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From the Detroit Insider:

Big Three rebuffed third time by Bush

Mich. officials believe Republicans don't care about automakers after meeting delayed again.

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's planned meeting with the Big Three has been postponed a third time -- this time until July -- which may add to the perception Detroit's automakers are struggling to get their message heard by the White House.

The automakers have been trying to meet with Bush to discuss soaring health-care costs, energy and trade issues. The Big Three have been waiting to follow the summit with an announcement about their commitment to producing more flexible fuel vehicles.

An initial meeting with Bush was set on May 18. The meeting was rescheduled for June 2 then postponed. The White House told automakers it was committed to a gathering by the end of June.

That deadline will come and go, and no firm date has been set in July.

"This is the most important industry in Michigan and, for that matter, the country, and the CEOs can't get a meeting with the president of the United States. That should speak volumes to voters in Michigan as to how the Republicans feel," said Gov. Jennifer Granholm's campaign spokesman Chris DeWitt.

White House spokesman Alex Conant said the administration has never confirmed any date for the meeting.

The automakers Wednesday declined to comment on the postponement.

Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos "has talked to all the automakers and offered to make a call to get the meeting set up," said his spokesman John Truscott. He said DeVos is sympathetic to the automakers positions on trade, currency and alternative fuels, but added: "No single state governor can solve the legacy cost issues of global companies."

Specifically, Detroit's CEOs want to discuss a proposal to reform pensions that could cost General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. billions of dollars, improving access to alternative fuels at the pump, and what the automakers call currency "manipulation" by the Chinese and Japanese central banks -- a claim the Asian automakers deny.

The domestic automakers also are smarting from a comment Bush made recently in the Wall Street Journal. The president said the Big Three need to build "relevant" vehicles.

That comment prompted GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, a lifelong Republican, to say he planned to cast a protest vote for possible Democratic presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is expected to attend a Detroit fundraiser for Granholm and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, in August.

Despite the meeting delays, the auto industry continues its Washington offensive.

GM's chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will testify before the U.S. Senate special committee on aging on July 13 about the company's staggering health care burden, which costs $1,500 per vehicle -- more than is spent on steel.

Wagoner plans to "highlight what GM is doing to improve health care and reduce costs for our employees and retirees," GM spokesman Greg Martin said.

GM is the largest single private purchaser of health care in the United States. The company spent $5.4 billion last year in providing health care for 1 in 271 Americans. It's also the largest purchaser of prescription drugs, spending $1.5 billion in 2005. GM expects its health care bill to reach $7.4 billion in 2009.

Ford Motor Co. Americas President Mark Fields spoke last week to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about health care, trade, currency and other issues
 

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so what exactly is Bush's economic policy? Put it off long enough and maybe it'll go away? Maybe if the big three were making "relevant cars" they might get some face time! BTW, WTF is that supposed to mean "relevant cars"?

I'll tell ya what's funny, the fact that homegrown, domestic companies can't get to the President, yet our ports were almost given over to Saudi Arabia. Which country is Bush actually working for?
 

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froggy81500 said:
so what exactly is Bush's economic policy? Put it off long enough and maybe it'll go away? Maybe if the big three were making "relevant cars" they might get some face time! BTW, WTF is that supposed to mean "relevant cars"?
Well, I don't live in the good ol' US of A, but it sort of looks like that from where I'm sitting. H e seems to ignore stuff as long as possible until he has to do something. Of course, that's just from the outside looking in.

froggy81500 said:
I'll tell ya what's funny, the fact that homegrown, domestic companies can't get to the President, yet our ports were almost given over to Saudi Arabia. Which country is Bush actually working for?
Ever see farenheit 911? Usually don't like M Moore's stuff, but some interesting points there.

Cheers

BJ
 

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Maybe instead of meeting with Bush the Big 3 ought to be meeting with the UAW. Interesting that when Toyota or Nissan or whoever builds a plant in the US, the employees don't vote to join the UAW. All the benefits etc. are wonderful but if they drive the car companies out of business, they don't exist anymore anyhow. Look at how the steel unions helped the steelworkers - out of a job, out of an industry.

