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Thursday, November 20, 2008

{{{HAPPY BIRTHDAY Joe Biden}}}

How sweet - amid all the colossal decisions Barack Obama has facing him at the moment, yesterday he took time out to present Vice-President Elect Joe Biden with cupcakes, candles and gifts. Biden's 66th birthday is actually today - but I'm sure there may have been a surprise element to yesterday's celebration. There were twelve candles, and if it is anything like my house, that was probably all they could find. Rather than put a huge pillar candle in the middle, good choice Obama staff.

I would presume that the three big automakers spokesmen, all flew home yesterday, in their mega-million dollar private jets, whilst their tails were between their legs. I do not pretend to be an economist by any means, but considering the automakers have already been given $25 billion, I feel that they should do what the average Joe has to do - file bankruptcy. When these gentlemen were asked if they would raise their hands and agree to sell off these jets and fly commercial - no hands were raised. The gentleman from GM, I believe, does not even live in Detroit and uses the company jet to fly back and forth to his Seattle, Washington home several times a week - now there's some fiscal responsibility.

This is just my view, but it is not like we are at the brink of the precipice and without cars to purchase (if the banks would lend). Look around, car lots are full - I repeat FULL! Used cars have held their resale value for the past 4 years, and with the cost of new autos rising exorbitantly, people have been making genuinely good deals by purchasing used cars. I'm sorry for the impact this may have on the employees...but I am talking reorganizing. These employees will be able to draw unemployment benefits for 26 weeks - during this time, the needed re-tooling can be initiated in these plants to begin producing fuel efficient cars for the future. The CEO's can cut their pays by 50% (and I am being generous), to show America and the employees that an honest effort is being made to become competitive again.

The GM CEO speaking yesterday, stated that their profit margin from the Russian plants was great, and refused to state that any of those dollars could be brought back here and applied to the financial problems in the U.S.

In my mind...if these companies should file bankruptcy and have to reorganize and then cannot compete - too bad. It is not like there wouldn't be someone at some time come in and start up a new auto giant for the future. I hope we have seen the end of these gas guzzlers being produced for only the fat-cats who can afford them, or should I say who ONCE cold afford them.

The day of the "auto giant" monopoly, and the word "blue chip" have gone by the wayside. Nothing is forever it would appear and changes have to made as we march into the future.

Like I said, I am not an economist - but just a lame opinion to put out there.

***Here in the Ohio Valley, we were once the hub of Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel, which no longer exists, having been bought out by a Russian company. Coal mines were a major employer, again, they no longer exist as they once did. Jobs are hard to come by here, even to find a minimum wage job in the retail sector is very hard. But when the Steel mills were asking Washington for help - to keep the companies afloat - nada, nothing, nil! NAFTA became the rule of the day and American construction started using Chinese steel (below specs much of the time.) This is a sad commentary on our country and its priorities. We all need help Washington - you have fucked things up long enough. Maybe (and I say this with sincere hope), things may be put back in some sort of order, to help us move on and prosper, in the next 8 years.



CDP said...

You know, I was in favor of a big three bailout until I heard about the private jets. That is MASSIVE stupidity; if not one person in any of those companies' executive offices thought to say "Hey...maybe not a good idea to fly to DC on a private jet to ask for money", then they probably don't deserve the help. Really, just astonishingly stupid. And you're right, a 50% paycut for those guys is quite generous. Nardelli (Chrysler) got so much severance from Home Depot that he can afford to run the company on the same salary a floor supervisor would make. They really should have had the good sense to come prepared with a list of the concessions and sacrifices THEY were prepared to make; maybe then they would have been successful.

Kulkuri said...

The private jets don't bother me, that's just a handy sound-bite and a distraction. Those planes provide jobs to those who maintain and fly them. Congress should have asked how many would be willing to do like Lee Iacocca did when he was the head of Chyrsler and work for a $1 a year. Also do they plan on giving management bonuses this year??

On the other hand you have to hand it to them for convincing the stupid public to buy things like 4 door pickups with a box so small you can't haul a riding mover or a dirt bike without having the tailgate down!!! Does anyone need a 4 door pickup that isn't a contractor or other business that needs to hual materials and several people at the same time??

Anonymous said...

The bailout debate is driving me crazy. I don't know what the right thing to do is and I think that the blame can be spread around, but the fact is that we're running out of money and I want to see some of it used to actually help people, not just prop up business.

Dave said...

Nobody wants to give up their jets of cours. I personally think that there are too many car companies. Even the big three is probably two too many. Then you add the Toyota, Mazda, BMW etc etc....too many for the number that we need.
If you look at PC's and the number we buy for the household. Then realize that there are far less PC makers than car manufacturers. That is why the PC people stay reasonably profitable.
When Henry Ford started churning out Model T's, there were over 217 companies in the United States making and selling the automobile. Natural shakeout happens. It needs to happen more.
Computers at one time were made and sold by hundreds of different manufacturers. The novelty invites thousands to the playing field.
Natural business evolution or selection took care of that and created a profitable field for the best in the field.
The auto industry needs to loose about 6 or 7 major companies, and then it will be fine.
In my humble opinion anyway.