanese made Cell Phone, my question now becomes???

“did you lead the charge when all these products became “foreign made”?

Do you know not a SINGLE pair of Levis are made in this country, none, zero, nada! And furthermore, not a SINGLE
yard of DENIM is produced in this country today! AND MORE JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST IN THESE INDUSTRIES THAN WOULD BE LOST VIA THE BIG THREE GOING UNDER! which they will not, but filing bankruptcy and reorganizing would certainly help their cause!

And did you know that about a year ago GM moved all (well most) of their design centers to INDIA, so if this bailout money is provided, and GM needs to design new products, that money will be paying wages in INDIA?

You arguments are shallow and do not reflect what is happening, or has happened in the auto industry! Or any other industry that has now TOTALLY moved overseas!

Your quote: “All of you will be affected in some way whether you want to admit it or not, if you are to blind or stupid to see it that is your problem.”

You need to look in the mirror, we are not the blind ones, or the stupid ones as you call us! It is the average citizen like yourself that “occasionally” jump on some bandwagon, maybe because you might be a Jimmie Johnson fan!

You drink orange juice in the morning? If it is not FLORIDA NATURAL, then your buying foreign grown oranges!

Why don’t you take the Japanese spark plugs out of your SUV, and see how far you get? And remove all the light bulbs in your house that come from China?

Although there are many reasons for the big three being in trouble, deep trouble, #1 is POOR MANAGEMENT! And #2 are the arrogant UAW leaders that refuse to recognize what is happening in the worlds economy and marketplace. How many times has GM particularly, caved in to UAW demands and given higher wages and more, and more benefits at the expense of us, the consumer? Over my years being involved with the big three, being employed there, relatives employed there, and still are, I have watched the UAW systematically destroy any semblance of “fair wages” paid to it’s employees, going for the jugular at each and every turn so now a $15,000 vehicle costs $25,000!

If the UAW does not get what it wants, it simply goes on strike shutting the factories down!

And you want us to pay for that through “BAILOUT MONEY”?

Carl D.
11/20/2008 09:20 AM

Thanks Douglas. There may be some acid on your tongue but it speaks the truth.

11/20/2008 09:27 AM

Thanks Carl D. but just wait till I really get started!

If it wasn’t such a sad state of affairs, it would almost be funny!

It certainly is in the “un-believable” category this big 3 bailout!

By the way, I have eaten in the “EXECUTIVE DINING ROOM” at GM, bet that still exists!

Prime Rib for lunch anyone?

Señor Obvious
11/20/2008 02:00 PM

Graceanne, you really are thinking short term if you think that the three months of operating capital that the automakers are begging for would even begin to help make these companies profitable.

Barney Frank wants the government to own 80% of the automakers as a concession of the loan. Do you really think that the US government can make a competitive car? Heck, if they had done this back in the 80s, Chevrolet would still be making the Chevette.

Go ahead and have another sip of that delicious union Kool-aid baby, because you have been sold a bill of goods by the liberal congress and media that is leading the country into more hardship than you could imagine.

Rick Hendrick announced that he was in favor of the bail out. No kidding. He owns dealerships. However, if the big three go down, he’ll just change the sign out front because there will still be a market for cars even if the over-priced and lower quality ones have dropped by the wayside.

11/20/2008 04:03 PM

For Graceann,

Please read this article and you will see that GM has every intention of using this India based design center for “global use”, and will employ in excess of 1600 design engineers, replacing those laid off by GM in the USA!

Thank you,

11/20/2008 04:19 PM

And more for Graceann as printed in today’s FREE PRESS from Detroit.

“Chrysler shuts down in Missouri a shift building the Dodge Ram, while continuing to build the same vehicle in Mexico”, — “and then shuts down an (entire) plant in Missouri building the Dodge Caravan while continuing to run three shifts at a plant in Ontario”! (that plant is in Windsor)

This was from comments made by Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

And then Sherman asks Bob Nardelli if Canada or Mexico have been approached for bailout money also, and if they, Chrysler do not receive assistance from these countries will they shutter the plants there. Of course, no response from Bob Nardelli, and remember, before becoming the CEO of Chrysler, he “ran” The Home Depot, and not too well at that!

Wonder what selling lumber has to do with making cars?

And further, boy, does this get involved and complicated, it was only recently that CEREBUS purchased Chrysler from Daimler (who were more than happy to dump Chrysler by the way), so my question is?

Ta-Da? Didn’t CEREBUS know what shape Chrysler was in when they bought the silly company?

As I remember it, when Cerebus made the deal for Chrysler, they had cash enough to continue operations, that’s why they bought Chrysler. Now it seems that there are “FREE HANDOUTS” to be had, so they are standing in line with their tin cups hoping for some change!

Your change, my change, anyone’s change!

Maybe the Big Three will get the Salvation Army involved to collect donations!

11/20/2008 08:42 PM

Can anyone say “Bill Clinton was a bungling idiot”? NAFTA took the jobs to Mexico, then to the Pacific Rim, allowing the big 3 to follow suit. America IS A VICTIM OF ITS OWN GREED. I did not support a bailout of the stupid bankers, and I do not support a bailout of the stupid automakers. Throwing good money after bad has never been a wise investment. American investors, with capital, can put America back on its feet. The government is flat WRONG for buying shares of banks, and cannot do it in private industry. First comes nationalization, then socialism, then plain old Communism. Most of you have forgotten about that, haven’t you? Oh yeah, it was the GOVERNMENT who first allowed foreign cars into our nation at low tariffs, and us as consumers who bought the Jap crap. This was only the beginning.

