Should our governments help out the auto industry?

Posted by: Worfzara

Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 03:04 PM

Notice I didn't use the word bail!

I saw a pole on a Canadian web site that showed 84% of Canadian's were againts it.

Your thoughts?

paul
Posted by: bugbitten

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 03:29 PM

Maybe help with a slow death. Auto companies have come and gone in the past.

Also...maybe debtor's courts are the best place to settle the mortgage problem.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 04:03 PM

I hate to say this, as I personally don't have a problem with the post, but I can see this heading down a politics / religion / interconnects path if not careful...
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 04:06 PM

As long as we don't end up at the 'speaker wire' or 'all amps sound the same path' we should be OK ;\)
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 04:19 PM

You weren't here for the Great Politics S---fest of 2004.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 04:24 PM

I agree that this could turn ugly quickly.

With that said, does it really matter who they "help out"? Either way it is the tax payers footing the bill. I just think that if any government is going to hand out "our" money, that there need to be stipulations as well as checks & balances put in place. Make them actually DO something good with the money that we've given them, not just pad the exec's pensions and bonuses. Much like the lenders bailout without ANY stipulations, just a "Here ya go! Enjoy!" handout is wrong in my book.

So should the government "help out" the auto industry? My quick answer is "no". The government is here to help/protect/serve the citizens, not the companies run (mismanaged) by those citizens.

It isn't as clear cut as that, but without diving into every angle and aspect, that it what my opinion is. Others will argue that the "helping out" of the auto industry will in turn help serve the citizens of this country with jobs, etc, but I am not a person that thinks that we should just hand out billions of dollars lightly.
Posted by: Wid

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 04:41 PM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
You weren't here for the Great Politics S---fest of 2004.


Oh I remember that one. That one got a bit heated at times.

That's it for me on this thread.
Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 05:09 PM

I seem to have touched a nerve. Sorry about that.

Maybe we should let this thread RIP.

paul
Posted by: JaimeG

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 05:20 PM

 Quote:
... the Great Politics S---fest of 2004


Ah yes, I remember that one; probably I still lurk this forum just because of that thread . Too bad it got out-of-hand with personal attacks and we lost a few good forum members in the process.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/03/09 05:21 PM

I'm still here, and mdrew and I seem to have let bygones be bygones. \:\)
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 05:21 PM

I can't imagine the degree of difficulty involved in "creating" decent-paying jobs in the USA. Lower labor costs overseas mean that almost every manufactured thing we buy is made in China, so there is almost nothing left to manufacture over here and sell for a profit. I'm no economist, but I don't see how an economy based largely on the service sector can fly.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Should our governments help the auto hindus? - 03/03/09 05:27 PM

What's an auto hindu, anyway?
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 05:37 PM

It's just one of those topics that has a high likelyhood of not ending well. We're usually a friendly bunch, I don't think any of us are too keen on getting into political arguments that will only result in feelings being hurt.

Everyone is concerned about the economy. Even if your job is secure, people are worried. A constant stream of doom and gloom from the media tend to do that. And as Yoda teaches, fear becomes anger.

My opinion is that GM, Ford, & Chrysler have too many factories employing too many people producing too many cars. They're producing 1000 widgets a year and the market can only sustain 500. It's pretty simple. All three have been skirting the line on being sustainable businesses for years now. They're getting by now on loans. And just just like the millions of people who took out loans to pay the bills, that party is coming to an end.

If they're going to survive, all three companies need to be able to significantly reorganize themselves. And I think that the only way they can effectively do that is through the bankruptcy process.

It will be painful. But with pain comes change. Managed well, change becomes agility. Applied successfully, agility becomes success. GM & Ford can be successful companies. I just don't think keeping them alive on government life-support indefinitely is a recipe for success.

Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help the auto hindus? - 03/03/09 05:38 PM

If we look at our history, it was Henry Ford who created what we now call a middle class. And he did it via the manufacturing sector.

Granted it's 100 years later, but I also ponder, without a manufacturing sector, automotive or any other, are there enough mid paying jobs to sustain a "middle class".

paul
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 05:52 PM

 Originally Posted By: medic8r
Lower labor costs overseas mean that almost every manufactured thing we buy is made in China, so there is almost nothing left to manufacture over here and sell for a profit.


While we're taking out trillions in loans to save our economy, China's on a shopping spree with all that money we've given them over the past 30 years.

How am I preparing for the future? I think learning Mandarin might be a good place to start. ;\)



Posted by: medic8r

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 05:58 PM

Good article, PeterC.

On that note, I'm off to a business dinner...
Posted by: JaimeG

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 06:11 PM

 Quote:

How am I preparing for the future? I think learning Mandarin might be a good place to start.

The same was said for Japanese during the late eighties...
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 06:15 PM

 Quote:
The same was said for Japanese during the late eighties...


And it was probably true, right up to the point where the Japanese started pushing most of their manufacturing to cheaper countries just like we did.

I don't have a problem with shifting manufacturing to other countries as long as we know what *we* are all going to do for a living and are realistic about where the money will come from. I always had a nagging feeling that half of our economy depended on western companies being able to sustain a hefty margin between built-in-Asia cost and sold-in-Europe-and-NA sell price.

