Nov 15, 2008

President-elect Obama and Congressional Democrats attempt to put out a fire. Not to worry, the missing lye bottles have turned up...empty. It seems that the evil meth scientists have found that they can pour the contents of the bottles into something else, perhaps their pockets, and simply stroll out of the store. How do a bunch of brain dead stoners come up with this stuff? By the way, the hardware store had a 20% off promotion today. Most things in stock were 20% off. We may be in a recession, depression, compression or obsession, but you couldn't tell it today. We were flooded with customers and did about three days worth of business in one day. This may hurt future sales, because the regulars stocked up today, but for a least one day, it was the good old days. And speaking of recession, I have been thinking about this latest mess involving the auto manufacturers. You know, the mess where we give them $50 billion bucks to continue to build over-priced cars, that no one wants to buy? What do you call the government propping up obsolescence and inferior quality? The old Soviet Union. A lot of smart people are warning that should GM, Ford and/or Chrysler go broke, all hell will break loose, sending everyone left in the US who has a job, to the bread lines. Unfortunately, that may not that far off. A lot of folks depend on the auto industry for their livelihood, but the answer lies not in doing more of the same. Merle Wayne Sneed has decided to throw his considerable influence against giving GM, Ford and Chrysler any federal money. I think an investment in the past is a really bad idea. Take $50b and give it to people with actual innovative ideas and a firmer grasp on the financial realities of the average American. The auto companies have become nothing more than giant health care providers with a few obsolete cars out front. The profitability issues of the US car makers can be traced to the high cost of the wages and benefits they pay. For many years the Big Three have forced large trucks and SUVs on us because those are the vehicles that are profitable. They cannot sell small efficient cars because their overhead won't allow it. Trust me when I tell you that a Chevy Tahoe retailing at $40,000 doesn't cost twice as much to build as an Impala selling for $20,000. It is just that there isn't much profit in the Impala, so they have to make it up on the Tahoe. GM has about two and one half retirees for every active worker. Those retirees are enjoying free health care for themselves and their spouses for life. Any part of a government bailout should require that active and retired autoworkers pick up at least a modest part of their monthly premium and screw the labor contracts. Don't tell me that you worked for it, that's crap. The average hourly labor cost among the former Big Three is $75 per hour. That's wages and benefits. The Toyota, Honda and Nissan costs are a third lower. GM and its fellows, Ford, Chrysler and the UAW will moan all day long that the Japanese makers have a structural advantage because of the nationalized health care system they employ. That is a load of crappola. The Japanese may have a different health care system, but the average employee of a Japanese automaker pays more for health care than the average UAW member. The Dead Three are complaining because they got strong armed by their unions into picking up more of the costs. The average family in the US has a $1000 per month out-of-pocket cost for health care, including insurance premiums. Fair is fair, folks. GM, Ford and Chrysler can give anyone anything they like, except when it is on my dime. They remain free to go broke through their generosity. In a bit of irony, Bush and the Repubs are against the loans, while Mr. Obama and the Dems favor propping up the dying giants. Where is the change we voted for? It's time to do something different. Painful in the short term, but good for us in the long run. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

11 comments:

Julia said...

I had no idea the auto workers' benefits were so good. We should've moved to Detroit and got in while it was good.

Megan said...

The UAW were one of the first in line on the barricades (and glad I am that they held out), but you have to admit they've been milking it ever since...

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

We think they should go bankrupt...
and get out from under the union and start over...

Mike says our government is partly to blame b/c of their failure b/c they impose so many laws on them, too.

Government is getting tooooo big and chipping away at our constitution.

And before Obama raises taxes up to 300 percent on firearms... I got me a 357 today!! We've been wanted to get one for a couple years now... home invasions here are on the rise...
but figured we would get one before they are taxed like crazy...

going to stock up on ammo too.

Coffee Messiah said...

Although I'd like to comment, I can't follow the previous comment, I'm speechless.....; (

Reya Mellicker said...

I am on the same wavelength as you Merle. For decades the auto industry has pushed against the common wisdom of developing more efficient, smaller cars. That's why everyone drives Hondas and Toyotas. Did they develop hybrids? Only at the last second when gas prices began to shoot upwards like geysers.

I feel for the people who work for the industry, but I have no sympathy for the folks at the top who made the short sighted, stupid decisions.

Give the $$ to people with good ideas. YES.

Squirrel said...

I'm with Coffee, I feel sorry for some people.

bitchlet said...

You should be on a talk show, Merle.

No union enjoys such great benefits here. And unions we have aplenty.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Geez you all, I'm not an idiot.

We (my husband and I) read up and stay informed on these things.
We don't just simply listen to the main stream media and take it for Gospel.

I am not an idiot.

I just don't think like you all.

Steve said...

I was talking last night with my family about this very issue. If Ford, GM and Chrysler all went out of business, we'd still have a domestic auto industry, because all the foreign auto companies have plants here. It's not like the business of building cars in the United States would fold -- just the badly designed, crappy cars.

So I'm with you, Merle. Let 'em collapse.

My Mom, however, said she thinks maintaining a domestic auto industry free from foreign influence is important for national defense, and that's why Washington wants to prop them up.

As for the union, I think unions are vital, but they also can go overboard. Many union laborers have it way too cushy. And unfortunately the Dems are tied tightly to unions, so I'm not sure you're going to see much critical thinking coming from the Democratic party on that issue.

bella rum said...

I was looking forward to your take on this. I figured you'd broach the subject. My husband has been singing a very similar tune. I'm far from an expert on this, but as long as a decade ago, even I could see this coming.

They made every bad decision that could possibly be made. They're dinosaurs. At times they even lured the public into buying the big gas guzzlers by offering packages that gave the purchaser very cheap gas for the first year.

If we bail them out, the government better place some pretty stiff demands on them....like reducing gas mileage every year with a goal of cars that can get 40MPH within a few years. It seems they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Nan Patience said...

Domestic auto makers seem like one of the last bastions of the unionized workforce here in the USA, where ordinary people could work and live with dignity and security. Alas, history doesn't stand still. What no one seems able or willing to accept is that the global economy is here to stay. It seems that we have all been thrust rather suddenly out into the world. And our borders remain open to newcomers who are delighted to take many domestic jobs. We all have to buck up, wake up, and use what our mamas and our daddies gave us.

Bail out the auto makers? Can we hold them to some conditions first? I'd hate to continue throwing money away into failing institutions...