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Old 12-16-2008, 12:38 AM   #1
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Default Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Peter Whoriskey from the Washington Post: As the workers and residents of this small town that launched the Saturn automobile see it, there are several villains in the collapse of the automakers' rescue plan. But what stuns many in this place defined by the GM auto plant and its 4,200 workers is that no person played a larger role in the demise of autoworker hopes than their own Senator Bob Corker, who is now regarded by some here with the kind of disdain reserved for traitors.

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Old 12-16-2008, 08:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

Silly me, I thought Spring Hill built Chevys now...As last I heard, Chevy is not going anywhere....Wasn't it GM that moved Saturn production to other States and other COUNTRIES? Sounds like they are wanting to choke the wrong guy to me....

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Old 12-16-2008, 08:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Silly me, I thought Spring Hill built Chevys now...As last I heard, Chevy is not going anywhere....Wasn't it GM that moved Saturn production to other States and other COUNTRIES? Sounds like they are wanting to choke the wrong guy to me....
Indeed.

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Old 12-16-2008, 09:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

I can kind of understand how people would be upset in Tennessee. Corker's remarks at the Big 3 executive weren't exactly kind words...if you saw any of the congressional hearings.

He commented on Chrysler as the company has "been trying to find someone to marry, for a long time." And that, "It's time for Chrysler to stop dating and settle down." I'm paraphrasing there, but I can see why people in Tennessee would be upset. Corker's comments towards all 3 companies was not very friendly.

For someone who lives in a state where there was revenue generated from the plant putting out vehicles... he sounds very hypocritical, in my opinion.

I could understand their frustration, even though Spring Hill makes a Chevrolet now.

His comments remind me of Mitch McConnell; the Politician from Kentucky who is opposed to an auto bailout as well; even though the CORVETTE plant and TOYOTA plant are Kentucky.

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Old 12-16-2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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I can kind of understand how people would be upset in Tennessee. Corker's remarks at the Big 3 executive weren't exactly kind words...if you saw any of the congressional hearings.

He commented on Chrysler as the company has "been trying to find someone to marry, for a long time." And that, "It's time for Chrysler to stop dating and settle down." I'm paraphrasing there, but I can see why people in Tennessee would be upset. Corker's comments towards all 3 companies was not very friendly.

For someone who lives in a state where there was revenue generated from the plant putting out vehicles... he sounds very hypocritical, in my opinion.

I could understand their frustration, even though Spring Hill makes a Chevrolet now.

His comments remind me of Mitch McConnell; the Politician from Kentucky who is opposed to an auto bailout as well; even though the CORVETTE plant and TOYOTA plant are Kentucky.
OK, so there's an auto plant in the state. Tennessee is a big place and there are LOTS of workers there in many other industries. The auto industry isn't special and doesn't deserve the "privilege" of a bailout from their self-made mess. So while Corker could have been more diplomatic, I think he's right to consider the WHOLE state and the whole country's long-term welfare rather than throw cash at a dying industry to provide fleeting comfort to the auto industry.

Bailout or not, there is going to be an accelerated shift of workers from the US and Canada to the far east and south America. The newspeak that tossing money at Detroit is going to "save jobs" is ultimately going to prove to be a myth.

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

>Bailout or not, there is going to be an accelerated shift of workers from the US and Canada to the far east and south America. The newspeak that tossing money at Detroit is going to "save jobs" is ultimately going to prove to be a myth.

Other auto mfgrs internationally are in deep trouble as well ... since most of the current 'crisis' is a result of the Financial bust -- even after the TARP , there is no lending {why Sec Paulson began other initiatives a couple weeks ago}.
The prospective $14billion 'bailout' is merely a payment which will allow GM to NOT default on payments due Dec31. GM and Chrysler presently owe their SUPPLIERS about $13billion, if i heard the news correctly....

In order to restore NORMAL function to the auto markets --and realizing the overhead/carrying/fixed-costs of the mfgrs require some normal revenue/sales level to stay afloat-- it is necessary to cure BOTH afflictions of the (I)banking/financial/credit markets , and (II)the mainstream/mainstreet economy , as well.

Since only 10% of the cost of cars is labor , the overwhelming input is capital and other. When Mitt Romney speaks of the NECESSITY for bankruptcy , he is talking about a fresh start , where the bondholders get burned for 70% of their investment , management and labor are leaner, and the "Legacy" costs of pensions , etc , are largely abandoned.

None of this is written in stone ... (but) failing to relieve GM now would be seen down the road , as brilliant as Hoovers' efforts at trade protectionism , and Roosevelts' late 1930s moves to balance the budget.

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Old 12-16-2008, 05:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

Here I am in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Bob Corker was our mayor in the early 2000's. He did a tremendous amount of good for our community, and I feel his heart is in the right place when it comes to asking the union guys to take a paycut and to fight the American automakers bailout.