I do think we're in an overshoot on the downside (ie things will improve a bit soon) but we still need to learn to live without a trillion-dollar trade deficit and the same amount of money coming back to feed government borrowing -- and that is *not* going to be easy, particularly since we're so strongly polarized between "we need tariff walls to rebuild our own industry" and "protectionist measures are what made the Great Depression so bad". My feeling is that there should be some kind of middle ground but I don't know if it's going to be possible to work out a decent compromise that works reasonably well for all countries.
Posted by: JaimeG

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 07:00 PM

 Quote:
right up to the point where the Japanese started pushing most of their manufacturing to cheaper countries just like we did.


I'm not an expert in Japanese economics (or just plain economics for that matter) But Japan economic slip after the eighties was initiated by the burst of Japan economic bubbles; amongst other things like lack of innovation and population growth. I don't think it was triggered directly by "pushing most of their manufacturing to cheaper countries".
Posted by: bridgman

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 07:17 PM

I agree that Japan was hit bad by a bubble (it was primarily commercial real-estate, wasn't it ?) but the optimism that goes with bubble growth makes too many people think they no longer need traditional industry, and without traditional industry the impact of the bubble bursting is much greater.

The current situation is doubly difficult because (a) traditional industry was hit by the credit shortages which grew out of our bubble bursting, and (b) as a society we've never learned how to gracefully lead the economy back to a sustainable level after a bubble, and IMO (c) we spent the last 30 years forgetting that providing decent jobs for *everyone* in our society is one of the responsibilities of industry and not just government.

Point (b) is the skill we desperately need to learn. I still feel that too many of the bail-outs are aimed at getting us back to the unsustainable level.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 08:11 PM

I worked in the tooling industry for approx 20 yrs(until 2 yrs ago) building/machining assembly lines for the "Big Three" as well as most of the other manufacturers with plants in N. America. To put things in some kind of perspective, us guys who did 5000 hr Tool & Die/Machining apprentices and invested thousands ($30,000+ for me) in tools and had to work to tolerances of as little as .0001 (about 1/30 the hair on your back!! lol) were making less than the guy who pressed the "start" button on the assembly line. I'm not trying to press anyones "start" button here, nor am I trying to 'toot' my own horn....but there's a lack of perspective here. I'm going to stop here, because I'll probably step on some toes....but the idea of people who have been making good $$ (both management and union wkrs) asking the guy in the factory across the road, working for $14-15 hr making widgets to bail them out is wrong on so many levels.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/03/09 08:25 PM

I think this quote sums up my thoughts on the bailouts

“There is nothing so disastrous as a rational investment policy in an irrational world” (John Maynard Keynes)

I agree with the bailout and see it as a wise economic policy, however this economic "bailout" has been rushed and I am not confident that the people responsible for spending this money will make the correct decisions especially for the long run. There needs to be accountability and I do not see that yet. I do not like seeing the people resposnible for these failed business practices given money to try to turn things around.






Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 01:51 AM

No for the bailout on the auto industry.

The economy will eventually bounce back...stocks are a bargain right now!

People buy new cars when the money is flowing and the economy is doing well, they won't when the economy is crap...the beater car they have right now will be fine for a while. This could be said about many other entertainment industries...
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 04:07 AM

 Originally Posted By: Adrian
(both management and union wkrs)
CAW/UAW aren't the enemy. They're the ones trying to insure there's still a middle class.

Everyone wants to make big money and spend small money, and they're quick to "roll over" on the next guy - he should make less, I should make more.

Bren R.
Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 07:24 AM

I tend to agree. Unions do more than increase wages for their members, although that is probably their main fuction. They also ensure proper working conditions and give the little guy a voice.

If you blame the union, you essentially blame the entire work force. And I just can't blame someone who is asking for more money, better benefits, imporved working conditions, etc.

However what I can't get around is CEO's that run a company into the ground due to bad decissions, and then walk away with more money than most of us make in multiple lifetimes.

paul
Posted by: Murph

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 07:31 AM

And another thing, how come I can't get no Tang 'round here?
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 08:43 AM

 Originally Posted By: BrenR
CAW/UAW aren't the enemy. They're the ones trying to insure there's still a middle class.


Bren R.
You have to understand that over the last five years, in Ontario, many companies have gone under because companies like GM, were overpaying their own then asking their suppliers and assembly line builders to keep giving them better deals. I have seen this happen over and over again. You can't be paying millions to CEOs and union workers then expect your suppliers and builders to take less to make up for it....and now ask taxpayers to bail you out on top of that. No company should be asking for a penny until THEY do what THEY can to save their companies first...that means paycuts, no bonuses ect.
Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 09:23 AM

Last year there were more cars and trucks made in Ontario than in Michigan. The main reason for this is healthcare costs. In the US the automotive companies pay approx. $1500 per vehicle towards healthcare. This is because the US doesn’t have a national healthcare plan. In Canada it’s $300 per vehicle because we do have a national healthcare plan. It is important to note the Canadian healthcare plan is subsidized by it’s taxpayers.

