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Romney’s MA Health Care “TAX”!

Congressman Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee chair on ABC’s This Week: 07/01/12

Representative Paul Ryan (Wisconsin), chair of the House Budget Committee

“The broken promises and the hypocrisy are becoming breathtaking from the president who says one thing to get this past Congress and then another thing to get it past the Supreme Court….look at the hypocrisy. The president on your show said this is not a tax. Then he sent his solicitor general to the Supreme Court to argue that it is a tax in order to get this past the Supreme Court.”

Well imagine Republicans actually ADMITTING to a concept called “Hypocrisy” and with a straight face too.

Dear Mr. Ryan…

I can’t defend President Obama on whether he knew it was a tax or a mandate. He did not call me to share his thoughts nor was I privy to their deliberations. I am going by what he said. (Yes, I know…he’s a politician too, bless his soul! Pinch of salt, etc…).

  • Obama said it was a Penalty. 
  • In Massachusetts Romney said his RomneyCare carried a Penalty – he did not call it a tax.
  • Now the Supreme Court says the penalty in ObamaCare is a tax
  • Does this mean that the penalty in RomneyCare is a tax too? I’m sure you will say NO! Because of course the federal laws that apply to the rest of America DO NOT apply here in Massachusetts – which is why we are so liberal and which is why a Penalty here is a “tax” over there!
  • Health Care Debate 101…

U.S. Supreme Court Justices

I listened to the commentary – listened to Romney’s reaction – listened to Republicans and Democrats and everybody in between and what I came away with is this: We spent the last 4 years fighting over Health Care Reform…and it’s not over! Apparently it has not yet even begun. We are going to waste the next 4 years fighting over Health Care. Is America for real?

The health care you are fighting over has not bankrupted Massachusetts – 98 percent of our residents are covered. Yes it is expensive, but those costs are beginning to come down because more people are getting PREVENTATIVE care. Yes, more people are:

  • Seeing doctors who are catching problems before they become critical.
  • These doctors are coaching people on healthy lifestyles that PREVENT DISEASE
  • It did not STOP job creation – we are tops among the nation under our new Democratic governor, Obama pal Deval Patrick.
  • Why would you not want that kind of statistic in every state? 
  • Why do the hypocrites who rail against universal health care try to sneak in here to get ours? 
  • Why don’t they go to Paul Ryan and ask HIM to pay for THEIR health care?
  • Why do you let Republicans play political GAMES with you and the health of you and your family/loved ones — instead of demanding that they sit down with Democrats and look at parts of the bill that need fixing – AND FIX IT.  
  • Whom do you think YOU are hurting when you don’t have health Care, don’t buy it – then get into an accident and don’t have it? Who is going to pay for you? Surely NOT the government? Because you don’t want the government involved in Health Care, remember…? I know, John Boehner will pay your bill. Lucky you!

Republicans needed Maalox to toast the Supreme Court ruling…on the Health Care Act.

Republicans have been killing Health Care reform for decades, including the effort by Hillary Clinton. Remember that? WHAT DO THEY HAVE AGAINST HEALTH CARE FOR ALL – and why have they NOT put forward their own viable plan…and PASSED it…when they ruled Congress and Newt Gingrich was Emperor?

Boy they thought that they HAD President Obama. They could NOT get Congress to overturn the Health Care Act so they decided to send it to their buddies at the Supreme Court whom they expected to rule in their favor. What a shock it must have been…when the decision came! La-di-dah-do!!! What a Maalox Moment!

See, Republicans think that Americans are stupid – that voters don’t see through their shenanigans – that sane people do not understand that Republicans use underhand and devious ways to RAM their  bigoted, biased, out of touch ideas and platforms on the rest of us.

But you do. We do.

We understand that Republicans use (or TRY to use) the Supreme Court (and other courts) to force their beliefs on the rest of us. When the courts side with them: great judges, constitutional scholars. When the courts don’t : “activist” judges, liberal elitists!

Their plan is to people the courts with conservatives who will rule along party ideology…then because they oppose something (usually somebody or group’s civil rights) like gay marriage, sue to block gay marriage.

Here’s an example of Republicans using the courts to force their twisted concepts on the rest of us: House GOP leaders in Connecticut plan to ask the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the 1996 federal law that bans federal marriage benefits for same-sex couples who are legally married. They don’t like gays and don’t support the Defense of marriage Act so of course it’s unconstitutional…and if it’s not, then by God they will make it!!!

The other tack they use is to stir up public opinion and get people to vote for their unconstitutional ideas believing that if they rile enough people up against gay marriage and these people vote for some referendum saying that gay marriage is bad – then that makes it legal – because the people have spoken!

