Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Class Act

Well my apologies in advance. Yesterday I went all financial on you and today I am going to go all political on you. Of course I don't really know what you are looking for when you come to this blog, or who exactly is coming here but if you were looking for something besides my getting up on the soapbox again, I apologize.

Monday's Wall Street Journal had a couple of articles that made me laugh when I read them, both about our big three auto makers.

First, the U.S. auto makers are, in addition to asking for their $25 billion (that's $25,000,000,000), are also requesting that the U.S. government provide federal incentives to people to induce them to buy cars. The government needs to take measures to get the market back up to a sales rate of 14-15 million cars per year, up from the current annualized estimate of 11 million. After that happens, said a key executive, "..We can figure out how to survive at that level."

Well duh, what were you doing all the rest of the time when you made such shoddy cars and did whatever you felt like doing and ignored consumers? I think they had better figure out how to survive at their present level, the one they got their own selves into, without asking for more handouts from people. When the other car companies come looking for handouts, then maybe the pleas of our own big three may have some merit, but for now they don't.

If you get in your own private jet to fly to Washington to ask for $25 billion, isn't that saying something right there? When congress asks you point blank if you'd be willing for work for $1 of salary and live off the millions you socked away while your company was going down the tubes until this mess is fixed and you refuse to do so, isn't that saying something, too?

It isn't as though the auto makers were doing dandy before the current economic crisis hit. They were already skidding downhill. Let them skid some more. Why should us taxpayers bail out a bunch of losers? If they disappear, a more efficient company will appear in their place; that's why you don't see dinosaurs and Edsels around anymore.

The second article mentioned a bunch of cost-cutting measures that have been implemented at the big three auto company offices. Things like wall clocks no longer being serviced, regular pencils replacing mechanical ones, and other nickel and dime cutbacks to save money.

The push to eliminate waste and cut costs is to be applauded, but as one employee commented, "Is this the best they can do to save money?"

I have to agree. While all this nickel and diming is taking place, how much are the executives and upper management suffering? Are their salaries being reduced and are their plush offices going without remodeling during this time? What about those private jets? Are the big guys suffering right along with the little guys? I don't think so.

I feel badly for the worker bees in those companies but if we bail out the big three, in essence what we are doing is bailing out the execs so they can turn around and go back to their old ways again and hope things don't run into the ground. They will never learn. Let them take their lumps and that way the worker bees will be activists the next time, and not let this happen again. As long as they keep feeding the fat at the top, what incentive is there to change?

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