I won't say Bush shouldn't meet with the automakers, he should. But what is he supposed to do about healthcare? Turn it over to the government which can't run the schools, or the military, or the highways, or social security with any semblance of efficiency? I work in healthcare and the only reason it is as expensive as it is, is because the government keeps ordering the healthcare providers to basically give it away for free to some people, and provide it at a financial loss to others, both groups of whom are getting their healthcare "paid for" (ha) by the government. So the rest of us have to pay for what the government is 'providing'. The last thing anyone needs is having the govt' get even more involved in healthcare. They're the problem with it even now.

The time the government really should have met with the big 3 was back in the 70's when they determined that the Big 3 could not cooperatively work on emissions technology. Whereby all three corporations had to lay out about the same amount for R&D but Chrysler's cost per vehicle was probably 3x that of GM, and Ford's was 2x that of GM, because they had fewer vehicles sold to spread the cost over.
 

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Great White said:
Well, I don't live in the good ol' US of A, but it sort of looks like that from where I'm sitting. H e seems to ignore stuff as long as possible until he has to do something. Of course, that's just from the outside looking in.
Trust me, it looks just as bad from the inside as it does from the outside. At least you can look thru the window and laugh. I'm stuck for at least the next 2 1/2 years!


Great White said:
Ever see farenheit 911? Usually don't like M Moore's stuff, but some interesting points there.

Cheers

BJ
I haven't. Thought about it. I also heard Bowling for Columbine was good too. Moore seems a bit annoying to me. I'm afraid of missing the points in his movies because I'm constantly thinking I want to strangle him!

Oh and Indiana Intrep, you've got some good points in your post. My wife also works in healthcare. Its amazing how messed up it really is. There's those not working getting total healthcare paid, then the working family like us, that pay thru the nose for healthcare and yet not everything is covered. Its sick, and I can imagine what it does to big companies like GM. And yes I think one of the biggest problems facing the Big 3, GM specifically, is the union. Unions were originally formed to protect the rights of workers before labor laws and the department of labor were formed. So why is it still necessary to have them around?
 

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froggy81500 said:
Trust me, it looks just as bad from the inside as it does from the outside. At least you can look thru the window and laugh. I'm stuck for at least the next 2 1/2 years!
I wish I could, my gov't isn't much better. I shake my head on a regular basis when they come up with the next hairbrained idea. We jsut came off a couple terms of a gov't that was in power because there was no one else to vote for! PM Harper (current in power) ain't no prize either!

froggy81500 said:
I haven't. Thought about it. I also heard Bowling for Columbine was good too. Moore seems a bit annoying to me. I'm afraid of missing the points in his movies because I'm constantly thinking I want to strangle him!
I hear you there. He's a pretty annoying little sot, but thee were some things in that one I wasn't aware of (of course, take it with a grain of salt). I find he tries to skew things to fit his little outlook of the world. What I don't like is that he seems to try and pass off his movies as a documetaries, but they never are.

froggy81500 said:
Oh and Indiana Intrep, you've got some good points in your post. My wife also works in healthcare. Its amazing how messed up it really is. There's those not working getting total healthcare paid, then the working family like us, that pay thru the nose for healthcare and yet not everything is covered. Its sick, and I can imagine what it does to big companies like GM. And yes I think one of the biggest problems facing the Big 3, GM specifically, is the union. Unions were originally formed to protect the rights of workers before labor laws and the department of labor were formed. So why is it still necessary to have them around?
I dunno boys, gov't healthcare seems to work in Canada. It's one helluva "cash eating" machine though. Makes for a fairly heavy tax burden. But it's worth it when your little one gets sick and you're not looking at bankruptcy just to save thier life. I'll pay the tax, thank-you-very-much.

I think with regards to unions, they need to learn how to work with the automakers and the automakers with them. Many people think unions are the problem (and they are part of it) but with out them, the workers would have very little leverage and almost no voice to keep from being abused. There is a balance point in there somewhere. In a perfect world, the corporation would take care of it's workers, as profits go up so would wages and/or benefits. But, to believe so in this world would be niave. The companies today are working for the shareholders and would screw anyone they can in order to make them profits, including thier own workforce. Why do you think so much is being outsourced to cheap labor markets? (non-union, paid a couple bucks a day, hmmm.......see a connection? Wanna work there?)

