Friday, December 5, 2008

Bah Humbug, Beg 3. Only coal for you in your stockings.


Bah Humbug.

I say that because I am so confused and angry about the Big 3.

I posted on this a few weeks ago, but it is still an on-going issue and the CEOs and UAW leaders go way beyond the naughty list to the "consciously unrepentant" list.

The "Beg" 3 automakers continue their attempt to get government support for their terrible business models and even crappier vehicle models. What irks me is that GM HAD an electric car (they subsequently crushed all of them) in the 1990s. Now we are expected to shell out billions of dollars to union stooges who, while lining their own pockets, are in DC with hands out, palms up, waiting for congress to write them an enormous check?

Don't misunderstand me. I feel horribly for the families this will affect. Please read these highlighted comments. They are a fearful glimpse of what might happen to real people in real places if the American Auto Empire falls. I do not blame the workers, but blame the company and the union leaders; make them culpable. Don't make us foot the bill when folks like us are struggling to get to the first of the month and drooling for student loan money that is coming in January.

This year I am giving home-made gifts to family. We cannot afford to shop, our cat got sick and the vet bills have taken over what we had in savings. But we can still afford to visit loved ones, which is priceless, and X-Mas isn't about stuff anyway-- we get it. Besides, who would want to deal with all the crazies at the stores:



I say let them file for bankruptcy protection (let the BANKS bail them out using some of that 700 billion they already got from us). Restructuring will clean house and prevent them from coming back in a month asking for more. The current bailout of 34 billion is just a start-- it's grown 9 billion over the last two weeks even with the selling of their corporate jet fleet and token driving to DC in their hybrid cars (*hmph*). Some experts say 90 billion is needed to get them out of the hole. You know me and big numbers:

90,000,000,000.00

None of us will ever see that many zeros in a ten thousand lifetimes. Neither should the Beg 3.

Thanks, Aliceson, for your input and sharing that blog. Everyone should see the human side to this.

PS: Today's Daily Confucius below is so synchronous with this post: He who will not economize will have to agonize. Let the Big 3 take this to heart.

"American Triplets" Mike Lane, Baltimore Maryland
Christmas shoppers, Eric Allie, Chicago

10 comments:

Aliceson December 5, 2008 at 10:30 AM  

I agree with you that these companies need to take responsibility for their bad business practices, but I too see the other side of things. The Janesville GM plant here in Wisconsin is closing Dec. 23. Sad, really.

Check out these posts by a stay at home dad from Detroit. Truly eye-opening for me.

http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2008/11/dont-let-them-die.html

http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2008/11/auto-industry-quick-postscript.html

http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2008/10/open-campus.html

http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2008/11/follow-up-jane-cooper-school.html

Have a great weekend!

Aliceson December 5, 2008 at 10:32 AM  

I think I did the links wrong because they didn't turn blue.

Grrrr. And I was doing so well...

skyewriter December 5, 2008 at 11:01 AM  

Sweet Juniper has humanized the plight of Michiganders. I whole-heartedly agree about the demise of voc-ed in High Schools. Thanks for those links. They made me think. And cry a little at the empty school. I cannot believe she braved going in there! The sad pile of books, the lifeless trash-strewn classrooms. The still hanging student-projects in the hallways. *sniffle*

I have had so many students in the writing classes I teach here at the university that should not be in college. They want to work on cars, or be construction workers, or electricians, or cooks. One even wanted to be an Extreme Fighter (he had to explain it to me, so he did his final project on the sport). Not engineers and communications majors. College isn't for everyone and more people should realize that a college degree doesn't open doors the way it used to. College is now about an M.A. degree if you want a good paying job to pay back student loans.

It's sad really, and overwhelming, when you think about how systemic the problem is.

Thanks so much for the links; I'm going to edit my post and copy them into it. It's tough to reconcile both sides.

