Bailout the U.S. auto industry–ludicrous statements from leadership

November 17, 2008

The U.S. automotive industry is about to fall off a steep cliff.  They are asking for bailout money.  Yet, here’s the posturing taking place:

  • The United Autoworker’s Union (UAW) is saying they will make no concessions as the problem is with the economy, not with anything related to the UAW.  Right!
  • Rick Wagoner, the Chairman of GM, says he isn’t willing to take money if there are any conditions associated with the receipt of bailout funds.  Sure!

Earth to auto industry–earth to auto industry:

  • The UAW will make significant concessions.  If they don’t, they’ll force the auto makers into bankruptcy which will eliminate all union contracts immediately.  How would they like that?
  • The management of these companies will accept conditions–they can’t risk “standing on principle” and letting their companies go down the tubes.

No one is happy about the idea of bailing out the U.S. auto makers.  If it weren’t for the larger impact on the economy, it probably would be a reasonable idea to let them die.  They’ve adopted the wrong strategy and are horribly positioned for the current economic climate.

The incoming Democratic President and the Democratic Congress are going to have to “do this right.”  We can’t simply throw good money after bad.

And, finally, the auto industry management and UAW are going to need to come to terms with the notion that they lack little bargaining power at this juncture.  Fundamental change has to occur and occur as a condition of bailout funding.

What do you think?  Democrat Dave

$700 billion bailout–how are we doing?

November 12, 2008

The bailout isn’t going well from my perspective.  Paulson is making stuff up as he goes which is pretty much what he told Congress he wanted to do just prior to the legislation passed granting him authority to spend the first $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout. 

Henry Paulson has a lot of control and no real accountability for how this money is allocated.  If he’s right, then we–the taxpayers–might benefit.  If he’s wrong, oh well–it sucks to be us.

Back when this “program” was sold to Congress, a big portion of the plan was to buy up “toxic assets”–mortgages that had gone bad and created a liquidity crisis of historic proportions. 

Today, Paulson announced that he’s decided to go in a different direction and not buy the toxic mortgage assets.  Huh?  This was at the root of the crisis just a few weeks ago.  Now, it’s no big deal?  What’s wrong with this picture?

The markets are in a turmoil over Paulson’s sudden change in direction.  Buying the “toxic assets” was the core rationale for the bailout.  This latest Paulson decision seems to be nuts.  Wall Street agrees.  Main Street has to be asking if Paulson really knows what he is doing. Or, is Paulson like the Wizard of Oz–the guy behind the curtain making adjustments that may not matter?

AIG, the insurance giant, was to be the beneficiary of an $80 billion bailout.  [Note: This $80 billion is NOT part of the $700 billion bailout.]  This week, AIG needs another $40 billion.  Really?  Are we sure?  Of course not.  It should be noted that the former president of AIG, Hank Greenberg, stated that he could have saved the company with $20 billion.  He didn’t get the chance.

The auto industry is falling off a cliff.  They’d like an additional $25 billion over the already committed $25 billion.  And, what does this do?  Give them cash which they will blow through like a cocaine addict blows through cash.  We can’t bail them out unless there are systemic changes to correct the auto industry business models that simply no longer serve them or the consumer.  You can’t keep throwing good money after bad.

One of my consulting colleagues up in New England tells the lobster fishermen are loosing their butts this year as the current market price is $3.50 a pound, less per pound than I’m paying for hamburger to add my dog’s food out West.  Yikes!   My colleague claims they may be looking for a bailout. Why not?  Will a billion do it?

What do you think?  Democrat Dave

It’s Veteran’s Day–a day to give thanks

November 11, 2008

Today is the day we honor our veterans and active-duty soldiers for their service to our country.  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to those who have served or are serving this great nation and tell them how much you appreciate their service to our country. 

American Heroes

American Heroes

One of my close friends, a gentleman named Hank up in Reno, NV, served on PT boats in the South Pacific during World War II.  I feel lucky to know him–a lot of people like Hank didn’t make it back home.

Hank claims the “heroes” are those who have died in service.  We don’t agree on this point.  The heroes are those who serve, not simply those who die.

Democrat Dave

What’s Up with Alaska Voters and Ted Stevens?

November 9, 2008

It’s hard to believe that Ted Stevens is leading in the vote tallying going on in Alaska for a U.S. Senate seat.  Ted Stevens, also known as ConvicTED Stevens, was found guilty of 7 felonies for failing to disclose gifts he received as required by Senate disclosure policies. 

He’s proclaimed his innocence (like the vast majority of convicted felons) and has stated that, until his appeals process is completed, he’s considered innocent.  Really?

Sarah Palin and John McCain called for him to step down after his conviction but, since the election, Sarah Palin has backed away from her request–perhaps she doesn’t want to alienate a large block of Republican voters–those who support Ted Stevens.

Does anyone else find this ironic?  How could Alaskans vote to re-elect Stevens?  Why do they want a convicted felon representing them?  What must they be thinking?

My gut tells me that there may be a method to the madness.  The Republicans want him to win now so when he’s kicked out of the U.S. Senate, there’s a greater chance a Republican will secure the seat he is forced to give up.

But seriously–voting for a convicted felon is over the top.

What do you think?  Any Alaskans care to weigh in?

Democrat Dave

President-Elect Obama–Wow!!

