Friday, November 14, 2008

Bail Out Detroit?

There is a push to bail out yet another failing bunch of SOBs using tax-payer money. After seeing the banks get help Detroit's Big Three (make that sort of big 2½) is saying "Me too." But I say not so fast.

Let's see how the last bail out worked.

We gave money to the banks who had gone into ridiculously risky mortgages given without income or background checks to people who had a hard time buying bread. Then when the mortgages went into default and they couldn't collect they were stumped as to why. So they stopped loaning money altogether. Their errors were hard to hide and pretty soon they showed terrible losses. Then one by one all of the once great financial giants toppled and took our economy and retirement funds with them. Most of the hard working tax paying Americans are now hurting tremendously. Many of them have lost their jobs and many more are about to.

The financial brain trust asked Congress for help and they got billions to the industry to jump start the economy. All the banks had to do was start loaning money again and the economy would not stagnate. The problem was that Congress fell into the trap of answering the proverbial e-mail from Nicaragua. they sent our money out without any stipulations attached.

The banks could not believe their good fortune, literally. Here was money they could use to hide their debt and make the books look good again, almost. And with the money they had left they were able to buy up weaker institutions making it even harder for normal people to get loans in the future.

Two officers (sic) come to mind. The first is for Congress and the second for Detroit.
First Sting who I would like to paraphrase here:
Every move you make - Every breath you take - Every dollar of ours you spend - Every rule you bend - You'll be screwing us.
But since the latest farce is about to take place by helping the auto industry I believe the real policeman I would like to have is Robo Cop.

The incredible, unprecedented, unregulated greed that signaled the end of our current banking industry is well documented and it is not necessary to repeat it here. But I wish to caution against moving forward on the highway of help for Detroit without a GPS (Governmental Planning System.) Of course there is no such thing and the last two words could never fit with the first one but...

So now let's review the auto industry.
Back in the 70's we had a small gas shortage. The disgusting smelly rag-heads of OPEC decided to see if they could screw the world and turned off the pipelines. This caused long lines at any open gas station. I witnessed a scam when a man wearing an apron sold tickets to all the cars on a gas line for $5 each. The tickets were to be handed to the gas attendant to save time at the pump. He left with over $100. I'll bet today he is either a bank CEO or working in congress.

So how did the Big Three react to the gas shortage?
Did they promote fuel efficient cars?
Did they start working on better and safer vehicles?
Did they even notice the pain at the pump?
The best answer comes from the now defunct American Motors Corp. (AMC) Their stable of vehicle was the Nash, the Hudson, the Ramble, and the Gremlin. The last one looked like a half a car and had the best gas mileage of probably any car in the country.
So AMC went out and made more of them and promoted them and advertised them, right?
AMC ignored the car and instead went whole hog for their other product , the gas guzzling Jeep. And AMC was bought at a next to nothing price back in 1987 by Chrysler.

Since that time Detroit forgot about things. Actually they didn't gforget since they never really understood what happened.
But Japan sure did.

The Toyota Prius is the best selling hybrid in America and has been on the road for 8 years. General Motors is touting their "Volt" to be ready ina few years, assuming GM is still around. Eight years ago I had an electric car but we all know how hard Detroit, Exxon, and the Saudis fought against those vehicles.

So Japan and other foreign companies got it right and Detroit could not. So why reward them? The currently structured auto industry that teams the grubby, greedy, grabby hands of both the CEOS of Detroit and the auto-worker's union in a waltz of immense ineptitude is seeking a bailout. Okay let me be careful and clear about my opinion and answer with a well thought out, OVER MY DEAD BODY!

If we just hand more money to morons such as these then we are the true idiots. Lets instead help the auto workers by getting them jobs with the new Big Three, uh Four. Let proven winners take over our auto making for a while. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia and the like should be allowed to move in and take over with the restriction that they build their factories and therefore their cars here in America. They must hire the skilled American workers first and continue to make vehicles as safe and efficient as they have been doing for oh so long.

As for the big wigs of the big 2½ Congress should not only not give them a handout but rather ask them for some of their bonuses and parahutes back to be used by hard working Americans as, you know, gas money.

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