FROM Daniel Howes
GM Defends Itself GM’s CEO testified on Capitol Hill today on why it took more than 10 years for the company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches. The cars could suddenly turn off while driving if the ignition was bumped or jostled. And once the engine turned off, power steering and brakes would fail and the airbags would not deploy.
GM Chooses the First Woman to Lead an Auto Company Earlier this week, the US government sold its last shares of General Motors. Today, the company named the first female to head a major American car company. Earlier this year, GM's chairman and CEO, Dan Akerson, told a women's business group in Detroit that what he called a "car gal" would soon head one of the Big Three. Now, he's stepping down early, to be replaced as CEO by Mary Barra. Daniel Howes is a columnist for the Detroit News .
Big Three Automakers Tottering The Ford Motor Company, trying to avoid a federal bailout, announced losses of $1.8 billion today. GM is going to get more federal loans. Meantime, the Treasury Department set a deadline of next Thursday for Chrysler to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Daniel Howes is a business columnist with the Detroit News .
An Ultimatum for General Motors and Chrysler President Obama says General Motors and Chrysler have failed to justify their requests for $17 more billions of federal dollars. Bankruptcy is a real possibility. GM has 60 days to come up with a better plan for reorganization; Chrysler has 30 days to pull together a merger with Fiat of Italy. Even if the companies do go bankrupt, Obama insists that he won't let the auto industry die, saying that Washington will back the warranties on all their new cars. Will today's drastic actions help to restore it or drive it over a cliff?
For GM and Chrysler: an Ultimatum President Obama says General Motors and Chrysler have failed to justify their requests for $17 more billions of federal dollars. Bankruptcy is a real possibility. GM has 60 days to come up with a better plan for reorganization; Chrysler has 30 days to pull together a merger with Fiat of Italy. Even if the companies do go bankrupt, the President insists that he won't let the auto industry die: he says Washington will back the warranties on all their new cars. The President compared what's happening to the auto industry to a natural disaster. He spoke directly to the men and women who work in the industry and those who live in communities that depend on it, saying he can't pretend there won't be tough times to come. Will today's drastic actions help to restore it or drive it over a cliff?
'Substantial Doubt' about GM’s 'ability to continue' General Motors has borrowed $13.4 billion in taxpayer dollars and is asking for billions more. Today, in its annual report , it said there's “substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.” Daniel Howes is a columnist for the Detroit News .
Will Washington Rescue Detroit's Big Three? The Big Three bailout passed the House but stalled in the Senate today, even after Barack Obama warned that collapse of the auto industry would have "a devastating ripple effect" throughout the economy. In the Senate, Republicans, many of them from the South, were still saying, " No ." On this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, we hear whether regional interests are playing a role in preventing what Democrats, including Barack Obama, call a disaster of national proportions.
Will the US Get a 'Car Czar?' After a compromise between Democrats and the Bush White House, Congress passed the $14 billion Big Three bailout bill last night. Today Barack Obama said government can't stand by and watch the auto industry collapse, warning of what he called "a devastating ripple effect" throughout the economy. But in a debate on the Senate floor today, some Republicans accused the Bush White House of making a bad deal with the Democrats, including a so-called "Car Czar" they said would have too little power. Adamant those against helping Midwestern companies were Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby of Alabama, both from Southern States which have subsidized non-union factories run by foreign car-makers. Are regional interests playing a role in preventing what Democrats, including Barack Obama, call a disaster of national proportions?
Should Detroit Be Bailed Out? Democrats want $25 billion for Ford, Chrysler and GM, which auto experts warn could go under before the end of the year. The Bush White House and Senate Republicans say there are better ways to spend taxpayer-bailout money. Many insist that bad management and inferior products are to blame, and argue that a bailout will only postpone the inevitable. Directly and indirectly, the Big Three employ millions of people who buy goods and pay billions in taxes. Should they be washed down the drain? Could a bailout be used to force innovation, rewrite union contracts and clean out executive suites? We get several opinions.
The Recovery and America's Troubled Auto Industry After Wall Street's worst week in history, it was clear that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury weren't doing enough to restore economic confidence. On Friday, the question was, "Can the Group of Seven industrialized countries and the International Monetary Fund make a difference?" Today, the stock markets surged. Did the ministers do the right thing? Will the credit markets thaw out and begin lending again? We get a progress report and look at the state of America's auto industry, once the symbol of US industrial might. Will the Big Three become the Big Two?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.