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Articles by Michael Moynihan

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  • S&P cites automakers’ cashflow concerns

    Originally posted at the NDN Blog.

    While news about high fuel prices this past week centered on disingenuous calls by President Bush and others to drill our way out of the crisis, perhaps the most significant -- and ominous event -- was the barely publicized action by S&P Friday to place the Big Three U.S. automakers on a credit watch. In taking the action, S&P cited "renewed concerns about the three car makers' future cash flows."

    Given Ford's preexisting troubles -- accentuated by its announcement last week as well that it is postponing relaunch of its star vehicle, the F150 truck -- Chrysler's uncertain future under private equity management, and GM's plummeting market share, the announcement raises real questions about the survival of the U.S. auto industry.

    Domestic car sales were already down about two million vehicles this year from their high in 2006 before the current fuel crisis. Plummeting sales and oceans of red ink -- as customers struggling under the weight of sky-high consumer debt payments and declining wages eschew the gas guzzling stars of only two years ago -- threaten the U.S. auto industry's very existence. The potential collapse of the Big Three -- still the second largest employer in the country after the government -- calls into question the very essence of the American way of life.

  • Conservative arguments to the contrary are intellectually bankrupt

    Originally posted at the NDN blog.

    Of the various false solutions being proposed to the current oil shock perhaps none is more disingenous than the idea that it can be solved by drilling in the Alaskan wilderness and along the Outer Continental Shelf. This is the idea that the right wing media, recently John McCain, and now President Bush have been pushing as a cure-all for soaring oil prices. Since many Democrats oppose this drilling, the next false logical step is to say Democrats are to blame. This was the thrust of President Bush's energy proposal yesterday, one that only highlights the intellectual dishonesty and partisanship of this failed administration.

    Is more drilling the answer? No, for three reasons.

  • Notes from a plug-in hybrid conference

    Silicon Valley came to Washington this week to talk about plug-in hybrids at a great conference organized by Google.org with Brookings. The combination of tech visionaries, electric cars on display, Washington heavy hitters such as John Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and even a couple of film stars, Peter Horton and Anne Sexton of Who Killed the Electric Car?, made for a great meeting.

    Here are my notes from the standing room only event ...

  • Lack of credit threatens solar industry

    Originally posted at the NDN Blog.

    The failure of the Senate to obtain cloture on the Solar Investment Tax Credit -- coming on the heels of the collapse of climate change legislation last Friday -- should send a wake up call to the environment and clean technology communities that a new more forceful strategy is needed to make progress on climate change and energy independence.

    At a moment when the U.S. economy is suffering from the effects of a full blown oil shock, when the United States is fighting a hot war in the Middle East in part to protect access to oil in a volatile region, and when much of the domestic news consists of extreme weather reports -- from floods in the Midwest to school closings in the east due to dangerous temperatures though it is not yet summer -- it is hard to fathom the lack of leadership on energy issues coming out of Washington.