The Latin word "fiat" means, "Let it be done." In English common law, a "fiat" is "a short order or warrant of a judge or magistrate directing some act to be done; an authority issuing from some competent source for the doing of some legal act." (Black's Law Dictionary) It thus comes across as something more than a coincidence that Mr. Obama's "solution" to the current automakers' crisis is that Chrysler should be acquired by Fiat. Matters have reached such a pitch that we received an unsubstantiated report an hour ago that Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., the company holding the majority of Chrysler shares outstanding (in the neighborhood of 80% we understand) has turned over its shares to the federal government.
We repeat that we have not confirmed this report. If true, it shows an almost complete disregard for an industry that many regard as quintessentially American (regardless who invented the automobile . . .), and the flight overseas not only of jobs, but of basic industries. The sad thing is that we have the capacity in this country not only to save the U.S. auto industry, but CESJ has realized that capacity by helping to develop a specific proposal to have the workers and retirees purchase the companies at a fair market value following a Chapter 11 reorganization.
With so little time to organize a protest over the federal government's narrow vision and heavy-handed approach to the situation, it's not clear what can be done in the time allotted. The fact that any plan has to meet with the approval of the very organization that has already specified what will be acceptable is highly irregular, to say the least. There is no objective third party that can stand back and give a little perspective, or assess the fairness of what is proposed.
We have heard another unsubstantiated report that there will be an effort to organize a "town meeting" in Detroit. Whether such a meeting (if it comes off) will have any effect is hard to say. What is clear, however, is that if you don't want America's auto industry to be moved overseas, or even eliminated entirely to meet the corporate strategy of Fiat, then it may be time now to send an e-mail or telephone your Senators and your Representative in Congress. Let them know that you are in favor of a worker buyout, and not the potential loss of still more jobs and industries overseas.