Cerebus December 5, 2008 at 12:12 PM  

Chapter 11 is not failure! It is breathing space to get your act together. I believe every worker should be paid a fair and equitable salary based on his or her productivity and expertise. How then does this justify the the salary equivalent of $75.00 per hour for the average line worker in the auto industry? Even if you back out the cost of medical insurance and retirement, the pay is around 100K per year. What do teachers in Lansing, Flint or Detroit make?
Chapter 11 will allow these companies to renegotiate the union contracts, address the excessive compensation paid to executives, and design a vehicle sold on the basis of it's utility, not it's "sex appeal".

skyewriter December 5, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

Nicely put, Cerebus. As a teacher myself, I appreciate your comparison.

I agree, too; Chapter 11 is called reorganization for a reason, right?

Thanks for stopping by. Really.

jrenphotos December 5, 2008 at 3:01 PM  

I say if we bail them out (IF... I'm not convinced we should) then we make them start cranking out hybrids and cars that get 50 miles to the gallon by 2011 or something like that.

Also, Honda I hear is doing just fine. If they'd make a quality product that wouldn't die six months after the final payment then maybe they wouldn't NEED a bailout.

*sigh*

RYN on my blog: Thank you!!! It's good to get feedback from people since it's hard to judge for myself sometimes how this photography thing is progressing. :)

Seeing Eye Chick December 5, 2008 at 3:34 PM  

Great cartoon at the top. Be sure and post that at M&H.

And for the Record. Tesla Motors already produces Electric Cars that go 120 Miles without using a drop of gasoline and recharge fully in only 3 hours.

Uh, why are we paying the big three anything to produce something so incredibly inferior {AGAIN} in terms of technology and performance when we should be paying people who already produce what we need and just need a bigger operation to handle demand and bring down cost. ?!

Let the Oil Companies bail the big three out.

skyewriter December 5, 2008 at 6:00 PM  

When I travel to see certain family members in red parts of rural IL, I have overheard folks call Hondas (or any other Asian brand) "Rice Burners".

Well, America produces only Fuel and Money Burners.

I'll keep my Honda even if some see it as un-American. I've been burned by two American made cars; replaced the timing belt before 75,000 miles on both. That's quite an expense. One of those cars was always sick (I bought it from my mom who was the only previous owner and kept it tip-top shape). I'd buy American if it was a good product.

I hope our Congressional reps (I've contacted all of mine) figure out that this is a car wreck waiting to happen.

Let the American automakers join the 21st century and be part of leading our economy into a greener pasture.

Arlene December 6, 2008 at 4:25 AM  

Living in the UK, I am a little out of touch with what is going on in my homeland, so when I heard about the government wanting to bail out the car giants I felt a bit sick. I understand that people's lives will be affected if they lose their jobs. It just happened to me due to bad management and that was a little company. When taking the bus to work, I passed by an American Carriage Company car dealership selling big assed gas guzzlers such as hummers and other rubbish sports cars such as the modern Mustangs (???). The same cars have been sitting in the lot for the past year. It's bad enough we have people driving Range Rovers, our town roads are narrow! And they drive stick shifts in the city! I own a VW Golf Automatic.
I feel sorry for my people.
I am sorry to hear about your cat and hope she gets better soon.
A cat lover too.

Sidhe December 6, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

While Detroit begs for our money and we see how this crisis affects real humans, keep in mind, this crisis has been affecting us real humans for years and bailing the Big 3 out will only maintain the status quo. I live in Michigan (not near Detroit, where there are such things as Adult Medical Programs, Public Transportation, Homeless Shelters...you know community support services. We don't have those things here, though our unemployment rate is above 13%). I've seen the nearby manufacturing town of Cadillac (yes, Cadillac) reduced to a non-stop drama of lay offs and public assistance requests (the lay offs started well before these yahoos went to DC with their hands outstretched, yup we've enjoyed double digit unemployment for quite some time now). These jobs aren't coming back either way: bailout or restructure. Time for the State of Michigan to spend some time attracting growing business to our state.
If the Big 3 get a hand out, there's really no incentive to adopt better business practices (what are the banks doing with the $700 billion bailout money?). The demise will only be more difficult if we prolong it, yank that bandaid off now and lets plan for a better day!
P.S. Excuse my ranting, I just can't fathom the audacity of billionaires asking OUR government for OUR money when most of us are already prepping our children for a slim holiday and worried about our next house payment, car payment...

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