No surprise, but Blade readers are vocal about the possible Big Three bailout unfolding this week in Washington. After Tuesday's column, you spoke. Space constraints apply, but here are (edited) excerpts from some representative e-mails.
Robert W. Murray: "I'm still at a loss on how no one is raising a stink on the way money was passed around to the financial [institutions]. If anyone needs a very tight leash, it's this people. Yet nobody has raised as much hell about them as they have about the auto industry. Did the CEOs of the financials have to come to Washington in little bugs of cars, get down on bended knee, and beg? I think not. Let's be as tough on the bankers and money lenders as we are on the auto industry."
Dave Cichocki: "I think it is laughable you can analyze the demise of the Big Three and totally miss the fact that it costs $40 more an hour to build a Big Three car in North America, than the Japanese or German cars built here. The big problem is bloated UAW contracts. Oh, and by the way, my Hummer H3 gets over 20 MPG, best in its class. I'll put that up against Al Gore's electric bill any day."
Karen Baumhower: "I agree with you that if we let [automakers] go under, the world will suffer, [and] no one more than these people who are so upset that they will [probably] be bailed out. I guess people are all so broke and angry that they can't see the trees for the forest. The Ford CEO had it right, bless him: $1 pay if his company needs a bailout. All CEOs should have to do that, and then maybe they wouldn't feel so free to go to a spa on my dime."
Larry Hawkins: "Fast-backward to post-WW II Detroit. Ford had two models of family sedans a station wagon, and a convertible. It also had similar models in its Mercury line. Today, practically every new car on the lot is different from the others. Henry Ford's Model-T came in any color, so long as it was black. Maybe Ford [and GM and Chrysler] need to get back to basics."
Paul Grandsko: "I have been in the car business in Toledo for 27 years. Congress and people like you want them to build cars people don't want. I have dozens of small-fuel misers on my lot that I can't give away. What do they want? Trucks, SUVs, and midsize cars."
Jim Toth: "If we did not have the Japanese in this mix, all three could get mean and lean and survive. The Japanese have money, we don't. We depend on pay-day loans in this country. In 1956, I came home with tools made in Japan. My dad asked me why [and] I told him I could not afford American tools. He told me, 'You can't afford not to buy American tools, if you don't, some day you will be working for those people.' After the war, the vets used to say, 'They lost the war, but those ... will win the peace.' They pretty much control the wages in this country and never fired a shot."