Bailout-palooza


I hope that some day, we look back on this time hope that we never hear the word “bailout” (or is it/are it 2 words?). Much like I feel about “web 2.0″….well felt about it a few years ago before it kind of became it’s own joke. It is said with irony, usually in the same sentence as “bubble” and most of us use bunny ears when we refer to it. Yeah, yeah, that is what I hope happens to “bailout”. I certainly don’t wish to hear it referenced on CSPAN again. Quoth the raven, etcetera.


I think I can speak for a large number of people in that I felt shanghai-ed when it came to the finserve bailout. A bunch of jerks made redonkulous amounts of money, screwed their people out of jobs and then went to the government for help. And we basically HAD TO help them because if we didn’t, the credit markets would dry up and we would all be skee-rewed. Am I getting my money back someday? Maybe some big old stuffed shirts can sell off their vacation homes and pay some of us back. Crap, the horse has already left the stable. Well regardless, I see why we had to do that. Not sure I see enough accountability to make me feel OK about it, but it is what it is. Mildly sucky for me, maybe more so for others.


But watching the big 3 execs appeal to the government for their piece of the American taxpayers pie really makes me want to vomit (and we know how much I have been enjoying vomiting lately). Frankly, these companies in need of funds should be appealing to the American public by presenting an investment opportunity. People get a little cheesed off when the losses are socialized but not the profits. I mean, that is what is happening with the banking companies, right? And where the big 3 might share with those companies the common denominator of poor management, they have done nothing to convince me/us that after we re-line their pockets with our tax dollars, anything will change. I heard about oversight with the banking companies. Why am I not hearing that about the big 3.


And I totally get the impact on the lives of the folks that work the line in those auto companies. Their leadership has done them a disservice. I think that re-funding them is simply delaying the inevitable. And when does the American publics continued financial support of these companies equate to a hardship? I feel horrible for the people worried about losing their jobs. Horrible. The timing could not suck any more. I’d rather that we re-employ those folks in other work versus continue to sail a sinking ship. I just don’t understand how we can keep rewarding poorly run companies with money. Warren Buffet’s plan seems almost acceptable to me. I guess on some level, I am just looking for a pound of flesh. Man am I fired up about this today.


I think what we are missing here is “good sense”. For example:


1) Execs asking for money should have the “good sense” not to fly to DC on very expensive private planes (and offer to only sell off a fraction of their fleet once they have been exposed)


2) Execs shouldn’t ask for money when they, themselves, don’t have much at stake. The people most impacted/culpable should put the most on the line. I’d like to see these execs downsize personally before a single job is cut. They caused this mess and before I see one tax dollar devoted to bailing anyone out, I think that these execs should sell of their vacation homes, mansions, planes, boats, etc, and start to work for the same salaries that middle management makes, with significant rewards for success but just a modest straight salary to start. They should have to shop at Walmart and Target just like the folks they are asking to bail them out. Frankly, I’d rather see control of these companies turned over to someone else who hasn’t yet driven a company into the ground. But if we stay with these guys, I’d like them to tie up all their money in their companies as a sign of good faith that they are actually going to do what  it takes to turn them around.


3) And then I want to see them focus on building a better product. I would love nothing more than to buy American. My grandpa spent most of his life working at Ford. And if he were alive today, I know how much compassion he would feel for the employees of those companies and I know that he would want to kick some of their competitors butts. You only do that by offering a superior product. And the only people that should be running these companies are the ones that are smart enough to figure out how to do that. Figure. It. Out. Then ask us for money (and give us our share of the rewards).


I just wonder what is that standard that has to be met for these companies requesting assistance. Does Circuit City belly up to the trough next? There are plenty of companies in trouble. The economy grinds to a halt if we don’t help the banks (and trust me, I feel plenty of heart burn over how they got to where they are because there’s some shady business there), but what about the auto makers? I’m open to a compelling argument.


We have a giving tree in our building at work. I really enjoy grabbing a few tags and buying some gifts, which I did today (the grabbing, not the buying….yet). It’s really a selfish thing for me because it makes me feel good that I can share what I have been fortunate enough to have with others.


