Why the General Motors plant closures are good for America and not so good for Donald Trump


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2019 Cadillac CT6
One of the best cars on the road and discontinued

Toyota Camry has been the best selling car in America for more than two decades. In the last few years the Honda Accord was the second best selling car in America.    Last year, Toyota and Honda introduced all new versions of the Camry and Accord and while the cars two remain the best selling cars in America. Sales of the two cars are substantially lower than 2017. 

Its not just Toyota and Honda, most passengers cars are crawling off dealer lots.  With one exception, nearly every automaker is offering incentives to move  passenger cars off the lots as American tastes have shifted to SUV’s.  

Kelly Blue Book says passenger cars sales are down 12% this year. Autodata says passengers cars represented 32% of all vehicles sold this year. This is a major drop from 2015 when passenger cars represented 51%. 

General Motors has spent billions in developing new fuel efficient cars.     The newest generation Chevrolet Impala and the Chevy Cruise received some of the best reviews for the brand in decades.   Consumer Reports said the Impala was the best in class. And despite the good reviews both models are under preforming, selling fewer cars than the previous generation.  

General Motors revamped its stodgy Buick and Cadillac divisions with Cadillac building cars that can out maneuver Germany’s best.   The problem is no one wants the relatively new Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac’s CT6.  

General Motors recently announced they were closing down five plants in North America.   The Lordstown Ohio plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze. The Hamtramck Plant in Detroit that builds the Chevrolet Volt, Buick Lacrosse and the Cadillac CT6.   Transmission plants in Michigan and Maryland and the plant in Oshawa, Ontario that builds the Chevrolet Impala.  An estimated 14,000 workers will be affected.

Donald Trump is outraged. During his candidacy he promised to increase auto manufacturing jobs. To punish GM, he’s threaten to cut all subsidies. The President is particularly angry about the closing of the Lordstown Ohio plant,in state that overwhelmingly supported him in 2016.  It was a foolhardy promise, as no one can predict changes in the marketplace.   

While our president was tweeting, the auto industry changed.  Automakers like Volkswagen, Hyundai Kia and General Motors underestimated the popularity of the SUV’s and no one predicted the popularity of Tesla and Electric Car. 

Preparing for a New World

Some believe in the next few years fewer people in urban areas will purchase cars. A new generation is embracing ride sharing and other modes of transportation.  Technology is allowing millions to work from the home and the growing demand for Electric Cars may, require a                                                        different type of auto worker.                                                      

For years, domestic automakers ignored changes in the marketplace.  In the early 70’s Americans were attracted to the low prices and quality of the Japanese automakers.   The Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (The Big 3) responded with mediocre small cars.  The profits for the Big 3, was in large cars with V8 engines and trucks     

In 1973, (OPEC) The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries  stopped sending oil to the US. Resulting in fuel shortages and higher prices.   Buyers, of fuel efficient small cars, abandon Ford, Chrysler and General Motors for small cars at Toyota, Datsun (Nissan) Honda and Volkswagen. Many of them continued buying cars from the Japanese Automakers.

 When Gas Prices increased again in the early 2000′ American Automakers heavenly invested in SUV’s  Despite slowing sales American  Automakers continued to build over saturating the market.   The industry was to slow to react to changes in the industry, the demand for more fuel efficient cars and trucks. 

General Motors one of the largest automakers in the world and Chrysler needed a bailout loan from the government to remain in business.  

General Motors Positioning Itself for the Future

If the Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had their way, GM would continue to build  unprofitable vehicles to keep their constituents employed. 

To avoid a catastrophic 2008 meltdown, General Motors and other automakers are being proactive. 

General Motors CEO Mary Barra  is implementing billions of dollars in cost-cutting measures in preparation for the next economic downturn. Shifting the company’s focus toward costly, emerging technologies such as autonomous and fully electric vehicles.  

 Shrinking its employee ranks is part of the plan, especially on the manufacturing side of its business, but GM also is sending a message that it’s working to change the makeup of the work force that remains.

“We are going to continue to hire, because when we look at the skill sets that we need for the future, the vehicle has become much more software-oriented, when you think about the hundreds of millions of lines of code that are in a vehicle that operates today,” “That’s only going to increase.”     Mary Barra

Just the first round……….

