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Oracle of Delphi

Government bailout sees GM, Chrysler staff experiencing hostile reception

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Glamour dims as hecklers hit auto shows

NEW YORK - Just a year ago, working as a product presenter at an auto show was a pretty straightforward job. You stood next to a vehicle, you called it a marvel of engineering, style and comfort and then you fielded softball questions like, “What does this baby cost?”

But that was before the bailout. Now that the government has helped General Motors and Chrysler stave off bankruptcy with billions of dollars in loans, these companies are finding somewhat hostile crowds at their exhibits. Which leads to scenes like the one on Friday at the New York auto show, where a blond woman in a tight black dress stood on a rotating platform and pitched the sporty Dodge Circuit, one of five electric cars that Chrysler is developing.

Donald Han, an accountant from Queens, sounded unmoved. “Why now?” he asked the woman, rather curtly, once she had finished her patter. “How come you’ve got to nearly go bankrupt before you come out with a car like this?”

Long a glamorous showcase for carmakers, auto shows have lately become a place for buyers and gawkers to vent. Few of the attendees at the Javits Center, where the New York show runs until Sunday, will ever encounter a top executive from G.M. or Chrysler. But all of them get within heckling range of the presenters and for some, that is good enough.

It does not seem to matter that these women — they are nearly all women, most of them young and attractive — work part time for marketing firms and talent agencies that have contracts to run the exhibits. Many know little about the car companies they are working for beyond the scripts they have memorized.

“I try to explain that we’re not involved in corporate decisions, so complaining to us doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” said Kerri Moss, standing on a large turntable next to a Jeep 4X4 Laredo, a Chrysler product. Recently laid off from her job as a teacher, she is trying to earn some money on the car show circuit, which runs from September to May. “And if that doesn’t work, I tell them we’re doing the best we can.”

Snide comments

Often, that does not work either. One G.M. presenter said a woman told her the company was responsible for the death of American soldiers in Iraq. The logic went like this: if G.M. made more fuel-efficient cars, the country would not need so much oil, and if the country did not need oil, United States troops would never have invaded.

“I didn’t say anything,” recalled the presenter, who like many others here declined to give her name because she is not supposed to speak to the news media. “What can you possibly say? ‘Thanks?’ ”

Even if they ignore the snide comments and occasional jeers, presenting for an ailing car company just is not as fun as working for one that is thriving. The G.M. and Chrysler spaces are smaller and less flashy than they were a year ago.

The Jeep exhibit used to have a 54-foot-wide waterfall that continuously dropped 1,000 gallons of water and was programmed, like an ink jet printer, to spell out brand names and logos in the falling streams. Not any more.

And for the first time, some G.M. presenters are wearing the same outfits they wore last year.

“We used to get a new one every season,” said Christine Alt Parry, during a break from her duties beside a black 2010 GMC Terrain, wearing the flower-pattern dark blazer and black slacks she wore a year ago. “I think they’re trying to save some money.”

Downstairs at the Kia exhibit, meanwhile, it is party time. A D.J. is mixing oom-chick-oom-chick club tracks on an Apple laptop, beside huge LED screens that spell out phrases like “Schwing!” and “Kia Sips Gas.” The men are wearing new Hugo Boss suits, with dark-purple hankies, and the women are wearing designer dresses bought recently at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles.

On Friday, Subaru handed out flutes of Brut Cuvee Champagne to visiting Finnish car dealers. And they are preening over at the Hyundai space, where the staff is decked out in new Armani jackets, Cole Haan sweaters and a few other items picked up at Nordstrom.

“I haven’t seen anyone who looks as sharp as we do,” said Mark Laffrey, the wardrobe consultant.

'Bad boys'

The exhibit for Ford, a company in better financial shape than its crosstown rivals in Detroit, is huge and dominated by an atmosphere that could be described as we-didn’t-take-your-money festive. There are slot car races, a magician doing card tricks, and the crew of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” upgrading a car in a cordoned-off section called Mustang Alley, which has a spring-break vibe.

“We’re the bad boys of the auto show!” yells a man who calls himself Flames, one of the ride-pimpers, as he gets to work.

Not that any of these companies are making huge sums of money. But unlike G.M. and Chrysler, they do not need to project an air of austerity and seriousness.

