Monday, March 30, 2009

Restructure American Auto Industry

With the Obama administration taking a hands-on approach to the auto industry after leaning on Rick Wagoner to resign, I believe they should carry right on through to the paradigm that surrounds corporate restructuring.

Corporations and the Federal Government seem to often be at odds about restructuring during the recession. Corporations want to cut expenses and make themselves look viable in the long term in an attempt to buoy their stock prices. The first area cut is personnel, and we have all read about the huge layoffs, buy outs and firings. But, the focus of the stimulus money was job retention and job creation. The Obama Administration understands that an unemployed person makes fewer purchases and cannot pay off the items he already owes on.

Obama should insist that every GM plant that has been closed, or idled as the company calls it, should return to full capacity. If they want to impose their will about the executives in GM, then they should impose the will of the stimulus plan onto the entire recovery procedure. If the money shilled to GM came from taxpayers' pockets, then it should go to keep taxpayers in jobs. This would be a boost across the entire workforce as many estimates show ancillary job loss at six to seven for every auto worker who loses his or her job.

The Federal Government should have a huge say in how these corporations operate, the same as any investor. If you can find me any other investor with as many billions of dollars spent, then she can control the process.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Disappointed with DANC

The DANC board voted unanimously to install Sen. James Wright as Executive Director. I'm not surprised that he was appointed, but I am surprised by the unanimous selection.

Current members of the DANC board have stated that they do not want to politicize the Authority, and they ask county boards of legislature to keep that in mind when making appointments. With their choice of Jim Wright, the DANC board has fully politicized their work. Regardless of resume, Wright's selection has taken an organization that was built to promote the economic well-being of Northern New York and given the perception that it is a political spoil.

On more of a personal note, I have never spoken with Sen. Wright, despite the position I have and the fact that he was my State Senator.

I attended the announcement that General Motors was "idling" their plant in Massena. Senator Wright was also in attendance, as was Gov. Spitzer, Lt. Gov. Paterson, Senator Griffo, Assemblyman Aubertine and Assemblywoman Scozzafava. Each official spoke about the closing and what his or her office would be doing. Most of them seemed involved during the announcement.

Except for Senator Wright.

He seemed to be text messaging constantly. I don't know what it was about. Maybe he was keeping in touch with the CEO of GM, or he was proposing legislation for Congressman McHugh to bring forward about job losses in the age of free trade agreements. Or maybe he was in touch with his office about trivial matters or concerns in other areas of his district. I don't know.

I know that announcement was important to the families of 500 people who were losing their jobs in Massena. It was important to a community that had seen its manufacturing base decrease by two-thirds in the last thirty years. And it was important to have an elected official treat them as if they were important, at least for the few hours that he devoted to them specifically during his many years of public service.

And so, I am nervous, that St. Lawrence County, who is relying on DANC to help rebuild what has been lost, will be overlooked. That the Republican Wright will overlook the Democratic majority in the Legislature. That Wright, who has served Jefferson County well in the past, before becoming a State Senator, will continue to primarily serve Jefferson County in his position after being a State Senator.

Even with all of that, I pray to God that he succeeds, because if he does, then life will be better for everyone in this area.