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Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday Sunrise

Photo: Sunrise Dec 8 - nice Monday treat.

I spent Sunday FLAT, recharging the batteries, watching the History Channel all day. The sky was a pretty blue but the wind had a bite to it, so it was easy to stay out of it. I couldn't even get the energy to look at the computer.

It worked. Feeling energized again.

I have been listening on satellite radio and cable the last few days on the auto situation. I drive a GM vehicle and have bought their cars nearly every time (except for the Mercedes 420 I once had). But I have to say they have grossly mismanaged the company by failing to innovate and become more fuel efficient -- while Ford is in pretty good shape.

The CEO of GM needs to go --along with seven layers of management. They need a kick in the butt to innovate so the demand for taxpayer money means oversight they never had before. Keep the Ford guys. They only wanted a line of credit - a totally reasonable request. It is the shrinking credit lines that is killing business. The same banks getting taxpayer money are arbitrarily cutting lines of credit on people who have had them for years, unnecessarily making a bad situation worse. This is nuts.

Let Chrysler go the way of the dodo bird - it was clear that their own wealthy owners won't put a dime in, so why should taxpayers? The testimony was that they can't make it as a stand alone company. No one will miss them.

In the meantime, the administration keeps forgetting to focus on the root problem - the ordinary homeowners and the foreclosures from adjustable rate mortgages and default credit swaps that played a key role in starting the global meltdown. Without cutting foreclosures, things will get worse instead of better, regardless of all the other hat tricks devised to save the day.

I like the Obama plan to spend money on real projects - repairing bridges, building and updating schools, advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency. These investments will result in tangible things that will exist after the money is spent (e.g., bridges repaired before they fall into the Mississippi) -- unlike the $700 billion that went to banks and stayed there, doing nothing except allowing even healthy banks to buy other healthy banks with taxpayer money.

We went into a war without a game plan of what to do when Saddam was gone. The $700 billion is being handled in the same way - make it up as you go.

Money intended to help homeowners has gone instead to banks, AIG, Citicorp --anyone big except Detroit (and Lehman Brothers), despite the massive employment and confidence blows that would result.

We can't afford more incompetence and waste of our resources on schemes that fail to address the root problem and benefit only a few at the top. If taxpayers help GM, their CEO needs to bailout without a golden parachute. Someone with a brain needs to take over.

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