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Today, the news posted a glimpse of the promise of Obama's green economic initiatives:

From the Detroit Free Press:  http://www.freep.com/...

Granholm's remarks on the rescue came after her announcement that state tax breaks for 20 business projects will net the state $2.3 billion in new investments.

That will ultimately produce 7,400 new jobs, directly and indirectly, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).

Among the ventures is a company that makes wind turbines and a firm that will make a lightweight bus that gets three times the gas mileage of conventional buses.

Such a vision might transform manufacturing in the midwest and bring new prosperity to the long suffering rust belt...  Except that this initiatives is very close to failing, if... if...  (more over the break)

...if General Motors fails.  

People who live outside the former Northwest Territories don't seem to really understand the tangled web of manufacturing that binds, and sometimes suffocates, this part of the country.

Rural and urban are all alike.  Whereas you may see massive auto plants in Flint, Michigan, perhaps.... you are equally likely to see a wheel axle plant in the absolute middle of nowhere.  Huge, majestic... out rising from the corn like some ancient pyramid.

GM buys from practically all of them.... whether it be a giant manufacturing plant that employs several thousand, or some small 10 person machine shop that makes specialty springs... They all need GM to keep them going.

And if GM's 35,000 suppliers (that includes all the little guys that feed up to GM's main suppliers) from all over the country don't get paid and go under...

Well, Michigan won't be building those wind turbines to power the country will they?  They won't be building those fuel efficient buses, either...

No one in America will... the manufacturing base will be gone... the facilities permanently closed, their skilled labor scattered...  and Obama's Green Economy will be outsourced to China like everything else.

Do we really want that?

Support America.  Save GM.  Save the green economy.

Originally posted to LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:04 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for a green manufacturing future... (25+ / 0-)

    ...a healthy GM is the only way it's going to happen!

    Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

    by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:08:34 PM PST

    •  Go green and go GM but.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      condorcet

      ...a healthy GM is the only way it's going to happen!

      ????  Really?

      Obama/Biden 08 Strong unions for a strong America

      by realwischeese on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:16:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike, chrome327

        What is good for GM, is good for the country, even if medicine is sometimes bitter.

        -Gabe

      •  You kill GM, you kill the manufacturers that... (6+ / 0-)

        ...will make the parts to go into the windmills and the solar panels and the green cars...

        Maybe in 10 years, when the green economy is strong, the supplier chain could withstand a GM bankruptcy.... 30 years ago, when there were many more buyers of manufacturing goods, U.S. manufacturing could have survived a GM bankruptcy...

        Not today...

        GM has to be propped up or there will be nothing made in America anymore... in time, we won't be so dependent on a car company... and maybe the car company won't be so dependent on cars (I see GM making all sorts of stuff in the future)... but, not yet... not now.

        Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

        by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:19:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  GM will not make windmills . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bincbom, realwischeese

          at least not on some converted assembly line that used to make Escalades.

          Some of GM's suppliers may make windmills, or parts for windmills, with the spare capacity they have from their old automotive parts business.  And the more windmill parts they make the less it matters what happens to GM.  But the windmills themselves will be made in plants suited to building windmills . . . and GM doesn't have any.

          Bankruptcy at GM has no impact on windmill production at all.

          •  retooling is much easier than new plant (6+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DaleA, khloemi, LordMike, cfk, crystalboy, chrome327

            construction.

          •  They might... (7+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DaleA, khloemi, cfk, JeffW, kyril, chrome327, firemage

            ...after all, there is $25 billion out there to retool a factory to make anything it wants...

            But, even if they don't a GM bankruptcy that kills all the tool and die machine shops out there will make it hard for a windmill manufacturer to do business...

            The skilled labor will scatter... the machining tools will be sold for scrap... and the capital needed will be too expensive to invest all over again...

            A GM bankruptcy would be disastrous on the potential green economy... the infrastructure would disappear almost overnight.

            Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

            by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:38:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  GM could make (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              khloemi, LordMike, firemage

              the innards of the windmill, the transmission that converts the spinning to electricity. Forget what they are called, but this is clearly something GM could do.

              •  Its not a windmill, its a wind turbine, ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JeffW

                ... and no, the generator is the the part that GE would be making. But the suppliers that are at risk of collapsing if GM folds include tool and die shops that will be getting business from part of it, and electronic control shops that will be supplying to the electronic control assembly.

                If they still survive, that is, which means GM does not go bankrupt until after the recovery has started.

            •  the skilled labor, (0+ / 0-)

              if it "scatters", will scatter to the windmill manufacturers wherever they are.  It doesn't have to be GM.

              Unfortunately the market for windmills will be measured in the thousands, not the millions.

