I haven’t been around–too much stupidity eminating from Washington, DC, these days. But I had to comment on the car manufacturer bailout.
The real issue is the automakers are a prime example of the kind of “public-private partnership” the Dems want to spread into other major industries.
All of what you see today is the result of the “give and take” of unions, government regulations, and gutless management. And, like in the Fred Thompson vid linked below (though he’s speaking of spending in general), the Dems propose more, not less. One proposal is for a bureaucrat in Washington to dictate what kind and quantities of models the manufacturers make. That won’t work, so they’ll pour more money in, demanding more say-so, and before long, you’ll have a Department of Automobile Manufacturing and all the workers will be government employees (which I guess you could argue this bailout would make them anyway).
What’s moronic is that leftist, central government, five-year plan types scream that if Detroit had only made smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, we wouldn’t be in this mess. What kind of brainless idiot can sit there and look at the sales figures for the American auto makers as well as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan all change their product mix to accommodate American taste for big trucks and suv’s and then claim American companies should have concentrated on a product mix that hasn’t EVER claimed more than a fraction of the car market in America?
The surge of the foreign makers was ALWAYS quality driven, not size/fuel efficiency. Those were nice perks driven by overseas markets where gasoline was 4 and 5 times what it is here, but what Americans really bought was the higher quality manufacturing during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s–and while that gap has largely been closed, absent any unforeseen collapse of the foreign manufacturer’s quality, there is no room in that category for the Americans to ever establish the kind of dominance the foreign car makers established during those decades. And while it’s certainly diminished, the perception still persists to some extent.
The only way that Ford, Chrysler, and GM can ever regain any semblance of their former glory is to grow a pair (each, instead of sharing), tell Washington to go to hell, and do their thing. Take Ch. 11, reorganize without the legacy costs, bring in new management that isn’t so enamored/intimidated by the dilettantes in Washington D.C., and GO TO WORK. Absent that, you will see the American side of the industry turned into another, even shoddier bureaucratic blunder. Remember how the Russians had 1945 models in the 80’s? That’s where we’re headed if we don’t stop this train. First, they’ll change the whole product mix to suit their nutty agenda. When it doesn’t sell, they’ll regulate the import market with protectionist duties until it doesn’t exist anymore. Then we’ll HAVE to buy their bureaucrap until the American people have finally had enough. The biggest question is how much fear and distrust of the free market and capitalism can the Dems generate in the next 2 years?