Monday, July 26, 2010

Rays of Sunlight in the Dark Clouds of America's Future - Boy Scouts and Ford Motors Light the Way!


If you are like me you are desperately searching for ways to find glimmers of hope in the near future of our nation and the politicians and news media are not letting us do that but in spite of the nasty political climate and the partisanship and polarization used by the politicians and media to keep the spotlight on themselves for ratings and re-election purposes, there still may be hope.

You see, unbeknownst to those people inside the beltway in Washington, DC and the media hanging on their every word, there is a whole America outside the beltway that is too busy rebuilding our country to get caught up in the hysteria of politics. People have always been a lot smarter than the elitists in politics and the media.

There are still values and hopes that are maintained by the average American that are far stronger than our political leadership in Washington. There is still a force in the real heartland of America that says we will survive in spite of what the politicians and media tell us. Every day they go about the business of building up our nation rather than tearing it down.

For example, this week the Boy Scouts of America celebrate their 100th anniversary and 45,000 scouts will converge at their camp in Virginia for a week while 275,000 more people will come to the national celebration to enjoy the youth or our nation as they show off the citizenship, survival and physical attributes we will need in our future leaders.

Most baby boomers in America like myself were part of the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs and have a lot of fond memories of what we learned and experienced. For instance in my case about a dozen fellow Scouts and I survived getting caught in a frigid blizzard in Iowa in below zero temperatures for the night. Without the survival training from scouts we would have been dead.

In high school the same group took it upon themselves to recruit friends and spend several years cleaning up an old abandoned lake making it into a beach, park and family campground area which to this day is a popular summer recreation area. We didn't need to be paid for doing this, nor did we expect someone else to do it for us. When we were through we turned it over to the town for all citizens to share. Those are the kind of citizenship lessons we learned from the Scouts.

Then there is the case of the most famous car maker in America and the world, Ford Motor Company. The oldest American car company to survive over a century Ford is 107years old this year and while still controlled by the Ford family it is run by CEO Alan Mulally, without a doubt one of the greatest business executives in American history.

In 2006, just before the worldwide economic meltdown, Mulally stunned the business world by leading Ford to mortgage most of their assets and raise over $24 billion in order to redesign the entire Ford business model and redesign the entire Ford fleet of autos and trucks for the future. As the world economy collapsed Ford was busy implementing a new business model and as major competitors like GM and Chrysler were falling into bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by Obama and the federal government Ford was the sole survivor to not ask for government help.

Today Ford stands alone in it's ability to compete with Japanese rivals like Honda and Toyota and is years ahead of GM and other competitors in modernizing the business, adopting to stricter environmental changes and offering new and redesigned cars and trucks for the future no thanks to the government.

As NBC market analyst Jim Cramer said in an article this morning:

"After looking at this Ford quarter--looking at the cash position, the capitalization structure--I can only marvel at witnessing the greatest single turnaround in American business history. What Alan Mulally has done is nothing short of miraculous.

While his two competitors, with the same cost burdens and the same unions, sputtered and died, Mulally turned his company into what will no doubt be the largest and most profitable auto company on earth. His "Profitable Growth for All" path, PGA for the cognoscenti, delivered $2.6 billion in profits, even as all we hear about is Great Recession, no employment growth, double-dip and uncertain times.

Who knows how much this man can make for shareholders if things get better? While the common is up nicely, the company's fixed-income securities are soaring because soon his financing arm will be minting money from low rates and big car sales.

Ford could have easily slipped under like the rest of them. But from the moment Mulally came on, after engineering the second-greatest turnaround at Boeing, he addressed the capital structure by raising money when it could be raised. He's brilliant about financing, too, as GM was so confident it didn't need to raise money. He saved the company."

Beyond saving Ford as the last independent car company in America Mulally is the premiere cheerleader for leading America out of the recession and back to the top as a world economic leader. If our politicians and news media would tell his story instead of feeding us a constant diet of doom and gloom it would be a much more hopeful and optimistic world.


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