This is just first round of layoffs and plant closures.    Ford Motor Company is planning to stop building every sedan except the Mustang, and the Focus which will be built in China.   Unlike General Motors, Ford doesn’t plan to close any plants, however some shifts may be eliminated.  Most of Fords sedans are assembled in Mexico.   

Tesla and the new world order

A few years ago the California Air Resources Board required 15 percent of cars sold in California to be all-electric, plug-in hybrid electric or hydrogen vehicles.  This requirement would cost the industry billions in an untested market.  Billions more to build a hydrogen car.  Initially most of the industry converted gas engines for short range electric engines in existing models.    In 2010, GM Introduced one of the first plug in hybrids, the Chevrolet Volt, which allow the car to drive on pure electric power for up to 60 miles and then the car combustion engine powered the car and recharged the battery. 

Enter the California Fuel Cell Partnership:   In January 1999, two state government agencies—California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission joined with six private sector companies—Ballard Power Systems, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, BP, Shell Hydrogen and ChevronTexaco—to form the California Fuel Cell Partnership. Headquartered in West Sacrmamento.  The goal was to demonstrate and promote the potential for fuel cell vehicles as a clean, safe, and practical alternative to vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Within a very short time, other government agencies and private businesses became members.  Today, the members include Hyundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and General Motors.  Today there are three hydrogen fuel cell cars for sale in selected markets.  Honda Clarity, Hyundai Nexo and the Toyota Mirai. The challenge for hydrogen vehicles is suppliers of hydrogen and a network of fueling stations.  

In 2010 Nissan introduced the Leaf, one of the first all electric cars sold in several countries including the United States.  Nearly 400,000 Leafs has been sold globally.  Most of the Leafs sold in the US were sold in California.  Initially the Leaf had a range of less than 80 miles.  The newest models have a range of 151 miles.

In 2012, Tesla Inc. A small company in Northern California. Introduced the first full size luxury, all electric car called the Model S.  The standard Model S had a driving  range of 208 miles, more than double the Leaf . Buyers could  increase the driving range to over 300 miles by opting for a larger battery.  By 2016 the Model S was the second best selling electric vehicle in the world. 

While sales of nearly all combustion engines passengers cars are down.  Sales for Tesla’s Model 3 us up over 400%  It was the sixth best selling sedan last month in the United States. 

  American and Domestic automakers are investing more than 100 billion dollars to bring more electric and  hydrogen vehicles to the marketplace. 

The transition in the Auto Industry is troublesome for Donald Trump as some workers will not survive.   The proactive measures taken by Ford and General Motors to avoid a repeat of the 2008 meltdown may not be good for the President, however it is good for America. 

CityFella 

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“Heck” No To Sacramento’s Measure U


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In the fall of 2012, citizens approved Measure U a temporary half cent sales tax increase. Sacramento ,like the rest of the country was hit hard by Financial Crises of 2007-2008 .  Fire Stations, Libraries, Community centers closed all over the city.   There were layoffs in every department including Fire and police. Income from this tax hike would used to shore up police, libraries and other services throughout the city. A temporary tax increase that would end in March 2019

The tax increased concerned business leaders back in 2012.

The Sacramento Metro Chamber reminded city council couldn’t resolve its budget’s structural imbalance even when it had healthy coffers, pre-2008, so why should it be entrusted with millions now, especially during a struggling economy?

I don’t have confidence that the money will necessarily be spent wisely,” The sales-tax boost will take leaders’ “eyes off the ball” when it comes to making government more efficient and effective.

Sacramento Developer, Mike Heller

2018

Sacramento’s and tax based has grown significantly and Sacramento still cant manage its finances. Somethings wrong in City Hall

During the lean years, hundred of thousands was spent on Consultants to Retain the Sacramento Kings.

The City has recently issued $240 million dollars in bonds towards an unprofitable Convention Center which has been a drain on the city for more than twenty years.

Darrell Steinberg wants a tax increase that will have a negative impact on the city’s poor.  Business may suffer as the Sacramento will have the highest Sales Tax in the region.

