Monday, March 30, 2009

Yes, Detroit Can Make a Green Turnaround

(The following is an Op Ed I wrote that was published in The Detroit Free Press on November 20, 2008)
Let's face it. No one believes us. That's the crux of the problem in fashioning a bailout for the three Detroit automakers.

Let's face another reality: Why should they? Resistance to change has long been part of the culture of the domestic auto industry. When President-elect Barack Obama came to the Detroit Economic Club and said we need to do better, he was pilloried almost universally by the media and establishment types.

Many of those folks would rather spend enormous sums lobbying against CAFE standards than use that money to get the job done. Now we are on the brink of collapse, and the American public is not feeling our "fierce urgency of now."
We need to rebuild the trust of the American people and capture their imagination.

Here's one way to do that:

Forge a complete "green turnaround" restructuring plan for the auto industry that is built into an economic aid package sufficient to get the job done: a Detroit Compact of sorts. This would not be just another unpopular bailout, but an energy, environmental and economic program all rolled into one.

It sounds enormous, but all change on this scale is. We can break it down into steps.

• Convene three working groups: technology, industry and financial.
The technology group -- including the best and brightest, not just from here in Detroit, but across the country -- would determine the best technology mix (EVs? fuel cells? plug-in hybrids?) for the immediate, near-term and long-term future, as well as the obstacles that need to be overcome to make it happen. For example, battery swapping at gas stations may be an intermediate option until a long-mileage battery is developed.

The industry group -- the American-based automakers and the UAW -- would make an honest assessment of assets and liabilities (pension, health care, etc.), and current finances, including cash flow based on current sales, then determine whether a consolidation or strategic partnerships make sense. This would be based on factors such as the most promising technologies in development, time to market and economies of scale.

The financial people -- private and government economists -- would determine the needed mix of public financing, tax incentives and outside private capital for the reinvented auto industry, and how the funds would be allocated. Most urgently, this group would determine how best to provide the bridge financing while the Detroit Compact is put in place.

• Integrate the work products.
What technology mix, alliance mix and financing options, if any, will best help achieve the goals of ensuring the industry's survival, avoiding bankruptcies and the resulting economic shock, and producing the most fuel-efficient vehicles possible as quickly as possible, with an escalation plan to make even more advanced vehicles in second- and third-generation cycles?

• Build public and congressional support for the agreed-upon plan. The audience is the American public and Congress.
Our new president has said it clearly and consistently: Yes we can. And Detroit can, too. We can take a great American industry, one that created the American middle class, and reinvent it to produce the most advanced vehicles in the world. This will reduce our energy and financial dependence on other nations, rescue our climate, and reinvigorate our economy when we need it most.

The American people and our leaders in Washington need to hear Detroit say it loudly, and at long last: Yes, we can.

Go to to read more about my proposal and to sign my petition to Congress. Change starts from the ground up and we all need to work together to make this happen!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nancy to be on TV this Saturday

Tune in to watch Nancy on Fox News' Bulls & Bears at 10:00 a.m. ET this Saturday, March 28.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tune in to see Nancy on TV on Saturday, March 21

Nancy will be appearing on Fox News' "Cashin' In" this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Tune in to watch her in action.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Free archives of the show are now available

Free archives of the show are now available, beginning with the March 9 show! Ben Burch of the White Rose Society has been kind enough to archive the shows until Nancy's podcasting becomes available when her full-featured Web site is up and running.

Go to, scroll down to the Table of Contents and click on The Nancy Skinner Show. A list of the available shows will then appear. Note that it may take a few minutes for a show to open and play once you click on it. You also can save the files to your computer to play at your convenience.

Now, even if you can't listen to the show live, you can listen to the show!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Post your comments here

Please post any comments about my MSNBC appearance here.

Tune in to MSNBC at 11:30 a.m. ET this morning

I will be appearing on MSNBC this morning at 11:30 a.m. ET. Sorry for the late notice. Please tune in if you can and then come back here and comment!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stay tuned...trouble is coming!

Watch this space for my first blog in the near future.