My view is that if it’s the government’s responsibility to help/serve/protect its people, then it must provide no cost healthcare similar to what we have here in Canada (diff. topic and lets not digress here). This is one of the things that have been killing Ford, GM and Chrysler in the US. Take the number of cars that have been made in the US, times it by $1200 ($1500 - $300). And you can see how much the US taxpayer has been saving, relative to the Canadian taxpayer. Isn’t it time for the US taxpayer to anti up and pay their share? It should never be a company’s responsibility to pay for healthcare, that is the role of government.

Remember, Toyota and Honda don’t get hit nearly has hard here, because they have only been building cars in North America for around 20 years. They don’t have any retirees yet. But that won’t last forever.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 09:30 AM

The average UAW worker's pay is roughly $28/hour. If you factor in the healthcare and pension, the figure rises to more than $70/hour. But I'll be realistic and just stick with take-home pay. Assuming a 40 hour workweek, 52 weeks/year = $58,240 per year. That's according to GM itself, as of 2/12/08.

The average public grade-school teacher's salary is $51,009/year, according to http://www.aft.org/salary/. Teachers have pensions too, but I won't consider that because I didn't consider that with the UAW figures.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand why people who stand around and punch rivets into metal, screw on a door, or bolt on a tire all day, everyday, should make more money than those who are charged with educating our society.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/04/09 09:46 AM

 Originally Posted By: PeterChenoweth
I'm sorry, but I don't understand why people who stand around and punch rivets into metal, screw on a door, or bolt on a tire all day, everyday, should make more money than those who are charged with educating our society.

Agreed. If I could have made the same money as a teacher, I would have gladly foregone medicine.

As a mild tangent, if you really want to get angry, consider how much we pay our entertainers and athletes. I heard on the radio the other day that the average NBA player's salary is $5 million a year. Just an average, bench-riding athlete. Any way the second-string forward on your local team is worth 100 teachers? That really chaps my a$$.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/04/09 11:14 AM

To put that in greater perspective, consider what an athlete makes vs your President. One has the ability to hit a jumper from 20 ft, the other can give an order to affect millions of people. Society needs a reality check.
Posted by: JaimeG

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/04/09 11:17 AM

 Quote:
As a mild tangent, if you really want to get angry, consider how much we pay our entertainers and athletes. I heard on the radio the other day that the average NBA player's salary is $5 million a year. Just an average, bench-riding athlete. Any way the second-string forward on your local team is worth 100 teachers? That really chaps my a$$.


To be fair, athletes/entertainers get paid those absurd sums of money because the teams(owners) still manage to sell tickets. I much rather see the athletes/entertainers getting a big chunk of that revenue than the owners.
What we should be outraged for is ticket prices to games and shows.

Posted by: CV

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/04/09 11:28 AM

 Originally Posted By: JaimeG
What we should be outraged for is ticket prices to games and shows.


Yeah, I don't think anyone's in love with paying that much, but people are still willing because they find it that valuable. They have the right to charge what people are willing to pay, and individual entertainers and athletes on the national scene do affect more people than individual teachers do. I'm not saying the effect they have is more profound, just that the sheer number of lives they touch is greater. I don't really think it's a bad thing for them to make the money they make.
Posted by: JaimeG

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 11:32 AM

 Quote:
(it was primarily commercial real-estate, wasn't it ?)

Yes, the real-state bubble was one of the factor but I believe the main factor was the Japan investment bubble. Everyone was investing and pouring money in the Japanese markets during the late eighties until the bubble burst. Not sure if the real-state bubble burst before or after the market though.

 Quote:
but the optimism that goes with bubble growth makes too many people think they no longer need traditional industry, and without traditional industry the impact of the bubble bursting is much greater.


If by 'people' you mean investment bankers and insurance speculators; I absolutely agree.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 11:45 AM

 Originally Posted By: PeterChenoweth
I'm sorry, but I don't understand why people who stand around and punch rivets into metal, screw on a door, or bolt on a tire all day, everyday, should make more money than those who are charged with educating our society.
So, we'll now pay people according to how "feel good" their jobs is? And any job can be boiled down to sound like it's glorified monkey work if it supports your argument.

I'd look more towards our love of top-heavy corporations in North America. I've got no issue with a worker being remunerated for his/her work, it's the suits, shareholders and lobbyists that really make things sting. It's the bum on the rods versus the bum on the plush. At least that rivet puncher is doing something tangible to create the product.

Bren R.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 12:19 PM

I just wanted to thank my brother Bren and Worfzara for eloquently interjecting the valid role of collective bargaining in a capitalist society. Unions: the people that brought you "the weekend".
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 12:25 PM

Interesting read for Canadians...

Open Letter from Canadian Economists on the Current Economic Crisis and the Appropriate Government Response

The deepening global financial crisis, the decline in world commodity prices, and the growing possibility of global recession are exposing worrisome weaknesses in Canada’s economy. Complacent expressions of faith in our “fundamentals,” and other varieties of economic denial, will not protect Canadians from the coming storm.