Let’s set up a big giving tree in DC. All the bailout candidates can hang their names on a tag and let’s see who wants to grab a few of those tags. Anyone?


I guess I have not yet heard a clearly articulated strategy by the government on behalf of the American people as to why this option should even be entertained. Like I said, my mind could be changed, but this one doesn’t pass the WIIFM test.


Geez, I am feeling a little like Lewis Black today. I am going to start doing that hand-thrusting/shaking thing soon 🙂


Since Warren Buffett probably isn’t going to respond to this blog post (and because I really want to know) does anyone have a different perspective or are we all equally cheesed off?


 

Comments (28)

  1. Tom says:

    You are a typical American – 100% clueless about the American automotive industry. I don’t have the time to educate you here, but let me just say that the domestic automakers are systematically at a strong disadvantage relative to all their competitors. And while their management bears some of the responsibility for mistakes made along the way, most of what ails that industry is completely outside of their control.

    And I also think it is funny that you quickly give a pass to the banking industry, but then hold the automotive industry to a completely different set of standards. The Big 3 were dragged to DC and paraded like a bunch of clowns – only to get mocked and sent back to Detroit without any help. Meanwhile companies like Citi are just sitting around in their comfy chairs and getting handouts like there is no tomorrow – no questions asked.

    Sorry, this type of igorance is and double-stanard is a big part of what is wrong with America right now. Use google and get a clue, please.

  2. Programmerman says:

    I think all of us who aren’t personally in need of a bailout are cheesed, because we know that it’s not that hard to do it right. I think the rest are waiting for their bailout. Curse our understandings of budgets and responsibilities! Our modesty will surely enslave us forever!

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Tom – hugs and kisses. Good thing you don’t have time to educate me but lots of time to leave a nasty comment. And I did anything but give the banking industry a pass. I just see graver repercussions if we weren’t to bail them out.

    I suppose that if I don’t have an opinion that matches yours, you consider me ignorant. But since I was actually asking for other perspectives, perhaps that just makes you a nasty commenter (one who hides behind their anonymity….really brave). And let me guess…one who works for an auto manufacturer? Yeah, I thought so.

    So if I am the problem with America (oh if I had a dime for every time I heard that :)) then you had the perfect opportunity to fix it by educating me in a way that actually provided some information rather than just making you look like a nasty troll. And that kind of nastiness is what’s wrong with America (haha), "double stanard" or not, but with plenty of over generalizations and hyperbole. Let me guess, you work for an automotive company’s PR department.

    Yeah, whatever.

  4. Phil Weber says:

    "this type of igorance…"

    Really? 😉

  5. Steinkamp says:

    Hey Tom –

    Another clueless American here – BTW are you one of the "clued in" Americans.  One question – if we are in a free market economy, and understand the risk of operating in said economy, why wouldn’t ANY industry be accountable for poor performance?  Whether it be handing out bad loans (there is also some joint accountability for those who accepted those loans) or not anticipating market changes and selling fewer cars (whether that is fair or not –  it is a risk you take as an automotive company).  Government doesn’t just HAVE money.  Any dollar they spend has to come from someone else.  

    Educate us all Tom – please….

  6. Tom says:

    Why should I educate you? Why not educate yourself? All the information you need to make an informed judgement is freely available on the Internet.

    No, I don’t work for an automotive. But I understand the background of the current situation…unlike you and most other Americans (including many in DC as well).

    But hey, feel free to express your opinion, even when you have no idea what you’re talking about!

  7. tod hilton says:

    Well said!  As I drive around in my 2000 4Runner, live in my 1400 sq. ft. house and budget accordingly for my lifestyle the sense of entitlement shown by some of these large business executives pisses me off to no end.  

  8. HeatherLeigh says:

    All bow at the feet of Tom, the informed!