U.S. Supreme Court Justices

Yes, we the same people who thought:

  • The sun revolved around the Earth
  • That the earth was flat and when you got to the end you’d fall off
  • That slavery should NOT be abolished
  • That blacks should not get the vote
  • That women should not get the vote
  • That blacks and whites should not marry or integrate
  • That gays cannot serve in the military
  • That men and women do not deserve equal pay
  • and so on…

We the people who self-righteously made all the above decisions and more…are really in a position to shove aside our bigotry and self-serving blarney and grant power to others, especially to others we don’t like or agree with.

If you look at the civil rights that the courts have granted to people, to minority groups, to wronged classes, to under-represented groups…think where we would BE if the courts had not stepped in.

So the law can work both ways. And Republicans try to use both sides to further their twisted political agenda…

John Roberts, 17th Chief Justice, US Supreme Court.

Republicans don’t give a damn about fairness or ethics – if the constitution said to skin cats, they’d stick to the Constitution to the letter of the Law and skin every cat they could find. Know what Jesus had to say about that (Luke 13: 10-16) when he was chastised…chastised for working on the Sabbath because he healed a woman who had been sick for 18-years? Jesus called the ruler of the synagogue (John Boehner in an earlier life?) a hypocrite! Republicans and Jesus would NOT agree…

So to get back to the Supreme Court and John Roberts. I’m not on board. Still to come:

  1. Affirmative Action (which is good and bad and responsible for the advancement of many minorities)
  2. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

It is my opinion that Roberts wanted to depolarize/de-politicize the Supreme Court so he chose an argument about Taxation which I can’t follow…It is a Tax but it’s not a Tax? Whatever…! Bottom line is that Romney apparently slapped a TAX on us here in Massachusetts with his Health Care Mandate…and every year I have to show I have Health Care or I pay a Tax penalty – which is not a penalty – it’s now a Tax “Tax”.

By calling the mandate a “Tax” Roberts provided fodder for Republicans to kick up a political furor…

Paul Ryan says Roberts “had to rewrite the statute in order to call this a tax.”

So if Roberts can find a convenient loophole to muddy the legal waters so he can save the reputation of his court – does that happen/can that happen/has that happened in other cases as well?

Do I now look at Supreme Court rulings as:

  1. Strict interpretation of the law?
  2. A face saver?
  3. A compromise?
  4. An ideological ruling?

Meantime, pundits are urging Mitt Romney to stop running as a business man and show some substance…

Say what?

If Romney does NOT run as a businessman- what else is there?

Governor Romney signs Health Care Reform with MANDATES (TAX?) in MA, 2006. Making History in Healthcare – a “History” Romney is NOW running away from!!

Romney is known for being:

  • A businessman (of the loan shark kind.)
  • “Saving” the Olympics (by getting a financial bail-out from Washington).
  • Governor of Massachusetts (by proxy! His only achievement, Universal Health Care with a mandate he endorsed by signing the bill with LIBERAL Ted Kennedy standing behind him – he ran away from it to please conservatives. Now he can’t jog back (watch him try in the debates), especially with the Supreme Court ruling. So what’s left? THERE IS NO SUBSTANCE. He can try to manufacture some “substance” but it comes across as phony…

When the layers will be stripped away in the debates – you’ll see how much substance he has…

Mitt Romney the Casanova

Mitt Romney loves women…so much…

He’s a regular Casanova!

He even loves gay women. You believe that, hmnn?

Mitt Romney

Well of course he loves you NOW that he needs YOUR vote in November.

He loves you so much he just hates the way President Obama took your job away…

The way you were better off under George Bush!

The way that he will give you and your gay partner  jobs, but left to him if either of you get hurt on that very same job that he so wants you to have — neither of you will be able to go see the other in your sick beds.

And if either of you die, the survivor won’t have any rights.

But what do THOSE things matter, long as he gets you as job! Unlike Obama who just wants to take your job away and give you your rights…

Under WHOM do you think you have the BEST choice of having BOTH a job AND your rights? Romney or Obama?

YOU choose. You’re not as stupid as Romney seems to think you are!!

Mitt Romney and Republicans love women .

They loves women so much…

They are determined to support only judges who will strip you of your rights to control your ovaries…your vagina…and your eggs.

A woman's RIGHT to choose!

It is their love and RESPECT for Women’s Rights that keep them bowing down at the altar of Misogyny…to those who call a women “slut” and “prostitute” because she dared to agitate for the right to contraceptive care…much as MEN have the right to Viagra! What a stiff!!

It is because Romney and Republicans love women so much that they oppose any judge who will support Roe v. Wade.

Just think: Daddy Romney loves you so much that he will choose for YOU if you should have an abortion or not.

He will decide for YOU if you can get the Morning After Pill – or not! 