Canada’s Economic Fundamentals are Anything but Strong

Macroeconomic performance has weakened dramatically since the current government came to power at the beginning of 2006. Economic growth has largely stalled. Productivity has declined. The recent expansion was largely propelled by high commodity prices and a housing bubble – both of which are now ending.

Labour markets have weakened, and employment is poised to decline further as the slowdown takes hold. Some sectors have already been badly hit. Over 300,000 jobs in manufacturing have been lost. Yet less than 40% of unemployed workers qualify for Employment Insurance benefits.

Excluding petroleum and minerals, our international trade performance has deteriorated. Incomes for corporations, governments, and some households have been inflated for a time by record global commodity prices. But over-reliance on resource extraction is not a sustainable basis for our future economic progress. Meanwhile, in large part as a consequence of this growing resource reliance, Canada has failed miserably to do its part in the urgent global effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Although Canadian financial institutions did not engage as aggressively in risky practices as their U.S. counterparts, the Bank of Canada has already had to step in to provide many billions of dollars in short-term liquidity. Credit conditions in Canada are becoming more uncertain, restricted, and costly, and this will inevitably constrain spending and output in the months ahead.

Canadian households are more indebted than ever, with $1.25 of debt for every dollar of disposable income. Amid gloomy headlines, falling stock and housing prices, and precarious household finances, Canadians are starting to cut back on consumer spending.

Many Canadians did not benefit much during the good times: poverty rates in Canada did not meaningfully decline and real wages have barely increased, even while corporate profits surged to all-time highs. But the prospect of recession now threatens all of us with hardship – whether we shared in the good times or not.

Crisis Demands an Active Government Response

The general approach of Canadian economic policy in recent years has been to reduce the scope of government (through tax cuts, deregulation, and privatization), ratify the growing resource orientation of Canada’s economy, and squander the chance to use revenue from the resource boom to enhance long-run productivity, prosperity, and stability. Some politicians wish to further reduce the size and influence of the public sector.

The dramatic events of recent weeks have destroyed the idea that markets are best left to their own, unregulated devices. The enormous costs of this complacency have been clearly demonstrated. Government and its institutions must now show leadership and play a more active role in stabilizing financial markets, stimulating real investment, and maintaining employment and incomes.

The spreading downturn in both the financial and the real sides of the economy is likely to undermine spending and employment levels in many regions and sectors of Canada’s economy. Income support measures, employment insurance in particular, should be strengthened. In addition, public infrastructure projects, including those aimed at reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and expanding affordable housing, should be ramped up to maintain employment and production (as private-sector activity declines).

The federal budget is narrowly balanced, and may slip into deficit (especially if real GDP begins to decline). The current government has pledged to prevent such a deficit at all costs, and this will mean significant cuts to public spending as the budget balance deteriorates. But that course of action would worsen the economic downturn and job losses. It is far better to maintain public programs to support employment and incomes, even at the cost of a cyclical deficit.

The Bank of Canada must continue to support the financial industry with liquidity, and should reduce interest rates to stimulate borrowing. But the government must also explore other avenues (including the use of public institutions, like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, and other conduits) to expand lending to households and businesses. At the same time, the financial industry must be re-regulated to prevent the unproductive speculative excesses that caused the current crisis.

The global economy is heading into a challenging, dangerous period – perhaps the worst crisis since the 1930s. Canada cannot expect to be immune from those global developments. Economic history teaches us that government intervention is essential in times of crisis: both to stabilize markets and to shorten downturns with counter-cyclical measures.
Signed,

Abraham Rotstein, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Political Science, University of Toronto

Allan Moscovitch, Professor, School of Social Work, Carleton University

André Joyal, Professeur associé, Département des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Trois Rivieres

Andrew Biro, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Political Science, Acadia University

Andrew Jackson, National Director, Social and Economic Policy, Canadian Labour Congress

Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Living Standards

Armine Yalnizyan, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Arthur Donner Ph.D, Economic Consultant

Bernard Élie, Professeur associé, Département des sciences économiques, Université du Québec à Montréal

Brenda Spotton Visano, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Economics, York University

Brian McLean, Professor, Department of Economics, Laurentian University

Bruce Campbell, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Bruce Wise, Research Director, transportationcentre.com

Cécile Sabourin, Professor, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Charlotte Yates, Professor of Political Science and Labour Studies, McMaster University

Daniel Drache, Professor of Political Science and Associate Director, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, York University.