    This has to be a joke. Seriously Tom, if you are so awesomely informed, why anonymous? I mean, we already know you are no fun at parties, but I suspect that you may have minded your manners and participated in a civil conversation if you were at risk for people to call bs on you by name. Frankly, I don’t think you are able to educate us because I don’t think you know. The fact that you are using the interwebs as the credible source of information? That is nuts. Let me guess: YouTube?

    Steinkamp – exactly what you said. It’s not like the risks are mysteries and the money has to come from somewhere. I don’t think Tom actually read what I said; he just saw that I didn’t support his purpose so I’m "ignorant"…oh wait…."we" are "ignorant". Whee!

    Phil, tod – good to see you guys!

  9. Mike says:

    Just do a search on the web for "Jobs Bank at GM" and that will tell you why automakers shouldn’t get a free bailout.

    It was the US automakers who agreed to this kind of crap when negotiating with the unions and now they screwed. This is bad management by the US automakers plain and simple.

    Toyota, Honda, BMW all have auto assembly plants in the US and are doing much better because of the lack of unions. The US automakers have only themselves to blame for negotiating with the unions.

  10. Todd Klimek says:

    Awesome Heather…..say something about relgion next and we can watch the fireworks again!  LOL….

    Hey….don’t they have something like "salary caps" in the various sporting leagues?  Maybe somehow they can institute something like that for large organizations which fall under the "if they fail it spells doom for America" type of corporations.  Then, if the big men and woman at the top really wanted to make some $$$, they would have to be shareholders of the company and MAKE that company successful; since their salaries alone wouldn’t get them the mansion in the Hamptons.

    Happy Tuesday!

    P.S.  Just checked my second Honeycrisp last night; stamped "WA" on the label.

    Todd in Chicago

  11. crawdad13 says:

    Doesn’t Tom seem like one of those folks that love to espouse their political beliefs from the tops of mountains but can’t answer a simple question about them.

    Hey, Tom, since I agree with every single point Heather made, (and I read her post twice…and if you read the blog the last couple of days, you know we don’t always agree) Why don’t you tell ME (let’s leave Heather out of this) why I am so wrong.

    If you are, who I think you are, you will just be rude, yell and berate me and never get around to answering the simple question.

    The fact that you have an ideology that you can’t rationally support, that you blindly follow, and even promote, stupidity irresponsibility and gross negligence shows that YOU, and people like you, are what is wrong with America.

    You are every idiot that supported the war in Iraq, refused to admit you were wrong, then justified the compulsion for repeated poor decision making by saying "the surge is working!" as if that makes up for the fact that we never should have needed a surge.

    You are the guy, now, who supports the big three even though they are the least innovative, least responsive to market trends and are bloated by thousands of worthless managers.  They have done a horrible job supporting their dealer networks, they have done a horrible job of managing the obsolescence of their products, they have done a horrible job of managing their assets they have done a HORRIBLE job dealing with the unions and at the end of the day, people saw this coming for years.

    So here’s who I am, my name is on this post and you can find out all kinds of stuff about me on "Google" if you want to spend some time participating in some searching of your own.  I have four degrees, I have started or helped start 28 companies, I spend my days analyzing technology and markets for Intellectual Property to assess their commercialization potential.  I read, write and research and I even make an ass of myself sometimes, but I am usually able to defend myself, and my position, without looking even more stupid.  I voted for Gore, Kerry and Obama, so I feel a little bit superior sometimes.  But, most of all, I DO understand the problem with the auto-makers.  I have an in depth understanding of how they got here.  I understand the disparity in labor costs and the historic tariff issues. I know why their entitlement programs are likely going to have to be gutted if the companies want to be saved.  I know that no matter what, they are going to have to slash their workforce and they should probably be looking at sending jobs overseas where labor is cheaper, but that they should be building up their marketing workforce here since we are just generally better than the rest of the world at advertising.  (at least everyone but the car-makers are.  I know that if the management of the big three had been worried about their shareholders instead of their bonuses and their next job, this crisis could have been averted.  I know that this was a long-range bullet that was fired years ago and is just now hitting its mark.

    I know all of this and much more, but what I also know is that Heather’s opinion is valid and her arguments have merit.  What I don’t know is if you have the ability to produce any evidence that proves that you know anything at all.