November 4, 2008

What a night!!   I’m absolutely ecstatic about this victory tonight.  We’ve come so far from the last 8 years, 8 years I can’t wait to put behind us.

Back in 2004, George W. Bush declared one day after one of the narrowist victories in U.S. presidential election history that he had a “mandate.”  My immediate reaction was “bull shit”–you don’t have anything near a mandate.  He went on to talk about how he was going to spend the “political capital” that he had earned during the election.  It makes me shake my head to this day thinking about this. What an arrogant, pompous ass. George Bush and Dick Cheney have acted as though they could do whatever they wanted without repercussions.  As Keith Olbermann would say, “How dare they!”

This election is a victory for all Americans, a victory for the international community, a victory for hope, a victory for diplomacy, a victory for our veterans and active duty soldiers, and a victory for our planet.

Barack Obama is inheriting a mess: 2 wars, an economy on the verge of collapse, industries that have missed the mark and put jobs at risk, huge budget deficits, over $10 trillon national debt, etc.. It won’t get fixed overnight.  It is going to require careful thought, leadership and the ability to build coalitions of support.  Barack Obama has demonstrated that he knows how to do this.  That’s why he was elected today.

Barack Obama is a smart, thoughtful guy. He knows that with great power comes great responsibility.  If the Democrats act with the best of intentions for the citizens of our nation and the world, they may continue to enjoy the mandate they’ve been given today in the 2010 election cycle.  If they abuse this power, they can expect a reversal of fortunes.

The election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden is a clear repudiation of senseless deregulation, needless torture and waterboarding, loosely interpreting the U.S. Constitution to fit the circumstances, inventing phrases to avoid obligations under the Geneva Convention requirements (e.g., “enemy combatants” vs. “prisoners of war”), warrantless wiretapping, catering to narrow special intersts to win votes, “go-it-alone” preemptive military actions, firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons, FEMA support for Hurricane Katrina, and countless other issues.  And, one more thing. Colin Powell hit the nail on the head: We are not just a Christian nation–we are a nation that includes and respects all religions. 

In just the past couple of months, Barack Obama has been called a celebrity, a socialist, a Communist, a “liberal,” a tax and spend liberal, a guy who wants to raise everybody’s taxes (contrary to his position), a pal of domestic terrorists, etc.  How pathetic coming from John McCain and Sarah Palin.  John McCain would want us to forget his pathetic campaign and his disparging words that served to polarize people, but, I’ll never forget the low road he and Sarah Palin tried to take to the highest office in the land.  The American voters won’t forget either.

But you know what–the American people didn’t buy the Republican B.S.  Even many neo-cons endorsed Barack Obama as they didn’t like what Bush and GOP has done to this country and our standing in the world. America saw through it this time. 

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

This is a proud day for all Americans.  It’s a proud day for Barack Obama and his family, his recently deceased grandmother and for all African-Americans who thought they might never see a president who looked like them.

Back in August, I started this blog at the suggestion of my wife.  I’ve been blessed to have over 5000 visitors to this blog since its inception.  Most of my visitors have come for the fact-based, research pieces that I’ve written.  Even today, I had people looking up issues such as the “Bush Tax Cuts” to understand the difference between the plan offered by John McCain and Barack Obama.  I’m grateful for folks who have come to the blog regularly and offered comments and support.  I appreciate it more than you know.  It has made this mission worthwhile.

America made it through this election cycle without one of our best commentators ever:  Tim Russert.  I have to believe that Tim Russert is smiling tonight up in heaven at Barack Obama’s victory.  I miss his insights, his smile, his energy and enthusiasm.  It was great to see his son Luke on the air during this election cycle.

I’m so happy!  Congratulations to the Obamas and the Bidens!!

God has blessed America today!  Thank God for this day and this outcome. Democrat Dave

PS:  I’m not going to retire this blog as this election cycle closes.

Election looking good for Obama

November 4, 2008

6:30 PM PST: With Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Mexico now in Barack Obama’s favor, it is virtually impossible for John McCain to win this election.  Yahoo!!!  

It’s not over yet.  There’s still voting going on out West.  If you haven’t voted for Barack Obama yet, there’s still time.

Enough!  Obama-Biden in 2008!!  Democrat Dave

I just voted Obama-Biden!

November 4, 2008

Probably not a very unique headline given that millions and millions of Americans will be doing the same throughout the course of the day.

I couldn’t be more excited about the prospects for an Obama-Biden victory later today. 

I want to congratulate the historic achievements of Barack Obama in running a campaign that sets a new standard for what campaigns of the future will look like.

There’s little question that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have taken the high road to the White House while the McCain-Palin ticket have taken the low road.   John McCain–you aren’t the same man you were 8 years ago when you ran for this office. 

McCain and Palin have thrown disingenuous charges at Barack for weeks.  John McCain has run the most uninspired, off-message, erratic, hateful campaign I’ve ever witnessed.  They deserve to lose today’s election. 

Later today, I plan to celebrate the Obama-Biden victory as well as the rejection of the McCain-Palin ticket. 

I want to acknowledge the passing of Barack Obama’s grandmother just one day before the election.  She has to be so proud of who Barack is and the campaign that he’s run.  What a magnificent gift she’s been to American by helping to raise such a fine individual as Barack Obama.

Please vote Obama-Biden today.  Democrat Dave