Friday, August 7, 2009

Getting personal

President Obama visited Elkhart Indiana this week. Elkhart's lifeblood was built around the RV industry. When Monaco Coach began shutting down plants last year, the town was devastated. 
It was the textbook example of the domino effect of the full impact of a recession. 
As the company went from lay offs to massive terminations, they entirely shut down operations, and eventually filed for bankruptcy. 
Not only did the jobs vanish, but the health care went with it too. Next the small businesses in the area began to have to downsize, or they too went out of business. Foreclosures followed. 

Here is a clip from Obama's visit:


I know this story too well. We were involved with the "other" plant in Oregon. 
2,200 workers were laid off, then, a few months later received termination notices in the mail. 
The plug was pulled on the Healthcare without notice. Our family just emerged form the main wage earner being out of work for 6 months. 

During that time, Monaco filed for bankruptcy, and was purchased by Navistar. It has now reopened it's doors, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Navistar.  They started out with a skeleton crew-- Monaco in Oregon had been cranking out approximately 35 Coaches a week, plus towables. For now they are making two coaches a week. They are slowly ramping up their production. Mr. Ramblings was fortunate enough to be called back to his job in June. 

It is very encouraging that the Obama administration is kicking in money for industries to get electric/hybrid vehicles & support structures up & running. It's good on the environmental front, and it is good on the employment front. 

Also- my fifteen year old vehicle that suddenly began to literally fall apart (yes not having a driver's side windshield wiper tends to be an issue in a downpour while driving on the freeway at higher speeds), really needed to be replaced. Just when it began to genuinely need repairs that exceeded the value of the vehicle itself, the Obama administration rolled out the Cash for Clunkers program. I know it is a narrow set of qualifying rules, but as luck would have it, ours was a bona fide Clunker. If that $ was not available, we would not have purchased a new car. 
Which is a scary endeavor, but will likely be an excellent investment in the long run. We went for the full 10 mpg (remember those new fuel numbers are not calibrated the same, so they are even getting better mileage than posted).  I have been driving the car for 2 weeks, and still have a 1/2 full tank of gas. 

These programs do not help everyone, and in the big picture, there is still so much more to resolve-- but my point is they are making a difference, and we have to start somewhere. 

The fact environmental issues are not just on the table, but actions are being taken to move forward, and give incentives to address & remedy long term problems. 

There are so many daunting issues, and problems in every direction that this administration inherited. It is easy to criticize and complain. 

These pilot programs ARE making a difference, and have personally had a positive impact on our lives. 

You might say I'm looking at the tank as *half full*. 

7 comments:

Dusty said...

I thought of you and your family when I watched The Big O speechify in Elkhart.

You have a positive heart inspite of all the fuckery foisted upon you and your family Fran.

I wish I was half as strong as you. ;)

Fran said...

Dusterella!!!!!
There is a loooong list of things I'm NOT happy about... Gitmo, Wars, the ethics of the Health care debate infused with cash (bribe money), Gay rights, etc.... and those are serious & life threatening problems.

But for this brief moment in our lives it really made an impact, in a few ways.

For for all the ranting about the wrong/bad stuff, I thought I;d take a moment to revel in things done right.

I am stoked to be driving a sipper right now.... and stoked to drive on by the gas station.

Oh I'll be returning to our regularly scheduled angst
and outrage over @#$@$@ Guv'mt fucks ups.... but there are some glimmers of hope & the programs to help really did help us.

Wow!

nonnie9999 said...

enjoy good luck when it finds you. i really hope the economy is turning around. enjoy the new car.

Fran said...

So much is hitting the fan these days, it's nice to have a reprieve. We were on mighty thin ice, so I know the other side & I know lots of folks are hurting, still don't have jobs & with the job went the healthcare. I KNOW those that do are even screwed, as the bean counters work hard at making benefits harder to obtain.

That is the biggest issue of all- and that one came knocking at our door when the job went away.
Even with coverage, the co pays & percentages you pay are still really high.

But as a part of monies flowing, Mr. Ramblings is working again-- because during the 6 months of unemployment there was *nothing* else out there, that is a living wage job in this area.

I know it's the tip of the iceberg .... but it has really helped us pull up from our bootstraps.
Cutting us a few breaks really has made a difference.

As would cutting us a break w healthcare.
I'm hoping we are on a roll here.
Turn the country around in a better direction.

Spadoman said...

Glad to hear the good news from your end of it. It was a nasty time, I'm sure, but just happy things are better and hope they get better still.

We made it to Northern California, then on to the Oregon Outback, but not up the coast towards your neck of the woods. Maybe another trip another time. I did pass the neighborhoods of so many bloggers. After all, 6600 miles had to go near someone's place of residence. We did meet up with old friend Annie of Cozy Shack blog, she got to meet the whole fam damily.

Now let's get big "O" to work on ending the war.

Peace.

Distributorcap said...

i am so glad you were able to get a new vehicle under the cash for clunkers

a program that works immediately!

and as always - the best going forward

Fran said...

Hi Spado~ I saw a little of your trip blog with the whole fam damily.... quite the adventure.
I bet it will be an epic memory for the kids.

As for this post some things ARE going right & certainly I want to bring it up because there are so many other things not right.... ending the war & getting heath care to the masses would be an excellent start.

DCap~ The JOB was the biggest deal.... because so much rides on that being together.

But the clunkers thing is a real lifesaver too.
Not only getting into something not falling apart.... but getting 350 ish miles to the tank is sweet for both the environment & my wallet.

Some things gone right!!! Yay!!!