MI Morning Update 11-24-2008


November 24, 2008

He called the plan "big enough to meet the challenges we face" and said that it will jump-start job creation but also "lay the foundation for a strong and growing economy."
-Barack Obama…during his Saturday radio address


OPPORTUNITY SOCIETY…as Republicans look toward providing a vision and direction for recovery, I think we should aim for creating an opportunity society for all, lower taxes, greater flexibility and more jobs. We need to find real solutions for real problems that challenge us today. I’m very concerned that central planning and more government hasn’t worked before and will prolong any chance of recovery.

I believe in American exceptionalism and now more than ever, we need to engage the entrepreneurial spirit of America to create opportunities for all.

GRANHOLM TAKES PARTISAN SHOTS…rather than working towards a solution and pulling in bi-partisan support, Gov. Granholm couldn’t help herself and had to bash Republicans who are looking for real reforms and not just writing a blank check. Silly and NOT helpful as we try to put together a workable package.

The domestic auto industry needs a “bridge loan” assuming it can put together a plan that works. It has to be a “bridge loan to somewhere” not another “bridge loan to nowhere”. This has to be a team effort if it’s going to work.

OBAMA HYPOCRISY…we all have to wish the President-Elect all the best as he puts together his Administration…but time after time on the campaign trail, Obama stressed that “Washington lobbyist” would not have a role in his Admistration. Now look at how many lobbyist are part of his transition team “hiring” members they will work with and how many lobbyist will be part of his Administration. I hope this doesn’t represent the type of hypocrisy that we will grow to expect through his term in office?



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No further commentary today.


The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.

Detroit’s new plan: Drive point to Congress


A plan is taking shape for auto suppliers, dealers and the UAW to participate in a cavalcade of fuel-efficient American-brand vehicles to Washington, D.C., in December, when Congress reconsiders the industry’s plea for quick action on low-interest loans.

The aim is to put a populist face on the need for the American auto industry’s survival and to build grassroots support for federal aid, in the wake of criticism that the Detroit Three chief executive officers and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger did not make a convincing case during two days of congressional hearings last week.

"There was so much misinformation in the hearings last week. I’d love to see something come to fruition where people show what this industry means to the country," said Carl Galeana, president of Galeana Automotive Group, which has domestic and import dealerships in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida.

Consumers cautious on auto bankruptcy

NEW YORK (AP) — Cashstrapped General Motors insists declaring bankruptcy would be disastrous because it would scare away customers. It’s unlikely Chevrolet and Cadillac owners would be left with worthless warranties and no replacement parts, but the headlines about the Detroit Three’s dire situation may already be keeping buyers away.

“If GM is under the imminent threat of bankruptcy or actually declares bankruptcy, I would not consider a GM product,” said Kevin Ketels, who might replace his family’s 2004 Toyota RAV4 late next year. “I just don’t know if the company will be around to fulfill their warranty obligations. Will they be there for me? There are too many unknowns and a car is my second biggest investment next to my house.”

The 38-year-old from Grosse Pointe Woods would be among the 80 percent of Americans who General Motors Corp. insists wouldn’t even consider a GM brand such as Buick, Saturn or Saab if the company was in bankruptcy. Chief Executive Rick Wagoner brought up the statistic from a CNW Research survey last week during his congressional plea for $25 billion in federal loans.

Sloppy Dems may spell Franken advantage


One of the closest elections in U.S. Senate history is hurtling towards a critical juncture in its ongoing recount this week, as the campaign of Democratic challenger Al Franken opens a new legal front in its battle to break a virtual tie with Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board will hear arguments from Franken’s camp for why previously rejected absentee ballots should now be counted.

Coleman ended the initial count with an advantage of just 215 votes out of nearly 3 million cast, and has held a slim lead thus far in the recount.

Schumer: $500 billion to $700 billion stimulus

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that he thinks the economic stimulus package should be between $500 billion and $700 billion.

In an interview with ABC’s "This Week," Schumer said, "I believe we need a pretty big package here." He added that Congress is working on getting the economic package to President-elect Barack Obama by Inauguration Day. "I think it has to be deep. In my view, it has to be between $500 and $700 billion, and that’s because our economy is in serious, serious trouble."

"It’s a little like having a new New Deal, but you have to do it before the Depression. Not after," Schumer added.

Obama Will Get Stimulus Bill First Day, Democrats Say

By Daniel Whitten

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) — Congress will send President-elect Barack Obama an economic stimulus package the day he takes office Jan. 20, two Democratic lawmakers said today.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York said on ABC’s “This Week” program that the package will be between $500 billion and $700 billion. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, said on “Fox News Sunday” that he believed the Inauguration Day goal would be met, but he declined to put a price tag on the bill.