Romney and Republicans love women so much they tried to cut funding for the Federal Head Start program that provides low-cost educational, health, nutritional, social and other services, including childcare for poor women.

According to Wikipedia, Head Start is one of the longest-running programs to address systemic poverty in the United States. As of late 2005, more than 22 million pre-school aged children had participated. But then what did Romney say about poor people: He’s not concerned about the very poor?

Female Auto Worker. Yes, they do have those in Detroit...and elsewhere!!! You'd think somebody from Michigan would KNOW that!!!

Romney will decide for you if Planned PARENTHOOD should stay open to provide health care to women. Remember the Susan G. Komen debacle…they will find a way! A sneaky way…

They will go after Planned Parenthood with guns blazin’ and try to CLOSE it because it provides abortions. They will NOT understand that the agency does not use federal funds to provide abortions and that Romney’s own money is safely stashed away in the Caymans or where-ever he has it, far we hope, from abortions!

By the way, apart from his old company Bain — how many jobs have Romney created with his personal wealth?  Lets’ see: his accountants to count his money, his tax advisers to tell him where to hide it, the contractors building his many houses.  I get it. 

Mitt Romney loves women so much that he doesn’t give a hoot if Immigration agents raid a factory and herd the women off to a shed in Texas and leave the kids alone in Massachusetts and elsewhere – in the care of other women. Oh sorry. I forget. These are immigrant women. Illegal immigrant women. They don’t count. THEY are NOT women. Not really…

Mitt Romney loves women so much that he opposed the Dream Act. If any of those immigrant kids were born of mothers and NOT pods…then those mothers are NOT women!

Mitt Romney loves women so much and is so concerned with jobs for women that he opposed bailing out the auto industry because all those men who lost their jobs were married to other men!

Auto Industry Jobs make a Comeback! Thanks to Obama...

Far as Romney is concerned, there were NO women working on those assembly lines because of course, ALL women are at home, like his wife, taking care of their kids, driving around in several Cadillacs and then reversing into their multi-car garages with elevators that take them up and down all day. 

How can Obama compare with that...elitist that he IS!!!

Silent Center Starts to ROAR! Amen!!!

It’s about time for this nation’s MAJORITY — the middle-of-the-road Americans who make up the “Silent Center”  — to wake up and roar. THANK GOD that you are beginning to…finally!

For too long you’ve chickened out, burying your head in the sand, while you let a handful of posturing kooks and haters set the agenda and shape the political debate.

So where have you been?

The majority of Americans are NOT racists. The majority of Americans are NOT haters. The majority of Americans are sensible, level-headed people who understand that compromise is NOT a dirty word. In short, the majority of Americans are realistic, LEVEL-headed people who have NO problems electing a black president…and would elect a green, blue or striped president, if they liked what he or SHE stood for.

But until the shoe started to pinch you, Silent Majority, YOU didn’t care, did you? You happily let the country go to hell, gave politicians carte blanch to engage in unnecessary wars, to desiccate Healthcare Reform with one hand — while accepting money from the Health Care Industry with the other hand.

YOU, the silent majority, allowed your kids/families to be burdened with crippling student debt and other bad consumer loans. You let Republicans defeat and stymie attempts to regulate business. You looked the other way because YOU were too busy engaged in a buying frenzy you couldn’t afford – rushing to buy another prop you did not need, or another piece of materialistic flotsam that was cobbled overseas.

Did you NOT understand that there would be a price…for not caring? Now you’re waking up…hi ho!

Here’s just one example where you turned the other cheek. IMMIGRATION REFORM. (I use Immigration as a mirror to reflect several other issues of key importance, like the Iraq war, where you turned a blind eye with negative consequences.)

Where were you in 2006/7 when you let a minority of extremists on the right, led by racism and political posturing instead of practicality and human decency, set the agenda over IMMIGRATION REFORM?

Where were YOU when Ted Kennedy and John McCain (he was a different McCain – a principled McCain, back then) and President George W. Bush came so close to passing The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, (110th U.S. Congress)? If you think ILLEGAL Immigration is bad, LEGAL immigration is even worse – it’s a nightmare!

The law would have overhauled America’s broken Immigration system, INCLUDING providing legal status/a path to citizenship (PATH – as in working your way towards a goal) for the approximately 14 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently residing in this country.

What is the convincing argument that you can come up with to keep millions of undocumented people in this country remaining IN THE SHADOWS? There were ONLY two options. Assimilate or Repatriate. Now, Republicans have added a third: Limbo! Not deporting, not assimilating – just hanging around!!!

Think of it. There are up to/or more than 20-thousand people living in this country without official documentation. Meaning, most are NOT in government databases. So authorities have NO idea WHO these people are, WHAT they are…or even WHERE they are. What a haven for terrorists!

