Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

What Should Obama Do With The Auto Makers – Your Emails

Barack Obama

A week ago I asked the questions, and you told me in no uncertain terms what you think the President should do with the auto makers. Your reasons for each answer varied, and there were some you disagreed on more than others. With that said, let me give you a sense of some answers.

• Should GM and Chrysler be held to the February 17th and March 31 deadlines?

Almost everybody said yes.

Bill from Pennsylvania summed it up best saying, "Without the spectrum of bankruptcy (govt. back-stopped or not) as a real possibility, no one (company board/management, dealers, debt holders, UAW) has enough incentive to make the hard choices necessary to permanently right the ship.”

• Should states be allowed to set their own, tougher, emissions standards?

The majority of you said no, but not because you are against lower emissions. Most of you understand that letting states go off on their own would add more costs, issues and hurdles for an industry already reeling.

Dennis told me,"One national standard-people move around, settle in other states-makes no sense to have multiple standards."

• Increase fuel efficiency CAFE standards?

This one got almost unanimous support. Proof people want cars and trucks that go further. But most of you think we need to go further to encourage the public to buy smaller, more fuel efficient cars by adding a substantial gas tax.

Chris in Michigan told me, "Raise the gas tax to the levels seen in Europe. The market will then drive fuel efficiency instead of the government."

• What the wild card/your choice you would make as President?

The ideas were all over the place and I liked that. Many of you want states to waive taxes on new cars to make them more affordable.

Frank wrote,"I would have a 90 day no tax on any car buys. That could save in my state 7% of the (cost to) buy which would lower the price a lot."

Tom wants the government to limit pay for the UAW and executives at auto companies getting bailout money. He wrote, "Force pay reductions as well as perk and bonus eliminations for white collar employees of any company taking bailout money for a period of at least 4 years with no retroactive payouts allowed after that time."

Finally, John would kick start sales with a big tax credit for new car buyers. He wrote, "Give everyone who buys a new car by March 31, 2009 a 20% tax credit. The problem with the auto industry is that sales have fallen off of a cliff and we need to get them going again."

What are the odds these things will happen?

It depends on President Obama and even then, some of the moves are likely too aggressive for him and his staff.

Still, Jim summed it up best writing,"It will all depend on our national will and how much political capital President Obama is willing to spend."

  • Take Bad Assets Out of Banks-Obama Adviser

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- Ford Motor

- General Motors

- Nissan

- Honda Motor


Questions?  Comments?