“I think Congress will work with the president elect starting now and will have a major stimulus package on his desk by Inauguration Day,” Schumer said. “I think it has to be deep. My view it has to be between five and $700 billion.”

Jindal’s Medicine

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s prodigy Governor, has been arguing lately that only policy innovators will break a path out of the GOP’s political wilderness — and he is leading by example. Mr. Jindal recently announced a major renovation of the way his state provides health coverage to the poor and uninsured, thus taking up a topic for which most Republicans require a shot of epinephrine just to pay attention.

Name any health criteria, and Louisiana is probably scraping bottom. According to one national ranking, the state was 49th in health outcomes in 2007 and worst overall in 2006. Even though about a quarter of the population is enrolled in Medicaid, another quarter is uninsured. Even though the federal government’s "matching rate" pays out 71% of state Medicaid costs, state spending has doubled to 16% of the general budget over just the last two years. That share is projected to rise to 22% by 2011, swallowing funding for schools, police and other priorities.

Governor Jindal plans to steer working-poor Medicaid recipients out of the current "fee for service" program, where the state pays a set rate for all health-care charges (some 54 million this year). Instead, they’d choose among private managed-care plans, with Louisiana paying a fixed per-patient amount, adjusted for health risks. Essentially, Mr. Jindal wants to use Medicaid dollars to fund something like private insurance. That way, physicians and hospitals will be compensated for outcomes — rather than volume of visits and procedures — and get incentive payments for good performance.

Hispanic Republicans Assess Their Party’s Failure in 2008

Richard Kaplan–HispanicBusiness.com

Hispanic political leaders, some Republican and some not, spent the last two weeks assessing and arguing over the Republican Party’s failure at the polls on November 4. A key lesson of the election, many declared, is that the Hispanic vote is increasing in strength and will be crucial for any party, be they Republican or Democrat, that desires to win the top national offices. For some Republican leaders, that is a cause for worry.

The Power Of The Hispanic Vote

In the 2008 national election, Hispanic votes climbed to 9 percent of the total votes cast, up from 8 percent in 2004, according to exit polls by Edison Media Research posted on CNN’s Web site. That number remains below the actual share of the population that is Hispanic — 15 percent — but political analysts of all stripes recognize that the Hispanic vote is no longer a sleeping giant. That giant is awakening.

No one should be forced to help their fellow man


Evil acts can be given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution or caring for the less fortunate. Let’s think about socialism.

Imagine there’s an elderly widow down the street from you. She has neither the strength to mow her lawn nor enough money to hire someone to do it. Here’s my question to you that I’m almost afraid for the answer: Would you support a government mandate that forces one of your neighbors to mow the lady’s lawn each week? If he failed to follow the government orders, would you approve of some kind of punishment ranging from house arrest and fines to imprisonment?

I’m hoping that the average American would condemn such a government mandate because it would be a form of slavery, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.

Chavez says Russian warships arriving soon

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Russian warships will soon reach his country’s Caribbean coast for joint naval exercises.

Chavez said the Russian ships "will enter Venezuelan waters within a matter of hours." He didn’t say exactly when the ships are to arrive.

It’s the first such deployment by the Russian navy in the Caribbean since the Cold War. Russia is sending the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, and logistical vessels including a tugboat and a supply ship.

How to Deal With Pirates


The attack began when an unidentified vessel drew alongside a merchant ship in the open sea and heavily armed brigands stormed aboard. "They made signs for us all to go forward," one of the frightened crewmen remembered, "assuring us in several languages that if we did not obey their commands they would massacre us all." The sailors were then stripped of all valuables and most of their clothing and locked in the hull of their own captured ship. They would be held in unspeakable conditions, subsisting on eight ounces of bread a day and threatened with beating and even beheading should they resist. "Death would be a great relief and more welcome than the continuance of our present situation," one of the prisoners lamented.

The attack on the merchant ship, an American brig, occurred over 200 years ago in the Mediterranean during the scourge of the Barbary pirates. Sponsored by Morocco and the city-states of Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli, the pirates preyed on civilian vessels, plundering their cargoes and kidnapping their crews. "It was written in the Koran…that it was their [the pirates’] right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners," the emissary of Tripoli’s pasha told a startled John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in London in 1785. The emissary demanded $1 million from the United States — one-tenth of the national budget — to suspend the assaults or face losing the valuable Mediterranean trade, representing one-fifth of all American exports.