American should demand items made in America by American workers, and we should get the illegal aliens out of here. If they want to come back legal, that would be OK. We have given it all away folks, wake up.

11/20/2008 08:49 PM

How does it feel to be held hostage by corporate America?

From where I sit, it makes me sick.

11/20/2008 08:53 PM

Hey, It was also our CONGRESSMEN who first allowed foreign investors to buy into American companies!!! And you want to leave our future to those idiots.

11/21/2008 07:56 AM

Hey Marc, your quote: “American should demand items made in America by American workers, and we should get the illegal aliens out of here. If they want to come back legal, that would be OK. We have given it all away folks, wake up.”

is a good one, but there are no “American made” products anymore”, nothing you can live on, wear, or as a matter of fact even drive these days! Your 100% correct about Clinton, he not only opened up NAFTA, he signed agreements with the Chinese allowing the free flow of good from China to the USA!

And in case no one knows it (they will now for sure) the I-10/I-55/I-65/I-69 corridors of our interstate system, per the NAFTA AGREEMENT, are to be maintained, at the total expense of the USA, to provide easy and safe access for trucks carrying NAFTA goods to go direct from Mexico to Canada”, of course no stop required in the USA!

What that means is per NAFTA, we spend our monies maintaining truck routes that provide us ZERO BENEFITS!

And, on your “illegal aliens”, (now I am not sure of the precise amount here, sorry) but it has been reported that ILLEGAL ALIENS of the Spanish persuasion, read that Mexicans, work here ILLEGALLY, and send back to their families in Mexico over a billion $$$ a year of American $$$ they “earned” illegally, paid no taxes on, sucking whatever the actual amount is out of our country!

Sure would help if those billions of american $$$ were spent here in this country, rather than supporting the corrupt governement of mexico.

11/21/2008 09:28 AM

Are you finished yet? I could really care less what any of you think. I don’t work for any of the 3 nor do I work for a Union but I do know why they were put in place and probably all of you have benefited from them in some way at some point in your life. Maybe not directly but something they have had a hand in making sure the working people received. The only stake I have in this mess is watching the people around me lose everything. There are 2 plants in our City that employ 5000-6000 people that would be a severe loss to our State. So say what you want to me. I don’t really care. The human factor means more to me than your condescending words.

11/21/2008 01:14 PM

Nothing personal Graceann, just wanting to make sure you have an understanding of the TOTAL scenario re: any potential bailout for a selected group of people, a very small group at that compared to the millions of lost jobs in the past, 10 here, twenty there, 5,000 there, another 150 there, get the idea, a steady but sure downsizing bit by bit!

Now we get “excited” because the Big 3 want some cash.

And who is going to bat for the big 3? Why Carl Levin, Sander Levin, and John Dingell, ALL people that have stood behind the backward thinking of the auto industry for years and years. Every time the Feds wanted to increase the CAFE standards, yep, those three politicians stood up and PROTECTED the big three at the big three’s request.

Now the big three are stuck with SUV’S that get 12MPG, and not enough fuel efficient cars coming down the assembly lines.

Strange that on the very same day the big three are in begging for federal money, the biggest advertising campaign is from FORD advertising their new MUSCLE CAR!!

Sick I tell you! Just plain friggin sick!

Let me say I do not intend to offend anyone (well, most of the time anyway), but it galls me to no end that people don’t have a clue as to how we got here in the first place, only when it affects your home state or town as the case may be.

I have been in manufacturing management for the better part of my career, retired now thank goodness, and I have seen the plant closings, the layoffs, and the reasons why!

And it is not good.

A short term cash infusion is not going to solve any problems, only the big three can do that, and thus far they are complete failures at doing so!

Thanks for writing, I know it gets tough, but short term fixes and emotion are not going to fix our current problems!

11/21/2008 03:25 PM

I know where you are coming from,I have watched the jobs leave here in a steady stream myself. I was one that that was outsourced 10 years ago. This is not a jump on the bandwagon deal for me. I could care less about the CEO’s and the upper management. I know the Union is not perfect, I never said it was, but at times is is useful. What I care about is the people, some of them are hard working people that don’t deserve this. Nobody has even mentioned these people or their families. I know where our jobs are, I have seen the import lists, I check them. That is what amazes me, alot of people have no clue how much comes into this country or where it’s even from, most don’t even care. I do and I don’t want to see another job leave the States. So I do voice my opinion to anyone I can. Maybe I don’t say right, or maybe I don’t get my point across but I won’t quit. If you don’t agree that’s your right.

11/21/2008 09:13 PM

Graceann, we are all very concerned. But the government got us into this mess, and I don’t think they could pull a sick cat out of a litterbox, much less fix the broken economy. I am worried everyday about what will happen over the next few years. All we can do is pray.

11/22/2008 08:37 AM

And thank you Graceann for continuing to post here on this very complicated subject!

We all have different experiences and views and it is refreshing to have the opportunity to discuss these with people like yourself.

So once again, thanks for hanging in there. Hopefully this mess we are in will be resolved sometime. But as you know, we are in a very deep hole!

Have a great Holiday Season!

11/22/2008 09:53 PM

Marc & Douglas, Thanks for not dismissing my opinion because they differ from yours in some ways. I hope both of you and your families enjoy the Holidays. Yes Marc, I will pray!

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