Help the Big Three
I am so astonished at the vitriol being directed towards Detroit in terms of this bailout of the auto industry. For the record, I was really upset with the bailout of the financial industry because it reminded me of how we got involved in Iraq which was, “Pass this bill now or the world is going to end!” I mean the financial bill had to be passed in what, a week? Didn’t it seem like this emergency came out of nowhere? Even emergencies should require due diligence and too many in Congress were not willing to put the brakes on and say, “If we are going to give you $700 billion dollars, you can wait a minute.” Do you remember trying to ask your parents really fast so they don’t catch all the details? That was the financial bailout.
I think Congress should help the auto industry for the following reasons;
We are talking about a $25 billion dollar loan (there is precedent a la Chrysler, Lee Iacocca) which is a fraction of the $140 billion tax cut that Paulson tucked in the bailout bill.
Some people say we should let the Big Three die. We are not just talking about 3 million jobs being lost, we are talking about ripple effects that run deep in our communities. Take healthcare for example. I have a friend who works at a hospital here in Michigan that is announcing major layoffs. Why? Because as the auto industry announces more and more layoffs, these laid off workers lose their health care which then forces people to sign up for Medicare and Medicaid. And because Medicare and Medicaid reimburse at lower rates than do say Blue Cross/Blue Shield. So for real, a world without the Big Three is not going to be contained to Detroit and trust me, it will impact you in a very real way.
I find it interesting that most coverage of the auto industry is framed in terms of saving or not saving “Detroit.” Detroit is not being saved, the auto industry is asking for a loan. Although Detroit is known for the auto industry, this framing has negative consequences. For starters, the economic bailout of Wall Street was never framed in terms of saving New York. Instead, the framing was that Wall St. is the engine behind your paycheck and small businesses all across America. One doesn’t have to think long to conjure up negative images about the city of Detroit and we end up pitting city against other cities. Again, this is about America, not Detroit. My city has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. No economic bailout is going to put Detroiters to work again but failure to do so will guarantee millions of people not directly working for the industry will see an economic downturn that will be peanuts compared to what we are seeing with the economic mess.
We are all in this together. Congress, do the right thing
Stay up fam,