  12. mdapsauski says:

    Tom:  Thanks for referring us all to the Internet, because none of us have ever used that before…  (Of course, everything that you read there is true!)  In the future, try to be a little more polite – you could have started an interesting discussion about the auto industry instead of cheesing everyone off.  Well played.

    Everyone else:  Nobody likes the banking bailout, but I don’t think we had a better alternative.  As for the Big 3 – I think we should let them fail.  They negotiated AWFUL contracts with their labor unions and they haven’t created innovative products for the last 20 years.  Why should reward them for doing a bad job?   "We did a crappy job running this company and we’re about to go out of business and lots of people will lose their jobs, so you should give us money" is a pretty poor argument.  What if Congress had given bailouts years ago to buggywhip manufacturers when cars came along or kerosine lamp makers when the lightbulb was invented in order to protect those industries from job losses?  "Creative destruction" is a good thing in the long run.  Discuss.

  13. mdapsauski says:

    Err… kerosene, not kerosine.  Sorry about that!

  14. HeatherLeigh says:

    Mike – thanks for not saying to "google it" 🙂 I’ll check that out.

    Todd – I totally agree with your point. If I fail in my job, I am in trouble, not rewarded with a big bag of money. Hey, I’ve never tried to fail at my job. Maybe I am missing something! Haha! And trust me, I have been very careful not to say anything about religion. I have very strong feelings about it and have friends that sit on the other side of the fence. We have proven that yes, we can all get along. There are just some things that we agree not to talk about (OK, seriously, do you know how hard that is for me?). In Buddhism it’s called "right speech." And that’s what I am working on.

    Darren – well said. I am starting to forgive you because now you are a know-it-all in my side! 🙂

    mdapsauski – good point. Creative destruction. I’d like to think of that as the reason we aren’t all walking around with tails.

    See now, this is fun to get back into the good conversations.You know what I find interesting about this issue is that it is non-partisan, for the most part. I’m not going to ask people their political affiliations, but I’m just noticing that from the people I see on TV (which is *really* where you get all the true information, Tom…hah!) and people whose political stance I already know.

    Personally, I have had to balance the fact that I feel a lot of compassion for the workers at those companies with my feelings about accountability and the question "where does this all end"?

    So my next question(s) for the panel: is there any reason why we "need" these automakers? Is it imperative that we use in-country manufacturers for defense, for example? And anyone out there driving an American made car? I love the idea, but I just can’t do it. I’m consistently unimpressed with the quality.

  15. tod hilton says:

    Nitpicking here, but you probably meant to ask "anyone out there driving a car made by an American owned/based company?"  The last new car I bought was a 2002 Toyota Tundra which, if I remember the sticker correctly, said 65% of it was built in the U.S.

    I have a lot of compassion for the workers in those automobile factories and all the low-level (aka: not responsible for determining lending practices) employees getting bit in the arse by the mortgage industry’s unscrupulous lending habits.  To me this drives home two things…

    1.  My extreme displeasure with executive management (in all industries) that receive exorbitant salaries, annual increases, bonuses and other expensive perks while average Joes get annual raises significantly less than the increases in the cost of living.  I can site several examples.  Just to be clear, yes, I feel very lucky to work at Microsoft and understand all of the benefits I receive.  This isn’t about my situation, it’s about executive management’s sense of entitlement without accountability in the world of business.

    2.  Unions are a thing of the past.  They were necessary 100 years ago, but now we have federal and state laws in place to handle employee rights.

  16. Programmerman says:

    I drive a ’98 Oldsmobile. The engine in the thing has never been the problem with it, just the kinds of things that go bad over time (brakes, tires, that kind of stuff). American cars are the best they’ve ever been, but it’s virtually impossible to shake the specter of past inferiority (it doesn’t actually make them better than the Japanese cars, but they are good enough that you shouldn’t just ignore them). And then there’s the part where they look bland and offer nothing near the fuel economy I want (especially for the price).  So I’ll drive mine ’til the wheels fall off or something truly catastrophic happens (it’s already over 140,000 miles).

