Yesterday, General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner voiced his concerns over the federal government's lack of focus on the issues ailing the domestic auto industry. His talk came on the heals of a similar speech given by Mark Fields, President of FoMoCo, that aimed squarely at the contentious relationship between the auto industry and Washington leaders.
For those of you keeping count, the Bush administration has stood up GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, two, and by some accounts, three times for a sit-down discussion. Wagoner spoke to what has been perceived as a miscommunication regarding why the Big Two and a Half are seeking a dialogue with the U.S. government. The feds believe that automakers are looking for a bailout from their current financial woes, whereas in reality, a place that seems to be rarely visited by some in Washington, GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler are looking for meaningful reforms to the rampant health care costs they're required to pay.
You want a staggering statistic? The General is the largest provider of health care here in the States. They spent over $5.3 billion for health care in 2005 and see an increase in 2009 to $7.4 billion. In just shy of three years, GM will be paying close to $7,000 a year for each employee's health benefits.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell from Dearborn summed it up best by saying, "Let's be honest -- this administration [has] done nothing for the auto industry except to whine that they want a bailout when the industry doesn't want a bailout,"
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