Donald Swartz, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Edward Shaffer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, University of Alberta

Eric Pineault, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Québec at Montreal, Département des sciences économiques

Ernie Lightman, Professor of Social Policy, Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto,

Fiona MacPhail, Associate Professor and Chair, Economics Department, University of Northern British Columbia

Fletcher Barager, Associate Head, Department of Economics, University of Manitoba

Gabriel Ste-Marie, Économiste, Chaire d’études socio-économiques de l’UQÀM et Cégep régional de Lanaudière à Joliette

Gordon Laxer, Professor of Political Economy and the Director, Parkland Institute University of Alberta

Greg Albo, Professor of Political Economy, York University

Gustavo Indart, Economics Department, University of Toronto

Harold Chorney, Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy Graduate program in Public Policy and Public Administration, Concordia University

Hassan Bougrine, Department of Economics, Laurentian University

Heryk Flakierski, Professor Emeritus, Economics department, York University

Hugh Armstrong, Professor, School of Social Work and Institute of Political Economy Carleton University

Ian Hudson, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Manitoba

Iglika Ivanova, Researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - BC

Jesse Vorst, Senior Scholar, Department of Economics, University of Manitoba

Jim Sentance, Chair, Department of Economics, University of Prince Edward Island

Jim Stanford, Economist, CAW

Joan McFarland, Professor of Economics, St.Thomas University

Joëlle J. Leclaire, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and Finance Buffalo State College, SUNY

John Brohman, Associate Professor, Department of Geography Simon Fraser University

John Calvert, Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University, Health Sciences Faculty

John Loxley, University of Manitoba, Economics Department

Josée Lamoureux, Économiste, Service des relations du travail-Recherche Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)

Karen Grant, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba

Lars Osberg, Research Professor and Chair, Economics Department, Dalhousie University

Louis Lefeber, Professor of Economics (emeritus), York University

Louis-Phillipe Rochon, Department of Economics, Laurentian University

Lynne Fernandez, Acting Director, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Mb

Manfred Bienefeld, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Marc Lavoie, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Ottawa

Marc Lee, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; Chair, Progressive Economics forum

Marina Morrow, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences Co-Director, Institute for Critical Studies in Gender and Health, Simon Fraser University

Mario Seccareccia, Professor, Economics Department, University of Ottawa

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Professor, Political Science/Women’s Studies Simon Fraser University

Martha MacDonald, Professor and Chair, Economics Department, Saint Mary’s University

Mathieu Dufour, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Dalhousie University, Economics

Maurice CAREL, Professeur titulaire d’économie rurale et développement Université Laval

Mel Watkins, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Toronto

Michael Goldberg, Retired Research Director, Social Planning and Research Council of BC

Michael A. Lebowitz, Professor Emeritus, Economics Department, Simon Fraser University

Mike McCracken, President, Informetrica Ltd.

Neil McLaughlin, Associate Professor, Sociology, McMaster University

Pat Armstrong, Professor, Sociology, York University

Paul Bowles, Professor of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia

Paul Leduc Browne, Professeur de Science Politique, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Paul Tulloch, Livingwork.ca, Labour Economist

Pierre-André Julien, Professeur émérite, Institut de recherche sur les PME, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Pierre Laliberté, Economiste, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec

Pierre Paquette, Dept. Political Science and Economics, Royal militiary College of Canada

Radhika Desai, Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

Ricardo Grinspun, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, York University

Richard Lobdell, Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba

Rob Moir, Associate Professor of Economics, University of New Brunswick, Acting Chair of Social Science, President of the Atlantic Canada Economics Association.

Robert Chernomas, Professor, Department of Economics University of Manitoba

Rod Hill, Professor of Economics, University of New Brunswick

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Stephen McBride, Professor & Director, Centre for Global Political Economy, Simon Fraser University

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Terry Heaps, Associate Professor (retired), Dept of Economics, Simon Fraser University

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Theo Meijer, M.Ed. (Brit.Col.), Ph.D., Retired Senior Secondary Business Educator

Thierry Roy, Department of Economics, Cégep de Sherbrooke

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William Rees, Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning University of British Columbia





Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 12:50 PM

Sports figures and hollywood actors get paid what they do because the public sees value in paying a specific price to watch that tallent.

Teachers in Canada and most of the rest of the world make sig more than that in the US. This is not to say that union workers make too much, it's that teachers in the US deserve sig. more, along with police, fire, etc.

I spent a summer during highschool working at Ford on the line. Ford's moto: an honest days work for an honest days pay. I still use that one today. If you have never worked on an assembly line in an automotive factory, I can tell you, it's not a picnic. You don't even get to go to the washroom when you want too.

You also need to remember it was the Canadian and US government that allowed japanesse car companies to not only sell their products here but build them here. With out allowing the same to be done in japan.

It may be free trade, but it sure aint fair trade.

paul
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 01:47 PM

 Originally Posted By: Worfzara
If you have never worked on an assembly line in an automotive factory, I can tell you, it's not a picnic. You don't even get to go to the washroom when you want too.
And if you do, Jim's Caprice shows up without a passenger armrest.

Reminds me of when Saturn started tooling up in Canada in the 90s and they sent around a request for information on the "best and brightest" to all the schools with Power Mechanics sections. My instructor, of course, told them he wouldn't pass along a minor's information, but if they wanted to supply information, he'd pass it along to his top students. I never did take a job with them, but it always put Saturn in a good light with me. They actively sought out talented young persons, not just "come turn a wrench and we'll give you money."

Is organized labour the perfect solution? No, it's the worst solution, except for all the alternatives. It's kind of the same as police forces - life would be a lot better if we didn't need them, but until then - they serve a valuable purpose.

