Friday, December 5, 2008

The great bailout

Banks, mortgage companies, financial institutions, municipalities - they are all standing in line to be recipients of part of the government's $700 billion bailout.

Most recently, the big 3 automakers have returned to Washington to plead their case.

I have been watching the story unfold with great interest. I have vascillated between whether their request should be honored, or whether the powers that be - our elected officials - should simply tell them no. I was struck by one senator who likened the asking to that of a college student coming home and asking for money. The senator's first instinct would be to ask the student for their credit cards.

The automakers should hand in their credit cards, file for bankruptcy protection, take away all the bonuses of their heads, the stock options, get rid of their private jets and other "perks". Only then would they be able to reorganize and restructure their respective companies and that would just be the beginning.

A report on CBS morning news today indicated that sales of the European "Smart Car" are up some 40%. This mess with our automakers here in the US is not simply a product of a recession and a bad economy, but the failure of them to listen to what experts have been telling them.

It costs some $1500 dollars more for a UWA made auto vs. a Toyota made sans union here in the US. That is a huge difference - the hourly pay for a UAW worker is some $70+ dollars including health insurance benefits (how clever of them to disguise it so that we don't know what the bottom dollar figure truly is) vs. some $48 for a non UAW worker. I am not against unions, but what the UAW has done to their members is unconscionable and even abhorrent - they have created a culture of dependency, almost welfare-esque in their members desires to have higher wages and job security, they have veritably blackmailed the automakers into acquiescing to their every whim - some rational and others not so rational.

Methinks congress should send them packing and then they would have to do what the average American is doing during this time - reprioritizing - driving more fuel efficient cars, foregoing large items, bonuses at work and other.

More on this later. I don't think I am finished on this topic yet.

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