Congressmen show up in auto dealers' showrooms

Here we go. The Obama administration assured us when it engineered its multi-billion-dollar

autodealer.jpg

bailout of GM and Chrysler that the government had no interest in running the auto-industry.

Guess the administration didn't think that House Democrats have a mind of their own. In a slap at the administration, the Democratic-control House approved legislation  to force GM and Chrysler  reinstate as many as 3,200 dealers the
car makers cut as part of their government-backed bankruptcy
reorganizations. You'll recall that the dealer shut-downs were part of the steps taken to restore the bankrupt companies to financial health.

We, the taxpayers, are in this mess big time, and now the politicians are moving in to micro-manage the companies.This could get creepy.

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  • This is one time when I sure hope Congress gets involved. And, I'll note that it is a completely bipartisan group of Congressmen who are standing up for dealers' rights. Congress should have one overriding concern: to protect citizen's rights under the constitution. It is really easy to overlook what has happened here. Car dealers bought businesses, their own business, their property, with their life savings. They bought real estate for businesses. They paid the manufacturers for cars, advertising, training, everything. They certainly put themselves in a precarious situation putting their livelihoods and all of their savings in the hands of the manufacturers. That is why there are strong state franchise laws to protect dealers and to require that dealers are compensated if their franchise is closed.

    By a government mandate, via the auto task force, businesses are being taken away from people with zero compensation. That violates the constitution! No one can take your property without compensation. If someone stole your car, your purse, they would go to jail, whether they declared bankruptcy or not. Taking someone's business, whether it is for the good of the country or not, is not and should not be legal.

    I laugh at people who say "Congress shouldn't be involved - the government shouldn't be involved." The auto task force IS the government and the last time I checked, they are VERY much involved. GM CEO Fritz Henderson testified that when they brought their plan to the auto task force in March, the task force said that they must cut more dealers. Congress most certainly should stand up for businesses being taken from people arbitrarily.

    What if it was your business? And the government recommended that it be taken away, violating your state laws that protect you, and then your business was given to your competitor down the street while you still had to own the real estate, pay the mortgage and pay unemployment costs after having to lay off your employees? (Many of the Chrysler and GM franchises are being given to competitors of the closed dealerships in the name of consolidating brands in one location.)

    Can you understand why this would be so unbelievably upsetting and how this violates everything that I have known this country to stand for?

    Car dealers do not cost manufacturers anything. Closing dealerships decreases competition and raises prices. Often Toyota and Honda are cited as the model dealership structure - their cars do better because they make better cars!!! They sell more cars, despite having fewer dealers, not because of it. Everyone knows that.

    I do not believe it is in the best interest of the companies or the country to close dealerships. Even if it was, we have to respect the constitution and respect people's rights to own their property and their business and not have it taken away on a government whim. Perhaps it would be better for the country if all of the auto dealers became farmers or teachers... but this is America. We don't get to pick what people do and who can have a business and whose gets taken away.

    I really hope something comes of this - this is an incredibly powerful precedent that is being set here. If you read this, write your congressmen... let them know that our rights matter.... or it could be your business next.

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