              The "tool and die machine shops" now making parts for GM will continue make parts for the surviving car manufacturers, be they Ford or Honda or Toyota, and for whatever "green technology" companies spring up around the vacated GM plants.

              The world didn't end when Delphi went bankrupt, and it won't end when GM does either.  The car industry has to re-size to fit the remaining market, and that means something has to go.  There is just too much capacity now . . .

              •  There are still people working for Delphi... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chrome327, firemage

                ...I just drove past there this weekend... plenty of cars in the plant parking lot...

                Delphi still lives and will continue to manufacture... if GM goes down in this economy, it goes down for good...

                Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

                by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:05:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  why does Delphi survive (0+ / 0-)

                  in bankruptcy while GM would not?

                  Large parts of GM will "go down for good" (Hummer, anyone?) . . . bankruptcy at least gives the worthwhile parts a chance at survival.

                  •  GM buys stuff from Delphi (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    chrome327, firemage

                    very rarely do consumers... only when they are making repairs, and even then, they don't buy directly.

                    No one will buy from a car company in bankruptcy.  CNN polling has shown that 80% of people would avoid a bankrupt automaker.

                    Chapter 11 is a sure way to go to chapter 7

                    Maybe... in better economic times... it could work, but not now...

                    Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

                    by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:27:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "No one will buy (0+ / 0-)

                      from a car company in bankruptcy".

                      People keep saying that, but it's not at all clear that it's true.  People don't buy a "GM", they buy a Saturn or a Chevrolet.  And when they buy a Saturn they don't care what happens to Hummer (or maybe they do, which is why they buy a Saturn).

                      GM has discontinued brands before (Oldsmobile), without negative impact on those that remained.  They could fold Buick, Hummer and Pontiac and Chevy buyers wouldn't know or care.

                      •  In the last year of the Olds... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        chrome327, firemage

                        ...they had to practically give the cars away... people were afraid to buy them 'cos the nameplate was going away, even though they shared the same parts as every other GM product and the warranties would be valid...

                        Had I known this at the time, I would have picked up an Alero for cheap (that was a great car!)

                        Just think if no one bought Oldsmobiles 'cos the name was going away, imagine how people would feel buying a GM car having no idea if the company was going to even exist tomorrow...

                        Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

                        by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:48:40 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  How can they survive with DIP finance? nt (0+ / 0-)
              •  Actually, that's a big chunk of the ... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LordMike, JeffW

                ... jobs fall-out. We are, in case this is news, in the middle of a recession in the aftermath of an ongoing financial crisis ... car sales are on track for 10m/year, down from 16m/year, itself no break-out level.

                Those tool and die machine shops that go bankrupt as a result of GM shutting down, they won't be around to get that work.

                That is, without access to Debtor-in-Possession financing, GM will not just "restructure", while it continues to operate to generate cash flow, it will fold. And without access to Debtor-in-Possession financing, when suppliers go bankrupt, they will also shut down.

                That is, after all, why Ford wants GM to be bailed out ... Ford will be in financial difficulty if it has to shut down production while it sorts out new sources of supply.

                With the plants shut down, when the Wind Turbines begin to be built, those components will come from overseas suppliers.

          •  And the windmill factory won't be in business (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrome327, firemage

            without GM buying their other products.  Very few companies survive any more on one product, but they can easily fail by losing one large customer.

            •  The windmill factories that are in business now (0+ / 0-)

              do not sell anything to GM.  None of the big players in wind power in Europe have any connection to car manufacturers (unless they sell them alternators, maybe, which do not come from the windmill plants).

            •  that's the painful part (0+ / 0-)

              the buggy whip manufacturers had to deal with.

              nature favours foresight.

              a lot of companies' growth built on a false premise will have to be broken up into parts small and hungry (and unentitled) enough to retool, and the benefits of the economies of scale will be supplanted by economies of detail instead.

              much less waste in the long run, and a lot more attention to reality.

              a lot of people in pain because of bad decisions by a few, that's tragic, and something we can all meditate on to our great benefit.

              the old model of industry will give way to a small-is-beautiful one, where nano and biomimicry will glom onto photovoltaics and other wondeful tech, and america will pull to a global leader again, but first all the old way of thinking has to die on the withering vine.

              it didn't have to be that way...

              :(

              why? just kos..... *just cause*

              by melo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:23:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  First you say bankruptcy at GM will have a big .. (0+ / 0-)

            ... impact ... to quote:

            Some of GM's suppliers may make windmills, or parts for windmills, with the spare capacity they have from their old automotive parts business.

            So driving them into bankruptcy by driving GM into bankruptcy now, rather than after the economy starts to recover, means we will be importing those components instead.

            Then you say bankruptcy at GM has no impact on windmill production.

