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Auto bailout notes

To begin with, I am (taking a deep breath and with real hesitation) in favor of helping Detroit automakers with a federal loan. Having said that, there are a few things that just make my blood boil, and this is the kind of thing that my very well torpedo the necessary congressional action.

Let us begin in the pages of Crain’s Detroit Business.

Patterson: Feds shouldn’t micromanage auto bailout

By Chad Halcom

The federal government will be essential to helping Southeast Michigan in the automakers’ financial crisis, but should avoid micromanagement in setting bailout conditions on the Detroit 3, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Wednesday.

“Before Congress gets too involved, remember the Congress’s two biggest business achievements are Amtrak and the Post Office. So what the hell do they know about running a business?” he said after the 2008 Oakland County Business Roundtable Breakfast at the Troy Marriott.

A few little points.

  • The general notion of Amtrak as everybody’s permanent whipping boy is of another era. It just does not fly any more, so get over it.
  • You guys in Detroit are asking for more money than has been given to Amtrak IN TOTAL since it’s inception in 1972.
  • Amtrak has posted an increase in business. How are you guys at GM looking?
  • Amtrak was created as corporate welfare to cover the operating railroads “labor protection” costs. One could mount a fairly good argument that the railroads and general public have benefited from the arrangement.

And furthermore, Mr. Motor City Blowhard

  • Amtrak has a board of directors appointed by the president and is subject to incessant congressional meddling, right down to how to operate a dining car. That is part of the deal when you take taxpayer money.

Is it just me, or does Mr. Patterson seem to not understand that things are not going well for American automakers? Does he not realize that the writing has been on the wall since the oil embargo of 1974?

There is a reason many Americans are not pleased with the idea of helping out the Big Three.

Mr. Patterson, most respectfully, seems to be part of the problem, rather than the solution.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

One Response

  1. Jason says:

    LBP (as he is sometimes known around Detroit) can always be counted on to make offensive and reactionary statements. In my opinion, his tenure as the head of Oakland County is more responsible than any other factor in the decline of the Detroit metropolitan region in the national landscape.

    I’m a fan of Detroit, a wonderful city with a rich and interesting past…and a lot of challenges. LBP thinks his purpose in life is to pillage the wealth of the Detroit region for the benefit of his political constituents. He is a part of the problem, but please be careful about how you describe somebody who most city residents hate.

    For reference:

    His space on the county webpage looks like it was copied from Newt Gingrich’s political handbook:

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December 2008


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