Some Notes on the Auto “bailout”

Posted on December 6, 2008


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Ford, Chrysler and GM were in Washington again yesterday requesting money. I don’t know if you heard, but the first time they came, they arrived in private jets, this time they drove in in hybrid cars. WE ae getting smarter. The House and Senate agreed to give them about half of what they requested in loans. Legislation will include the creation of a group of overseers to make sure the funds are used to transform the car makers,make them more competitive. The money evidently will not come from the “bailout” funds set aside for the Treasury to distribute, but from a fund, an Energy Department Loan Program originally set up to help Detroit automakers make more fuel efficient cars.

There are alot of changes that need to come down the pike. Don’t freak. It’s just the process.

Good News: We are getting it right this time.

Watch Democracy Now newscast from 12.5.08 to hear Ralph Nader and Wendy Thompson

Faceless Face of Big Business: MUSICfrom Grace Gravity


In an interview on yesterday, Friday December 5, 2008, Ralph Nader was on talking about the “bailout”. Here are a few notes and excerpts:

About the Auto Industry Leaders driving up in hybrid vehicles to the most recent congressional hearings.—
Nader said, “This is just window dressing, like at the 1938 worlds fair where they dangled the electric car. But nothing happens.
The Volt (GM), which is GM’s latest hybrid showing is also just window dressing. These cars cost $40-50,000.

WHAT NADER RECOMMENDS: The Management and Board of Directors need to be removed. The industry needs to be restructured. He suggests that if money is given that is should have clear stipulations for creating fuel efficient/hybrid cars. Auto supplyers are really the source of innovation. There are all sorts of people available who could help restructure. Now we can obtain the proper oversight. Washington has all the cards, if they represent the workers and the environment this can be a restructuring that not only saves the industry but puts us on the right track.

But the right wing wants to use this situation to break the Union, to destroy the standard of living auto workers have.
It’s being done in a rushed manner — like everything else.

WHAT HAPPENED in the PAST to get automakers where they are?
The moment the Auto Workers Union UAW allied with the auto companies it stopped all creation of fuel efficient vehicles, more gas guzzlers were created. He views the bailout as an extension of this. For over 30’s years we have not been able to upgrade our fuel efficient standards.

This is not something that just happened. U.S. automakers have for years suppressed technology that would provide more fuel efficient vehicles.

For some much needed background on how the auto industry  . . .

Check out the movie  WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR

A 2006 documentary film that explores the creation, limited commercialization, and subsequent destruction of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the 1990s. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, the Californian government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology.The story of how electric cars disappeared. GM made an electric car the EV1.
They forced all the cars to be returned. They were sent to Arizona and destroyed.

He wrote Unsafe at Any Speed, a book that took on the Auto Industry. He pushed for regulation of the auto industry in 1960s. Linden Johnson was willing to pass the bill, press was ready to cover the story ongoing. The results would have saved millions of lives, provided fuel efficiency laws and reduction of emmisions.
Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile by Ralph Nader, published in 1965, is a book detailing resistance by car manufacturers to the introduction of safety features, like seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It was a pioneering work of consumer advocacy, openly polemical but containing substantial references and material from industry insiders. It made Nader a household name and the style is often imitated.


–From WENDY THOMPSON, retired auto worker and former UAW President Local 235.
The workers want fuel efficient cars and are pro-environment. She has organized a gathering in Washington of the auto workers so their thoughts can be heard. “A Union is the people. We as people must get involved as far as saying what we want to have happen.  We are asking for people to join us on Monday, December 8 in the capital.”
More: Auto workers and retirees have organized a caravan from several Midwest states to Congress Monday, December 8, to speak with lawmakers and media about the need for a strong manufacturing base. They see the crisis facing the Big Three as an opportunity to transform the auto industry and to lay the foundations for a more sustainable economy. They will hold a press conference Monday, Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. at 2226 Rayburn, on the 2nd floor. for more information —

“Unions are democratic if membership participates.”

That’s always the case, how many times do I have to tell you? Geez!


The bill that Congress is expected to vote on next week is meant to give Congress time to work out a longer-term restructuring of the U.S. auto industry with the Obama Administration that will likely result in as much as $100 billion in loans being appropriated.
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