Bailout Watch 167: Pelosi: Don't Worry, Be Generous

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Dear Secretary Paulson:

We are writing to request that you review the feasibility of invoking the authority Congress provided you under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) for the purpose of providing temporary assistance to the automobile industry during the current financial crisis. Under EESA, Congress granted you broad discretion to purchase, or make commitments to purchase, financial instruments you determine necessary to restore financial market stability. A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy, and the livelihood of the automobile sector’s workforce.

The economic downturn and the crisis in our financial markets further imperiled our domestic automobile industry and its workforce. On Thursday, we separately met with the leaders of the automobile industry, and its top union representative, to discuss the financial challenges confronting the industry and its workforce, and possible actions to address these challenges. We left the meetings convinced that our nation’s automobile industry – the heart of our manufacturing sector – and the jobs of tens of thousands of American workers are at risk. Friday’s news of the automobile industry’s record low sales figures only reaffirm the need for urgent action.

Were you to determine that the automobile industry is eligible for assistance under EESA, we would urge you to impose strong conditions on such assistance in order to protect taxpayers and maximize the potential for the industry’s recovery. An automobile industry that is forward-looking and focused on ingenuity, competitiveness, and the creation of green jobs for the future is essential to its long-term viability. Other taxpayer protections should mirror those required of financial institutions currently participating in the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), such as limits on executive compensation and equity stakes to provide taxpayers a return on their investment upon the industry’s recovery. Any assistance to the automobile industry should reflect the principles contained in EESA that guard against the need to recoup costs to the taxpayers.

We must safeguard the interests of American taxpayers, protect the hundreds of thousands of automobile workers and retirees, stop the erosion of our manufacturing base, and bolster our economy. It is our hope that the actions that Congress has taken, and that the Administration may take, will restore the preeminence of our domestic manufacturing industry so that it can emerge as a global, competitive leader in fuel efficiency and in new and path-breaking energy-efficient technologies that protect our environment. We appreciate your serious consideration of this request, and look forward to your response.

Best regards,

Speaker of the House

Senate Majority Leader

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  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 12, 2008

    I love the whole "green" jobs thing. The medicine may be worse than the disease. Here is an idea: Save the jobs by canceling CAFE. Let GM make trucks with V8's. If they can get out of their contracts through bankruptcy, then they could downsize into a company that only made what is profitable for them to make.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 17, 2008

    Okay cancel CAFE rules. Do you really think people will line up to buy expensive trucks when this past summer we paid $4+ per gallon of gasoline? Are you certain we won't be paying it next summer too? I'm not. When I buy a vehicle I expect I'll own it for 5-10 years so I buy a vehicle I'll try to be happy with for 5-10 years. I also try to buy one I can afford to fuel for the next decade as well. I expect in a decade we'll be paying alot more than $4 per gallon. Call me crazy but gas prices are low because the oil industry is trying to lure their addicts (us) back to the pumps more often. Once we're back with our 18 mpg family hauler prices will resume their climb. CAFE will accomplish what economics will do naturally later - push people into more frugal vehicles. Except Detroit's business model doesn't allow a profit on small cars b/c of too much overhead. Oh shit - now what? Lobby for lower CAFE requirements. Just overlook the rising Chinese and Indian lifestyles. Just overlook the fact that despite Al Gore's poor leadership IMHO we may have a pollution problem in the near future. Forget the we are consuming the earth's resources faster every year. Forget that the modern American (and other first world countries) suburban lifestyle is likely unsustainable without using up our resources and damaging our environment. If the car makers can't cope then they are much less imaginative than I thought possible. This is the part of the history books where the American influence begins to shrink. This is the part where we have to acknowledge the ride was fun but it is about over now and it's time to get back to work. This is part where the large vehicle good-ole-boy American my parts are bigger than yours as you can see by the size of my truck and the bull testicles hanging under my rear bumper is over and we have to learn to be clever and imaginative all over again. How do we live in our cities, farm thousands of acres, haul freight, and keep the lights on without consuming thousands of gasolines of oil every minute? We don't have to go back to the 19th century or anything but we have to acknowledge that the easy living can't go on forever. If we don't we'll wake up one morning in the 19th century. Long live Detroit if they can bear to survive.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Ford is near #1 in recalls in North America. Another numb-nut in the C-Suite is an attempt to avoid responsibility.Instead of spending money on another layer of mis-management, how about spending the money on the vehicles!!"STOP THE HURT""STOP THE PAIN""I DON"T WANT MY CAR SPENDING MORE TIME AT THE DEALERSHIP AGAIN"
  • Another So the United States invaded and killed Kaddaffi just so Fiat could buy Chrysler. And now Peugeot is buying out Fiat. Soon will China buy out Peugeot? Did the US not care about their critical industry that they willingly give it away even if a nice neat little war is needed to do so?
  • Dale Houston At home on a Level 2 charger. Charging at home is EVs secret weapon, for those who can charge at home. I still have to visit a gas staton roughly monthly for one or the other of our Mazdas and that process sucks.I have not used a Supercharger in over a year, but will this summer when I am taking a road trip. It's been fine, but slower than pumping gas. Best to time it with meals.I have not used an off-brand commercial charger yet.
  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)