Damn, these responses take a lot of time to formulate when you're very careful to choose non-inflammatory words and tone.

Bren R.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 02:07 PM

You'll be contacted shortly by an attorney for the Passenger Armrest Association of America.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 02:23 PM

The North American Unions and the 'big 3' lead each other down the garden path.

Having worked in both North American and Japanese plants, I can safely say that the Japanese are better organized to produce efficiently. The responsibility for any lack of competitiveness rests with both labour and management.

As the auto industry got flushed down the toilet, I was less than impressed by CAW leaders insisting they had given up everything they were going to and expecting that the rest of the country should bail them out.

I was not any more impressed by the heads of the big 3 as they went to Washington to insist they did nothing wrong, but wanted to be bailed out. These guys should be REQUIRED to pay back every bonus they got for the last 10 years and whould immeditaly have their sallaries cut exponentially!

Let the chairman and CEO of GM put all his personal wealth on the line before we give them a penny. Unfortunatley it dosn't work that way 'round here.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 02:29 PM

My dad has been a "Union Man" for most of his adult life. He swore by the union and stuck with them through everything. He wasn't in the auto industry, but worked for John Deere in their earth moving machines division. He worked the factory life, and honestly, it sucked. Plain and simple. The conditions were terrible, poor ventilation in a massive building where there are all sorts of toxins, no cooling in the middle of hot summers bringing internal building temps above 110F many times during the summer. Heat in winter was somewhat localized in the buildings, with many areas around 50F. Then, when things got really bad, the union would call a strike, and I remember my dad being off work for months and months at a time while they "negotiated" with the company. And for what? A minimal pay increase that was lost and then some during the time that they were on strike, and no better working conditions.

I can go on and on. I have a bitter taste because my dad was in the union, but not because of the union itself. I'm not saying that the factories should be kept at a comfy 72F and smell like roses, but if the top executives would have taken a little less in their bonuses, pensions, etc then maybe there could have been better ventilation, better heating, cleaner air, and better pay without waiting for a strike to take place. It is these executives that seem to never be on the "chopping block" yet just one executive's pay (total package) could keep tons of people employed.

I believe in capitalism that if you work hard you SHOULD get ahead in the world, but at some point it becomes too much.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 03:14 PM

 Originally Posted By: fredk
The responsibility for any lack of competitiveness rests with both labour and management.
You're lumping the unions in again in those financial decisions. I don't understand why. I can tell you for sure that Buzz Hargrove and Ken Lewenza never sat in on top-tier meetings here.

 Originally Posted By: fredk
I was less than impressed by CAW leaders insisting they had given up everything they were going to and expecting that the rest of the country should bail them out.
Simple, that which it takes you 100 years to obtain, you do not give up for a 2 year recession, and then take another 100 years to regain. Management is inherently stupid. As we discussed - they remove 20 clocks that saves them $40 in a year and pat themselves on the back and give themselves $4K raises for being such good boys. Economic downturns mean they do other stupid things, like immediately firing employees, which signals shareholders that they must be being fiscally responsible in these "tough times."

I have yet to hear a compelling argument against unions in these sorts of discussions that doesn't contain the word "cahoots."

Bren R.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 03:30 PM

 Originally Posted By: fredk
The North American Unions and the 'big 3' lead each other down the garden path.
You hit the nail on the head. There is avarice throughout these companies from top to bottom...unless they are willing to take a haircut, nobody else should take one.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 04:28 PM

 Quote:
You're lumping the unions in again in those financial decisions.

It takes two, one to ask, one to say yes. I am not anti union, in fact, just the opposite. We have the working condtions we do now because a bunch of people got together and stood up to the 'capitalists'. It cost many people their lives or livelyhoods in the early 1900s.

The thing is, both the unions and the companies talked themselves into inflexible and expensive contracts. They also defined that relationship and made it an oppositional one. This relationship has led to a very inflexible workforce compared to the Japanese plants.

I wonder that nobody offered to reduce their wages for a limited time period. Short term pain to get the company through a very bad time. I bet there are a whole range of options that neither side explored because of their limited thinking and entrenched positions.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 05:45 PM

 Originally Posted By: fredk
They also defined that relationship and made it an oppositional one. This relationship has led to a very inflexible workforce compared to the Japanese plants.
The North American and Japanese cultures are also much different. "The common good" there isn't used sarcastically from what I understand. Also, honour isn't considered a character flaw.

 Originally Posted By: fredk
I wonder that nobody offered to reduce their wages for a limited time period.
And once you show that you'll work for that, that'll become new bargaining leverage. Memories are short when you do people favours.

Bren R.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 07:48 PM

Having been through the 'what have you done for me in the last 5 minutes' ringer several times in the past I understand that sentiment.

All the more reason to let the companies and their employees resolve this by themselves I guess.

I do not begrudge people their good wages, I just don't want to end up subsidizing them with my tax $. That is not what our governments are doing... yet.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 07:50 PM

Bottom line is....if WE bail them out....WE tell the companies "how we're gonna do it".
Posted by: SRoode

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 08:52 PM

 Originally Posted By: BrenR
The North American and Japanese cultures are also much different. "The common good" there isn't used sarcastically from what I understand. Also, honour isn't considered a character flaw.