Some of these people have been here for 10, 15, 20 years. They come from EVERY country in the world, EVERY race, including an estimated 20 thousand undocumented Irish. But Republicans focus ONLY on the Hispanics. Why? There are thousands of Chinese, thousands of Vietnamese, thousands of Africans, Cape Verdeans, Caribbean…Haitians, WHITE Europeans, Russians, Brazilians etc…

(Please note that as far as I am concerned, immigrants of any kind who rape, kill, pillage etc…should be deported immediately, without process. I am NOT asking for hardened criminal immigrants to remain here. My case is for honest, hard-working people who come here to WORK, who come seeking a better life or who are fleeing persecution and hunger, famine, disease.)

Do you really believe the reason the economy is bad and you can’t find a job is because of undocumented immigrants? OK, tell me.

How many Undocumented Immigrants killed President Obama’s 447-billion-dollar jobs bill in the Senate? (October 11, 2011)

How many undocumented immigrants are working at NASA? Or assembling train engines at General Electric (GE)? Are at Boeing building jet engines? At Bank of America creating bad mortgage policies? How many jobs did Undocumented Immigrants take at investment banks on Wall Street? At Goldman Sachs? And How many Undocumented Immigrants took home million-dollar bonuses while you lost your home…or voted to bomb Iraq?  

How many towns are laying off teachers, doctors, nurses and closing fire stations because Undocumented Immigrants are taking their jobs? Don’t you understand that the jobs these immigrants take are generally the backbreaking, low paying jobs so necessary to an advanced economy that traditionally the better off natives NEVER WANT TO DO? Even welfare dependents will stay home instead of doing these jobs. (Don’t blame immigrants, blame your system, and the politicians who won’t fix it.)

The Wall Street Journal has a list of major companies that laid off workers in ONLY the FIRST quarter of 2009.

  • CIRCUIT CITY (Bankrupt): 34-THOUSAND

I listed some of the bigger companies/biggest job cuts. But go check the list for yourself:

Is somebody trying to make YOU believe that UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS are “taking” your jobs? Did they take those jobs in the Journal list? Whom do we blame here?

For the fourth quarter of 2008, follow the Journal link or use this to check company lay-offs:

How many of you are willing to go to Georgia to dig onions? Why not? Like Republicans claim, Immigrants are taking your jobs. Now the jobs are available. Go do them!  $8 an hour, with little or no benefits. Backbreaking, filthy, baking in the sun all day. Waiting for you.

Lawmakers in Georgia, led by the state’s Republican governor, (naturally)  Nathan Deal, passed a law: House Bill 87 – the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011” intended to drive such individuals “back home.”

What happened? About a-third of the workforce fled Georgia (they didn’t leave America, they left Georgia), crippling Georgia’s largest economic sector: agriculture…by leaving millions of dollars in crops—blueberries, onions, melons and others—to sit rotting in the fields.

Farmers, who were not consulted about the law, (what do farmers know?) and left out of discussions when the law was being crafted…are pissed.

So, you’ll take the jobs if farmers pay more? Say from $8 to $12 per hour? Is 12-dollars an hour acceptable to you? Not YOU, per se…(you’re looking for at least $20 an hour and up) but maybe lesser educated people? OK. Throw in Health Care and other benefits, you argue — to attract American Workers.

Are these the same Health Care/Benefits packages that big companies are trying to get out of? The Post Office says benefits are crippling the service to bankruptcy!  (I’m NOT arguing FOR or AGAINST benefits. Just saying companies claim benefits raise costs, and they do.) Ford, Chrysler and GM had to renegotiate their benefits packages or go bust. Remember, YOU had to then bail them out? Are you willing to pay $5 for a head of lettuce? Why not? Just think of the number of American jobs you’ll be saving…

A factory here in Massachusetts, (employs an acquaintance of mine), shut down and moved operations to Mexico. The company is keeping an office with a skeleton staff in Massachusetts. Who took those jobs? Immigrants – over in Mexico. Since they didn’t actually COME here, and are not immigrants, we’ll call them “potential immigrants-in-waiting.” They didn’t NEED to come HERE because YOUR jobs went to them! Well, I guess that’s better than having them come here, right?

I’d prefer the factory to stay here and at least pay taxes and have the wages they pay be spent HERE and generate economic activity HERE, for shelter, movie passes, food, clothing, furniture – wouldn’t you? I assume Undocumented Immigrants pay rent and buy food and pay bus fare and their phone bills? Or does somebody do THAT for them?

Do you hear Republicans saying anything about these companies that they support, the ones they give tax breaks to, while these companies export jobs overseas? Of course NOT! Big business can send jobs overseas to foreign workers, long as (a) these foreign workers STAY OVER THERE and don’t take these same jobs here, IN America…and (b) as long as these businesses continue to donate to Republicans political coffers!

