As we all are well aware the Big Three Auto makers have already received a 25 billion bailout package from the Feds. The articulated reason for this advance of Federal money is to “retool” and build new infrastructure in the auto industry to manufacture the new green cars of the future. That is such a vague assessment as to be almost meaningless. More to the point exactly how is that going to benefit the average Joe on Main Street who has a gas using, non hybrid vehicle that he bought only in the last couple of years? He probably plans on drivng that car for several more years. He has no interest in a hybrid now and may not want to pay the additional costs for one later and also may be very reluctant to continue paying for the ethanol subsidy that the Feds give out and the extra costs for fuel to offset the ineffeciencies of ethanol use (it gets about 10% less gas mileage).
Over the weekend we learned of the second grab for Federal monies from the Big Three joined by the UAW. More accurately stated that grab was led by the UAW at the point of a sword. An additional 25 billion as been demanded. If you listened you finally heard what that money was for. It is not to be used in the design or production of any vehicle whether green or traditional but rather for the Union benefits; specifically the money is to be used for health and retirement benefits. That won’t build a green car or a gas guzzler or an electric car. But it sure will buy lots of Union votes in the next election. That money is a political pay off pure and simple and a bribe to the Union to continue its support for Democratic politicians.
I have written before that I believe management at these companies have made mistakes for years in their dealings with the Unions and the design and delivery of their cars. They allowed the labor costs to go throw the roof and therefore for the cars they built to be non competitive with foreign made cars. Well over a hundred thousand Americans work now at car assembly plants owed and operated by foreigners. They make less than their UAW counterparts but they make a very decent wage and they have jobs today and probably will tomorrow also. I do believe that it is good and vital that the US have a vibrate and competitive industrial base. It is in our national interest. I believe the auto industry is a integral part of that mix. However, our policies and labor laws and the greed of the Unions and the thirst for power by the Democrats has given us a situation where we can’t compete. People can talk all they want about any issue relating to this problem but the 800 pound gorilla in the living room that they refuse to even recognize is the bloated and unsustainable labor costs of the UAW.
Bankruptcy would be a much more viable option for these companies. After a complete overhaul and fresh start with labor agreements the Big Three would have a chance for future succcess. I want them to have that success. I want the workers to have decent jobs and good pay. Management would have to restructure the salaries for itself also. But a $75,000.00 job on the assembly line beats the heck out of no job at all. Likewise a manager should be delighted to have a $100,000.00 position rather than no position. Those numbers would probably have to include their benefits. We can’t turn the clock back and pretend that other nations won’t import vehicles at lower prices. We have to compete with Honda, Toyota, etc whether we like it or not. Simply retooling for grandiose schemes of saving the planet or buying political support will not save these industries for the long haul. We need them and I hope realistic and honest minds will find the right solution and make the adjustments. We will develop the technology to power our cars on either non fossil fuels or greatly reduced fossil fuels in time. Let’s take the hard steps that have been delayed for decades now to ensure that American workers are still building those advanced cars of the future when that day arrives. The Unions have indeed killed the Golden Goose. Maybe we can have silver hen which still would be a pretty good deal.
The stirrup was one of the most important inventions of the ages. It allowed a warrior to have stability when mounted to use lance, bow or sword and was a huge advantage over those riding without them. It is not known exactly who started this inovation.