December 11, 2008

Things I’d Like to Post About Today ….. (121108, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 7:40 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

  • My, this has been quiet — “General Motors and Chrysler have said they cannot survive much longer without the federal aid, while Ford Motor Company, which is in better shape than its competitors, has said it will not seek the emergency loans.” My guess is that Ford has seen the strings attached, and has said, “We’ll take our chances, if you don’t mind.”
  • Though the GM-Chrysler bailout passed the House, at least John Boehner and Jean Schmidt didn’t make the same mistake twice. Both mistakenly supported the SUCKUP (Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson) with the made-up $700 billion price tag that turned into an $850 billion pork-laden fiasco.
  • Which reminds me (the idea came from elsewhere, but I don’t remember where) — If the auto bailout is so darned critical to preventing a depression (which I don’t buy), why in the world doesn’t Congress simply reduce the $150 billion in pork that was added to the SUCKUP by $25 billion or so?
  • The 145th Carnival of Ohio Politics, assembled by Jill of Writes Like She Talks, is here.
  • A biodegradable credit card (HT NYT’s Quote Unquote via an e-mailer)? “The plastic will begin to break down in soil, water, compost or wherever microorganisms are present, and will fully degrade within five years.” Hope it has protection against consumers’ (or retailers’) sweaty fingers.
  • NPR is laying off employees. No word, and none expected, as to whether any of the highly-paid execs and news starts are getting their salaries trimmed.
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2 Comments

  1. Recommended article on Ford:

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9504BIG1.htm

    “A decision Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally made during his first months on the job may turn out to be the automaker’s saving grace.

    In 2006, the chief executive fresh from Boeing Co. wanted to concentrate on making smaller, more fuel efficient cars, matching production with consumer demand, and focusing on the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands.

    The company has announced the closure of 17 factories and eliminated 50,000 jobs since its latest restructuring started in 2005, many through buyout and early retirement offers. It sold non-Ford brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin and is studying the sale of Sweden’s Volvo. Smaller cars produced by its European unit are coming to the U.S. starting in 2010.

    But to fulfill that vision for the company, Mulally needed at least $17 billion. He took his plan … to 40 banks …and he ended up raising $23.5 billion.
    …The move to secure credit proved to be key to Ford’s assertion that it doesn’t need an emergency loan from Congress now like General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC do. While the company boasts how its fleet and future vehicles set it apart from its Detroit competitors, its ability to maintain operations through 2009 without government aid is a key differentiator.

    The company had $18.9 billion in cash on hand on Sept. 30 and still had about $10.7 billion of its credit lines available….

    Mulally said Ford has completed much of the restructuring that Congress is demanding of the other two, and it anticipates no further cuts will be necessary as long as the U.S. auto market doesn’t worsen considerably.”

    Comment by Cornfed — December 11, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  2. UI Claims posted for week ending Dec 6.

    UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

    SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

    In the week ending Dec. 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 573,000, an increase of 58,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 515,000. The 4-week moving average was 540,500, an increase of 14,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 526,250.

    The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.3 percent for the week ending Nov. 29, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.1 percent.

    The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Nov. 29 was 4,429,000, an increase of 338,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4,091,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,133,500, an increase of 130,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,002,750.

    UNADJUSTED DATA

    The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 757,481 in the week ending Dec. 6, an increase of 221,735 from the previous week. There were 423,130 initial claims in the comparable week in 2007.
    The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.4 percent during the week ending Nov. 29, an increase of 0.7 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 4,490,760, an increase of 837,333 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.0 percent and the volume was 2,623,051.

    http://www.workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/press/2008/121108.asp

    I would not be surprised at 7% unemployment for December’s final tally. Hang on to your butts because the wild ride is about to begin!

    Comment by dscott — December 11, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

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