How many of you, the Silent Majority, believe that every one of these millions of undocumented people in the U.S. should be rounded up and deported?

How many of you believe that every one of these people CAN be bundled up and deported?

How many of you are willing to pay for it? To pay for hiring airplanes and personnel, pilots, law enforcement to accompany deportees, food and shelter to house deportees while they wait, and for the long appeals lawyers/individuals will mount in YOUR courts? Would you mind the government hiring more lawyers, judges, court clerks…while laying off teachers and police?

How many of you believe that the legions of kids born to these undocumented immigrants, who are U.S. citizens by law, should either remain here while their parents are deported – or should be deported with their parents? Or should the parents go – kids stay?

How many of you believe that undocumented students who have excelled in their studies at American schools (at taxpayer expense) should be denied access to university while American kids are failing? Do you blame Undocumented Immigrants for the numbers of American kids, who sit next to the immigrant kids, sharing the same lessons, teachers, facilities and opportunities, but still fail?

How do you expect these bright, intelligent immigrant kids to support themselves when they leave high school with straight A’s but cannot get a job, not even at McDonald’s, because they have no Social Security number? Are you willing to throw these promising kids under the bus – your future scientists, teachers and artists – while shouldering lifetime Welfare Benefits to failing American kids – just because they are American?

So, lets’ re-examine. What did Republicans achieve by killing Immigration Reform? Political gimmickry, pandering to the Right!

Did undocumented immigrants leave? NOPE. Still here, with de facto Amnesty.

Is the problem fixed – or did Republicans manage to sweep one more major issue under the carpet, again?

Do you expect people who braved hell to get here, crossed deserts, sailed rickety boats in shark-infested waters, paid smugglers, sold everything they possess for passage, to endure great hardship and persecution, even rape, along the way, to give up now, that they’ve gotten here? Do you really think that after getting a taste of America, people will return to foraging in garbage dumps for food? To return to drug wars and disease and starvation and political uncertainty and religious persecution and lack of opportunity? Would you?

Would you like a pregnant undocumented  immigrant woman to start labor pains, or get involved in an accident, or suffer a heart attack and go to a hospital and be refused treatment, and be sent away to die? Do you want the hospital to tell the pregnant woman, sorry, we can’t deliver your baby and let the woman and baby die in the parking lot? How would YOU feel if you woke up one morning and there were 20, 50 such cases around the nation?

Or would you proclaim, like the Republican Right/Tea Party crowd (yes, the ones who so zealously appear to believe in a merciful, just, compassionate, forgiving God, the ones who speak for Jesus), because they are very sure that Jesus would also say: “Too bad for you, unwanted immigrants. You should die, so you can get the message and go back to where ever it is that you came from. You are taking away from my plenty – go back to your nothing! Furthermore, I talked to Jesus this morning, and he agrees with me!”

Polls consistently show that a MAJORITY of Americans favor giving undocumented people who are already here, have been here for years, those who are hard-working, upstanding, willing to learn English where necessary, A PATHWAY TO LEGALITY.

So again I ask YOU, the Silent Majority, where were YOU when you let voices on the right prevail, and shallow, scared politicians ducked for cover, and let a MINORITY of right-wing Republicans crush efforts by tying reform to a secure border? Do you plan to build a fence on the Canadian border too?

Now states are passing piecemeal Immigration Laws WHICH THE WHITE HOUSE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THEN GO TO COURT OVER, WASTING THOUSANDS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS, because the Obama White House is AFRAID to take up a bill THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN INTRODUCED (HR 4321 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity (CIR ASAP) Act of 2009 by Representative Luis Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat in December, 2009)…because Republicans oppose it.

Most people thought President Obama had a wonderful opportunity to reform Immigration. But he squandered his political capital on a Healthcare Hash and now, instead of having the guts to force a vote, the White House is cowering because they’ve done the math/taken a poll, and apparently do not have enough votes to pass the bill!

Now we are governing by poll? By posturing? We are governing by fear?

Gone are the days when politicians with balls INTRODUCED a bill and DEBATED it and LET Congress VOTE. No, now handlers must first go behind the scenes and find out who is willing to vote for the bill, and tally how many votes they have, and if there are not enough votes, then capitulate and shelve/kill the legislation – EVEN IF IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

Oh Silent Majority, how much you are to blamed for…!!! And now, you protest…

Thanks God slavery is already abolished.

Imagine passing an anti-slavery vote Today. IT WOULD NEVER BE DONE. And thank God Rosa Parks did not go around asking for support BEFORE she sat down on that bus seat!

White House, take note. If the polls allow it…

Bailouts and Inevitability

We’re now being told to invest in construction and telecom stocks…

Because the president elect has outlined a plan to pour billions into infrastructure to jumpstart the economy. And some of that will include broadband.

