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Go Green

March 31, 2009

rick-wagonermsu-spartan-shirt

We need a jolt of hope and optimism that we in Southeastern Michigan will survive the withering away and possible death of General Motors, Chrysler, and the domestic auto industry.

 

Green is the theme of the North Farmington High School disciplinary program this year. The goal of the program is to get high schoolers and their parents to make better use of the earth by not wasting so much and being conscious of the choices they make. A recent study (“PC Energy Report US 2009”), for instance, estimates that leaving computers on overnight wastes $2.8 billion on excess energy costs in the U.S. alone.

            So shut off your computer tonight and when you turn it back on, you may learn more about the futures of GM and Chrysler. We just learned that CEO Rick Wagoner of General Motors resigned at the request of the Obama administration. Obama said over the weekend that the best chance of survival might be “utilizing the bankruptcy code in a quick and surgical way,” the same point many Republican senators said in December when they voted to turn down GM’s request for a government “bailout.”

            We have been watching the exodus of so many green dollars out of our city and state for so long that we are no longer shocked at new automotive news. We just wait and wait for the proverbial “next shoe to drop.”

            Will GM avoid bankruptcy? It doesn’t look good right now, unless the bond holders and UAW take the threat seriously. And will Chrysler be rescued by Fiat? Don’t hold your breath.

            We do, however, need to take a deep breath and have faith that one day, GM and Chrysler will be the green car companies that Obama and Congress wants, producing excellent cars with great fuel economy. But that implies that they will still be alive, competitive with Toyota and Honda and Tata Motors which is now producing a car that’s cheaper and smaller than any European bug or beetle.

            At least for a week, Michiganders have something to be thankful and hopeful for, and it’s just as green. The MSU Spartans surprised the top-seeded Louisville Cardinals to make the Final Four for the 5th time in the last 11 years. Thirty years after Magic Johnson led Michigan State to the NCAA title against Larry Bird, we have a chance to win it again at Ford Field in Detroit.

            In the first year of the new millennium, on April 3, 2000, MSU won their second championship. 58 days later, on June 1, 2000, Rick Wagoner took over as CEO of GM,  chosen to lead the largest car company in the world to new glory in the new century. Less than a decade later, Wagoner is gone but MSU has a chance to repeat, which means little to people in their pocketbooks but a lot in their hearts.

Magic Johnson, after the Elite 8 game in Indianapolis, said, “You couldn’t have dreamt this up, it’s so incredible.” (“Spartans win big for Detroit,” Bob Wojnowski, The Detroit News, March 30, 2009.) “Oh, my goodness, this is the greatest feeling in the world—for Detroit and the whole state of Michigan. You’re gonna see a lot of green and white in town. We needed this.”

We sure do. We need a jolt of hope and optimism that we in Southeastern Michigan will survive the withering away and possible death of General Motors, Chrysler, and the domestic auto industry. We need to feel that we as the world’s underdogs will slay the highly-favored Connecticut and North Carolina basketball teams and their superstars. We need to believe that we in Detroit will beat the Japanese car companies that have weakened us. We need to believe that after all is done, there will be a level playing field, in which our car companies can truly compete.

            Go Green! Beat U Conn.

Go Detroit! We need to believe we won’t end up like Moe Green in the Godfather, our hopeful visions shot right through our eyes.

            Go GM! Beat the government, the UAW, bond-holders, and the United States public that believes that you shouldn’t get any more money from taxpayers. Show them all that they are dead wrong and that you, like MSU, will be lean, mean, and green, for many years to come. 

           

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