Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Washington's Car Crash

Washington's Car Crash
Ignored Auto Industry Warning for 22 Years

Although "The Reckoning" is a twenty-two year old book, its message has never been truer than it is now as America's once leading automobile industry is heading for deep decline. In my opinion, Halberstam's book should be re-titled as "The Warning Ignored by Washington."

From Publishers Weekly: Powerfully developing his thesis that the complacency and shortsightedness of American workers and their bosses, especially the automakers of Detroit, have led to a decline of industrial know-how so critical that Asian carmakers, particularly the Japanese, have virtually taken over the market, Halberstam tells in panoramic detail a story that is alarming in its implications. Immediately ahead lies a harsh scenario that will see America's standards of living fall appreciablyonly sacrifices will restore our "greatness." This lengthy book with its skilled, dramatic interweaving of two little-known storiesthe inside struggles of the Ford organization (including the firing of Lee Iacocca) in the 1970s and the growth of the Japanese automotive industry, notably Nissan, since the 1950scompletes the trilogy Halberstam began with The Best and the Brightest and The Powers That Be. Here is fresh and crucially meaningful material researched with notable thoroughness, replete with graphic portraits of top American and Japanese industrialists competing blindly on the one hand and with brilliant cunning on the other. The book is among the most absorbing of recent years, every page contributing to the breathtaking picture of an America that is going to learn to retool or else. 200,000 first printing.

The Last Best Chance for Detroit Now that the government is in control of obtaining a viable auto industry, it must stick to its stated objectives and deadlines - NYT Ed

Detroit's Lemons WAGONER CUSHIONED BY $20 MIL- General Motor's ex-CEO Rick Wagoner is entitled to a golden parachute worth more than $20 million, company filings show *** WOULD YOU BUY A USED CAR FROM THIS MAN? *** Obama expands government's role in auto industry *** GM SKIDS MARTS BANKS, AUTOS DRIVE INVESTORS AWAY WITH 254-POINT DIVE *** CHRYSLER BOSS NARDELLI FACING HARSH SPOTLIGHT *** For U.S. and Carmakers, a Path Strewn With Pitfalls *** For U.S. and Carmakers, a Path Strewn With Pitfalls *** Op-Ed: One Roadblock Too Many for G.M. *** President Gives U.S. Carmakers a Short Lifeline *** Enthusiasm Builds for Helping a Shift to Fuel-Efficient Cars *** Hummer’s Decline Puts Dealers at Risk *** Car Dealer in Chief - Brooks, NYT *** New Leaders Hold Detroit’s Prospects in Their Hands *** Workers say Obama treated autos worse than Wall St... *** Stocks sink as auto plans are rejected *** Investment Banker Steve Rattner, Auto Task Force Chief, Broke The News To GM CEO *** Obama hopes to rev their engines *** Lupica: CEO gets a bitter taste of real world *** Drivers split on Obama General Motors warranty pledge *** Obama: Here's what's wrong with auto industry *** Crash & Burn: Detroit's Biggest Lemons *** U.S. Threatens Auto Bankruptcy

SETTING NY BACK 30 YRS. - New York's ruling Democratic trium virate took a giant generational leap backward yesterday to the destructive days of John Lindsay, Abe Beame and Nelson Rockefeller. The budget...more >

Albany Taxes Us MAKING CITY HURT ALL OVER: NO ONE IS SAFE FROM TAX SMACK IN STATE BUDGET *** MAKING CITY HURT ALL OVER: NO ONE IS SAFE FROM TAX SMACK IN STATE BUDGET *** Rush Limbaugh to NY: Drop Dead... *** NY businesses lament state budget deal *** Rotten sausage: Paterson, Silver and Smith produce a budget that's excessively bad for New York*** DN Editorial: Silver and Smith have brought Legislature to new depths of dysfunction *** Democrats will pay for this: Their awful budget gives the GOP perfect political ammo *** They cheer as rest of us grumble: Daly: Just as the Chinese emperors of old imposed the Death of a Thousand Cuts, the New York State Democrats are proposing the Death of a Thousand Hikes *** Doug Muzzio calls state leaders’ use of the stimulus like “methadone.” *** Business advocates are not happy and they are trying to pressure individual Senate Democrats not to support it *** Business advocates are not happy and they are trying to pressure individual Senate Democrats not to support it *** David Paterson, speaking on WCBS 880 radio, said that even though he and legislative leaders may have to re-open the budget later this year, he will not include any of the nuisance taxes he originally proposed in his budget, then took off the table.

