Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama Looking to Work On Automotive Industry Next

I found the above article and thought some of you may like to read this. It does not offer possible solutions as yet but that he intends to discuss possible ways to restructure the American automotive industry. He believes major changes need to be made and I would have to agree.

I am not an economist nor do I play one on TV but here are some areas I would explore.

The most often discussed issue, tax breaks on those who purchase American made vehicles which I think also needs to be the first place to start. Maybe higher taxes on vehicles manufactured outside of it as well. I am not saying to make foreign vehicles unaffordable but most people buy Kia or Hyundai because they are so much cheaper then other cars and get as much if not more gas mileage then them as well. We need a more fair playing field if we are to survive.

Wages and benefits must be fair but the days of $30 an hour plus fully paid insurance are more then likely history. Unions and company executives must find a medium so that both sides can continue to profit and not suffer. Whether it is creativity such as bonus incentives either cash or otherwise (maybe a paid day off a month if you reach a certain target or paid dinner/gift certificates through a company who you can reach a fair deal with, etc), maybe topping pay lower then the average income but continue paid benefits, higher wages but pay a share of the benefits, etc. Both sides will have to work together to make the companies profitable as well as helping the employees earn enough to live a decent lifestyle. The problem is, for years there has been reason to have lack of trust on both sides and we must overcome that. You can't lay off workers and collect a $10 million bonus just because it is in your contract or you still reached some milestone. Many executives make a fair wage and I am not blaming them one bit for wanting to make as much as they can but you can't exploit the people who provide your product just so you can be richer and not care about the worker. How about everyone gets a bonus or nobody at all? Profit sharing also encourages employees to show up for work, put quality into the job they are doing and make them feel more like part of the company. I just find it so hard to believe that both white and blue collar workers can't function together for the good of the company's future and both sides be content.

We also must start recruiting the brilliant engineering minds of our future to help make these cars more fuel efficient and top of the line quality for lower prices. I know we have the talent pool in our high schools and colleges to explore alternatives fuels, aerodynamics, and other mechanical technologies to assist in this venture. Bill Gates made billions because he recruited using this model and the auto industry can as well. I know we have some great minds already working on this and we need to keep using the best to add variety to our thinking. For instance, I was told once that the WWE who uses writers to help with their shows, doesn't always look to hire the best minds for the business, sometimes they want a mix of people with different ideas to help come from different angles. American automakers need to be the best at what we do again and hire and recruit the best.

These are just some of my thoughts on what I think needs to be looked at to help rejuvenate the industry, so what do you think? If President Obama called you right now and asked what to do, what would you tell him? Let the automakers fail on their own as competition weeds out the weak? Have the government subsidize the whole industry to prevent the eventual disappearance of American automobiles? Place tariffs on more foreign made products and tax breaks on those made in this country along with other incentives to build here to counteract lower wages in other countries who do not have the human rights that we have and can use things we consider to be violations? Isn't the anger China might feel better then the impact the American people will feel when they are unable to work and living off government programs so that 50% of this country is basically sponsoring the other 50%? Time will tell but let's hope soon we get some answers American workers can handle and get this country back on it's feet.

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