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So is this new image winning over potential buyers? Well, there are people who say they would indeed buy from either company. But many attendees echoed the sentiments of Mark Lee, who was photographing his daughter next to the gleaming rims of a 6,000-pound Hummer. “Absolutely not,” he said when asked if he was tempted.

On the other side of the hall, an electrician, Kurt Moore of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., sat in a Toyota Highlander and explained why he was not going to buy American anytime soon.

“You know how they say, ‘Never buy a car made on a Monday or a Friday?’ ” he said, getting comfortable in the passenger seat. “It’s because the people building the cars aren’t focused on the job. Well, how well do you think they’re focused today, with all this talk about how they’re going to lose their jobs?”

The G.M. and Chrysler presenters have heard questions like that, and dozens of variations of it, in the last couple months.

“We get a lot of, ‘You’re going out of business,’ ‘You guys are going bankrupt,’ ” said Shannon Melahn, part of the Chrysler presenting team. She shrugged and added, “We just smile.”

Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30202699/

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Just more foreign humping idiots who fail to understand how important the big three are to the welfare of this country.

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Just more foreign humping idiots who fail to understand how important the big three are to the welfare of this country.

...or perhaps pissed off Americans who see the Big 3, Banks and Insurers getting bailouts and wonder why the government isn't helping them too?

It's not all black & white, man. People are hurting and they see GM/Chrysler/AIG/Wachovia as welfare queens of the highest order.

That's what happens when you go to the government for a handout...people (fairly or not) judge you for it.

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I can see being pissed at AIG and the banks. First, they created this mess. Second, the blew the bailout money on things like bonuses, payments for foreign banks and private jets. *gasp* AIG's CEO still has a job.

Being pissed at GM for asking for a LOAN from the government since no one else is able to loan such an amount is just foolish. GM isn't throwing lavish parties, they are cutting everywhere, and even accepted firing the CEO as terms of the loan.

Back in 1979, there was reluctance for loaning Chrysler $1.5 billion, but with that money, the K-Car and Mini-van came out and sold very well. There wasn't the vitriol directed at Chrysler that is being directed at them today. That was before domestic bashing was what all the cool kids were doing.......

Which leads to scenes like the one on Friday at the New York auto show, where a blond woman in a tight black dress stood on a rotating platform and pitched the sporty Dodge Circuit, one of five electric cars that Chrysler is developing.

Donald Han, an accountant from Queens, sounded unmoved. “Why now?” he asked the woman, rather curtly, once she had finished her patter. “How come you’ve got to nearly go bankrupt before you come out with a car like this?

Well let me tell you Donny, when car companies develop cars, it generally takes longer than a month. Chrysler has been working on this car for years. And seriously, were you really going to trade in your '04 Accord for a Dodge? Seriously now......

Often, that does not work either. One G.M. presenter said a woman told her the company was responsible for the death of American soldiers in Iraq. The logic went like this: if G.M. made more fuel-efficient cars, the country would not need so much oil, and if the country did not need oil, United States troops would never have invaded.

.... and then she drove home in her Toyota 4Runner.

The Malibu has been at least as fuel efficient as the Camry since 1997, and the Corsica was the same before that. A 1991 Saturn SL was even slightly more fuel efficient than a 1991 Corolla...... but NO ONE BOUGHT THEM because of stupid import humping.

“You know how they say, ‘Never buy a car made on a Monday or a Friday?’ ” he said, getting comfortable in the passenger seat. “It’s because the people building the cars aren’t focused on the job. Well, how well do you think they’re focused today, with all this talk about how they’re going to lose their jobs?”

I guess I won't be hiring you as a contractor any time soon since you'll be next as the economy tanks while GM and Chrysler sink below the waves.

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I can see being pissed at AIG and the banks. First, they created this mess. Second, the blew the bailout money on things like bonuses, payments for foreign banks and private jets. *gasp* AIG's CEO still has a job.

Being pissed at GM for asking for a LOAN from the government since no one else is able to loan such an amount is just foolish. GM isn't throwing lavish parties, they are cutting everywhere, and even accepted firing the CEO as terms of the loan.

