FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
When it comes to President Obama's plans for the struggling car companies, many autoworkers say the administration is being much harder on them than the many failing banks.
Some auto workers have called ousted GM CEO Rick Wagoner (pictured) a sacrificial lamb, scapegoat, and fall guy.
The president of one United Auto Workers chapter calls it the "age-old Wall Street vs. Main Street smackdown," adding that there's lots of money available to banks that are "apparently too big to fail, but they're also too big to be responsible." Meanwhile he says auto manufacturing and middle class jobs have to meet a higher standard.
Many workers even sympathize with General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, calling him a sacrificial lamb, scapegoat, and fall guy. They believe the government hasn't given the same harsh terms to insurance giant AIG or the banks in which it's taken an ownership stake. And they're absolutely right.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm calls President Obama's moves quote "a bit of tough love," and says she hopes the financial industry gets "as tough a scrutiny as the auto industry has."
Also, a piece in 'Politico' asks why the banks get carrots while the auto industry gets the heavy stick. They say the White House believes it gave both GM and Chrysler a chance to prove they could come up with a plan for survival, and they didn't.
Also, although the collapse of the American auto industry would devastate workers, suppliers and executives, it probably wouldn't destroy the broader U.S. economy, like the collapse of certain financial institutions could. And since the public seems to have bailout fatigue, this was a chance for the president to show he's not willing to stick the taxpayer with the bill once again.
Here's my question to you: Some autoworkers say President Obama treated car companies worse than Wall Street. Are they right?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
(PHOTO CREDIT: BILL PUGLIANO/GETTY IMAGES)
The White House continues to drag its feet on a bailout for the auto industry in the wake of failed attempts to get help from Congress. The impasse came when the United Auto Workers Union refused to agree to wage cuts.
This morning President Bush said he still hasn't decided what to do but his press secretary later said he's considering an orderly bankruptcy. Of course the point of the automakers begging for a bailout was to prevent bankruptcy and the collapse of the industry.
Chrysler announced plans to close down all 30 of its manufacturing plants for one month effective tomorrow. Their finance division says it may have to stop making loans to dealers.
Ford had previously announced their own plans to close 10 factories to cut first quarter production in 2009. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal reports that GM and Chrysler are rethinking the possibility of a merger, although sources tell CNN that is not true.
Here’s my question to you: Is it already too late to save the auto industry in its present form?
It looks like U.S. automakers are going to avoid bankruptcy, at least for now. A bailout for the auto industry cleared the House but faces hurdles in the Senate.
Republican Senators are skeptical that the suits in Detroit will make the necessary changes to turn things around. Simply put, they doubt $14 billion will save the industry. After all, the amount is substantially less than the $34 billion the Big Three U.S. automakers asked for last week. Critics are afraid the $14 billion could be the start of something: that the automakers will be back asking for more in short order.
Grappling continues over amendments that could be the key to getting the bill passed and a test vote in the Senate could come Friday.
If it passes, a "car czar" appointed by the president will oversee the loans and dictate the terms and industry restructuring.
This is all aimed at preventing the automakers from filing bankruptcy. It's supposed to be the better alternative leaving consumers confident enough to still buy cars, at a time when auto sales are down 35%.
Here’s my question to you: Will a government bailout of the auto industry make you more or less likely to buy an American car?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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