Didn't GM just waste $330 million dollars to kick Saturn out of the Spring Hill plant and re-tool to build the Chevy Travisty? How good of a decision was that?

By the way, Chattanooga is still on track to have a $1 billion Volkswagen plant by 2011. As of yesterday, VW says they are still full speed ahead. Sure there were lots of tax incentives for them to locate here, but VW or any of the other foreign car makers in the South aren't asking for a bailout.

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

Wolfman and Ritz- Nobody has a clue what will happen to Chevy as it now exists if GM goes into liquidation. It is a fairly safe bet that some corporation or investment group will buy the more efficient GM plants and some entity may try to continue the Chevy brand, but you can hardly blame workers at Spring Hill for fearing the current unknowns. Most of the talk on this website has for obvious reasons been about the future of Saturn but the far more important financial issue is the future of GM. At best President Bush may be throwing GM a short lifeline but no one knows at this point if GM can or will be saved in the long run. If I worked at Spring Hill I would be very concerned about my future.

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Old 12-16-2008, 07:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Here I am in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Bob Corker was our mayor in the early 2000's. He did a tremendous amount of good for our community, and I feel his heart is in the right place when it comes to asking the union guys to take a paycut and to fight the American automakers bailout.

Didn't GM just waste $330 million dollars to kick Saturn out of the Spring Hill plant and re-tool to build the Chevy Travisty? How good of a decision was that?

By the way, Chattanooga is still on track to have a $1 billion Volkswagen plant by 2011. As of yesterday, VW says they are still full speed ahead. Sure there were lots of tax incentives for them to locate here, but VW or any of the other foreign car makers in the South aren't asking for a bailout.
So how are "tax incentives" not a government handout? Basically the state of Tennesee is giving away taxpayer money to VW to get them to locate there. The big three are asking for interest bearing loans from the government. Either way it is government getting involved in the free market. Ironically, according to the BBC, VW has been given money by the German government to keep jobs in Germany. So the Senator thinks its OK for Germany and Tennesee to support VW but not for the US to support GM, Chyrsler or Ford. OK got it.

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Old 12-16-2008, 08:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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So how are "tax incentives" not a government handout? Basically the state of Tennesee is giving away taxpayer money to VW to get them to locate there. The big three are asking for interest bearing loans from the government. Either way it is government getting involved in the free market. Ironically, according to the BBC, VW has been given money by the German government to keep jobs in Germany. So the Senator thinks its OK for Germany and Tennesee to support VW but not for the US to support GM, Chyrsler or Ford. OK got it.
At the moment, the total local and Tennessee "tax incentives" are about $577 million OVER 30 YEARS for the new VW plant in Chattanooga. That's millions, not billions. In return, an eight-county area gets 2,000 new tax paying jobs at VW and about 12,000 jobs total from additional parts suppliers, construction, real estate, restaurants, service industries, school teachers, etc. I call that an investment in future tax revenue for the region. GM will be dropping employees and suppliers and therefore cutting back the tax base. Also VW will be producing a new mid-sized passenger vehicle with world class technology built just for the North American market--alternative fuels, TDI diesel, etc. What kind of ground breaking vehicles is GM planning to produce? The Chevy Volt? I'll believe it when I see it.

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Old 12-16-2008, 08:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Originally Posted by stevedj_98 View Post
Didn't GM just waste $330 million dollars to kick Saturn out of the Spring Hill plant and re-tool to build the Chevy Travisty? How good of a decision was that?
A good one because it is one of GMs more advanced plants, and could be easily converted to build different models if needed be.

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Old 12-16-2008, 09:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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So how are "tax incentives" not a government handout? Basically the state of Tennesee is giving away taxpayer money to VW to get them to locate there. The big three are asking for interest bearing loans from the government. Either way it is government getting involved in the free market. Ironically, according to the BBC, VW has been given money by the German government to keep jobs in Germany. So the Senator thinks its OK for Germany and Tennesee to support VW but not for the US to support GM, Chyrsler or Ford. OK got it.
Tax incentives are common and used all the time to lure big business into particular towns/states. How do you think NY keeps most of the big banks parked in Manhattan? And how do you think NJ and other states are slowly luring them away?

Welcome to the real world.

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Old 12-16-2008, 11:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Didn't GM just waste $330 million dollars to kick Saturn out of the Spring Hill plant and re-tool to build the Chevy Travisty? How good of a decision was that?
It will be a great one once people can get money to buy cars. It's not like demand for the Traverse is low, no one has any money.

