Thursday, December 11, 2008

Common Sense Rescue Plan For The Auto Industry anyone listening? Should we the American taxpayer permit Congress to loan the domestic auto industry $34 billion in emergency funding? If we do, will the industry recover and repay the loan? Should we be concerned about the health of the industry or if it is forced to file for bankruptcy protection? If the domestic auto industry were to fail, how would that failure affect my family, my country, and me? These are only a few of the questions American are asking themselves and elected officials. Unfortunately, intelligent answers to these questions have not been forthcoming. Appallingly, a majority of Americans seem to believe the issues are so complex that there are no answers. I do not agree. We, the American people can solve this problem by using something our parents taught us during childhood: common sense. By applying common sense we can rescue this industry and improve the lives of all Americans in the process. Best of all, we can rescue the Big Three without loaning them a single dollar of taxpayer money.

How do we do this you say? We buy them! That's right, we buy them. Why in the world should we consider loaning the industry $34 billion when based on current stock values, the industry is collectively worth no more than $10 billion. The $10 billion value estimate represents a tremendous bargain for the American taxpayer. A bargain that has a potential to return tremendous earnings to the taxpayers. I do know that $10 billion is $24 billion less than $34 billion. Instead of loaning the industry $34 billion in taxpayer monies, we should make an investment in ourselves with our own money. Revolutionary idea you ask, or perhaps socialism? Not really, we are Americans and it is what Americans do best. We practice capitalism and common sense.

If we purchase the industry can change it. Radical and essential change is needed for an industry that has failed to provide the vehicles America wants and needs. Management and labor must recognize reform is their only salvation. We will become the Board of Directors, senior management, design and engineering staffs, the research and development teams, and the hourly workers. The industry must regain it's lost competitiveness. With advances in technology, improved product quality, and affordability, it can. We are the only nation to have put a man on the moon. We pioneered the automobile. Surely we can demonstrate to ourselves that we are still the best capitalists in the world.

After purchasing the industry, a portion of the $24 billion remaining from the current bailout proposal should be targeted toward restructuring and retooling the industry. The Big Three must modernize with an emphasis on research and development. In the short term we must manufacture quality affordable automobiles that have at least double the fuel economy ratings of today's vehicles. We will however develop electrically powered vehicles that are self-generating sources of energy. The ideas and basic designs are already available to us. We simply need to commercially refine the technology. Whenever range of motion is provided, it is possible to generate electricity. Cars and trucks are obviously manufactured with four wheels that roll when the vehicles are in motion. With wheel wall electrostatic generators and fluid activated wheel generator pairs (see U.S. patents 5248930 and 7402021) and other technologies, it may be possible for our cars and trucks to become self-generating sources of energy. Additionally, we must not ignore the potential for powering our vehicles with compressed natural gas and fuel cells. Collaboratively, these technologies can provide the means for breaking our reliance on foreign oil and for reducing our greenhouse emissions that contribute to global warming.

As owners of the industry we would ask our finest colleges and universities to provide their best and brightest scientists and researchers so that we could identify and develop the technologies required to produce the vehicles of the future. Based on cooperation, these institutions would receive increased federal funding. Participating private enterprise would rewarded by way of tax cuts and placement on a list of preferred contractors and suppliers.

The industry will see an immediate increase in market share if this proposal is adopted as an industry rescue vehicle. The American people will choose to purchase their next new vehicle from themselves when they realize their actions directly benefit all Americans and them as individuals. Gains in market share will require significant increases in the workforce. As opposed to losing up to three million jobs, we will create hundreds or thousands of new jobs that produce tax revenue instead of consuming it.

If we are to solve the current economic crisis we will need bold new initiatives. The new initiatives must however, pass the common sense test. The original $34 billion dollar auto industry bailout proposal is neither bold or new. It certainly does not make any sense. If the bailout proposal is approved by Congress the American taxpayers will be left with only a promise and a prayer the loan will ever be repaid. That should not be acceptable to anyone. If we buy the Big Three we will assume ownership of all tangible assets. Does that make more sense to you?

If you agree this proposal makes sense to you, please contact your senators and representatives and ask them to consider adopting this proposal as an industry rescue option. I have provided this proposal (with more detail) to individual senators, representatives, governors, and multiple news media outlets. I am still waiting on any kind of feedback. If we are to insure this proposal sees the light of day, we must make some noise. We must demand to be heard by the very people who have been elected to represent us. They may not listen to me. They may not listen to you. They will listen to hundreds if not thousands of us. We will not get a second chance to get this right. We must act now.

David L. Ballard