While City leaders say the money will go towards Police, other core departments. The language isn’t there. There isn’t a mandate that says how the money is to be spent.

Don’t give Darrell Steinberg and city leaders A Blank Check.

Insist they live as we do, within our means !

SAY HECK NO TO MEASURE U

Trust, Love and Money: when the family wont


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Someone had to help him everyone has abandoned him, his parents,his friends, he had no one!

Is what she told the judge, on one of those judge shows. No one would help him ! I loaned him more than four thousand dollars. I got him a cell phone, paid for his broken tooth, bought him clothes so he could look for work. I fixed his car and more……..

Judge: After you bought him some of those things, when did he start paying you back? He made excuses? she said. So you kept doling out the money? Well he said, he would pay me back when he got a job. Did he get a job? Yes, and he gave me fifty dollars. Fifty dollars? How much did he owe you when he gave you fifty dollars? Almost three thousand dollars? When did a light come one? When did you realize, he wasn’t going to pay you back? Judge! Your honor! Your honor, he had no one? I believed him, he said he was going to pay me back! What happened between three and four thousand dollars? Why are you here today? Because, he lied to me, he was buying new clothes, he has a new car. I owe more than four thousand dollars .I gave him money to help him and now I have to pay it all back, its not right. I trusted him,its not right! IT’S NOT RIGHT!!! He said he would pay me back!!!!!

THE DEFENDANT: Every thing she gave me was a gift. She wanted to help me out and I appreciated it. She’s a good friend.

The Judge: I’m not sure whats going on here. Maybe you wanted to be his girlfriend. Several times you said, no one would help him. I need you to think about this. When a man of 30 says, no one would will help him, alarm bells should go off. There is a reason. He hasn’t paid you back and I am sure he hasn’t paid anyone else either.

My courtroom is filled with litigants who have co-signed, opened cell phone accounts with people with bad credit and the reason they have bad credit is because they don’t pay their bills! Then they are surprised with these people with bad credit don’t pay them back! What I can award you is the $800 cell phone bill. (the women leaves in tears)

As a parent, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for my children. As their parent, you are more lenient with your children than the world, because they are your children.

Refusing to financially help your child isn’t easy. The difficult decision is reached after many sleepless nights. As parents we we want to protect our children from harm . However we can cripple our children with love by delaying their inevitable growth.

If you able to financially help your children do so with the stipulation they are to pay you back, the same is they would any bank or lending institution. With the exception of an illness, they are to pay you back at the mutually agreed upon time.

This is important, as you want to prepare your child at 18, or 48 for the real world. If the fail to repay you. No other loans! Again, with the exception of an illness or a catastrophic event. Note: If your child’s failure to repay you will result in anger and resentment, do not lend them money. Its not worth ruining your relationships with your children, friends and family.

Often, the best solution is allowing your child to solve the problem, it generates a sense of pride and independence.

CityFella

You’ve Heard of Berkeley. Is Merced the Future of the University of California?


 

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By: Jennifer Medina/New York Times

 

As he walks to class at the University of California, Merced, Freddie Virgen sees a sea of faces in various shades of brown. He is as likely to hear banda corridos blaring out of his classmates’ earphones as hip-hop. With affectionate embraces, he greets fellow members of Hermanos Unidos, a peer support group for Latinos that is one of the largest student organizations on campus.

“When I looked at other campuses, I would find myself feeling that I didn’t belong, like I’d stick out,” he said. “This was the only place where I saw so many students I could connect to, who would get where I was coming from. Even if it felt like academic shock, it wouldn’t feel like culture shock.”

In the decades since a ballot measure banned affirmative action in California’s public institutions, the University of California has faced persistent criticism that it is inadequately serving Latinos, the state’s largest ethnic group. The disparity between the state’s population and its university enrollment is most stark at the state’s flagship campuses: at University of California, Los Angeles, Latinos make up about 21 percent of all students; at Berkeley, they account for less than 13 percent.

But at Merced, the newest addition to the 10-campus University of California system, about 53 percent of the undergraduates are Latino, most closely mirroring the demographics of the nation’s most diverse state.