Back in 1979, there was reluctance for loaning Chrysler $1.5 billion, but with that money, the K-Car and Mini-van came out and sold very well. There wasn't the vitriol directed at Chrysler that is being directed at them today. That was before domestic bashing was what all the cool kids were doing.......

Well let me tell you Donny, when car companies develop cars, it generally takes longer than a month. Chrysler has been working on this car for years. And seriously, were you really going to trade in your '04 Accord for a Dodge? Seriously now......

.... and then she drove home in her Toyota 4Runner.

The Malibu has been at least as fuel efficient as the Camry since 1997, and the Corsica was the same before that. A 1991 Saturn SL was even slightly more fuel efficient than a 1991 Corolla...... but NO ONE BOUGHT THEM because of stupid import humping.

I guess I won't be hiring you as a contractor any time soon since you'll be next as the economy tanks while GM and Chrysler sink below the waves.

Well put - Thanks.

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I'm never surprised by the stupidity of the masses these days:

“I try to explain that we’re not involved in corporate decisions, so complaining to us doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” said Kerri Moss

The mob cannot be reasoned with. Society needs to design bad news in order to vent; otherwise, they'll asplode!

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LOL...

Overall general comments.

1) americans are stupid, so go figures.... Most americans don't understand what would happen if these companies were allowed to simply fail. And that's one reason I'm giddy with enthusiasm about their failure.

2) This is a minority in a city that hasn't given a damn about Detroit for a LONG time.

3) americans have a short memory, I'm sure this will be forgotten in 3 days

4) LOL, ESPECIALLY at the old prune who insisted that GM is responsible for the death of soldiers! How clueless can these people be? They deserve everything that befalls them.

Like I've said numerous times... americans are itching to see the big three fall and they're doing everything in their power to ensure it happens. They take pride in the fact that these companies are going bankrupt.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Wow... This just reminds me of how moronic people in this country really are. Sometimes I wish they would just go under, and then we could sit back and watch as everyone cries and whines about how it is so much worse then they thought it would be. The bottom line is when they go under their goes more American jobs, and whenever that happens it doesn't seem like the outcome is very good now is it? Idiots...

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Well i know people who wont buy Chrysler because the government bailed them out in the 80s.

This will not go over well, things should have just been settled in court from the git go.

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I can see being pissed at AIG and the banks. First, they created this mess. Second, the blew the bailout money on things like bonuses, payments for foreign banks and private jets. *gasp* AIG's CEO still has a job.

Being pissed at GM for asking for a LOAN from the government since no one else is able to loan such an amount is just foolish. GM isn't throwing lavish parties, they are cutting everywhere, and even accepted firing the CEO as terms of the loan.

Back in 1979, there was reluctance for loaning Chrysler $1.5 billion, but with that money, the K-Car and Mini-van came out and sold very well. There wasn't the vitriol directed at Chrysler that is being directed at them today. That was before domestic bashing was what all the cool kids were doing.......

Well let me tell you Donny, when car companies develop cars, it generally takes longer than a month. Chrysler has been working on this car for years. And seriously, were you really going to trade in your '04 Accord for a Dodge? Seriously now......

.... and then she drove home in her Toyota 4Runner.

The Malibu has been at least as fuel efficient as the Camry since 1997, and the Corsica was the same before that. A 1991 Saturn SL was even slightly more fuel efficient than a 1991 Corolla...... but NO ONE BOUGHT THEM because of stupid import humping.

I guess I won't be hiring you as a contractor any time soon since you'll be next as the economy tanks while GM and Chrysler sink below the waves.

I'll preface my remarks with the admission that, yes, talking trash to a auto-show model about Detroit's perceived failures is stupid....it's like complaining to the garbage man about the mayor of your town, however....

The overall mood of this country is anti-bailout....and the extra vitriol aimed at GM/Chrysler is firm evidence that the PR departments in these companies have been doing an awful job...for decades.

Everyone here knows that the credit crisis is responsible for pushing both companies over the edge. The bigger question is why they were at the edge to begin with and why more wasn't done sooner to move away from that 'edge.' In GM's case, the writing has been on the wall for years, in Chrysler's case, they were left for dead by Daimler, so I actually have more sympathy for them.

