I remain firmly convinced that Glenn Beck is really Robin Williams in a full body suit, and we're all being punked.
You know, the American flags used by the Republicans and Democrats at their respective conventions had "Made in China" tags on them. We can't even manufacture faux patriotism without a little help from President Hu anymore.
Bailing out the car industry reminds me of having my finger infection lanced: it hurt, it was disgusting and it felt awful psychically because I hadn't done anything to deserve it, at least not anything I hadn't done many times before with no particularly bad end.But it had to be done because the alternatives were worse.It is a myth that we live in a free market system. We've never had the balls to live in a free market and we're not about to grow a pair now when for the first time this generation we're starting to feel deprived of things.The upshot is that, while it's tempting to say "Let it burn," the fact is that the result would be disastrous and possibly irretrievable for much the same reason that we will paradoxically never ban smoking or legalize drugs.
I love my Dodge and I'd buy another one. It's not an "either or" situation. Bankruptcy would do wonders for the American car industry. The "big three" aren't going anywhere. They might become the "big two" but that's not so bad.
I drive a Saturn, which, since it was bought by GM a few years ago, still makes good cars, but the company's gone down the toilet, and soon it will be just "gone," as will Pontiac. That'll teach me to buy a (mostly) American car. But I digress. I don't buy this "had to be done" bullshit. You do not make a fiscally non-viable company viable simply by infusing cash into it. And without major overhauls that neither the companies nor the unions will seriously embrace, this is like trying to stop a hemmorhage with a band-aid. Let the companies fail and while it will hurt in the short run, Americans are inventive, and I believe newer and better companies would rise up to fill the market need.
Like it or not, bailing out the Big 3 is like trying to bail out a sinking boat with a teaspoon. It's going to sink - it's just a matter of when. It'll only be worse the longer it takes.
Now it seems that Ford is bailing on the bailout. I guess it didn't "have to be done" for Ford.
Saturn is (and always was) a GM brand. Like Pontiac. That's part of the problem.
The thing is that, minus a few major regulatory changes, the American car companies are zombies. They cannot compete with what they currently make, and making their products competitive, given their baked-in labor costs, would be more than the American consumer would be willing to pay.Step one, in my opinion, is to get rid of the "two fleet" requirement for calculating Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) based on domestic vs. imported automobiles, which forces the Big Three to build inferior small cars here at ludicrous labor rates instead of simply importing them from places like Europe where they can be built with better margins. For example, right now, GM doesn't get credit towards CAFE for the Saturn Astra because it's built in Belgium, even though it dusts the American-built Cobalt, G3, etc.
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