Thursday, December 11, 2008

How will the Big 3's cries for help be answered?

Tom Walsh has a very thoughtful column at the Free Press that reminds certain GOP senators of the Big 3's response after Hurricane Katrina:
...the automobile companies of Detroit did not harrumph that the Gulf Coast should have been better prepared.

They didn’t sit back and wait for New Orleans to submit a detailed plan for future repair of the ruptured levees.[...]

Between them, the three Detroit auto companies gave more than $18 million in cash and vehicles to the Katrina relief effort in the ensuing months. No strings attached.
That's just one example. Detroit's Big 3 are known for their charity and generosity in communities across our country. Now its their turn to ask for help. Before you just brush them off and say no, consider what else Walsh had to say:
If you see a fellow American is drowning, gasping for air, do you quiz him for awhile about whether he’s drunk or why he never learned to swim better? Or do you throw him a lifebuoy and ask questions later?

That, it seems to me, is where we are with America’s car companies.

You can do nothing and watch them die, senators.

Or you can rush in immediately with emergency aid – as GM, Ford and Chrysler did in the case of Hurricane Katrina, and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and during countless other disasters.

And you can hold their feet to the fire afterward, empowering a strong auto czar to make sure they do what’s needed to withstand future shocks.
Millions of lives are hanging in the balance, senators, including those of children, seniors and others who rely on the workers for their incomes. Please consider them when you make your decision. This is about more than unions or poorly managed companies. This is about families. They don't deserve to have their feet held to the fire.

“The quality of mercy is not strained, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven, Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest, It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” - William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)


Frogette said...

All I have to say is those Southern Republican senators had better hope the foreign car manufacturers in their states don't go belly up or they're going to get a taste of their own bitter medicine.

Anonymous said...

Very good! An argument that demands some pause to any voice of opposition will always be one of my favorite things to hear, regardless of my position.

By now you can infer that I have not immediately been convinced to stand beside you on this issue yet.

I have not agreed with any of the money thrown into the "black hole" that is government oversight of free market economics.

I am not a religious believer in the illusion of even the possibility of a totally free market, but feel that over the past four or five months we would have been more discerning to follow it's principles as opposed to what has been the alternative to date.

Where does it end? That is my only question.

And in response to "Frogette" I would say that although I share your cynicism toward much of the political ideologies that plague my neck of the woods (the south), they, as well as I, am more than ready to bear the pain of a three to four year (my estimate) economic beating if it would stop the selling of our country to those that do not share our fondness for the few freedoms that remain in our grasps.

Nonetheless, good post. I can't say I remember ever disagreeing with what you share, but it was inevitable. Till next time....

JollyRoger said...

We should have let the Confederacy go. We'd have needed a Berlin Wall to keep refugees fleeing that third world hellhole out, but that would have been better than keeping them in the country.

K. said...

The Big 3 bailout is around 2% of the Wall Street bailout. If Republican senators conditioned the Wall Street bailout on across-the-board pay cuts, I missed it. Worse, they are in effect advocating for foreign car makers at the expense of their own country. After all, if the Big 3 go under, guess who's going to pick up their market share? Why, the very companies with plants in southern states.

Anonymous said...

I would like to add that the plan to fund the auto maker bailout from the previous "financial industry" bailout is a smart one and would garner my support. In this case, I would even raise the amount set aside for them so that more could be invested in the search for alternative energy technologies within the industry. Since the mistake is already made, we should make the best of what cannot be undone, & spread the initial bailout to not only the auto industry, but others as well.

abi said...

Republicans are putting a top agenda item - busting unions - ahead of the welfare of the country here. As a Republican "action alert" circulated among aides of Senate Republicans put it: "Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor..."

I hope working persons who call themselves Republicans are paying attention.

BTW, JollyRoger, I'm very sympathetic to that modest proposal. ;-)

Kathy said...

This is a collective response to everyone who left me a comment. Following the Senate's vote, I experienced a gamut of emotions from disbelief to sadness and even fear, but I mostly felt numb. I feel that Washington - and particularly Republicans - have turned their backs on middle-class Americans in order to make a stand against unions (as Abi pointed out). By extension, they turned their backs on the rest of us too.

There's a lot more I wanted to say but it will have to wait a bit longer. I have a lot on my plate right now between family, work and the holidays, but trust me, you haven't heard my last word on this issue. I have a feeling that's true across the country. These Senators just declared war on the living standards of middle-class Americans and war they will get.

K. said...

"I have a feeling that's true across the country. These Senators just declared war on the living standards of middle-class Americans and war they will get."

Exactly right. I fear that Democrats won't put it as bluntly as this. Bernie Sanders will, but I wonder about the rest. I'm going to write both of mine (Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell) now.

Kathy said...

K, the Democrats better learn how to put things bluntly or they'll find themselves being voted out of office. We need some righteous anger out of their mouths.