Mr. Obama was the guest on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday (December 07). He outlined his plans for a path for long-term, sustainable economic growth.

OBAMA: …and that’s why I spoke in my radio address on Saturday about the importance of investing in the largest infrastructure program–in roads and bridges and, and other traditional infrastructure–since the building of the federal highway system in the 1950s; rebuilding our schools and making sure that they’re energy efficient; making sure that we’re investing in electronic medical records and other technologies that can drive down health care costs. All those things are not only immediate–part of an immediate stimulus package to the economy, but they’re also down payments on the kind of long-term, sustainable growth that we need…

BROKAW: …the real question in the stimulus program that you have just described and as you shared with, with the American audience in your radio address is how quickly will it mean jobs out there across America and how much is it going to cost and who’s going to pay for it?

OBAMA: Well, I think we can get a lot of work done fast. When I met with the governors, all of them have projects that are shovel ready, that are going to require us to get the money out the door, but they’ve already lined up the projects and they can make them work.

So there we have it, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

• On another talking point…the auto industry, I’m picking up hints that the auto bailout is just a stop-gap measure to keep the economy from sliding deeper into recession. Seems to me the U.S. auto industry, especially GM and Chrysler, are on their deathbed and will eventually go bankrupt. Giving them a loan will only keep factories and jobs from disappearing now, and NOW (in an already weakened economy) is NOT the best time for this to happen. Technically, they’re going on life support…but there won’t be any donors.

So, does the president elect think the Big Three deserve to survive? Brokaw asked:

OBAMA: Well, I think that the Big Three U.S. automakers have made repeated strategic mistakes. They have not managed that industry the way they should have, and I’ve been a strong critic of the auto industry’s failure to adapt to changing times–building small cars and energy efficient cars that are going to adapt to a new market. But what I’ve also said is, is that the auto industry is the backbone of American manufacturing. It is a huge employer across many states. Millions of people, directly or indirectly, are reliant on that industry, and so I don’t think it’s an option to simply allow it to collapse…

(Mr. Obama believes any government assistance should come with conditions. He also thinks it’s NOT a good time for such a large industry to go belly-up.)

…some people have said let’s just send them through a bankruptcy process. Well, even as large a company as GM, in ordinary times, might be able to go through a Chapter Eleven bankruptcy, restructure, and still keep their business operations going. When you are seeing this kind of collapse at the same time as you’ve got the financial system as shaky as, as it is, that means that we’re going to have to figure out ways to put the pressure on the way a bankruptcy court would, demand accountability, demand serious changes. But do so in a way that it allows them to keep the factory doors open.

• Like agent Smith told Neo in the movie: The Matrix: (Pretend Neo/Mr. Anderson is the auto industry.)

“You hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability. It is the sound of your death… Goodbye, Mr. Anderson”.

Some would argue that Neo survived. Remains to be seen how much life imitates the movies!

Auto Bailouts and Ted Turner


U.S automakers Ford, Chrysler and GM would have us believe 2010 is their “Year of Magical Turnaround”.

But for NOW, the CEO’s from the big three U.S automakers are either at the mercy of Congress…or their own folly!

Today, (December 04/2008) they returned to Capitol Hill looking for a “rescue package/bailout/bridge loan”. And to underscore their good faith and show that they too can turnaround, the auto execs left the corporate jets at home. All three arrived in Washington in fancy, futuristic, green models.

But they still need to sell congress and the American people on their long-term viability. And so far, they don’t seem to be doing too well.

A majority of Americans (61-percent) do not support giving government/tax dollars to U.S auto companies.

That’s according to a new poll (CNN/Opinion Research Corporation) released Wednesday. (December 03/2008). About 11-hundred people were surveyed by phone December 1-2. The margin of error is plus or minus 3-percent.

Just before Thanksgiving, the Big Three was asking for 25-billion-dollars. Two weeks later, 25-billion is no longer enough. Ford, GM and Chrysler have added another 9-billion. They say they now need 34-billion in emergency loans from the government.

General Motors and Chrysler are much worse off than Ford. Both are burning through billions of dollars in cash. At privately held Chrysler (owned by New York based Cerberus Capital Management and Germany’s Daimler AG), the company won’t even disclose CEO Robert Nardelli’s compensation package!

Here’s what the automakers are asking for:

• GM says it needs 4 billion immediately to avoid complete collapse before year’s end. It also wants 8-billion early next year and access to a 6-billion-dollar line of credit.

• CHRYSLER is asking for a 7-billion-dollar bridge loan to help it operate through 2009.

• FORD wants a 9-billion-dollar line of credit, but might not really need the money.