They don't care about you or anyone else, just the almighty buck. As companies get larger, they get colder. When Fred upstairs cuts larry's job in the mail room, he doesn't care. He just sees a botom line as he has never met Larry. Just the dynamics of a large company. But Larry looses his house, can't pay his kids medical bills, and eventually goes on welfare. Someday unions may become redundant, but I don't think we're quite there yet. The world will have to become alot more morally and ethically driven, instead of economically driven, before that happens.

Don't hold your breath.


Cheers

BJ
 

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Great White said:
I find he tries to skew things to fit his little outlook of the world. What I don't like is that he seems to try and pass off his movies as a documetaries, but they never are.
Ahhh, welcome to the world of "SPIN"! (I'm not referring to the former DI.net member either)


Great White said:
I dunno boys, gov't healthcare seems to work in Canada. It's one helluva "cash eating" machine though. Makes for a fairly heavy tax burden. But it's worth it when your little one gets sick and you're not looking at bankruptcy just to save thier life. I'll pay the tax, thank-you-very-much.
That is a very good point, one that I've made references to in the past. I guess its just a matter of priorities. What's more important, the health and wellbeing of the citizens or spending billions to trillions supposedly liberating a country half way around the globe? The obvious choice isn't always the choosen. The problem with healthcare here, and I've said it before, is that the Government should have never let it become a private industry. The pharmaceutical (sp?) are a prime example. If it was a Government-run or at the very least gov't regulated system (like Canada) maybe everyone would be born with healthcare. Instead, the rich get the best because they can afford it and the poor get very good service because the Gov't provides it. Then the working class pays high premium and yet still don't get adequate coverage.
Great White said:
I think with regards to unions, they need to learn how to work with the automakers and the automakers with them. Many people think unions are the problem (and they are part of it) but with out them, the workers would have very little leverage and almost no voice to keep from being abused. There is a balance point in there somewhere. In a perfect world, the corporation would take care of it's workers, as profits go up so would wages and/or benefits. But, to believe so in this world would be niave. The companies today are working for the shareholders and would screw anyone they can in order to make them profits, including thier own workforce. Why do you think so much is being outsourced to cheap labor markets? (non-union, paid a couple bucks a day, hmmm.......see a connection? Wanna work there?)

They don't care about you or anyone else, just the almighty buck. As companies get larger, they get colder. When Fred upstairs cuts larry's job in the mail room, he doesn't care. He just sees a botom line as he has never met Larry. Just the dynamics of a large company. But Larry looses his house, can't pay his kids medical bills, and eventually goes on welfare. Someday unions may become redundant, but I don't think we're quite there yet. The world will have to become alot more morally and ethically driven, instead of economically driven, before that happens.

Don't hold your breath.


Cheers

BJ
Sometimes you gotta wonder about the intent of the unions just as much as the companies they police. How about MLB? This whole steroid thing might have been handled years ago if the union just allowed random drug testing. But they hid behind "privacy rights". Well, if someone is taking something illegal (in the actual legal sense not baseball illegal) then privacy is out the window. I don't have a very good knowledge of the issues with GM and the union but I gotta believe that whatever issues there are, the union plays a major role in those issues. I'd be just as naive to think otherwise, just as you say, it'd be naive thinking that corporations will automatically take care of its workers. Anyone heard of Enron? So, yes to a degree, the unions might still serve some purpose. But nowadays they are more of a political machine than anything else. Trust me, I've seen union corruption in the union I used to be a member of. When the union pres. and half of the union execs are all members of the same family, hmm... Not only that, but the union pres. is making $600K+ a year and was caught embessling union funds to have work done on his house. WTF is that! My first hour of work per week went to pay union dues and this schlep is robbing us blind. I guess you can see where my negative attitide towards unions comes from.
 

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Understandable.

Nobody and nothing is perfect.

Sometimes I would prefer to pay to be given a voice, Othertimes I wish someone would police "the police".

One day we may reach a utopian society, but I doubt anytime soon.

Guess you just have to make the best of it and watch your back till then.


Hmmm.....
seems we're sliding off topic again, froggyman! :soapbox:

Cheers

BJ
 

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Great White said:
Hmmm.....
seems we're sliding off topic again, froggyman! :soapbox:

Cheers

BJ
Nah.. We're just expanding on it. And kudos out to Moparman (again!) for starting another good thought-provoking thread.
 