            Its the suppliers to GM that make up the majority of the direct job losses if GM goes bankrupt, not GM plants themselves.

        •  hmm, undecided then (0+ / 0-)

          If the only reason to prop up GM is because they buy something---anything!---from these manufacturers, and therefore keep them in business, then wouldn't it be more direct for the government to just buy up a bunch of stuff directly from the manufacturers, and cut out GM as the middleman?

          I guess it depends on whether GM, on its own merits, is worth saving as well. If propping up GM is 100% useless on its own merits, and the only reason to do it is to save their suppliers, then I'd support just giving the money directly to the suppliers, e.g. by buying up a bunch of stuff for infrastructure projects, or even as direct subsidies. If there's a chance GM can actually become a useful, sustainable company, on the other hand, it may be worth bailing them out. I don't have a good read on that issue, though.

          "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

          by Delirium on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:36:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bailing out one is easier than bailing out... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            khloemi, cfk, firemage

            35,000

            Think of the paperwork alone!

            But, the question is moot... GM is worth saving in and of itself.

            Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

            by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:39:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  true (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LordMike

              I think bailing out more little guys is better in general than bailing out big guys, though, even though the big companies are easier to bail out. Obviously some practical issues involved there.

              I am somewhat skeptical that the money will end up going to the right people---I think most of it will end up going to GM, not its suppliers, and more of it than we'd like to think will end up with GM shareholders, bondholders, and management. But I tentatively agree that there are no less-bad feasible options.

              "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

              by Delirium on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:46:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  To protect those suppliers won't GM have to sell (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Delirium, Deward Hastings

      cars?

      Giving GM money won't help the supply chain unless GM buys from the supply chain, right?

      And GM cannot buy from the supply chain unless they sell cars.

      Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

      by Bill White on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:29:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        khloemi, crystalboy, JeffW, firemage

        So, go buy one!  Great deals right now... and every time you buy a Big 3 car instead of an import, you take money out of Shelby's and Corker's and DeMint's pockets...

        That alone should be reason enough to buy a domestic make and to buy UAW made when possible...

        Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

        by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:34:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But (0+ / 0-)

          what if you want a good car ? ? ?  High mpg, well built, reliable, good resale value, not a behemoth . . .

          •  reliable (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            khloemi, LordMike, chrome327

            We are still driving an 89 Silverado and a 94 Pontiac TransSport...179,000 miles on the transport...not sure, but maybe 125,000 on truck...pretty reliable.

            Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

            by cfk on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:45:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sigh... Why isn't this common knowledge? (5+ / 0-)

            The Big Three makes TONS of small cars...  For example, Chevy offers more models than anyone (Honda, Toyota, anyone) with 30 MPG or better.

            Chevy Cobalt gets 37 MPG even with the new stingy EPA standard.  The Toyota Corolla?  25 MPG  Yuck!

            A comparable sedan from the Big 3 also costs significantly less than an import.

            And the quality is a lot better than you think.  Put down the biased Consumer Reports magazine and look at J.D. Power.

            This isn't 1983 anymore... time to put away the drudge over the broken cigarette lighter in your Chevy Citation and go take a test drive on a new model...

            C'mon... take a drive... you have nothing to lose...

            Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

            by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:46:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I guess they don't advertise it (0+ / 0-)

              I don't watch much TV, but I don't remember them trying to convince anybody that small energy efficient cars are a good idea. Quite the contrary.

              In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

              by yet another liberal on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:48:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe the Repugs have the money to pay (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LordMike, chrome327

              PR firms.

              Corker- Nissan,Volkswagen Shelby-Hyundai,Honda,Mercedes-Benz McConnell-Toyota

              by khloemi on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:06:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  if my '97 Aerostar (0+ / 0-)

              and '06 Scion xB ever die I'll have to go looking.  If I don't die first . . .

              The mother-in-law did go looking last year, and didn't think any of the small American cars she looked at came close to the Toyota's or Honda's in quality.  She now wishes she'd bought an xB, before Toyota upsized (and wrecked) it.

            •  What Edmunds.com says (0+ / 0-)

              Aside from the hot-to-trot SS model, the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt is far behind the class leaders in terms of handling, seat comfort, build quality and overall refinement. Even General Motors itself offers a better choice.

              "more models" doesn't count if they're all bad . . .

              •  Well then buy the Aveo or the Malibu (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chrome327, firemage

                The Malibu is a great car!  

                If you want a car for strictly mileage then you get the Cobalt, which beats almost everyone else's sedan.  You're going to sacrifice on other stuff, though.  If you want more than just mileage, then pick another model.

                That's why you have multiple models.  Not everyone is alike!

                Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

                by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:51:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Consider (6+ / 0-)

            Ford's new 2010 fusion
            Better MPG and power than Toyota's mid size, a hybrid version that can get over 40mpg, and quality that is equal or greater than Toyota's.

            On the long term, we have driven more than a few Fords till they just couldn't drive any more. My Taurus still runs after 11 years now, my dad drove his ranger for 13 before it got nailed by a hummer or something.

            On the Fusion's size, it isn't huge but it is big enough to pack your foot ball buddies in the back, and a good amount of truck space, for just stuff.

            I drive my grandfather's 06 Fusion and while he doesn't get the drive time to get the best mpg, it still handles itself nicely and when i had to drive from allen park back to dearborn during a new years snow storm it didn't slip up on me once.

            -Gabe

        •  How would buying a Ford help GM? (0+ / 0-)

          Look, I agree we cannot just let GM sink. However, in exchange I want GM (and plenty of other people) to admit they missed the boat on product line choices.

          Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

          by Bill White on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:37:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  ... but its Wind Turbines. Windmills ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... have a mechanism attached, like a water pump or a grain mill-stone. Wind turbines have a generator attached.

  •  Write your Congresspeople and President Bush (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    khloemi, LordMike, chrome327, firemage

    It's probably too late for Congress but if we can get enough messages sent to the Bush administration they might get off their a**es and get the bailout money through.

    •  He'll do something... it will be minimal... (5+ / 0-)

      ...but, it's clear that his own personal vanity will force him to do it.  He doesn't want another catastrophic failure on his watch.

      He's made it clear that they will keep them out of bankruptcy at least until Obama comes into office... and it will be just enough to keep them on life support until then.

      Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

      by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:21:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We gave the world the combustion engine (6+ / 0-)

    Lets show them that we can one up our last act.

    -Gabe

  •  Buying large numbers of hybrids & plug in hybrids (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, yet another liberal

    such as the Ford Escape and Fusion would help as well.

    Fleet purchases such as US Post Office and so forth.

    It appears that the Chevy Malibu "hybrid" isn't really all that much of a hybrid

    Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

    by Bill White on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:26:47 PM PST

  •  I want a windmill on the top of my house (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaleA, LordMike

    I don't want to have to depend on the grid. How much you want to bet nobody will ever make such things?

    In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

    by yet another liberal on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:45:39 PM PST

  •  So, the bridge loan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet

    Would keep them afloat for 3 months. But that's still not a plan to keep them in business.

    In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

    by yet another liberal on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:50:38 PM PST

  •  Great post! (6+ / 0-)

    Lord Mike, fantastic article, as always.

    corporations interpret "loyalty" the way a prisoner might interpret "dropping the soap"

    by Johnny Venom on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10:01:37 PM PST

  •  GM Will Not Act In The National Interest (0+ / 0-)

    After 30 or more years of stubbornly defying the needs of this country, and showing nothing but reckless disregard for the future of our country and this planet, bankruptcy is almost too good a fate for GM.  They deserve much worse.

    •  Oh?? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, cjallen, chrome327, Colonial82

      Yet who sets national interest?

      The congress, and even with the MPG standards no domestic company has ever had to pay for missing fuel standards. So since the EPA started to enforce such standards GM has been working in the interests of the nation as defined by the congress.

      60 years ago when this country needed them GM and the rest of the now only 3 big 3, built our means of victory. It it time for the nation ensure that said legacy lives on.

      -Gabe

    •  And what is the national interest? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cjallen, chrome327, Colonial82

      republican Senator Tom Coburn is concerned that he won't be able to buy SUV's anymore... to him, being able to have a big gas guzzler is in the national interest.

      Just 'cos Democrats aren't keen on cars as a general rule doesn't make our ideas on what is "in the national interest" any more valid than some hack, NASCAR loving Republican.

      They make jobs... that IS in the national interest!

      Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

      by LordMike on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 11:07:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am against state tax breaks for businesses (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    because it normally ends up costing more per job created than the first year's wages for that job. Also, a business has to locate somewhere and I hate to see a race to the bottom to see which state can whore itself the most to attract that business. Welfare for corps is a loser.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:00:34 AM PST

  •  Michigan's Commitment to Green Construction (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, JeffW, chrome327, firemage

    Seems to be increasing under Granholm.  Already michigan is home to industry like United Solar Ovonic.  Thin film, amorphous photovoltaics manufactured at a massive scale is precisely what is needed, and crystalline silicon is not the way to go for cost or efficiency.

    Further, I have seen few states that are as progressive in promoting LEED construction, with architects and builders, at least in West Michigan, working at efficient design and construction.

    I am hoping to move back to Michigan to take advantage of some of the innovation, and, yes, perhaps either getting off the grid or selling excess power back to it.

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