Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Seeking tax breaks is job 1

Note that their proposed solution isn't to address the runaway healthcare costs that have contributed to the problem, but tax incentives that will make the federal deficit even bigger.

Michigan lawmakers, responding to proposed plant closings and up to 30,000 job cuts at Detroit-based Ford Motor Co, pressed the Bush administration on Monday for changes in trade and tax policy to help U.S. automakers better compete with overseas rivals.

"The automakers are not asking for a bailout - only for the chance to compete on a level playing field, something this administration has failed to deliver on," said Democratic Rep. John Dingell, the senior member of the Michigan delegation.

Ford and General Motors have said they would close plants and cut tens of thousands of jobs. Competition, particularly from companies based in Asia, soaring health care and pension expenses and production costs have increased financial pressures on the unionized companies.

Ford's extensive restructuring announced on Monday proposes closing 14 plants in the United States and Canada and eliminating up to 30,000 jobs over the next six years.

"I agree with (Ford chief executive) Bill Ford when he says that we cannot cut our way to success. We have to enforce our trade laws, change the way we fund health care and protect pensions in a way that does not hurt our manufacturers," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.

Bill Ford has argued that Washington needs to provide proper tax and other broad-based business incentives to help his company and other auto makers upgrade plants.
Yeah, that's what's killing US automakers -- taxes. Not healthcare costs and the arrogant "people will like what we tell them to like" culture that pervaded Detroit's auto industry for years. The problem is taxes, not stupid business decisions that fail to take into accout what the public really wants and a short-sighted, unsustainable focus (no pun intended) on bigger, thirstier engines at a time when the global supply of oil is dwindling. Go build some more Explorers and keep pushing this fantasy about taxes crippling your company. See where that gets you.

Here's a business incentive, Bill: Upgrade your infrastructure and build vehicles people actually want to buy, and use the power of the automobile lobby to push for real healthcare reform in this country, or go out of business.


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