First of all, so sorry for missing yesterday’s Wicked Wednesday. It was just one of those days when life got in the way of everything!
But I can’t miss today’s Thoughtful Thursday since it’s something that’s been on my mind for weeks — the “bailout” of the Big Three U.S. automakers. I put the “bailout” in quotes because they’re not asking for charity. This is a loan that they intend to payback much like Chrysler paid back the loan given to them in the early 1980s.
When I look at the TARP bill and what it contains (click here for the Washington Post list of the breakdown), I’m wondering why Congress can spend a large sum of the 700 billion to bail out banks with bad mortgages (oftentimes created by their own failure to properly assess risk when granting loans), 478 million to movie producers and 170 million dollars to rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but not consider assisting the automakers.
Then there’s the 306 billion dollar Citibank bailout.
The WSJ reports in its article that “”With these transactions, the U.S. government is taking the actions necessary to strengthen the financial system and protect U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. economy,” the Treasury Department, Fed and FDIC said in a joint statement issued late Sunday.”
All well and good, but if we’re busy doing 700 and 306 billion for the banks — Wall Street as it were — why can’t we spend a measly 34 billion on Main Street — the automakers.
There are the shortsighted who say, “Let them sink”. Sink? I don’t know who said “As GM goes, so does the nation” but that’s a fact not to be ignored. Losing even one of the automakers could plunge this Nation into a depression. Why?
When you think about letting one of these companies go away, you’re not just talking about those companies. You’re talking about the suppliers of all the products they need, like paint, textiles, leather, tires, batteries, radios, wires, etc. And you’re talking about the dealers and their mechanics. You’re also talking about the mom and pop shops around all those automaker and supplier factories who will close when there’s no one there to stop in for a cup of coffee or lunch.
It’s a massive domino effect that the U.S. can’t afford to let happen.
Here’s some facts from a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research**:
• One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers
• Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk
• U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion
• The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion
To learn more about the bailout and support our local automakers, please take a moment to visit these sites and send a message to Congress that you want a bailout of Main Street and not just Wall Street! Why do I care so much? I’m one of the three million who rely on the automakers.
**Info courtesy of General Motors.