And there lies the fatal flaw in our current Westernized system. The "common good" and "honor" is basically expected to be a one way street... From the bottom up.

Over my last 20 years or so in the working force, I've seen a dwindling amount of respect and value of the talent. You are expected to work 50-60 hours a week if necessary, but you are not entitled to get paid your salary if you only need to work 30 hours for a week. If things get tight, your years of service are ignored for the bottom line.

Don't get me wrong, I am a wholehearted capitalist. I just think that many people in control are actually dictators, and are more concerned with their own self interests.
Posted by: Family Man

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 10:05 PM

this is a democracy with a capitalist economy the last time i checked. with that said, if the car companies go bankrupt they go bankrupt. i believe that the whole will be filled by someone else. to bad. capitalism. that's life.

on the note of helping out, governments should put our MONEY back into the population. to do this, they must pump billions into our charted banks instead of car companies that declared massive profits and ridiculous bonus's. this special action will force the banks to lend this money with extremely relaxed lending rules.Canada must also guarantee these loans at least partially. the banks are happy because they will be allowed to make a small profit and money will start circulating again. believe me this will start the economy again. Second, the banks started all this credit card debt, yes even in Canada. this has to be paid, but, there should be a grace period where anyone carrying a credit card debt be allowed to convert it into a mortgage style loan giving the borrower at least 20 years and at the current rate of 3%-5% instead of the 19.9%-24% that they(the banks) are currently charging the public.

I could go on, but this is not a forum for financial advice. Hope you agree with me. after all this is done, we could all at least afford 2 more ep 800's with my ep 600 going behind my flat screen.

there you have it.
Posted by: Zarak

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/04/09 10:49 PM

 Originally Posted By: Family Man

this special action will force the banks to lend this money with extremely relaxed lending rules.


The relaxed lending rules are a big part of why we are in this mess in the first place.
Posted by: Family Man

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 12:28 AM

Yes and No.
It's kind of needing a small drink in the morning to get you over last nights hang over. We can't just decide that now all of a sudden, credit needs to stop. It will kill us. Canadian banks weren't really that lax in their lending policies. i would say that it was mostly on the credit cards side. but regardless, the big culprit is across the boarder from us and it's affected the world. I just don't think saving our car industry with triple costs to build the same car the Koreans do is right. Unfortunately, we as Canadians will have to bear the brunt of this broken economy. I say give the money to the Canadian family. If they happen to fall on hard times, I still believe what i said in my previous post that it will help them alot more that saving an industry that was failing anyway.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 01:42 AM

Give taxpayer money... to Canadian banks? That are already showing profits? ($1B for Royal, and even CIBC has finally bounced back after some 3rd world rebuilding projects gone bad)

Wha... I think my brain just got vapour locked.

Bren R.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 01:47 AM

The problem was definately 'relaxed' lending rules in the US and a number of other countries. It affects Canadian banks because financial systems are so integrated now. Inter bank lending has ground to a halt because nobody knows who is left holding 'the bag'.

Even though Canadian banks were not willing/able to participate in the lending frenzie of the last few years, the were able to buy securities that were bundled with junk loans. Thanks to all these new financial products banks have no idea of who is holding what at this point. If in doubt, trust nobody.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 01:48 AM

Bren. It will be interesting to see what bank profits are like next year.
Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 08:06 AM

For those of you with Visa credit cards that are currently running a ballance, this might just make you want to cut the damn thing up.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/s...SpecialEvents2/

I have my sississors in hand are ready to go.

paul
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 11:34 AM

 Originally Posted By: BrenR
Give taxpayer money... to Canadian banks? That are already showing profits? ($1B for Royal, and even CIBC has finally bounced back after some 3rd world rebuilding projects gone bad)

Wha... I think my brain just got vapour locked.

Bren R.
I agree. Our banks make money hand over fist, even through this recession, they do not need any bail out money and could certainly still be lending money out right now a little more liberally. Note keyword is little.
Posted by: Family Man

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 07:09 PM

we agree at least that in Canada, the banks are the distributors of our cash. we can't borrow directly from our country, we have to go through the whole sale distributors..in our case its our banking system. we agree banks aren't lending right now, at least not without asking for your first born as collateral. Since we can't borrow from our country directly, we need to go through the banks.

I stated that this should be regulated and the banks will be allowed to make a small profit. now with Canada providing financial aid .. the cash starts to flow into our economy. at this point, it doesn't matter who's fault it is, we need money to start circulating or things go bad. 2nd problem in Canada is that we as the individual have no savings and are so dependant on each and every Paycheck that most Canadians will be broke in a month if they lose their jobs. UI doesn't currently pay enough to support a family. In fact most Canadians use their credit cards to supplement their life styles, that is why Canada should force the banks to allow credit card debt to be converted to a mortgage style loan thereby removing stress and pain to Canadian families. PS, the banks are to blame in my opinion, they send everyone credit card applications and phone market you to death so that you take their credit cards.So if by converting to soft loans for consumers they, the banks, lose interest toooooo bad.


so the original idea was Don't give it to the companies, spread the money through the "end User" the Canadian Citizen. unfortunately, we need the greedy banks to do it.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/05/09 08:01 PM

 Quote:
2nd problem in Canada is that we as the individual have no savings

Actually, that is THE problem. The banks has lent boatloads of money to people to the point where most people carry an unreasonable debt burden. You can blame the banks for loose lending practices, but the responsibility for how much debt is carried rests with Joe consumer.