In any case, the average American thinks these companies are not worth saving. That is a sad indictment of the quality of vehicle, marketing, sales and PR jobs done....no more or less. People may be sheep, but there have been profound and real reasons that they've abandoned the Detroit carmakers--whether those reasons exist today is another story, but this result is a logical conclusion to the lost years, the lost generation of customers.

We should be rallying around Detroit, instead we want to feed them to the sharks. This is what happens when carmakers' leaders live in a bubble or echo chamber--this resentment for Detroit has percolated for years---and now, when the public support is needed, the goodwill isn't there.

This economic meltdown has been disasterous for a large segment of the population---the mob is looking for blood. The second and third wave of companies at the gov't trough will all find tough roads ahead--- but most of them don't have rolling examples of mediocrity (or ghosts of past work) in almost every household across the nation to rub salt in that wound.

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I was at the NY AutoShow on Saturday and heard these same things. While looking at the Converj two guys next too me laughed about this car needing gasoline to extend the range while Honda had the hydrogen powered car at its display. There was also a lot of talk at the Ford display by customers who felt Ford was doing a much better job then GM/Chrysler. A lot of "Fords always been a good company" and "They arn't going out of business like the other two". Sad.

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I was at the NY AutoShow on Saturday and heard these same things. While looking at the Converj two guys next too me laughed about this car needing gasoline to extend the range while Honda had the hydrogen powered car at its display. There was also a lot of talk at the Ford display by customers who felt Ford was doing a much better job then GM/Chrysler. A lot of "Fords always been a good company" and "They arn't going out of business like the other two". Sad.

Well, it is entirely the fault of poor management in GM/Chrysler for the past forever years. A well structured GM or Chrysler should have been able to weather this downturn.

At least Ford got good management in right in the nick of time to create massively great PR and restructure themselves soundly.

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I'll preface my remarks with the admission that, yes, talking trash to a auto-show model about Detroit's perceived failures is stupid....it's like complaining to the garbage man about the mayor of your town, however....

The overall mood of this country is anti-bailout....and the extra vitriol aimed at GM/Chrysler is firm evidence that the PR departments in these companies have been doing an awful job...for decades.

Everyone here knows that the credit crisis is responsible for pushing both companies over the edge. The bigger question is why they were at the edge to begin with and why more wasn't done sooner to move away from that 'edge.' In GM's case, the writing has been on the wall for years, in Chrysler's case, they were left for dead by Daimler, so I actually have more sympathy for them.

In any case, the average American thinks these companies are not worth saving. That is a sad indictment of the quality of vehicle, marketing, sales and PR jobs done....no more or less. People may be sheep, but there have been profound and real reasons that they've abandoned the Detroit carmakers--whether those reasons exist today is another story, but this result is a logical conclusion to the lost years, the lost generation of customers.

We should be rallying around Detroit, instead we want to feed them to the sharks. This is what happens when carmakers' leaders live in a bubble or echo chamber--this resentment for Detroit has percolated for years---and now, when the public support is needed, the goodwill isn't there.

This economic meltdown has been disasterous for a large segment of the population---the mob is looking for blood. The second and third wave of companies at the gov't trough will all find tough roads ahead--- but most of them don't have rolling examples of mediocrity (or ghosts of past work) in almost every household across the nation to rub salt in that wound.

Couldn't agree more...

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I can see being pissed at AIG and the banks. First, they created this mess. Second, the blew the bailout money on things like bonuses, payments for foreign banks and private jets. *gasp* AIG's CEO still has a job.

Being pissed at GM for asking for a LOAN from the government since no one else is able to loan such an amount is just foolish. GM isn't throwing lavish parties, they are cutting everywhere, and even accepted firing the CEO as terms of the loan.

Back in 1979, there was reluctance for loaning Chrysler $1.5 billion, but with that money, the K-Car and Mini-van came out and sold very well. There wasn't the vitriol directed at Chrysler that is being directed at them today. That was before domestic bashing was what all the cool kids were doing.......

Well let me tell you Donny, when car companies develop cars, it generally takes longer than a month. Chrysler has been working on this car for years. And seriously, were you really going to trade in your '04 Accord for a Dodge? Seriously now......

.... and then she drove home in her Toyota 4Runner.

