Auto Industry Comeback: Creating the Conditions for Success

By: Thursday April 5, 2012 6:00 am

Brad Plumer has a well-reported article about the domestic auto industry’s comeback, and how it derived from ending the failed business model of selling more and more gas guzzlers, and responding to consumer desires for lighter, more fuel-efficient cars. The key is the right support and nudges from a government that actually cared about their survival and in what form.

Auto Rescue Now Popular

By: Friday February 24, 2012 12:35 pm

One interesting side product of these campaign controversies is that they have enabled public awareness of a variety of issues in ways that the Administration’s messaging operation never seemed to master.

Romney’s Auto Rescue Double-Down: Favoring Banks Over Health Care

By: Tuesday February 14, 2012 9:30 am

Mitt Romney, struggling to regain the lead from Rick Santorum in national polls and facing a serious deficit in the key primary state of Michigan, has doubled down on his position against the auto industry rescue, arguing that the industry should have gone through a “managed bankruptcy,” mainly to squeeze out the United Auto Workers.

More on the Economy in 2012: Making Up the Auto and Home Sales Gap?

By: Monday January 2, 2012 9:30 am

The biggest reason I can find for economic optimism in 2012 is a belief that people will eventually have to buy new cars and form households, so why not this year? That appears to be the animating thought behind Matt Yglesias’ cheery forecast in the new year. But the economic story is a lot more mixed.

Alabama Governor Acknowledges Need to Change Harsh Immigration Law

By: Saturday December 10, 2011 12:10 pm

In the couple months since Alabama passed HB 56, among the harshest immigration laws in the nation, they have: a) seen crops rot in the fields because farmers cannot find workers to pick the fruits and vegetables, which has cost the state potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue; b) threatened the water service of potential undocumented immigrants; c) forced charities to seek citizenship papers from their recipients, even though that provision and others have been blocked by multiple courts; d) witnessed frustrated employers speak out about the loss of legal Hispanic workers, who have left the state in droves; e) led to 15% of Hispanic students being afraid to attend school; f) arrested top executives of two automakers, Mercedes-Benz and Honda, who were in the state overseeing their plants there.

Buy Here Pay Here: The Subprime Auto Loan Scam

By: Wednesday November 2, 2011 1:30 pm

The LA Times’ is running an excellent series on subprime auto loans. The first installment concerned “Buy Here Pay Here” used car dealerships, and how they hook low-income borrowers into high-interest loans, then repossess the car when the loans go bad and resell the car to the next mark. It echoes the housing mortgage scams, complete with securitization schemes.

UAW Makes Significant Gains in New GM Contract

By: Monday September 19, 2011 7:10 am

The successful auto industry rescue is definitely a feather in the cap for the Administration, protecting up to a million direct and indirect auto industry jobs, and putting GM and Chrysler in a position to succeed. Now there’s a new contract with the United Auto Workers to share the success with labor.

One criticism of the rescue was that the UAW was forced to give up good wages for new employees and accept a two-tier structure for pay and benefits. But unless I have my timeline wrong, that all happened in a contract prior to the decision to forward additional loans to automakers in 2009. That contract expired, and the UAW just inked a new deal with GM that should serve as an industry standard. And they made some significant gains in this contract, a testament to how far back the industry has come.

Michigan’s Job Creation Shows Why We Need an Industrial Policy

By: Monday February 28, 2011 12:50 pm

For the moment it looks like just three things have worked to create jobs: the MIC, QE2 and other policies favoring commodities, and actual industrial policy.

US Reportedly Reaches Agreement on South Korea Trade Pact

By: Friday December 3, 2010 4:10 pm

So, South Korea would have to wait a bit to flood the US market with cars, but there’s no word on whether they would have to allow in more than a trickle of US-made cars into their market (the numbers from last year: 6,000 US vehicles to South Korea, 500,000 South Korean-made vehicles to the US). And what about beef producers, who also balked at blocked Korean markets?

The President wanted to ink this pact at the G-20 in Seoul, but they couldn’t reach agreement. It looks like those hurdles have been surmounted.

Obama Seeks Korea Free Trade Agreement Completion During G-20

By: Tuesday November 9, 2010 4:30 pm

The US and South Korea are working on a revised free trade agreement that would differ somewhat from the original terms negotiated by George W. Bush’s Administration. It appears that President Obama would want to announce this reworked deal at the G-20 summit in Seoul this week. The plan would be to submit the free trade pact to Congress next year, when Republicans control the House.

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