2008-11-27 / News

Letters to the Editor 11/27/08

Those who live in glass houses ...
Watching legislators grill the auto execs reminded me of advice my dad gave me; “Those who live in glass houses should never throw stones.”

Here sit a “panel on high” of legislators, whose mismanagement of the financial system is the main reason auto execs are here, ridiculing these men for mismanagement.

As if something serendipitous or egregious has caused ALL three to be on the brink of failure at once.

Legislative lack of economic savvy shows when they ask these execs to park their business jets and fly commercially. Nobody can be naïve enough to think the sale of three jets can make a dent, so they must be suggesting it’s emblematic of the car industry being garish in business approach.

Lesser men than these auto execs might point out that they are not the economic mismanagers here, and ask legislators in turn to immediately close the door to all lobbyists. After all, it’s a Senator from Alaska—not an auto exec—going to prison for misuse of position to support a garish life style. Is that “emblematic?”

It’s painful to watch this attack when they are actually asking for a bridge loan (not bailout) of money that their industry largely has contributed in business and employee taxes.

It only becomes “bailout” when the government (saying that they learned by letting Lehman fail) loans money but attaches strings and ownership, thereby reducing internal incentive for accountability (see AIG “bailout”).

Everyone is quick to join criticism of these execs flying to Washington in business jets and quickly forgets the spirit of the country is to aspire to these kinds of jobs. Last year, aspiring to the success of your neighbor who has earned a GM company car was good. This year it’s somehow the reason another is in foreclosure. Saying foreign manufacturers have managed their (non-union) shops better.

Do you know anyone who aspires to success so they can move their families to Japan or China? Statue of Liberty in the rear view mirror? Maybe not!

It might be smart politics for legislators to view this visit by the auto execs as a business lesson. Better use of the “photo op” might be to understand what these self-made “qualified men” are trying to tell them about the economy, and approve the loan of some of the money their companies have contributed.

They can wait for Barack to do it, but we remember major events in voting booths. Adult decisions have consequences, and if the auto execs are correct in their predictions about the consequences of inaction, even Congress can figure out the election consequences.

Detroit has its share of flaws. But they are not the reason your 401k has depreciated 60 percent and you have a friend or family member in foreclosure.

Don’t let theatrics make you lose sight of the real culprits here. A letter from you to your elected federal officials has all the clout of your vote; exercise it! www.congress.org. — Bud Meyers, Grand Blanc Twp.

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