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Old 12-17-2008, 05:59 PM   #14
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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At the moment, the total local and Tennessee "tax incentives" are about $577 million OVER 30 YEARS for the new VW plant in Chattanooga. That's millions, not billions. In return, an eight-county area gets 2,000 new tax paying jobs at VW and about 12,000 jobs total from additional parts suppliers, construction, real estate, restaurants, service industries, school teachers, etc. I call that an investment in future tax revenue for the region. GM will be dropping employees and suppliers and therefore cutting back the tax base. Also VW will be producing a new mid-sized passenger vehicle with world class technology built just for the North American market--alternative fuels, TDI diesel, etc. What kind of ground breaking vehicles is GM planning to produce? The Chevy Volt? I'll believe it when I see it.
It's still a transfer of funds from a government to a private entity. At the end of the day the government is making an investment into the private sector whether through tax incentives or interest baring loans. There is nothing wrong with the Tennessee approach, sometimes it works and many times it doesn’t, but don't call it a free market because it is never a free market when the government interferes. Your Senator would be far more honest to say that he believes GM would be a bad investment for the taxpayer, than give a long soliloquy on the free market as the reason not to loan money to GM when he’s pushing for taxpayer money to be given to VW.

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Old 12-17-2008, 06:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Tax incentives are common and used all the time to lure big business into particular towns/states. How do you think NY keeps most of the big banks parked in Manhattan? And how do you think NJ and other states are slowly luring them away?

Welcome to the real world.
Tax incentives and loans are the same thing, a transfer of taxpayer money to a private entity. Either way, the government is hoping to generate future tax revenue through an investment. That is the real world, and I have no issue with either approach.

Last edited by bkskatersd; 12-17-2008 at 06:33 PM..

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Old 12-17-2008, 07:00 PM   #16
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

"Anyone who calls himself an American and wants to get rid of American jobs isn't worth much in my book," said Tim Kinjorski, 50, a plant worker.

Guess he doesn't think much of Wagoner, Lutz, Lajdziak, or any other GM leaders who are all for opening plants in Mexico and China while closing plants in the United States.

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Old 12-19-2008, 06:53 AM   #17
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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Tax incentives and loans are the same thing, a transfer of taxpayer money to a private entity. Either way, the government is hoping to generate future tax revenue through an investment. That is the real world, and I have no issue with either approach.
Most punters here don't grasp this concept.

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Old 12-19-2008, 11:44 AM   #18
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Most punters here don't grasp this concept.
That's because it's wrong!

A loan is a reduction in money you already have whereas a tax deferral is not.

To make the math easy, lets say you have an income of $100 and you give someone a loan of $20. Now you only have $80 to spend on your (state/federal) programs. If you give someone a tax deferral, you still have $100 to spend on your programs, you just don't have the $120 you would've had if you hadn't given the deferral.

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Old 12-20-2008, 05:35 AM   #19
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Default Re: Anger Grips Spring Hill Auto Workers

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To make the math easy, lets say you have an income of $100 and you give someone a loan of $20. Now you only have $80 to spend on your (state/federal) programs. If you give someone a tax deferral, you still have $100 to spend on your programs, you just don't have the $120 you would've had if you hadn't given the deferral.
If I give somebody a $20 loan, it gets paid back, plus interest, so I have $101.

If I give someone a tax deferral, I just have the $100, plus whatever I hope will be produced in new tax revenue ... which usually works out great till the deferral ends. Then the company cuts back or leaves for a deferral elsewhere, and the first community gets stuck with a bunch of empty buildings and unemployed people to support. But that's 5-10 years from now ... and in business and politics: "that's somebody else's problem".

Apparently the math wasn't so easy.

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Old 12-20-2008, 01:04 PM   #20
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>more important financial issue is the future of GM
My perception is that most Americans are willing to allow GM (and many feel similarly about all the 'big three') to fail , or at least go bankrupt and probably liquidate {who knows what thereafter}.

Pres Bush mentioned that in "normal economic circumstances" he would allow the 'market' to act as it would... the administrations' justification for intervention concerns the ripple effect of a million lost jobs, proximately caused by a credit/liquidity crisis which is a byproduct of the greatest financial collapse (abject systemmic failure) since before WWII.

{I agree the issue is broader than Saturn's divisional disappearance}.

As previously mentioned , General Wesley Clark wrote an op-ed to NYTs a couple weeks back arguing that for national security reasons the big three need to be sustained , since their loss would dictate the evisceration of the bulk of the national industrial base through the supplier chain.

It will be interesting to see --following the comming 'haircut'-- if the auto companies , and their supplier network will emerge as viable entities in the long term. The unions , bond- and share-holders, management and dealerships are projected to all have to scale back their positions. At this point the Saturn division may not be part of the future ... but if the lessons learned from the Division's operations , and the lessons which called forth the Division are forgotten , the future will be dimmer. Much will depend on how the Obama administration handles the handoff.

Over the past quarter-century the pattern of bankrupt companies having their unions and pensions vaporize (frequently also production facilities relocate , and often brands be sold as a remnant) has become a sobering, frightning end-game. The current conundrum presents an opportunity to present a new re-structuring pattern.

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