While lawmakers debate if they should use tax dollars to help “save” the automakers, Americans have apparently decided already. According to the CNN/Opinion Research poll:

• 70% of respondents think any auto bailout is unfair to taxpayers.

• Most also think a bailout would not help the economy.

• Only 15% of those polled think a bankruptcy in the auto industry would have an immediate impact on their families.

• 43% think a bankruptcy would eventually have an effect on them.

Among those who would rather NOT help the automakers, is media mogul, Ted Turner. The Cable News Network (CNN) founder appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday, with host Tom Brokaw. Here is an excerpt:

BROKAW: You’re not very sympathetic to what’s going on in Detroit.

: Well, I am. Really, I don’t like to see anybody do–not doing well, but I’m afraid–I saw it coming years ago, Detroit was going–headed for a crash, and it’s amazing to me that they didn’t see it, either, you know, and start building smaller cars, more fuel efficient cars a long time ago. Because anybody, anybody with half a brain could see we’re going to have, you know, big disruptions in the fossil fuel business.

BROKAW: Let me read you what you had to say about it recently. “If we give the Big Three automakers a $25 billion bailout, they’re going to blow through it by the first of March. They won’t know what to do with it. Let them go bankrupt and get Toyota to buy them out.” A lot of jobs are connected to the American automobile industry. Do you think that the government ought not to have any role in trying to put them back together?

: I don’t, I really don’t know, but I feel like that it would be a lot better if we’re going to put–if the United States government’s going to put money in anything, why not put it into clean, renewable energy and create jobs for the future instead of trying to keep alive a smoke stack industry of the past whose days–the days of big automobiles are over. The days of fossil fuel are over”.

I see it this way. This may be the dawning of yet another age in the energy revolution.

In the 1800’s, whaling was very big business. And New England, NOT the Gulf Coast, was America’s energy hub.

Here in Massachusetts, New Bedford was the world’s whaling center. I read online that back in the 1840’s, the now depressed city was home port for about 400 of the world’s 700 whaling ships.

When oil arrived, and lamps started using kerosene instead of whale oil, New Bedford, “The City that Lit the World,” was out. Texas was in!

But New England survived…and so did America. The power was not lost. It just shifted to another region.

There’s a lesson there somewhere…!

No Legislation…Without a Plan!

“No Taxation Without Representation” The early cry of those pesky Boston revolutionaries…

Today (November 20/2008) Congress is telling auto makers: No Legislation Without a Plan!

Congress has sent the auto executives back home empty-handed…with one directive: YOU HAVE TWELVE DAYS TO SHOW ME YOUR PLANS!

The CEO’s of these three companies, GM, Chrysler and Ford didn’t find much sympathy at the Capitol. And the story about their fancy, expensive private jets did not help, either! GM’s Rick Waggoner says, well, he’s been swamped lately, so he hasn’t done much flying on the company jet. At this point in time, Mr. Waggoner, you don’t need a jet. You need a bailout plan. Ditch the jet and come up with a plan. Quickly!

I saw on T.V an auto worker, who like many others, was shouting to save her job. She said she had worked in the auto industry for 26 years; she just needed another four to retire. I’m like: So what. Just because you want to retire in style, why should taxpayers foot that bill? Many can’t even afford to retire! I saw her as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the auto industry.

It’s not that I don’t feel sorry for this woman. I would probably feel the same way in her shoes. But many of these auto workers retired at fifty! Which leads me to think that the whole retirement culture in the U-S needs to change. Workers need to start taking responsibility for their own retirement.

The age of cradle to grave employer largess is almost over. That was the Mesozoic age. T-Rex is gone. (If the Googles out there want to do it, no problem.) This is the age of the 401K.

When we don’t plan wisely, we play the blame game. The United Auto Workers President says lawmakers need to take immediate action…because “inaction is simply not an option.” If you’re looking for dinosaurs…here’s another one.

Ron Gettelfiner says: “If one of the companies goes over the cliff, it could take one or more with it.” Translate that to mean: it would also take the UAW with it. Are we to believe he’s more concerned about “jobs” than the UAW’s currently shaky future, without a bailout? Many people don’t seem to mind the auto companies going down at all! It would give the three companies a chance to tear up those constricting UAW contracts, for one!

The UAW boss is also blaming states like Alabama, and their lawmakers, for offering billions in juicy tax breaks to foreign auto companies, (to compete against us) while opposing help for Detroit.

Maybe telling Toyota to go set up shop in India would have made more Americans buy more hummers or Escalades? So now Ford, GM and Chrysler are facing bankruptcy because Honda is making cars here? If we’re going to be buying foreign cars, anyway, are we not better off making them here…and salvaging some auto jobs?

