Michael Moore: Save the Auto Industry and Kick Its CEOs to the Curb
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I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endorsement. 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 AG 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 Three 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 Three were tarred and feathered before a congressional committee that 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 fairies.
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 10.
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.