Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saving Detroit

One of the signature accomplishments of the Obama Administration is the rescue of General Motors and, by association, the American automobile industry, in 2009.

Today's New York Times ran an excerpt from a book to be published on Tuesday that details the critical months leading up to the rescue and reveals for the first time that GM executives had approached their Ford counterparts with a proposal for a merger. From the article:

If General Motors were any other company, it would probably be dead by now. In the summer of 2008, nearly a year before G.M. filed for bankruptcy, its executives were growing desperate. Rick Wagoner, its chief executive, secretly proposed a merger with Ford, while Bill Ford courted the future president, Barack Obama, in an attempt to safeguard his company. This article is adapted from “Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America’s Big Three Automakers — G.M., Ford and Chrysler” by Bill Vlasic, the Detroit bureau chief of The New York Times. The book, to be published Tuesday by William Morrow, reveals new details of the chaos at the Big Three. Conversations recounted in the book were based on more than 100 interviews.
The book goes on to recount a meeting that candidate Barack Obama had with William Ford in the fall of 2008, where Obama laid out his vision of Detroit's future:

Mr. Obama had been forthright on the campaign trail about Detroit’s past, its dependence on gas-guzzling trucks and its reluctance to change. He had echoed those points in his speech, speaking of ending America’s dependence on foreign oil. 

“We desperately need a new energy policy in this country,” he told Mr. Ford. “And I would like the domestic auto industry to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” 

Mr. Ford had a ready reply: “We’d love to work with your administration. I passionately believe that Ford can and should be part of the solution.” 

It's this kind of vision that will carry the United States forward, and neither John McCain in 2008, nor any of the Republican candidates for president in 2012, have anything resembling a plan for American businesses other than to drastically cut their taxes, let them regulate themselves and drill for more and more fossil fuels in the wilderness and off our coastsThat will get us nowhere.

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