Barney Frank to Head GM!

News Flash. “Barney Frank Takes Over the Reins of GM.” Why not? He did a great job with the housing market. He would probably work wonders for GM. The first thing he could do is to present legislation called the “Transportation Revitalization Act.” This law would force lending institutions to make subprime car loans to people who could not afford to own one.  It would be a social engineering program aimed at low income workers. Everyone is entitled to a car.  With the current recession headed toward a depression, the idea might fly. The caveat would be that in order to qualify for a loan, the buyer must purchase American. i.e. GM, Ford, or Chrysler.
The Transportation Revitaalization Act would serve several fronts. First, we give everyone in the country a car. Second, we get the country back on its feet. Think of all the jobs created by the demand for American made cars.
Barney is the perfect guy for the job. He did so well with the housing market that the country experienced economic growth like no other time in history.
I can just see Barney across the table with the UAW. There would be no adversarial relationship between manufacturer and the union. Barney would also be fair, and limit his salary to one half of what the current GM CEO’s make. He would also limit his parachute to a lifetime of service in the Senate.

Another great outcome from the Transportation Revitalization Act is the threat from Japanese, Korean, and Chinese car makers is over. Who would want to buy a foreign product and have to pay for it?  Most likely my kids, they would still insist on a car they wouldn’t have to take back to the dealer for an argument every month.

Write to your congressman today. Insist he initiate the Transportation Revitalization Act in the first session after the Christmas, er Holiday Break.

Wealthy Middle Class

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

What a joke to watch the Big Three CEO’s squirm on Capital Hill today. They gave the Senate an earful. Basically, we would have gotten off with a bargain had we accepted the 25 billion bailout the carmakers asked for in November. Of all the jokers who spoke before the Senate, I thought the guy from the UAW was most off base. After listening to a proposal from GM which could save an estimated eight billion dollars a year, he proceeded to argue about how he didn’t really believe the numbers of the proposal. Of course not. The proposal meant the UAW would lose some jobs. These are jobs that should be lost. GM, Ford, and Chrysler all carry dead wood because of the UAW contract. In the meantime, their Japanese and Korean competitors are hiring people in this country who are only happy to have a job. They work for considerably lower wages than a UAW greed monger will.  The typical UAW response was one which was adversarial to the management of GM. Even in a hearing which held the life of the company in it’s hands, the UAW forgot why they were there and began to argue against the management. They were there to support the company. They could not. They are the problem, have been the problem and will be the problem for as long as they are in existence.

It has been my experience that everytime a UAW worker goes up against GM he takes the attitude that “I’d sooner see you go down and look for another job than lose this contract negotiation to you bastards.” Over the years, GM has caved in, time and time again in order to please the stock holders. In the meantime, the UAW has become the strongest union on the world. At least it thought it was strong. All it was doing was looking at the immediate bottom line for its workers. Never did they imagine that the mighty GM could crumble. Never did they imagine that the Japanese and the Koreans would steal their lunch.

My opinion of the GM management is not much higher. They were arrogant enough in the seventies, eighties and nineties to believe that the Japanese could not unseat them as the number one carmaker in the world. In the meantime the Japanese continued to do everything right. Little by little they chipped away at the GM market share which went from forty-five percent in the seventies to twenty percent today. They are lucky to have that. The management of GM today is finally waking up and making some good cars. Their quality rivals the Japanese. They have a way to go with overall reliability, but their quality has improved. Their styling sucks. Their current hot car, the Cadillac STS is a winner, but the Chevy Malibu, their work horse, is a dog. I can’t believe that with all the design talent in the USA and within GM that they continue to make cars that look shitty. I can only blame it on the management. Their designers are better than that.

In the meantime, the Japanese continue to work their fifty year strategic plan. Their car companies are in union with the government. They work together in thier industries for the good of the country. The car company employees work under a job for life program. This program keeps them from organizing. These employess are also retrained to work in many different areas in order to reamain employed. They do so. In the meantime our wonderful UAW is protecting jobs even when they are no longer needed.

Another famous UAW contract point is the pay for no work. When a US car company sees a downturn in business, and needs to cut back to save money, the UAW workers continue to get paid eighty percent of their normal wages for up to eight months. What a sweet seal that is. Get paid for nothing, bring on the layoff.