  17. Justsayin! says:

    "And I totally get the impact on the lives of the folks that work the line in those auto companies."

    ……you betcha she does…..having 3 grandparents…. 2 working for GM and 1 for Ford……you better believe she get’s it!

  18. HeatherLeigh says:

    tod – OK to be nitpicky. I should have just referred to a car froma big 3 company. I’m a Toyota girl too. Well, you aren’t a girl but you know what I mean 🙂

    Programmerman – I had a geo prism when I first graduated from college and that thing required more repairs than I could afford (I don’t want to think about the stress). Since I switched to other brands, I haven’t had a problem. Sounds like you got lucky with your Olds. I don’t necessary agree that American cars are the best they have ever been, but I am glad that you are having a good experience. When I rent cars (and the brands are invariably American), I frequently feel like I am driving around in a tin can.

    justsayin’ – I still remember that green Mustang in the driveway. I wasn’t old enough to be jealous, but I do love that Saab. I think all 3 grandparents would  be sickened over all this. Things were good back then. All their hard work and this is what happens. Not the same Ford andGM anymore.

  19. Todd says:

    I’ll chime in on this. I like the creative destruction agrument. With one notable exception, its a really good discussion.

    The big disadvantage I hear the companies talking about are retiree costs (about $2200 per car built for Ford). So if you compare a say Fusion to a Camry, in order for Ford to price it the same, there has to be $2200 less in parts to be competitive. In other words, a 16,000 care would be worth $13,800 but they have to add $2200 to the price to cover their retiree costs.

    I don’t know how the others (imports) are covering their retiree expenses, Toyota has been around since 1933, but they would have costs associated to that like the big 3. In Canada we have health care so those costs aren’t a factor up here, but the big 3 came to the Canadian govt for a bailout too. (Canada is apparently going to contribute with the American’s if they do) Obviously, their planning on retiree costs didn’t match the actual costs, is that the tax payers fault?

    Democrats won Ohio in part thanks to the tough talk about protecting the auto industry so i think we can bet on seeing something to help the auto sector. I just hope we aren’t putting money into a lemon.

  20. justsayin' says:

    I think they would be sickened too…just glad they didn’t have to see it come to this 🙁 ……….we are still thinking about getting a scooter sans the sidecare……you are such a trendsetter!

  21. deb says:

    Heather,

    It turns out that we’re not too far apart on this issue.  (Although, I support a ‘bailout’….or more appropriately, a loan….but with conditions, much like what you listed here.)

    I have a couple of points though.

    One is that….this whole thing about the jets is just an easy thing for people to point at and get angry about.  It’s much like McCain talking about cutting out pork-barrell spending, which only represents 3% of our federal budget.  I’m NOT saying that small things don’t matter.  They do.  But seriously? The CEO’s of the big 3 taking jets to the meeting?  Is something everyone is angry about but is so NOT the root cause of the problem.

    My bigger problems came when they couldn’t answer questions like what their plan was….or simple questions like "how much would it take for you to get through a month" (most families could answer this question)

    Ultimately, having worked in the auto industry….I don’t know that there is someone within the Big 3 who could lead them in "doing things differently".  But I also know people who have worked in production facilities (and that worked for their parents and grand-parents) and they aren’t prepared for any other type of work.  They can’t go down the street to find other types of work without serious re-training.

    I basically don’t think our economy can take the strain of close to 3 million more people being unemployed.  And I don’t think that our economy will survive if we don’t learn how to MAKE something.  (We don’t MAKE anything anymore.)  

    I’m more in support of an entire plan that would involve loans, requirements for innovation, requirements for re-training of the workforce…..I could go on.  But just let these guys fail?

    I live in an area where the 2 biggest plants closed, leaving many good, honest, hard-working people out of work and with no options…..I don’t think the current state of our economy could take 3 million more like them.

    I’d like a plan.  I’d like a loan (for the auto industry). I’d like stringent requirements being met.

    But let them fail?

