Friday, August 1, 2008

Banding Together

Economically, it has been a particularly difficult couple of weeks for the Michigan automakers - which is saying a lot compared to the last few years. Last week, Ford announced a quarterly loss (that's three months people) of $8.7B, and GM today announced a quarterly loss of $15.5B. I don't want to use this space to delve into the numerical intricacies of the losses, but for both companies, the entirety of these losses was not necessarily evaporated cash. On top of this, all three Michigan automakers recently announced either the elimination or significant reduction of leasing programs to help move their vehicles off the dealer lots. Historically, leasing programs have been a great way to generate income and continue to generate traffic for the newest and most profitable vehicles.

This is a lot of pain, and the pain is widespread. Employees, shareholders, contractors, suppliers, dealers, states that benefit from the taxes of these companies, homeowners and home values, all suffer from this difficult news. This list doesn't even begin to stretch into some of the more tangential groups that are suffering from this bad news - "disposable income" can no longer be spent with restaurants, gardeners, and dog-walkers because the disposable income is working its way toward extinction in entirety.

So far, everything I have said has been incredibly bleak and (I think) truthful, but bleakness is not the goal of this blog. The goal of this blog is to try to seek out some small light, some reason to keep going despite the waterfall of bad news. There are fun events and activities in which one could participate, television or movies to watch for a small degree of escapism, and many other things which can help direct the mind away from the gloom. All of these things are wonderful and certainly have their place, but nothing can help someone deal with the difficulty and bad news better than the family and friends with whom we have the privilege of surrounding ourselves.

As I spend some time reading through my previous posts to edit spelling errors or to respond to the few comments that may trickle in, I am primarily struck by how many of my thoughts are inspired by or make a reference to my friends. I am not particularly popular and am sometimes known for a relatively short fuse which can tend to alienate some people, but I am blessed to have some people who are willing to put up with my ridiculousness. What's more, unlike my family, these people aren't obligated to put up with me! Wednesday evening, when GM pre-announced "dismal" results for the 2nd quarter of this year and I was feeling pre-depressed, I was able to put away some of those fears and concerns because of the company of the great guys (and affiliated ladies) on my softball team. Having this type of support group is critical to just keep moving forward - even when the silver lining seems out of sight.

The last four paragraphs probably come across as pretty preachy, but for this subject, I don't mind so much. Please don't forget that your family, significant others, friends, neighbors, and co-workers are all dealing with the same difficult issues, and that these people will provide the support and relief that you need. We keep going and hoping and working for the best, and we keep going together.

1 comment:

Dave said...

The verdict is still out on your skills as a left fielder but we may have room for you at catcher if "Tek" doesn't return for another season. Either way you are stuck playing Shield's softball until you have two knee replacements.