The Malibu has been at least as fuel efficient as the Camry since 1997, and the Corsica was the same before that. A 1991 Saturn SL was even slightly more fuel efficient than a 1991 Corolla...... but NO ONE BOUGHT THEM because of stupid import humping.

I guess I won't be hiring you as a contractor any time soon since you'll be next as the economy tanks while GM and Chrysler sink below the waves.

Thanks for saving me the trouble, this sums it up perectly.

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:nono: On the other side of the hall, an electrician, Kurt Moore of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., sat in a Toyota Highlander and explained why he was not going to buy American anytime soon.

“You know how they say, ‘Never buy a car made on a Monday or a Friday?’ ” he said, getting comfortable in the passenger seat. “It’s because the people building the cars aren’t focused on the job. Well, how well do you think they’re focused today, with all this talk about how they’re going to lose their jobs?”

------------------------------------------------

Guess in regards to supporting his fellow Union buddy, this electrician has said screw you, but he fails to realize just how bad Toyota has had recently with their own products exploding or at least having major failures from engine cams, ball joints, body cracks on the unibody FJ Cruiser, etc.

Every auto company has good times and bad. Fortunatly the last 9 years has seen everyone pick up their game and come out with better and better products, especially the Detroit 3, they just need a better message to get the word out and counter Idiot Consumer Reports and others.

Sadly all Companies seem to go through up and down times and Toyota is entering their own down time.

The next few years are going to be very interesting.

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This story reminds me of a Circuit City liquidation piece done by This American Life.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Epis...aspx?sched=1289

Sometimes the sheer assholism of people is astonishing.

Act Three. Short-Circuit City

We hear 5 employees of different Circuit City store locations read their accounts of what it was like when the largest electronics chain in the US had less than 2 months to liquidate its entire inventory and close its doors.

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No respect from the asshole writers. :(

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While there is some public outrage toward the banks many times some of it was a well organized effort on the parts of some partisan groups,

There has been a rash of fake or hired public outrage and protest toward some groups.

I just wonder how much of this may be targeted at the automakers here or in the future.

Also we have to remember this is NY too and they are even A holes when they are happy. LOL

But we should expect fake outrage toward any recover of our Auto industry as there are many in the world that do not want to see GM, Ford and Chrysler ever get back to the stenght they once were. Heck they do not want to see America regain her power either so it is no shock.

Edited by hyperv6
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What's left to say? :blink:

all the criticism from the general public is complete hypocrisy, why? quite a few reasons

1- if the industry that all the armchair quarterbacks were in was subject to the same international competition and disadvantages (i.e. japan and protectionism) chances are every industry in this country would fail. more, a lot of folks who levy the criticism are paper pushers, i.e. people who don't produce anything. I find it hard at this time to for example accept input from anyone in the financial industry, look at what a big failure that has been.

2- union, pensions, healthcare, all that. people criticize detroit for the product but the product has ben cheap because of the money needed to pay for all that. if you were the one who worked the factory and now after 30+ years to see you may get screwed on your pension, lets see how you feel. Let's take the retirement and pension and healthcare away from the armchair quarterback and see how they feel about it then.

3- many of the foreign car humpers were not just accord owners. people defected to imports en masse during the home equity loan binge and cashed out their house to buy lexus, infiniti, etc. and are comparing chevy's and dodges now to them. cmon, you can't compare a 50k lexus to a 20k chevy and hold them to the same standard. now these same people are the ones $h!ting bricks because part of the reason they are upside down on their house is that lexus they bought with home equity cash and they are hanging by a thread on their job. Perhaps if they supported a local company it would stabilize it and their job would be more secure.

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Being pissed at GM for asking for a LOAN from the government since no one else is able to loan such an amount is just foolish. GM isn't throwing lavish parties, they are cutting everywhere, and even accepted firing the CEO as terms of the loan.

It isn't that no one else was ALE to loan such an amount. The "problem" was that no one else was foolish enough to loan such an amount to GM because it was fairly clear that they would never be able to pay it back. When there is no reasonable expectation of payback it is a bailout, not a loan.

If you don't believe me, just imagine losing huge amounts of money for about half a decade, running up a massive debt you have no hope of repaying, and then trying to get a loan from your bank. It isn't going to happen. What you are looking for is charity, not a loan.

