You may have missed this blog post at American Thinker a couple of days ago. Rush read it on the air and it got a little play - not nearly enough as it should, however. This “Letter from a Dodge Dealer” brings home in stark, human terms the cost of Obama’s power grabs and points up a fact that many may have dismissed or simply not recognized; when you’ve got a gun to your head, you’re even willing to destroy your family to save your own life.
That gun is being held by Obama’s auto team as it struggles to keep as many UAW jobs at Chrysler as possible regardless of whether the businesses involved get hurt. Case in point; George C. Joseph, sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu in Melbourne Florida, a business that had been in his family for 35 years, who received the bad news that Chrysler was yanking his dealership agreement as part of their restructuring under the forced bankruptcy of the company ordered by the Obama auto team.
Mr. Joseph says that his dealership was “financially strong” and was seen as having “great respect in the market place and community.” He added, “We have strong local presence and stability.”
This was not enough to save Mr. Joseph or any of the other 788 dealers who are being dropped by the automaker. Beyond that, the “terms” of the break with Chrysler would no doubt have made Al Capone proud:
On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as “new,” nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.
Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler’s insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.
This is happening all over the country as this Chicago Trib article from May 17th explains:
But inside the 789 Chrysler showrooms to be cast aside, fear is starting to set in as dealers try to figure out what to do with expensive inventories that weren’t selling well even before the Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker entered bankruptcy protection last month.
“They’ve told us that the inventory is our problem,” said Keith Hollern, one of the owners of a Dodge dealer in Windber, Pa. “Want to buy one? We’re having a fire sale.”
Dealers borrow money to buy their inventories, then repay the loans and make a profit when the vehicles are sold. But Chrysler sales were down 46 percent the first four months of the year, so many dealers have been paying interest for months. Even if the vehicles are sold at cost, dealers still lose thousands in interest payments.
Chrysler doesn’t have the money to buy back the vehicles, said company spokeswoman Kathy Graham, but it also doesn’t want to leave dealers in a bind or see the inventory flood the market at bargain prices.
So it has signed a deal with GMAC Financial Services, Chrysler’s new finance company, to float loans to dealers that Chrysler plans to keep can take on the 789 dealers’ unsold inventory. The deal, though, doesn’t include about 4,000 2008 models still on the lots.
We are talking about around 44,000 cars that would need to be bought back. Are you trying to tell me that Obama can find the tens of billions of dollars to bail out his union buddies but can’t find one red cent to help the small businessman? Where is the logic that you must bail out the auto maker but allow the company that sells those cars to perish ignomiously?
Obama’s corporatism does not mean he is friendly to business but rather only to those businesses that can do him political good. Mr, Joseph asks the $64,000 question:
HOW IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CAN THIS HAPPEN?
THIS IS A PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT A GOVERNMENT ENTITY
This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.
This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.
HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
It can happen because at the moment, the opposition forces are scattered, dispirited, and engaged in a fruitless quest to determine who is a “real” conservative and who is an Obama loving, free market hating, wimpy, squishy RINO.
It can happen because we are barking up the wrong tree when we accuse the Democrats of practicing socialism. Any Chicagoan recognizes what’s going on as pure gangsterism - the application of power through the use blackmail, threats, and pure muscle and the devil take the Constitution, the rule of law, and simple fairness.
It can happen because we’ve elected a president who aggrandizes power unto himself while running roughshod over individual rights.
It can happen because we are allowing it to happen. We are too busy, too worried about the economy, too frightened of the future, and too complacent about the idea that “It could never happen here.” It’s happening now and not enough of us are raising our voices in protest. Not enough of us are demanding that our politicians be held to account for meekly accepting Obama’s fait accomplis.
What can we do about it? Hope that most of Obama’s ruinous interventions can be reversed once people wake up to the fact that this is not about saving the free market, or curing the economy, or stimulating production, or anything else save the naked application of power by presidential fiat to further the ambitions of one man and his party. The automatic complaint that the right never protested Bush power grabs will ignore the fact that, while overreaching in many cases I believe, the Bush administration was seeking to restore a balance lost in Congressional power grabs of the 1970’s and early 80’s. Bush was not seeking new powers (in most cases) but rather to restore power to the executive lost when Congress usurped several presidential perogatives, especially relating to national security. Not a “unitary executive” but rather the restoration of the same powers exercised by presidents in war time from Washington through Nixon.
What Obama is doing is much, much different and on a scale that makes Bush look like a presidential power grabbing piker. The incredible amount of debt he is piling up has a purpose; to ensure federal intervention in the economy for the foreseeable future. It will also, no doubt, make more people dependent on government for their livelihood - a good reason to vote for the party that will promise to keep the spigot open and the dollars flowing.
The tea parties are a good start but obviously not enough. Obama is moving too fast, his reach will soon engulf bankrupt states like California and probably New York eventually. Only voters can stop him and the Democrats from turning this country into something that is unrecognizable to those of us who still believe that the Founders intended America to be different and not a pale imitation of some moribund European social demcracy.
We feel for Mr. Joseph. But Obama’s got the muscle to do pretty much anything he pleases. And that includes holding a gun to the head of Chrysler and making them an offer they can’t refuse.