What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity-- intellect and resources-- to do something about them.
Girding itself for the political equivalent of war, the Ford Motor Co. has prepared an explosive internal document that details the massive ripple effect its failure would potentially have on the U.S. economy in terms of thousands of jobs being lost in every state.
If you did not believe so before now, then learning of this eyeopening little missive may convince you that the mess the automakers have gotten themselves into-- with the hearty help of all of us who could not buy enough SUVs and "personal use" pickups these last 20-odd years, I will add-- ain't just Detroit's problem.
As reported in The Wall Street Journal today, the analysis shows that 25 states could lose 3,000 Ford-related jobs or more if the auto maker were to disappear. And let's underscore that would be Ford-related job losses only-- if Chrysler and GM go down as well, there would be plenty more to worry about.
"To be sure, the job loss would be felt most acutely in the nation's Rust Belt," writes Matthew Dolan in his Journal piece. "In Michigan, Dearborn-based Ford employs 38,380 auto workers and relies on 3,111 auto parts suppliers, according to the document. In Ohio, the numbers are also high, with 8,540 workers at Ford. But a state like Kentucky would also feel the pain, with 5,615 employees working directly for Ford. Thousands more employees who work for suppliers and dealers at Ford would only add to the potential job loss."
Food for thought: One can only imagine what Henry thinks of today's Detroit!
The Ford analysis was no doubt rushed into production as the head honchos of the Big Three have apparently come to realize (boy, do they realize anything early on?) they must sway Congress-- and the public opnion that sways Congress!-- beyond the Michigan delegation if they hope to get any kind of federal bailout before it's simply too late for them to stave off disaster.
In his report, Dolan pointed out that, "The companies' poor earnings posted earlier this month make it clear Ford and GM are running out of money to finance their Michigan-based businesses, with GM the sicker of the two. Less is known about Chrysler, which is privately held."
That's why the PR machine in Detroit is being ratcheted up to its highest level perhaps ever. And before being accused of carrying their water, let me say I for one don't know whether Ford's or GM's or Chrysler's numbers should be trusted or their arguments for federal help should be embraced.
But I don't see how our economy-- already reeling from what the too-slick-for-their-own-good operators in the financial arena did aided and abetted by the "free market" thinkers who had the run of our federal regulatory agencies the the past eight years-- can withstand the shock of one or more U.S.-based automakers going belly up.
And business and politics aside, I just can't see the United States of America without any American car makers!
Think about it. No more Crown Vic police interceptors lurking everywhere? No F150s or Chevy Silverados hauling everything anywhere across America? No Mustangs, no Corvettes, for crying out loud, anywhere ever again?
OK, so maybe what Washington needs to do is force the Big Three to bring in new top managment and then park them in a conference room somewhere until they can hammer out a plan to build one potentially succesful American car maker out of the bones of the three that are so publicly dying right now.
They could call the new firm U.S.A. Motors and put into it the best brands-- and above all, products-- that the former Big Three still have left (and I could name more than a few) and then sally forth to take on the world all over again.
Could there be a U.S.A. Motors in our future?
That's my best shot.
It ain't perfect and I make no claim to knowing how to actually implement it.
At least it's a big idea.
And, in my defense, I would surely have to argue that there just doesn't seem to be many of those rolling out of Detroit these days, now does there?
News Flash... According to Reuters: "Ford Motor Co, scrambling for cash as the U.S. Big Three automakers struggle to stay alive, will end 12 years of control of Mazda Motor Corp through the sale of a 20 percent stake in the Japanese carmaker for around $540 million. Ford will remain Mazda's top shareholder with a stake of just over 13 percent."