    I think that will hit all of us more than we think it will. And I don’t think it’s fair to those working on the lines.  (And don’t get me started about the unions!  😉 )

    All the best!

    deb

  22. Bill Wagner says:

    Lots of stuff here that’s about as out of date as studio 7

    The Detroit 3 are doing quite a bit to move forward.  Full disclosure: our company is in the supplier network, developing software to support the development of new vehicles.  

    Let’s start with hybrids.  The chevy malibu has some technology that is quite a bit ahead of the competition.  The chevy gets more MPH on the electric engine than toyota’s prius. That matters if you drive anywhere where the speed limit is over 35 mph: In the prius you’ll be burning gas when you leave town, the chevy is on electric only until you exceed 45 mph, saving fuel

    The brakes are more advanced.  The Malibu brakes engage generators on the wheels, which turns the friction from braking into electricy, charging the batteries. The malibu recovers more energy from stop & go city traffic than the prius, or the honda hybrids.

    Heather, I know you’re in the Seattle area. You see those hybrid buses all through King county?  GM vehicles, every single one. (Toronto also has a fleet of them)

    Anyone in the comments from San Francisco?  Have you seen the Ford hybrid taxis in the bay area?  Those are also from the Detroit 3.

    Heard of the Chevy Volt?  First production electric car with a reasonable price tag.

    My car?  I’m driving a Saturn Astra, which gets more than 35 mpg, and has great style.

    Oh, and people give me grief for using Vista and Live Search too. I defend those products as well.

  23. NativeWizdom says:

    Sorry, I am posting on your holiday.

    So…bailouts..hmm..very much needed. However, I think we should have strict accountability on how the funding will be used. I am against keeping the same management because the same ol’ will produce the same ol’. What is needed are  new ideas/leadership. Definitely eliminate the CEO/C level  golden parachutes and bonus pay.  Finally, if the car manufactures continuing producing crappy cars/trucks that are not environment friendly, then we should not bail them out.  

    -NW

  24. HeatherLeigh says:

    Good comments here. Not much to disagree with, at least from me. I do worry about the unemployment factor. I also worry about the impact to taxpayers. I don’t want to see people out of work, but I don’t think I can support the bailout just for that reason when others are unemployed without any kind of bailout supporting them. I wish things were simpler.

    deb – I don’t think that the jets were the problem; I think that they represented the problem, which is poor management decision making. So I think that people latched on to the symbol as a rallying point. Would you support similar bailouts for other companies in the US? I know that you and I both have personal ties to this issue. Would you feel differently if it were another industry? I guess I just worry about us breaking open the dam. I agree that we aren’t far apart as far as opinions 🙂

    Bill- I don’t think that anyone is saying that there isn’t ANYTHING good going on at the big 3. I think once hybrids become more affordable to the average person, there will be more widespread recognition of the value of the big 3 companies. The problem I’m still having is that this isn’t the reason that these companies are asking for help. I see a difference between requesting grants to fuel (pun intended, hah) research on alternative technology and a "bailout". I hope to see grants coming. But even then, I would hope that there would be a certain amount of assessment around company viability and strength of management decision making. I guess the free market should dictate whether or not these companies are bringing enough value to the market. By definition, if they were, then we wouldn’t be in this situation. Anyway, I guess my point is that they can still be good at something but is it enough for the market? Anyway, I like your points. Except I see a difference between Vista and a GM car. Microsoft isn’t asking for a bailout. I think your point was peer pressure. I’m not feeling peer pressure to buy a non-big 3 car. I just buy what I like. For me, it’s 3 factors: safety, quality and design (I would also say "the environment", but honestly, it was less a purchasing factor and more a factor of how I changed my lifestyle once I bought the car….I tank of gas lasts me more than a month right now). Frankly, if peer pressure worked on me, it would be the other way around (making me think of buying US).

    Auntie – you should totally buy the scooter. You will look so cute bopping around on one! Mine gets abut 100 mpg!

