Friday, December 05, 2008
Michael Moore speaks to the problems of the auto industry
Michael Moore, documentary filmmaker and scourge of corporate executives, was on the Keith Olbermann show a couple of nights ago. He was there to talk about the plea to Congress by the Ford, GM and Chrysler executives ("the Big Three") to save them from themselves.
Moore had a message for Congress that more people should hear. Here's the video. (The Moore interview begins at 1:30.) I've provided a partial transcript below for those who'd rather read—
Moore castigated the Senators for their treatment of the "car guys" compared with their treatment of the "Wall Street bankers and thieves," who've also been before Congress lately. Then he let the car guys have it.
Concerning the security of the loan the automakers want—
GM wants $18 billion dollars. The total worth of all the common stock in GM right now is a little less than $3 billion. Now why would we give them $18 billion when they're only worth $3 billion?
If my house were worth $100,000 and I came to you and said, "Hey, Keith, why don't you loan me like $700,000. I'll put up my house as collateral" .... It makes no sense.
The nation's oil problem should be viewed as a national crisis on the order of
I think that if we're really serious about trying to fix the transportation problems of this country and all the other problems that surround it in terms of lack of oil and running out of oil, we have to really treat this like a crisis.
And so I would encourage Congress to do what Franklin Roosevelt did at the beginning of World War II where he just said to the Big Three "You're not building cars any more because we have a crisis. You've got to build tanks and planes"--and the other things that they needed in World War II
This new President and this Congress has to say to the Big Three—
"I'm sorry but this car thing isn't working out. We're running out of oil. So you need to build hybrids, electrics and we need mass transportation. So you gotta build trains and subways and light rail and all this. And that's gonna be the policy of this country.
"And we're going to tell you what to do because we just gave you (collectively, if they get the $34 billion)--if we're going to give you $34 billion we're gonna own your ass...."
A capital idea! All the workers I know say they could use a little ass.
Olbermann: .... The thing sounds so good. Obviousy it can't happen. Why wouldn't it happen? Who's benefitting from the idea that that would not happen? That we wouldn't get 21st century mass transit and greener cars and the rest of that?
Moore: Well, there's not as big a profit in that.
You see, this is what's so amazing, for instance, about the GM proposal: "Give us $18 billion and as part of our proposal"—this is what they gave Congress yesterday—"we're going to eliminate another 20 to 30 thousand jobs."
In other words, we're gonna give our taxpayer money to the car companies so they can throw more people out of work.
That's been their big idea for the last 30 years. They've been throwing people out of work by the tens of thousands for the last 3 decades. And nobody ever stopped to say, "Gee, who's going to buy the cars if everybody's been thrown out of work." It's just been insanity.
The money needs to go to infrastructure but it must not go to the people running these companyies.... They need to be fired and removed. The government needs to get in charge of these things. It's our money and we should be able to call the shots!
Well, I gotta go. I hear shots over by the ramparts.... Oh, I forgot. The counterrevolutionaries have all the guns.