> Saving the Big 3 for You and Me ...a message from Michael Moore
> Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
> I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endor***t.
> It's more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold
> ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, a third of whom have
> had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work
> in something that won't break down:
> My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and
> comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good
> grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was
> that a sweet ride!
> When it would start.
> More than a dozen times in these years, the car has simply died.
> Batteries have been replaced, but that wasn't the problem. My dad
> drives the same model. His car has died many times, too. Just won't
> start, for no reason at all.
> A few weeks ago, I took my Chrysler in to the Chrysler dealer here in
> northern Michigan -- and the latest fixes cost me $1,400. The next
> day, the vehicle wouldn't start. When I got it going, the brake
> warning light came on. And on and on.
> You might assume from this that I couldn't give a rat's ass about
> these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city.
> But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods
> depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense
> of this country because the world is running out of oil -- and when it
> runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the
> current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical.
> And I care about what happens with the Big 3 because they are more
> responsible than almost anyone for the destruction of our fragile
> atmosphere and the daily melting of our polar ice caps.
> Congress must save the industrial infrastructure that these companies
> control and the jobs they create. And it must save the world from the
> internal combustion engine. This great, vast manufacturing network can
> redeem itself by building mass transit and electric/hybrid cars, and
> the kind of transportation we need for the 21st century.
> And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford and Chrysler the
> $34 billion they are asking for in "loans" (a few days ago they only
> wanted $25 billion; that's how stupid they are -- they don't even know
> how much they really need to make this month's payroll. If you or I
> tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be
> thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit
> rating blacklist).
> Two weeks ago, the CEOs of the Big 3 were tarred and feathered before
> a Congressional committee who sneered at them in a way far different
> than when the heads of the financial industry showed up two months
> earlier. At that time, the politicians tripped over each other in
> their swoon for Wall Street and its Ponzi schemers who had concocted
> Byzantine ways to bet other people's money on unregulated credit
> default swaps, known in the common vernacular as unicorns and
> But the Detroit boys were from the Midwest, the Rust (yuk!) Belt,
> where they made real things that consumers needed and could touch and
> buy, and that continually recycled money into the economy (shocking!),
> produced unions that created the middle class, and fixed my teeth for
> free when I was ten.
> For all of that, the auto heads had to sit there in November and be
> ridiculed about how they traveled to D.C. Yes, they flew on their
> corporate jets, just like the bankers and Wall Street thieves did in
> October. But, hey, THAT was OK! They're the Masters of the Universe!
> Nothing but the best chariots for Big Finance as they set about to
> loot our nation's treasury.
> Of course, the auto magnates used be the Masters who ruled the world.
> They were the pulsating hub that all other industries -- steel, oil,
> cement contractors -- served. Fifty-five years ago, the president of
> GM sat on that same Capitol Hill and bluntly told Congress, what's
> good for General Motors is good for the country. Because, you see, in
> their minds, GM WAS the country.
> What a long, sad fall from grace we witnessed on November 19th when
> the three blind mice had their knuckles slapped and then were sent
> back home to write an essay called, "Why You Should Give Me Billions
> of Dollars of Free Cash." They were also asked if they would work for
> a dollar a year. Take that! What a big, brave Congress they are!
> Requesting indentured servitude from (still) three of the most
> powerful men in the world. This from a spineless body that won't dare
> stand up to a disgraced president nor turn down a single funding
> request for a war that neither they nor the American public support.
> Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives
> these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is
> nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince
> people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling,
> inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford
> family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl -- ever --
> I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they'll
> be back for another $34 billion next summer.
> So what to do? Members of Congress, here's what I propose:
> 1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important
> functions our government must address. And because we are facing a
> massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president
> and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced
> with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and
> instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point
> forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil
> and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail
> (a corresponding public works project across the country will build
> the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create
> millions of new ones.
> 2. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for
> less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion
> or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to
> demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we
> know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company
> in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)
> 3. None of us want government officials running a car company, but
> there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired
> to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent
> vehicles and get us into the 21st century.
> This proposal is not radical or rocket science. It just takes one of
> the smartest people ever to run for the presidency to pull it off.
> What I'm proposing has worked before. The national rail system was in
> shambles in the '70s. The government took it over. A decade later it
> was turning a profit, so the government returned it to private/public
> hands, and got a couple billion dollars put back in the treasury.
> This proposal will save our industrial infrastructure -- and millions
> of jobs. More importantly, it will create millions more. It literally
> could pull us out of this recession.
> In contrast, yesterday General Motors presented its restructuring
> proposal to Congress. They promised, if Congress gave them $18 billion
> now, they would, in turn, eliminate around 20,000 jobs. You read that
> right. We give them billions so they can throw more Americans out of
> work. That's been their Big Idea for the last 30 years -- layoff
> thousands in order to protect profits. But no one ever stopped to ask
> this question: If you throw everyone out of work, who's going to have
> the money to go out and buy a car?
> These idiots don't deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the
> industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet.
> What's good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the
> country is calling the shots.
> P.S. I will be on Keith Olbermann tonight (8pm/10pm/midnight ET) to
> discuss this further on MSNBC.