Albany Albany’s Big 3 Is Cut to One as Silver Flexes Might *** ALBANY POLS TALK A FARE GAME: A fairer fare could be on the way. Bailing out the MTA -- which Albany lawmakers yesterday called their "next task" and one that could be completed this week *** Paterson Tries to Defend Budget Deal *** State Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Budget *** N.Y. Legislators Optimistic on M.T.A. Rescue Plan *** CHARTER SCHOOLS GET BIG FAT ZERO IN SPENDING PLAN *** LIFE$AVER FOR GOVS ISLE *** Last-Minute Deal Comes Through For Governors Island *** Budget ax falls heavily on health care *** New TV tax incentive disappoints *** Opinion: How to fix this budget disaster *** Taxes, Spending Galore in New State Budget *** More fodder for Jon Stewart: Cramer calls Cuomo a communist *** State leaders defend the budget. A lot of details on the budget, by sector *** Doug Muzzio calls state leaders’ use of the stimulus like “methadone.”*** Film and tv executives are disappointed with the tax credit in the budget *** In hard times, legislative leaders still put in $170 million in pork.

Daily News Shame of the State The Daily News continues their series on “dysfunctional Albany” - this time, the strict leadership-driven lawmaking process. Last year, a bill quietly went through allowing automakers to increase auto rates without authorization from the state *** No laws passed without party leaders’ approval in Albany: In a true democracy, legislation becomes law after vigorous debate by well-informed parties who reach agreement for the betterment of the public. In Albany, it’s different. Here, laws — and the state budget — are crafted behind closed doors by small groups of pols who’ve spent quality time with lobbyists and amassed large quantities of campaign checks from powerful interests. With a few rare exceptions, “debate” means nothing because the mere fact a bill makes it to the floor guarantees its passage. . . Of the 18,209 bills introduced last year, just 3.5% — or 642 — were signed into law. That’s the lowest ratio in the nation. . . Most legislative committees are weak and, like everything else in Albany, take their cue from the leaders.

The availability rate of office space in Manhattan hit 12 percent in the first quarter and could soar to levels unseen since the early 1990s, as massive layoffs prompt tenants to shed space...more >

The City BLOOMBERG BEAMS OVER SCHOOL PRAISE *** BUILDING BRIDGES $TIMULUS BRINGS STALLED PLANS TO LIFE *** UNION SQ. EATERY OK'D *** 'SILVER' LINING FOR 99 CHURCH ST. LARRY Silverstein's 99 Church St. Four Seasons Hotel/condo tower is far from dead, despite reports elsewhere that it's been indefinitely tabled *** Jobless numbers bad, All Over Town From NY1: Bronx 10.8%, Brooklyn 8.8%, Manhattan 7.7%, Queens 7.6%, Staten Island 7.3% *** Suits Say Crane Company Was Warned About Fixes *** A Pitched Battle to Lead New York Koreans *** Jazz Museum and Cinema Chosen for Harlem Site *** NYC: Amid Swaths of Greed, Pockets of Benevolence *** Kelly To Address NYPD Staffing Dilemma *** Families Of Crane Collapse Victims File $100 Mil. Lawsuit *** Feds' cash to fix B'klyn Bridge *** N.Y.C. homicides drop 23% *** Applications are in for Aqueduct

Road to City Hall Thompson throws wrench in Mike bid to reopen B'klyn jail ***Seen: Bloomberg Operatives in the Outer Boroughs *** Bloomberg Sends Lots of Stimulus Money to Staten Island *** “The atmosphere was pure Americana,” says the Epoch Times of Bloomberg’s campaign office opening in Manhattan *** Rock Hackshaw endorses Norman Siegel

Pay to Play Blowback on D'Amato lobby fee for WTC memorial *** Readers unleash fury at pols *** Poor pols have home issues, too The former borough president and new federal urban czar, Adolfo Carrión, is being picked on over renovations to his lovely Victorian house on City Island. Pesky Daily News reporters have raised questions about a possible conflict of interest, because the architect Carrion used - and hasn't yet paid - got the beep's backing to develop a large housing project *** A former aide to former state senator Efrain Gonzalez pleads guilty

