Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey Congress: Stop the bashing.

It’s time to stop bashing the UAW, the management, and the workers of the American automotive manufacturing and sales sector. It’s time to own up to your own culpability by admitting to being co-conspirators in engineering the poor economic and energy policies which have contributed to our economic problems.

GM and the UAW have taken steps to correct long standing structural problems; but the nature of the beast dictates it will take time for these changes to bloom. Yet it is clear during congressional hearings is how desperate Lawmakers are to find someone, anyone, with lower approval ratings than themselves and use them to make themselves look competent. I guess that’s easy to do when facing an industry in need.

It’s time to engage and make something happen. Call it a loan, a bailout, or a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Put conditions on the package to ensure productivity, change laws so dealer networks can be consolidated, make every other Friday congress appreciation day for all I care. And choose to do nothing - and say so - if you have the spine to stand back and watch the carnage as unemployment claims spike, municipal failures mushroom, and the housing market moves from decline to devastation. Maybe the world would be better off with far less automotive manufacturing capacity. I just cannot believe my elected officials would encourage that rightsizing to happen at the expense of so many American jobs and families.

The $25 billion in assistance for the development of alternative fuel vehicles was a step in the right direction - it puts American manufactures on an even footing with foreign competitors that get their own subsidies. Is it really that much of a stretch to extend $25 billion to bridge the Big 3 through the credit crunch so they can bear the fruits of the new union contracts negotiated last year? Whatever your decision, please stop bashing everyone in sight and do something - even if you choose to do nothing. At least then we’ll know what to expect.

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