Saturday, September 19, 2009

So like a Republican (or any conservative)

To be frank, I both get it, and don't get it. I have refrained for the most part from blogging on the subject of the auto industry bail out. There have been a few posts, but not a lot. My livelihood depends on the domestic auto industry and so I have been restrained.
Now I'm going to say it. The attitude displayed here by the American Voting Public is just plain stupid:
"My Mustang aside, the greatest automobile in the history of the world may have been the ‘57 Chevy. It liberated the nation to see the USA in their… well, you know the rest. The common man had what the rich man had — without Eisenhower Motors.

Now GM is on the ropes thanks to decades of stupidity on a scale seldom seen outside of Congress.

Rasmussen polled the people and found the voters think the government has helped GM enough.

Rasmussen polled the people and found the voters think the government has helped GM enough."
'If GM requests more money to stay in business, only 16% now think the federal government should provide it. Sixty-one percent (61%) say no more taxpayer money should be given to the automaker,' Rasmussen reported. 'Interestingly, those who currently own GM cars are more strongly opposed to any further bailout of the company than are non-GM owners.'
"Over the years, I have owned an Oldsmobile, a Buick, a Chevy… no complaints. I just like the Mustang’s look."
'Most Americans (58%) still say Ford, the company that didn’t take a government bailout, is the Big Three automaker that has the best chance of surviving and becoming profitable again,'
(Found at Don Surber.)
I've finally condensed down to something relatively short, what the problem with the car industry in the United States has been for probably 20 years or more. Collectively the "Big Three" couldn't afford to shut down their assembly lines for 2 months. Their fixed costs included compensation to too many people not working and still getting paid. That's the short form of it. Rephrased, the US Auto industry was bankrupt a long time ago if it had to shut down the plants for 60 days.

In other industries, salaries and wages are variable costs and as draconian as it may seem, an industry could survive in hard times to pay you another day, by closing it's plants and turning out the lights. Stinks to be you if you're a wage earner, but when they opened again, you had a job. That ceased to be a strategy for the US Auto industry years ago, so they kept plants open, losing money on making cars and discounting them in slow times. Why? Because they lost more money paying people to do nothing.

I'm not prepared to argue with anyone (without wanting to explode at the same time) how it got that way. Let's just say there is blame to go around and it doesn't all settle on Auto Industry Fat Cats, the convenient location both those on the right and left like to place most of the blame. We have a new Little Three left over, and Ford's problems are the same as those of GM's and Chrysler's prior to both going bankrupt. All were losing money. 67% of the US auto industry going down the tubes with one remaining almost assures that the next time we're having this discussion (and there will be a next time), 100% of the Auto Industry (Ford) would be on the chopping block.

In the highly regulated environment of selling cars in the United States, emissions, safety, warranty concerns and fuel economy, the entry level costs are too high for anyone to get into the business any longer. Ask Tucker. Ask DeLorean. Essentially you have to set up shop simultaneously in 48 states and produce a product that passes the scrutiny of the Feds, several big states such as California and the insurance industry.

Are you going to buy that car if and when someone tries to do that? Probably not. It probably will not happen. Tesla is TRYING, but right now they are not making cars for ma and pa. Tesla's are expensive and custom ordered. I do not count them as automobiles in reality. You might as well say that Checker, when they made cars, was an American car company. Checker is said to have gone out of business in June of this year. Did anybody notice? By the time they went, they were so insignificant a player that not of us cared. What's left of Checker seems to be owned by the Canadian company, the "Narmco Group. Their website says they're still there, as a stamping plant.

What's my point? You don't want an America without an domestic auto industry. They are a strategic industry. Try to go to war with the country you're BUYING cars and trucks from. See how that works. I am not a trade protectionist, but if you figure you're going to take out your rage on the auto companies that took Federal help by driving them out of business through lack of patronage, you might as well put a gun to your head.

Similarly you figured you'd "show us" when you didn't like John McCain, and you put the Obama/Acorn/Democrat/Liberal gun to our heads in the last election.

How's that working out for you?

Is the satisfaction (schadenfreude) of seeing those guys get theirs enough comfort for you when you cut the rope we are all clinging to, to see them fall?

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