When the number of laid-off people reaches the Greek population, when 3 million work positions are under the risk of being lost, when factories are getting closed the one after the other and the car sales are "frozen", when the biggest automobile companies in world request for a state loan to avoid economic collapse then the "American dream" has turned to a nightmare.
With car sales of more than 10.000.000 vehicles internationally and 70% part of the world market, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (GM) are the "Big Three".
While income is not enough for him to pay the mortgage, the needs of her soon to be born baby and while the health problems of his wife are getting worse, Walter, Teresa and Taffiri are three out of thousands of unemployed who used to work in the car industry in the US.
While the whole world is watching impatiently the first few moves of the new elected American President, the creators of the distinguished MEGA TV documentary series travel to the "land of four wheels", Detroit MI, and present the rise and the fall of the three colossus of American auto-industry in a new documentary entitled "The Big Three".
In the beginning of the last century in Detroit Ford, Chrysler and GM constructed their first automobiles. Some decades later, one out of three of the people in the city, known also as the "Motorcity", were working for these companies.
Detroit made cars and Cars made Detroit they used to say. In the beginning of the 60s the population of Detroit climbed to 2 million people.
Today, that the global economic crisis has hit the spine of American industry, Detroit has become a city of thousands of unemployed.
Taffiri used to work for Chrysler. "It almost happened overnight. We knew nothing about planning to cut 25% so soon. It was like they told me, accept the bailout and leave now with something, or be fired later and leave with nothing. After 30 years of performance there, this is what hurt me the most".
59 year old Walter used to work for a big account company in GM. Today he has a problem paying for his house loan. His wife is also unemployed. "We were both left without a job and this makes it even harder. In the last two months I paid my mortgage, but for the month of December I didn’t manage to pay yet and I do not know when I will able to pay it".
Teresa is pregnant of five months. She has stopped working for Ford 7 months ago. "If Big Three shuts down then it is over, it will have to take much time to get over it".
At the same time, in the poorest big city in the US, the pawn shop of Les Gold is getting on really well..."People come here for anything. Some people come because they need some money to put gas for their car. When you are desperate there is nothing that you cannot bring here. They have even brought here an alligator", says the owner, who everyday sees more than 600 people to come in his shop.
Some miles Easter, in the heart of American economy, New York, Mr Paul Nawrocki stands out of the Central Station wearing a handmade board for the pedestrians to see.
It reads: "Almost Homeless" and some information from his resume. Paul is unemployed the last 10 months. "When you stand in the city and you look around you, the economic crisis is not obvious, you do not see who has a hard time. Everybody dresses nicely...When I first put on the board I made the recession something visible...". Paul is afraid that he will have to become homeless if he doesn’t find a job soon. His last hope is that someone passing by will offer him a job, in the busy streets of New York...
In November 2008, the financial crisis, the fall of car sales and Wall Street stock market but also some ambivalent decisions of their managers, lead the executive directors of the Big Three of Detroit opposite the American Congress, asking for 34 million dollars to be saved before making even more lay offs and job cuts.
"I would call them a budge of idiots because they made some wrong decisions in the 90s that still affects us: says Taffiri. "But they chose to do that because they were greedy and short-sighted".
Suddenly, the Big Three begun to look very small...and this is one of the biggest problems the new American president has to face.