President Obama A busy agenda fuels Obama's first trip to Europe *** Obama tells allies that public supports his agenda *** Locke urges census volunteers to boost outreach *** Hummer’s Decline Puts Dealers at Risk ***Team drops 'war on terror' rhetoric... *** Obama Courts Unlike-minded *** Detroit's Fate Sealed in West Wing *** The Obama Autoworks
At GM and Chrysler, politics is now Job One *** Obama May Bankrupt Chrysler, GM *** Obama sells budget to Dems *** The Huddle: London calling *** Obama hits e-campaign trail *** Obama, The Nation's CEO - Jim VandeHei & Mike Allen, Politico *** Obama Returns to Europe, Challenges in Tow - John Harwood, NY Times *** Plan Amounts to a De Facto Government Takeover - Detroit News

Congress Health secretary nominee to face senators *** Obama meets House Democrats to push for budget *** Black caucus calls for more diversity in bailouts *** New Leaders Hold Detroit’s Prospects in Their Hands *** Senator Investigates Health Insurers’ Out-of-Network Rate Practices *** Blowback on D'Amato lobby fee for WTC memorial *** CBC: Don't forget minority firms *** Dodd shocks lobbyists on credit cards *** Detroit plan has GOP all over the map *** Unions eye comeback after bill hits snag *** The GOP's Pretend Budget - Boston Globe *** National Democrats Playing With House Money in the Tedisco-Murphy Race

International World Bank: Growth in developing world slowing *** N. Korea to Try U.S. Journalists *** Pakistan Court Lifts Ban on Politician *** World Bank Sees Slump in Russia Worsening *** Google Offers Links to Free Music Downloads in China *** Even the Queen gets burned as recession spreads *** Iran, Syria Got Indirect U.S. Nuclear Aid *** Pakistan Militant Vows More Attacks *** Opinion: Bibi, Barack Can Unite on Iran *** Sarkozy's G-20 Tantrum *** Clinton: Billions Wasted in Afghanistan *** Russia, U.S., 'Reset' - Dmitry Medvedev, Washington Post *** U.S. in Afghanistan: Nation Building to Nowhere? - Greg Scoblete, RCW *** Europe Spurns Beloved Obama - Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

National New law protects wild areas in 9 states *** American Dream Up For Rent: Fewer People Owning Homes In Suburbs *** Fear and Anger in Michigan - Jeffrey Feldman, Huffington Post

Wall Street Mess A KICK IN THE ASSETS FOR MADOFF KIN *** EX-AIG BIG MAY FACE FRAUD RAP *** Report: Federal Prosecutors ‘Closing In’ on Joe Cassano *** UNION FEELS PINCH OF LEAN TIMES *** MEMBERSHIP DOWN IN NY'S STATE OF THE UNION *** BANKS MAY NEED LEGAL HELP ACCOUNTING FOR TARP *** A BOND BUSTIN' WORRY: FUNDS FACE BIG HITS *** Contracts Now Seen as Being Rewritable *** Video: Laid off workers brawl over lost jobs... *** Citi, Wachovia pay back $4.7B to California residents Officials say Wachovia Corp. and Citigroup Inc. will return $4.7 billion to California customers ... *** "Economists Laid End To End": Judging The Geithner Plan *** White House Considered Removing Citi's Pandit But Decided Against It *** Will Bank CEOs Be Next to Go? *** Markets Dive on Auto News *** A Chilling Message to American Business - Daniel Howes, Detroit News *** A New Era of Govt-Controlled Business? - Larry Kudlow, RealClearPolitics *** Obama's Path to Greatness - Bob Shrum, The Week *** We Have Chapter 11 for a Reason - William McGurn, Wall Street Journal *** What Went Wrong at AIG - Noam Scheiber, The New Republic *** The Double Standard Haunting the Auto Annoucement - E. Schor, TPM

Media Melt Down BANKS MAY NEED LEGAL HELP ACCOUNTING FOR TARP *** Ad Sales Up on Internet, but ’08 Pace Was Slower *** Detroit Journal: Detroit’s Daily Papers Are Now Not So Daily *** GM News Hits as Papers Shift Delivery *** Detroit Newspapers Start Reduced Home Delivery *** Cuts at Boston Herald, Consolidation at AdWeek *** Fox News Launches Fox Nation *** Times 'City' Section to Close *** NY Times Plans To Cut Sunday "City Section" ***Is WNBC Kissing Chuck Scarborough Goodbye? - getting out of the local news business? *** Metro USA newspapers to drop AP wire stories *** Vanity Fair Profiles Rush: Conservative Talk Radio's Average Listener Is 67 *** VF: New York Times On The Precipice *** European Newspapers Thriving While Americans Struggle *** This Week In Magazines *** Sun-Times Media Group files for voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.