Bailout Watch 230: Harris Vs. Romney

Re “ Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” (Op-Ed, Nov. 19):

I noticed the Boston dateline on Mitt Romney’s article advocating bankruptcy for Detroit’s auto industry. From his New England home, Mr. Romney may not realize how much the industry has changed since 1969, when his father, George W. Romney, left Michigan to become housing and urban development secretary.

Nearly every recommendation Mitt Romney makes for United States automakers has already been undertaken by current management in Detroit. Automakers have been investing in the future on the order of $12 billion a year in research and development — second only to the semiconductor industry.

In addition, General Motors has cut $9 billion in structural costs since 2005 and last year reached a landmark agreement to transfer the delivery of health care to the United Auto Workers union.

Finally, it is inappropriate of Mr. Romney to invoke Walter Reuther’s name while advocating using bankruptcy to break union contracts. That reference may be overlooked in Boston but surely not in Detroit.

Steve Harris
Vice President
Global Communications
General Motors
Detroit, Nov. 20, 2008


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  • Rhino26 Rhino26 on Nov 21, 2008

    they might spend 12 billion a year on research but how much of that was for the volt. im willing to beat that they were not spending that much until the volt. and if they were it was to catch up for all the years when they did nothing but watch the competition run away with better products. then even if you spend that much on research you then have to allow a decent budget for good materials to go into the car. they can spend 100 billion on research and then fill the car with the cheapest plastics and a the money that went into research meant nothing. or if the money on research went to something that was not going to really help the car in the first place like the color of the glue used on the back of door panels. Spending money on research does nothing unless you do good development that why it is R&D. they seem to have left out the d. it also does nothing when they do not spend the money on cars to put the good stuff being researched or allow the talent to create good products.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Nov 21, 2008

    The comments myself and others have made about the insular culture at Detroit continue to play themselves out, now by Steve Harris - another man-child in the ranks of GM. Seriously, this is humble pie/eating crow time, and they're acting like four year olds throwing a tantrum because they didn't get to go to the zoo. The see in plain view this profound groupthink and mental inbreeding demonstrates how dysfunctional these companies really are.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Nov 21, 2008
    Finally, it is inappropriate of Mr. Romney to invoke Walter Reuther’s name while advocating using bankruptcy to break union contracts. That reference may be overlooked in Boston but surely not in Detroit. "That reference" will be overlooked in most of America, not just Boston and the East/Left coasts. The fact that Detroit actually still gives a sh** about Reuther's name shows how out of touch they are.

  • Autonut Autonut on Nov 21, 2008

    There is a difference between wasting and spending money. GM was wasting 12 billions on R&D and Honda could not match that amount. Today Honda is doing fine and GM is near bankruptcy. BTW Honda is the leader in many scientific and engineering fields, while GM is leader in mismanagement.

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