$50b Obama Spend-o-rama to End Detroit's Drama?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
50b obama spend o rama to end detroit s drama

I don't know how we missed this, but we're not alone; Autoblog didn't find this story until this morning. Anyway, Michigan's Democrats are pushing for a $4b [s]handout[/s] stimulus package for their floundering automakers. The Detroit Free Press quotes Presidential candidate Barak Obama pledging support for such aid, stating "America cannot truly prosper unless Michigan prospers" while speaking in Warren, Michigan last week. (Governors of about 49 other states might disagree with that statement.) In a letter [s]pandering[/s] to the UAW, Obama promised he "will provide real solutions necessary to help this industry compete and win in the global economy." Of course, his "solutions" boil down to the only "solution" politicians have for any problem: taxpayer money. Barack and other Democrats are pushing for a $50b "stimulus plan" for the auto industry, including loans at "below-market interest rates." Republican candidate John McCain is opposed to the loan idea, but he does support a $300m prize for battery development, tax credits for fuel-efficient vehicles and strict goals for flex-fuel vehicles. Either way, it's going to costs a bundle to correct what fifty years of over-priced, under-performing executives and their yes-men have produced. Or, dare I say it, not.

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  • on Jul 24, 2008

    Sowell is right. Look up redlining. The government took the banks to court and forced them to loan money to the same people that are now the victims. Except for Sowell nobody will tell the truth for fear of being branded a rascist. The government first taxes, then regulates and now they subsidize. The housing bubble was entirely caused by the government.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jul 24, 2008

    PCH, "I realize that you don’t like government. To serve your underlying position, you are trying to evaluate this situation with that metric, to point the finger at government." No, it's how I see things. We all have our prejudices. It's not a matter of "try". It's not a matter of will. It's how my brain works. Yours has it's own prejudices, and if I don't have a good enough challenge to them, your mind won't change either. You see the business people involved as being unethical (sham). It's your prejudice. I see them working inside a system, and willing to accept a sham if that's how the system works. It is my opnion that once the government steps in with a certain level of regulation, they take responsibility for the continued sham. I wouldn't blame the government if they did not interfere. Tort could take care of these shams, if it were not for the government interference. There is the same demand for rating agencies now as there were more car companies forty years ago. We didn't need more car companies, we needed a better one. That's the way the market works. What would our car choices look like today if we had banned imports forty years ago? If a market is out of control due to lack of regulation, then that's the way it is. Unfortunately, I can't think of a single market of any importance that has been allowed to whipsaw long enough for the market to find a solution. Lastly, if we don't point out the problems with the interference, then that interference will not improve. Whether you desire interference or not, skeptical analysis of it is necessary. There is NO benefit to the ratings oligopoly as presently established. We would be better off with a standards and certification board that would allow new companies who wish to provide the service to enter the market fairly. If government wants to stop redlining, then they should figure out a way to make lending in redlined areas more attractive instead of looking for a free lunch. Perhaps a little hard work to break up the cycle of crime and poverty in those areas would be the real solution.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 24, 2008
    I see them working inside a system, and willing to accept a sham if that’s how the system works. That's what I'm saying. The whole thing is a wink and a nod. Everyone knows it, nobody wants to change it. The calls for "reform" are ridiculous, because nobody who actually knows anything about the process truly wants to "reform" anything. (They may make changes for cosmetic purposes, but workarounds will not be far behind.) We didn’t need more car companies, we needed a better one. There's no such thing as a "better" rating agency. Nobody is demanding such a thing. We would be better off with a standards and certification board that would allow new companies who wish to provide the service to enter the market fairly. Not really. Whether you have three agencies or three hundred, it's all window dressing, just the same. Again, you miss the point: There's no real demand for "true" due diligence (if there is such a thing.) The due diligence can't and won't allow for every contingency, and cannot be used to predict market trends. In any case, there will never be more than several agencies, because it's a branded product and brands of this sort lose their value if there are too many of them. Regulated or not, the markets will still produce fallout on occasion, as we have just seen. If government wants to stop redlining, then they should figure out a way to make lending in redlined areas more attractive instead of looking for a free lunch. Sowell doesn't know what he's talking about. Default rates on all types of loan products, from prime mortgages to car loans to credit cards, are all increasing. Defaults are not limited to one category of loans, despite what Sowell thinks about affirmative action or what you think about government.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jul 24, 2008

    We need to wind this down. On the ratings agency, I believe there is demand for a better one, since all the existing ones obviously suck. The idea that there is no such thing as a better ratings agency is no better than saying there isn't a better presidential candidate (so keep the guy we got?). Their purpose is investor confidence which is something that is now lacking. At any rate, I don't believe in limiting competition, and see no reason why this industry should be singled out. There is no cost to the taxpayer for allowing more companies to play. As for defaults, they are all bad. What we are experiencing is a sudden increase. I believe, like TS that the reason we are seeing this NOW is greatly due to changes in regulations and other government meddling. We disagree. I won't dismiss your explanation if you don't dismiss mine. It seems we are really arguing over which reason is the proximate cause, rather than which reasons have had an effect. I would welcome any changes that I thought would help on either end. I am not going to support bail outs that reward bad lenders or foolish borrowers. If there are folks who we can be sure were mislead, then I would support helping them fight the lender for relief.

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