Posted on: December 11, 2008 3:54 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2008 4:04 pm

The Auto bailout, and deeper thoughts

The soap opera drama that is the auto bailout just keeps getting better and better.  First the executives fly in in their big jets, asking for billions of dollars crying hardship.  Then they put on the act of hardship, coming back before congress asking for yet, more money than before.  Then Congress offers a reduced 15 billion dollars putting on the facade of saving the taxpayers 10 billion dollars, when all they are really proposing is giving away 15.  The measure quickly passes in the House, but seems to be destined for death in the Senate.  Do I sense a repeat of the banking bailout?  A bill after getting shot down, resurfaces fattened with pork and suddenly wins approval.  My honest belief, this was preordained.  The auto makers and congress have been in negotiation right along.  They asked for 14 billion, already knowing they would be offered 15.  This way Congress can save face, and claim how they negotiated a better deal for the tax payer, and the Auto Industry gets their handout. 
The argument for all of this of course is saving the 2.5 million jobs and 10% of our GDP ultimately tied into the auto industry.  Which got me to thinking.  If the 10% of our economy involved in the auto industry can't fail, what other vital component in our economy could be in peril.  Then some figures were brought to my awareness.  What component of our economy represents the most small businesses, employs the most working class Americans, and supports families in every state across the nation alike.  The food industry.  Restaurants, bars, pubs.  Most a privately owned, employ less than 20 people, and are a direct reflection of our economy.  Most depend on lunch crowds, after work crowds, Friday night out to dinner crowds.  When the economy is bad and people spend less cash, what is the first thing they cut.  Going out to eat.  Walk into any restaurant you used to frequent for lunch right now, they are slow.  Not just slow, but hurting.  This causes layoffs, less waitresses on staff, less kitchen help, fewer bar tenders.  In short, a large component of Americas working class not making ends meat, many of which trying to support families.  Where is their bailout?  Are they not entitled to one?
No they are not.  You see they have no union to muster up political capital.  Their struggles are not Washington's problem, because they can't deliver Washington any votes.  The impact of their struggles is our local communities.  The families we see when we drop our kids off at school, at the soccer game sidelines, in the checkout of the grocery store.  Despite that fact that more people are employed in the restaurant industry than the auto industry, they are on their own.  Sadly, when the really good Bar & Grill on the corner goes under, it does not raise the warning signs that Chrysler does.  Only 15 people loose their job today.  But when this happens across the nation on a large scale, combined with the suppliers now loosing their clients, we have a big problem.  One that will never be heard on cable news.  Certainly not be discussed on the Senate Floor
Congratulations Ford, Chrysler and GM.  You will get your money, despite not being able to manufacture a product America wants to buy.  Instead, you talked Washington into buying it for us.
Posted on: December 1, 2008 2:10 pm

Recession!!!, Does any one get it?

This past week I made a trip out to some stores.  I was at Patriots place, along side Gillette Stadium to make some very modest purchases.  And while I was there, strolling through the mall, Bass Pro Shops, the restaurants I could not help but notice the people.  Lots of bags, boxes, packages.  Waits to get a table in some of the restaurants.  Some big money purchases at BPS.  And while this is all good for the economy and Christmas spirit it just kept popping up in my mind.  Morons, we are in a recession.  Foreclosures, unemployment, lost investment revenue.  Yet none of it seems to sink in.  People are going about their business, charging up a storm.  I won't even get into my chaotic experience at Tors'R'us.  Yikes.  Are people completely numb to the warning signs around them?   The whole experience left me somewhat perplexed.  Are things not as bad as we keep hearing?  Or, more likely, are people spending had over fist money they don't have.  Now I know the expected numbers for holiday spending are low, but being out this past week, it sure didn't seem it.  I hope the best for all this Holiday season.  May it truly be a Merry Christmas for all.  But the overall experience left me a tad bit concerned about the American way of life, and where it may be headed.
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