 Quote:
that is why Canada should force the banks to allow credit card debt to be converted to a mortgage style loan

Why on earth would you want to do that?? If you can't afford it, don't buy it in the first place. Honestly, our lifestyle expectations are incredibly unreasonable. When I was a kid, we lived in a 1000 sq foot home (4 people), took home made lunches to school every day, rarely went out to restaurants...

I had a great childhood. My folks spent what little extra money we had on great vacations.

When we were older and the house had been paid off, my folks spent more money on 'fun' stuff.

I'll step off my soapbox now. ;\)

FWIW, a bank will quite happily let you consolidate your debt into a mortgage, as long as you have the required equity. The reason mortgages are so low compared to other forms of borrowing is that the debt is secured against your house.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/06/09 05:12 AM

 Originally Posted By: Family Man


PS, the banks are to blame in my opinion, they send everyone credit card applications and phone market you to death so that you take their credit cards.
No body is forcing you to fill out the forms and send them back to get more credit cards etc., it still comes down to each individual being responsible for his/her actions.

I would blame the banks and others for a certain amount of ID fraud due to this practice of mailing out pre-approved credit cards/limits etc. with no idea who they are sending them to. In the wrong hands the form is filled out and bogus info put down but with YOUR name on it and then you find out too late to do anything about it.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/06/09 12:56 PM

 Originally Posted By: jakewash
I would blame the banks and others for a certain amount of ID fraud due to this practice of mailing out pre-approved credit cards/limits etc. with no idea who they are sending them to.
On a lighter note in here, When I was 16-17, for some odd reason my girlfriend at the time was getting credit card applications, so we started filling them out and sending them in, made out to other members of the household. In the end, one appeared in her 4 month old daughter's name and one emblazoned with Mickey's name. Mickey was their big white dog.

Bren R.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Should our governments help out the auto industry? - 03/06/09 02:05 PM

And here I was thinking, 4 month old daughter, and Mickey's last name was going to be Mouse.
Posted by: lhulls

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/06/09 06:42 PM

re: and individual entertainers and athletes on the national scene do affect more people than individual teachers do. I'm not saying the effect they have is more profound, just that the sheer number of lives they touch is greater. I don't really think it's a bad thing for them to make the money they make.

What do you think would affect the long term economic outlook of your country more, no football players, no basketball players, no baseball or hockey players or no teachers?
Doctors and nurses save lives daily yet, most will never see the kind of remuneration athletes do.
I simply think it’s so unfair and just plain corrupt.

Posted by: jakewash

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/06/09 06:48 PM

Stop watching sports and going to see them and the salaries will drop due to lack of funds. I think pro athletes are over paid, however the money keeps flowing and they deserve their share. The owners take all the risk and as such deserve a bigger share.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/06/09 07:39 PM

 Quote:
Stop watching sports and going to see them and the salaries will drop due to lack of funds.

I think I'll do that. Oh, wait, I already did. ;\)

FWIW, elite athletes have been very highly paid since the days of Roman gladiators.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/06/09 09:36 PM

The guy who cures cancer will probably make less $$ than the guy who throws a ball through a metal hoop.
Posted by: CV

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/07/09 12:52 AM

Medical advances extend life. Entertainers and athletes make life worth living for some people. What's more important?
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/07/09 01:01 AM

Beer.
Posted by: CV

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/07/09 01:04 AM

Good point. It's medicine and entertainment in one.
Posted by: fredk

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/07/09 01:08 AM

\:D
And, two out of three squirrels recommend it!
Posted by: CV

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/07/09 01:13 AM

And the other squirrel will recommend it after it's done puking.
Posted by: Zarak

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/08/09 08:20 AM

And any squirrel smart enough to wear these must know what it's talking about.
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/09/09 08:15 AM

"Help a squirrel hide his nuts for winter," heh heh ...
Posted by: RickF

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/09/09 01:57 PM

I stopped by Publix on the way home from work a couple of days ago and picked up a few items (from *the* list), one included a container of almonds*, the lady looks at me and says 'Would you like for me to bag your nuts?' I looked at her and smiled ... she blushed. \:\)


*Emerald brand cocoa roast almonds in a green plastic jar type container, dark chocolate flavor. If y'all like chocolate and almonds I suggest these things, very good.
Posted by: Worfzara

Re: Should our governments help out the auto indus - 03/11/09 07:23 PM

FYI

http://fora.tv/2009/03/03/Global_Capital...ion_Engine_Dead


Paul