The auto companies say a 25-billion-dollar bridge loan will let them stay afloat through to the end of the year. Now that’s what I call a REAL Bridge to Nowhere. The Alaskans insist that their bridge was going somewhere, and it was. (Sorry Ketchikan!) Nobody can see where this rescue bridge across The Great Lakes is headed. Not even Congress. Hence the need for a plan…

 Like how GM plans to stop bleeding 2-billion-dollars a month?
 Like how Ford, GM and Chrysler plan to make better/cheaper cars?
 How they plan to reign in suffocating health care costs?
 How they plan to streamline their assembly lines?
 Show me your new green/fuel efficient technologies!
 Show me how you plan to restructure!
 And finally, when do they plan to call Sarah Palin to help put their jets on e-bay?

All is not lost. Lawmakers (including a bipartisan group from key auto manufacturing states) are still trying to cobble together an agreement of some sort.

Hopefully we’ll have some blueprints, after Thanksgiving.

50 Thousand Jobs…Going, Gone!

I was at my local Bank of America branch Monday morning (November 17/2008) when a staffer told me the bad news. The markets are down again…City Bank is cutting FIFTY thousand jobs!

What? Did he say Citi is cutting 50 thousand jobs? 50 – as in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50? Not 500, not 5-thousand…50-thousand? (Well 52-thousand to be exact!) Citi Group is also selling off assets. The New York-based banking giant has been bleeding cash for the last year or so. Last quarter, it lost 3-billion-dollars!

Still, I was in shock. And for the first time since this “crisis” began, I was scared. I’m beginning to get a taste of what it felt like during the Great Depression and I don’t like it! When 50-thousand people clean out their desks and go home, there go 50-thousand people whose spending power just got cut to zero or near zero.

About half of these job cuts, some 26-thousand, will be here in the U.S. That means fewer people taking public transportation; fewer people ordering out or eating out; fewer people able to pay their mortgages, meaning more homes are likely to be foreclosed; fewer people going to the movies; fewer people buying big-ticket electronics; fewer people making charitable donations; fewer people buying gas or cars…or taking vacations. Toll revenues go down, tax revenues go down, and people’s hopes and dreams go down.

Experts have been warning American consumers that they were over-exposed. Was no-one listening? There were voices urging both consumers and the government to cut down on debt. Too much borrowing. But who cared. The Bush administration’s first response was to give people a 600-dollar “tax rebate” and send them out to stimulate the economy. Shop, Baby, Shop! Buy, Baby, Buy!

Now credit card companies are stealthily lowering consumers’ credit limits. If someone charged 5-thousand-dollars on a card with a 10-thousand-dollar limit and the credit card company lowers the credit limit to 6-thousand, or 5-thousand, that person’s FICO score is messed up! Just like that. And now that consumer runs into all kinds of credit issues, especially if the consumer is using several credit cards with high balances.

The Wall Street Journal says the mining industry is beginning to feel the pinch. Seems China’s building boom is contracting and demand for steel and metals worldwide is slowing. The Journal says America’s largest steelmaker (by production), U.S. Steel, plans to lay off almost 700 unionized workers.

Cruise ships are feeling the pinch. Now is a mighty good time to go cruising, if you can afford it. Retailers are panicking about the holiday shopping season – they say it’s make or break. (Retailers always say that!) But this time they may just be right. Experts say there may be a rash of closings after the holidays, if sales tank!

Here in Massachusetts, tolls are being raised. Some as high as 7-dollars (for cars/cash. With transponders it’s $6.00. Taxis pay $9.00 cash). People are taking creative ways to avoid the tolls, cutting through formerly quiet suburbs. Residents are beginning to gripe that they can no longer reverse out of their driveways!

Amid all this, I have an uneasy feeling over a statement from Citi Group. The bank says it has lower exposure to U.S. consumer mortgages than other banks, like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

Sooo…if Citi has lower exposure than those other banks and it’s laying off 50-thousand people…what does that tell us about those other banks with higher exposure? Massive layoffs there too…? Not necessarily. But still, very, very scary!

On a more positive note:
While Ford, Chrysler and GM are in Washington begging for a bailout, Honda (Japan’s number two carmaker) today dedicated its new plant in Indiana.

Nearly 900 people are making fuel efficient Honda Civics at its Greensburg plant. Did you hear that Detroit…you and your leading cheerleader, Senator Carl Levine (D-MI)? Honda plans to add a second shift next year. The plant is expected to produce 200-thousand cars annually, and employ 2-thousand workers at full capacity. (Honda says it got 30-thousand applications!)

The first cars rolled off the line October 09/2008. Honda apparently isn’t looking for a bailout from Congress.

Why did Honda even bother building a new plant? It can as well just march up to Chrysler or GM and take over their building. They don’t seem to know what to do with it, anyway.

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