 

Click the Link  Below for the Rest of the story

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/us/university-california-merced-latino-students.html 

 

 

Anonymous shopper buys $1M of toys from Toys ‘R’ Us store and donates the toys


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An anonymous person bought $1 million worth of toys at a Raleigh, North Carolina Toys “R” Us last week and reportedly donated them to children.

Employees at the store said that they spent all of Friday — the last day the toy store chain was in business — boxing up toys for the anonymous buyer and had to get toys from other locations to fill the order.

It’s not clear where the toys were sent.

Packing all those toys required the store to be closed one day early and shoppers hoping to get discounted toys before the store closed were turned away. But when WNCN-TV told them about the donation, would-be customers weren’t disappointed.

“Oh, that’s so nice. I’m happy to hear that,” said customer Erin Sampson.

On Friday, June 29, all Toys ‘R’ Us locations around the country were permanently closed after the chain filed for bankruptcy last summer and failed to find a new buyer to take over operations.

Norway youth now ‘too lazy’ to take Swedes’ café jobs: lobby group


Norway youth now 'too lazy' to take Swedes' café jobs: lobby group
Two staff (nationality unknown) in Oslo’s Kaffebrenneriet café. Photo: Kaffebrenneriet
From:  The Local’ Norway
Young Norwegians are so spoiled that most no longer consider jobs in cafés or restaurants now staffed largely by Swedes, the head of Norway’s national business lobby group has complained.
“We have started to see it as quite natural that there are Swedes serving beer and food our restaurants and Eastern Europeans painting our houses and picking the strawberries we eat,” Stein Lier-Hansen, chief executive of the Federation of Norwegian Industries, told the Verdens Gang newspaper.
“I want to say: this means that our youth have become spoiled
. And it’s not good enough.”
Norwegians have worried about the damaging social effects of the country’s offshore oil wealth ever since the revenues first started pumping in back in the 1980s.
But Lier-Hansen said he felt it was more necessary than ever to alert his countrymen to the problem, as he saw so many young Norwegians getting trapped in unemployment by an overly generous benefits system.
“Today we have arrangements that allow young people to be lazy”, he told the newspaper, warning that in the long-run, this risked doing severe damage to the economy.
“We will not remain the world’s best country to live in if we allow so many people of working age not to work. The Norwegian economy will not tolerate it in the future. That’s why I’m sounding the alarm before it’s too late.”
His biggest fear, he said, was that those who failed to find jobs in their 20s would still be unemployed in their 40s because of gaps in their CVs would make them almost unemployable.
According to Norway’s NAV state employment agency, a 25-year-old on disability benefits costs the public nine million Norwegian kroner ($1.1m) over the course of what would have been their career.

WH Swampian Mick Mulvaney tells Bankers,he would only meet with lobbyists who paid


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Mick Mulvaney, the former Congressman from South Carolina and interim Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told 1300 banking industry executives on Tuesday that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda.

Mr Mulvaney, said as a member of Congress, “He would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.”   We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress, “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” At the top of the hierarchy, Were his constituents. “If you came from back home and sat in my lobby, I talked to you without exception, regardless of the financial contributions,”

Follow the Money 

Congressman Mulvaney, received $63,000 in contributions from Pay Day Lenders.

His predecessor, Richard Cordray levied fines and brought lawsuits to crack down on usurious business practices by an industry that offers short-term, high-interest loans that critics say trap vulnerable consumers in a feedback loop of debt.

Last January, Mr. Mulvaney put the brakes on a contentious rule.   He ended a case that the bureau initiated last year against a group of payday lenders in Kansas accused of charging interest rates of nearly 1,000 percent.   He also scrapped an investigation into the marketing and lending practices of World Acceptance Corporation, a lender based in South Carolina that  donated $4500 to Mr. Mulvaney’s previous congressional campaigns through its political action committee.

 According to the Center for Responsive Politics ,payday lenders have contributed more than $13 million to members of Congress since 2010, with the majority of that money going to Republicans who have made it a priority to roll back the financial regulations put in place by President Barack Obama after the financial crisis.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law as a way to prevent banks and other financial companies from preying on vulnerable consumers.