If this still isn't clear enough, it should only be a month or two (assuming the US government doesn't fold on their timetables) and you will see that the taxpayers will never get the bailout money back.

And no, I'm not stupid enough to believe that the US government went from expecting to be paid back their billions of bailout money to an expectation of bankruptcy in a couple of months. They knew the money was gone when they gave it. Everyone who looked at the situation honestly knew it.

Edited by GXT
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I'll preface my remarks with the admission that, yes, talking trash to a auto-show model about Detroit's perceived failures is stupid....it's like complaining to the garbage man about the mayor of your town, however....

The overall mood of this country is anti-bailout....and the extra vitriol aimed at GM/Chrysler is firm evidence that the PR departments in these companies have been doing an awful job...for decades.

Everyone here knows that the credit crisis is responsible for pushing both companies over the edge. The bigger question is why they were at the edge to begin with and why more wasn't done sooner to move away from that 'edge.' In GM's case, the writing has been on the wall for years, in Chrysler's case, they were left for dead by Daimler, so I actually have more sympathy for them.

In any case, the average American thinks these companies are not worth saving. That is a sad indictment of the quality of vehicle, marketing, sales and PR jobs done....no more or less. People may be sheep, but there have been profound and real reasons that they've abandoned the Detroit carmakers--whether those reasons exist today is another story, but this result is a logical conclusion to the lost years, the lost generation of customers.

We should be rallying around Detroit, instead we want to feed them to the sharks. This is what happens when carmakers' leaders live in a bubble or echo chamber--this resentment for Detroit has percolated for years---and now, when the public support is needed, the goodwill isn't there.

This economic meltdown has been disasterous for a large segment of the population---the mob is looking for blood. The second and third wave of companies at the gov't trough will all find tough roads ahead--- but most of them don't have rolling examples of mediocrity (or ghosts of past work) in almost every household across the nation to rub salt in that wound.

Can you honestly blame these people for voicing their concerns?

The lost generation of customers as you put it implies years in the making and reasonably years for the fixing. Are these two companies worth saving?

Is it possible to overcome the stench of lingering bankruptcy masked by obnoxious questions to models wearing the same clothes as last years ball innocently winding up in mainstream newspapers and magazines for people of all ages, races and income brackets to read and grin perhaps with a glimmer of knowing honesty?

Should I take great comfort in knowing cars being built by workers with little to be hopeful for are putting their best damned efforts behind their elbow when many may feel they weren't in the first place when they had no such worries?

The economic meltdown nullifies the hydrogen test fleets and programs like the Volt because with no legs the feats are useless.

It's too bad when a company like GM 40 years ago can help US get to the moon couldn't remain in a position other than what have you done for me lately.

I feel partially let down and disgusted but also regretful if their collapse no matter what precipitated it was a result of bad banking and miserable economics.

Chrysler I actually feel less pity.

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...or perhaps pissed off Americans who see the Big 3, Banks and Insurers getting bailouts and wonder why the government isn't helping them too?

It's not all black & white, man. People are hurting and they see GM/Chrysler/AIG/Wachovia as welfare queens of the highest order.

That's what happens when you go to the government for a handout...people (fairly or not) judge you for it.

I think you mean Citi, not Wachovia. Wachovia was bought by Wells Fargo.

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I think you mean Citi, not Wachovia. Wachovia was bought by Wells Fargo.

Citi would have been a better example, however, I believe that catastrophic losses in subprime mortgages left the FDIC in the position that they were going to give Citi a $12b dowry to buy Wachovia at $1/share. Wells made a better, 11th hour move to grab Wachovia...

The financial thieves did their share, but GM is as much guilty of fast, loose credit practices as the worst of the worst banks, unfortunately.

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Citi would have been a better example, however, I believe that catastrophic losses in subprime mortgages left the FDIC in the position that they were going to give Citi a $12b dowry to buy Wachovia at $1/share. Wells made a better, 11th hour move to grab Wachovia...

The financial thieves did their share, but GM is as much guilty of fast, loose credit practices as the worst of the worst banks, unfortunately.

Unfortunately with all things considered there is not much of a difference. Unfortunately. :smilewide:

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