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Great White said:
I dunno boys, gov't healthcare seems to work in Canada. It's one helluva "cash eating" machine though. Makes for a fairly heavy tax burden. But it's worth it when your little one gets sick and you're not looking at bankruptcy just to save thier life. I'll pay the tax, thank-you-very-much.
There's some debate on Canada's healthcare. I'm sure it's great if you break a leg or something. But we in America don't have "hospital holidays" where the budget runs dry and nobody is admitted other than life-or-death cases. We don't have emergency patients lying for hours on gurneys in hallways because there are not enough doctors or beds. We don't have six month waiting lists to get heart surgery or cancer treatment. There's a saying that up there 'more people die on waiting lists than on the operating table.' Really, both our systems have their problems, but you know what? Ours didn't have anywhere near as much trouble as it has now before the government, and malpractice lawyers, became involved in it.

Great White said:
Someday unions may become redundant, but I don't think we're quite there yet. The world will have to become alot more morally and ethically driven, instead of economically driven, before that happens.
I'm afraid that in many ways unions are nothing better than 'hooray for us and the hell with everyone else' and they too need to look at ethics and morals. I was in a union for years and never felt they did squat for me other than take $30 a month and 5% of my gross pay like clockwork, and send some of it to political causes I disagreed with.
 

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well, I never said it was perfect. I would rather pay my taxes as we all have to anways, and not go bankrupt if my little girl gets sick or in a car accident. The doctors prioritize as best they can, most in need first. Where you really get burned is the drugs if you don't have a good health care plan.

Emergency patients are something I can talk about however, having dropped more than one or two off the helo for both life threatening and non life threatening isssues. We push them through the door and they go right to an exam room or right into surgery depending on the issue.

People tend to ***** alot when they have to wait in a room for 5-10 minutes with a broken leg or such while the doctor finnishes with the patient thy're with, so I wouldn't take anything from those accounts.

I think I'll take our system over one that the rich get service and everyone else gets what they get. Our system isn't perfect, but I think it's pretty good.

Unions? Well, let's leave it at that.

Cheers

BJ
 

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Great White said:
well, I never said it was perfect. I would rather pay my taxes as we all have to anways, and not go bankrupt if my little girl gets sick or in a car accident. The doctors prioritize as best they can, most in need first. Where you really get burned is the drugs if you don't have a good health care plan.

Emergency patients are something I can talk about however, having dropped more than one or two off the helo for both life threatening and non life threatening isssues. We push them through the door and they go right to an exam room or right into surgery depending on the issue.

People tend to ***** alot when they have to wait in a room for 5-10 minutes with a broken leg or such while the doctor finnishes with the patient thy're with, so I wouldn't take anything from those accounts.

I think I'll take our system over one that the rich get service and everyone else gets what they get. Our system isn't perfect, but I think it's pretty good.

Unions? Well, let's leave it at that.

Cheers

BJ
No place has perfect healthcare, to be sure. Actually though, U.S. hospitals are not allowed to turn anyone away. And, if you send them $10 a month it has to be accepted as willingness to pay and they can't do anything to you, can't sue you or bankrupt you or anything like that. We treat rich and poor here, none get turned away.

Waiting lists are in fact one of the biggest problems in Canada's healthcare system. Nonemergency heart surgery, cataract removal, hip replacement, just to name a few, can require a wait of two to 12 months before getting the procedure. Here, you can get those done within a week or less.

I'm glad you're happy with what you pay in Canada vs. what you get. We pay more here overall but I think we get more treatment too. (And our malpractice lawyers certainly are making out better.)

What counts most in this forum is that we like our Intrepids. How you or I get healthcare or how we feel about unions has no bearing on that. We probably have different views on politics, entertainment, and a hundred other issues too, and so what? Nothing is perfect, not even our Intrepids. So hey, let's all be friends here. Cheers!
 

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Great White said:
S'cool.

I respect your opinion, even if I may not agree with it.

Cheers

BJ
Likewise! Enjoy your Intrepid as I do mine. Let the political and other discussions take their rightful place, someplace else. You break your arm, it will be treated. i break mine, it will be treated. Let's talk Intrepids.
 
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