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WWRRD?

Yesterday, as word got around about the CEOs of the Big 2.5 automakers hopping on their private jets to go begging before Congress, I found myself thinking about Ronald Reagan, wondering what he would do in this situation. And I find it remarkably easy:

He'd tell them no.

First up, a lot of people say that offering bailout loans to the automakers would keep them out of bankruptcy, which would most likely bust the United Auto Workers -- or, at the very least, diminish their power tremendously. Well, Reagan's stance on abusive union power is very clear: he's against it. When the air traffic controllers went on strike, in direct contravention of federal law and their contract, he gave them 48 hours to return to work. Barely 10% of them did return; the rest were fired and banned from any government employment for three years.

Next, Reagan was a man who loved stories -- even those who were apocryphal -- that reinforced his beliefs. One of his favorite stories was of the woman driving up in a Cadillac to pick up her welfare check.

While that story was never documented, it is very easy to see the parallels between that and the heads of the domestic automakers hopping on their corporate luxury jets and flying down to Washington, DC to beg for a handout. The idiots didn't have the common sense to fly commercial, or even "jet pool" down -- they each took their own.

When someone begs for help and pleads poverty, it helps if they look poor. Fat beggars claiming starvation don't get many handouts.

Ray Stevens, in his song "Would Jesus Wear A Rolex," summed it up perfectly:

Woke up this mornin', turned on the t.v. set.
there in livin' color, was somethin' I can't forget.
This man was preachin' at me, yeah, layin' on the charm
askin' me for twenty, with ten-thousand on his arm.
He wore designer clothes, and a big smile on his face
tellin' me salvation while they sang Amazin' Grace.
Askin' me for money, when he had all the signs of wealth.
I almost wrote a check out, yeah, then I asked myself

Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a fancy car?

Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressin' room have a star?

If He came back tomorrow, well there's somethin' I'd like to know

Could ya tell me, Would Jesus wear a Rolex on His television show?

And if that isn't enough to convince you that the Big 2.5 don't deserve handouts, then I give you the timeless wisdom of Reagan's widow:

"Just Say No."


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Comments (11)

'Zactly. I just got an ove... (Below threshold)

'Zactly. I just got an over-sized, thick, embossed envelope from American Express closed with a gold seal a week or so ago. Inside was a booklet. Each page was 40#, full color, glossy paper, with tissue paper in between each page, all showing how I could use my points. It was a ridiculous advertising expenditure (not to mention the cost of mailing something so heavy). I get stuff like that from them all the time. Yet, they want part of the bailout money for what? This?

How about they restructure their merchant fees and attempt to get back all the businesses they lost by charging more than double what Visa/Mastercard does? That would be a good start. And those heavy fancy envelopes; if they like them so much, how about sending them out upon request?

And put their private planes up on Ebay.

I have been all for a GM ba... (Below threshold)
Larry:

I have been all for a GM bailout - and Ford and Chrysler as well. This isn't out of any sympathy for the auto companies. I am concerned about the downstream suppliers, many, if not most, that will go bankrupt if GM does.

It is the infrastructure that will be a tangled up mess and difficult to restructure that tells the difference between the US having an auto industry and not having one.

I give two hoots about the union.

If GM could come up with something that insures the survivability of the auto industry parts and subassembly business, I say let them restructure under Chapter 11. Without that caveat, we are truly looking at a mess.

Somebody, preferably a legal mind, tell me how you do it, please.

Larry, again, we can't and ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Larry, again, we can't and shouldn't give the automakers ANY money if they do not change their business model first including restructuring the union contracts and retiree benefits. They will just be back in a few months. They, the whole auto industry up there, got themselves into it, yes the workers to, let them work there way out of their own mess.

A man in Alabama said "Why should some of my $25.00 and hour go to help someone making $75.00 an hour?" That says it all.

Detroit and Michigan set themselves up as a one hit wonder and should have diversified over the years since they have lost 40% of the market over four decades, but they did nothing but line their pockets, all of them. Now they are crying. They should, they are afraid and their actions have consequences. It is called learning. ww

I had a patient once who ha... (Below threshold)
epador:

I had a patient once who had Medicaid and drove a Caddy to her appointments. Turns out she had three different names and welfare checks, two different husbands and no real kids. Her address changed from Lansing to Jackson MI and I never heard from her again. (It was a long time ago before the CF closed).

On the bailout whinings: How much money being thrown out to American companies compares to the billions we ship to China from Walmart and our wallets? The indiscriminate consumer has as much to answer for as the Big 2.5, and has as much behavior change to consider before we spend our country out of existence.

Choke, gasp, gurgle, oh no,... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Choke, gasp, gurgle, oh no, I agree with Willie. Will my grandchildren ever forgive me?

Surely businesses would not... (Below threshold)
BPG:

Surely businesses would not let that infrastructure go to waste? Detroit has unique facilities. I would imagine there'd be a company (or companies) that would step in, buy up the Big 3's assets if they go under, and manage them properly.

I think the problem would be of a short-term nature. The downstream suppliers surely had to know, being in the business, that the Big 3's business model would not last.

Oh no! I am giving JFO a sm... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Oh no! I am giving JFO a smiley. :) ww

Reminds me of a clip where ... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Reminds me of a clip where Old Dirty Bastard goes to pick up his welfare check in a limo. This isn't the best version but you get the idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_Dp1IxHY7I

Concerning the 'downstream' suppliers that people are worried about, would it work to simply pay them directly what they are owed?

Before I dissapear for a co... (Below threshold)
Larry:

Before I dissapear for a couple of weeks, let me say this about that:

How much money being thrown out to American companies compares to the billions we ship to China from Walmart and our wallets?

It ain't the cost of labor.

It is the cost of capital, tort!, insurance, retgulations, medical, TORT!, taxes, land and buildings and a host of other costs, a ton of it being regulatory and accounting, that loads American business to the point where it is unable to compete with China and other places.

It isn't the cost of labor.

American workers are the most productive in the world except maybe the Swiss and Germans.

It takes two to three Chinese to do one American's work. And you have to feed them and house them, all of them. Plus you have to pay off the local party and politicians. Been there, got the tee-shirt. Food alone adds 50% to the cost of labor and housing is NOT cheap.

Our manufacturing problems start with TORT!, regulations, taxes and capital.

And lemme give you just one more economic reality - DJ you reading this? - manufacturing ADDS value all the way down, like as a four to seven multiplier on the money made instead of one to one as in teaching or service.

We ALLOWED manufacturing to go overseas for a number of reasons that were NOT the fault of management or the workers.

And the $75.00 an hour per worker means the loaded cost which includes retirement benefits, medical, etc. It sorta like SS is going to be one day soon; one worker supports two retirees.

Yea, we keep stealing from our kids.

Larry, no one is preparing ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Larry, no one is preparing to live off SS or expect to.

I can't believe you are saying labor is not an issue in this. You must not only be pro union but an actual member of a union. ww

First up, a lot of... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
First up, a lot of people say that offering bailout loans to the automakers would keep them out of bankruptcy, which would most likely bust the United Auto Workers -- or, at the very least, diminish their power tremendously
Bankruptcy might end current obligations to the union, but it doesn't end the union.

In a decade more or less, the union will strike its way back to this situation. How can it? Because whenever they are smart about a strike and shutdown profitable car lines, the losses mount astronomically. And its wallstreet and shareholders who demand an agreement. So bankruptcy solves nothing long term.




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