Henry Ford created the middle class when he began building cars. Over the years the UAW has created the “wealthy middle class.”  Thier workers are so well paid they rival the wages of our most educated college students. A UAW worker does not have to give up four or more years of his life to study either. He works the line doing some mundane job better served by a robot.

In the meantime, GM does a profitable business in other parts of the world. Why? Ask yourself that? Why can they compete in other countries but not the USA? The Japs sell the same car against them in other countries, so why do they do so poorly in the USA. Two reasons: The first is perceived quality. GM has sold us such crap for so many years we don’t believe that it is improved to that of the Japs. Second, GM costs are too high compared to their competitors, and they cheeze the car to make profit. That second point only hurts the first one.

If Congress gives them the money it should be with the following caveat: eliminate the UAW, or get major concessions from them. Another option, let GM build cars in another country and import them to the USA.

Did Obama Change Altgeld Gardens?

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

Altgeld Gardens is a housing project in the Chicago area. It has been home to many poor black people for many years. Barack Obama writes about the “Gardens” in “Dreams From My Father.” He describes it as a project that was built in the middle of a cess pool. Granted there  is a sewage treatment plant immediately to the north of it, and polluted Lake Calumet to the Northeast. The lake is also a huge landfill. I grew up in a neighborhood called “Burnside” about three miles to the north of Altgeld Gardens. I learned of the place while I was in high school during the nineteen fifties. Barack arrived there after he finished college in the eighties. It was his first assignment as a community organizer.

When Altgeld Gardens was built, the area was rural. Lake Calumet was not polluted. People went to the lake for boating and to fish. A man from my neighborhood kept his seaplane there. He gave people rides for a fee. The neighborhoods in every direction from Altgeld Gardens were filled with industry. Immediately to the West was Acme Steel, to the North it was the Ford Assembly plant (still there). Sherwin Williams paint company was a short distance to the South. The towns of Riverdale, Harvey, Blue Island, all within a short bus ride were teeming with industry. The Southeast side of Chicago had steel mills lined up end to end along the shores of Lake Michigan. My point is that the Gardens were situated in a nice rural area located centrally between an abundance of jobs. The perfect location for low income housing.

Between the time, I learned of the Gardens and the time Barack went there to work, many things happened. Much of it was created by the Chicago Machine in the name of progress. Lake Calumet became a part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It needed to be filled in order to make a deep channel harbor. Coincidentally, Chicago needed a place to dispose of it’s garbage. The machine built a huge incinerator a couple of miles from Altgeld, on the edge of Lake Calumet. It spewed out tons of toxic smoke, and was shut down for environmental reasons. The incinerator property became a landfill. Chicago was growing and needed larger sewage treatment facilities. Again, the Chicago Metropolitan Sanitary District built a new one near Altgeld  Gardens. The steel mills closed because of competition from Korea, and Japan. The same thing happened with much of the industry in the towns around Altgeld Gardens. The people who were satisfied working at jobs that didn’t require schooling  remained, and became dependent. 

The reason I speak of this, is that Barack Obama painted a picture of Altgeld gardens as a place that was deliberately sited in the middle of all these polluted facilities. He makes it sound like the people of Altgeld Gardens were placed there by the whites to get them out of the way. The bottom line is that the people, for what ever reason, chose to stand put when the jobs left. Many of them chose not to educate themselves to take on new jobs. I’m sure the smart ones did leave toward new work. The empty apartments of Altgeld were filled by people who were less ambitious. 

If Barack Obama was truly interested in effecting change that “I can Believe In,” he should have worked with the Chicago political machine to change things at Altgeld Gardens. He had opportunity to do so after his law degree. Instead he chose to affiliate himself with some questionable people. He had even more opportunity to change things at Altgeld after he became State Senator. He couldn’t effect change in a neighborhood, but he wants to change the best country in the world.

BO wants to make “Change We Can Believe In” by redistributing the wealth of fat cats to those who are less fortunate, like the people of Altgeld Gardens. He will give them a cash handout. Will a small cash handout  really change the lives of these unfortunate people? Will it appease three hundred years of oppression? Will it change the attitude a white man has of a black or vice versa? Will it build his self esteem? Will it make him more responsible? Will it buy him an education that is better than the free one he currently scorns?

 I don’t think so.

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