  25. mszv says:

    I remember when this blog wasn’t quite so "political".   I like this blog a lot (Heather is great) but I admit that I do think fondly back to the "not political" days of this blog.    And though I do think the first poster was way too harsh (one should educate, not react) – I think there is merit in what he said.  It’s a classic thing about hi-tech people (and I am one) – sometime we think we know everything, or think that world is all like hi-tech, or that issues aren’t complicated.   I know this is something I myself have to work at, every day.   And Heather, you may not think so, but you are a lot like many hi-tech people (for good, great, and not so great) – yes, you are.

    The US automakers have different challenges from hi-tech.  One example is the issue of retiree health care.  Lest you think I’m not in favor of retiree health care – this is the thing which keeps my aging parents afloat.  My father didn’t work for a US automaker, but he worked for a company which provides health care benefits to retirees.  His company fell on hard times too, but it got bought out, and he still gets retiree health care for his family.  With the health care supplemental they get, they can stay in their own home.  My parents worked hard, and took care of their money, but they are living a long time, and have health issues.  Not a day goes past when I’m not grateful that they can live in their own home and not go under, and get the medical care they need.  

    I’m not saying that’s the only issue with the US automakers, but it is one example, among others.  (It will be interesting to see what happens to all of us hi-tech people when we retire.  Right now, Medicare doesn’t pay for everything.)   It’s also hard to be competitive in manufacturing if you pay a living wage and have good benefits.  

    One of the arguments about "helping" US automakers has to do with the economy, overall.  You can take it all the way back to Microsoft.   If the automakers fail – then other companies fail, and on and on, and less people and institutions buy Microsoft products, and the economy gets even worse, and……  That’s the argument.  You can agree or disagree on a variety of points, but that’s the essentials of the view.  It doesn’t matter if you are "right" and you think the automakers don’t deserve to be bailed out – if doing that makes everything so much worse.

    I also think it’s complicated – you can’t reduce the issue to catchy phrases about personal responsibility.   You just can’t.  The world really is "shades of grey".

  26. HeatherLeigh says:

    mszv – I don’t think I know everything. The point of a blog is exploring opinions. I’m entitled to mine just as you are to yours. If you don’t want that from a blog—which I totally understand, no judgement there, we all get something different from blogs–you might just want to skip over the topics that you find "too political". I’m not saying that in an incendiary way. I just don’t think I am going to please everyone here but the idea of blogging without expressing an opinion, especially in times like these, is akin to playing the violin while Rome burns. I’m not trying to be right but I do get to have an opinion and make an argument for it, just as I have afforded my guests…uh, I mean readers…to do the same.

    Can’t say I really like being referred to as a "typical" anything. Here’s the thing…and again, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you don’t know me. Reading someone’s blog and knowing them are 2 different things. Unless someone has met me in person, I don’t really think they have an informed opinion of whether I am a typical high tech person or anything else. Only part of my life is talked about here. I share what I want.

    Hey, here’s my new blog tagline: "Heather – totally a tech person only without the handy coding skills" 🙂

    Anyway, like I said, it’s not about saying I am right and everyone else is wrong. Everyone who has an opinion thinks they are right. That’s kind of the point. And I can certainly understand how someone who has a personal connection to the situation has a differing opinion. I just don’t see how this is different than bailing out every industry that has retirees. Sustaining failing companies is not the answer. In my opinion. Yes, everything that I say here is my opinion. I really thought that was clear.

    I wasn’t trying to reduce anything to catchphrases (which is similar to reducing it to condescending stereotypes like, say, about high tech people). All of our individual opinions come from somewhere. Yours isn’t any better than mine (though mine comes with my name attached). But I have given you the opportunity to share yours here much in the manner of the horrible "hi tech" person that I am. Shame on me.

    So, I do have to ask, what else about my blog nowadays makes it "too political"? Again, that’s a broad brush you are painting with there, mister 🙂 Please share.

  27. M3 Sweatt says:

    Just a note that I re-read your post today. Still a great read. 😉

  28. HeatherLeigh says:

    Thanks M3. I just re-read it myself and still find myself fascinating….I mean the conversation; I still find the conversation fascinating 🙂

    PS: Glad you got your name back!