Tales From the Bailout

I can’t resist posting this (from John Cole’s comments):


Dramatis Personae

BIG THREE, a manufacturer of automobiles
UAW, Big Three’s employee
MITT ROMNEY, an idiot




BIG THREE: I have plans to build automobiles, but I need labor to do so!
UAW: I will labor for you if you will pay me $40 per hour.
BIG THREE: I will not pay you $40 per hour.
UAW: But I need to save for my inevitible retirement, and any health concerns that may arise.
BIG THREE: I will pay you $30 per hour, plus a generous pension of guaranteed payments and health care upon your retirement.
UAW: Then I agree to work for you!




UAW: I am building cars for you, as I have promised to do!
BIG THREE: I am designing terrible cars that few people want to buy! Also, rather than save for UAW’s inevitible retirement when I will have to pay him the generous pension of guaranteed payments and health care that I promised, I am spending that money under the dubious assumption that my future revenues will be sufficient to meet those obligations.




UAW: I have fulfilled my end of the deal by building the automobiles that you have asked me to build.
BIG THREE: Oh no! I am undone! My automobiles are no longer competitive due to my years of poor planning and poor judgment!
MITT ROMNEY: This is all UAW’s fault!


I think the mess in MoTown is more like “No Exit” which I think is one of the greatest comedies on human nature ever or at least that is what I got out of it…

@ManchuCandidate: I’m thinking Brecht or Ionesco. Brecht/Weil would be even better — imagine Mittster with a singing role.

TJ/Our fabulous RomeGirl/Miss Expatria is having herself quite an evening. Go say hi!


See, I’m getting more of a Waiting For Godot vibe right about now…

I’m just distracted by the fact that GM apparently has a “photo store.” WTF?

@homofascist: Awww, your comment on my blog was the cutest! I am in fact having quite an evening. I’m thinking about holding the room hostage and just not leaving. EVER.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: @ManchuCandidate: See, I was thinking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Awwww, you too! Don’t hate me because I’m FABULOUS. hahahahhah.

@RomeGirl: I went over to read your blog post and I’m seething with envy. My adorable just-out-of-the-closet friend from high school and I did the Eurorail, backpack around Europe thing in 97. We met up in Paris, made out way to the south of France, didn’t like it, and on a whim picked Santa Margherita Ligure as our next destination. When we got there, we just couldn’t believe our luck–we had found heaven. We spent three days swimming, laying in the sun, walking in the hills and around town, eating pasta and drinking wine, swimming again, eating and drinking again, etc. We were eventually priced out of town with our backpack/hostel budget, but it was definitely the highlight of the whole trip.

@flippin eck: I’ve only seen it at night, and I’m already in love. If only your backpacking self could see me now! HA! Jesus, I gotta get rich and just live like this all the time.

Entertaining work of fiction. Some evidence of sympathy for the Unions, but, um, the general tone, representing a hostility to the indfustry based on an inaccurate or at least hopelessly simplistic assessement, will wind up helping Romney and Bush to kill the UAW once and for all.

Noone will buy GMs cars, yet last year GM sold more cars than any other car builder on earth. Yes, it is an enigma how this can be.

And the cost of health care increases each year and has for many years by double the rate of inflation, and GM must pay for the health care of twice as many retired workers as current workers, oh, but this is management’s fault.

The domestics lost many customers and their reputations in the 1970s when they were told to drastically reduce emissions. But this is management’s fault.

Its all management’s fault, they know so little about captialism, that instead of building the 30 horsepower subcompacts that the public is clamoring for, they built large SUVs that everyone hated and would not buy, oh, wait, no, most people loved them and ate them up, even the egregious Hummer. Stupid executives, building what the people want.

@RomeGirl: If I had the means, one of my homes would be there. If you can bring yourself to live like a common plebian during your time there, take the 5k walk down the coast to Portofino. Portofino itself is gorgeous of course, but the walk there is amazing too. Halfway there you’ll see a light sandstone house (if I remember correctly) on a promontory jutting out into the sea–that’s the house I’d like to buy someday.


So what happened then, Prom? Not in a hostile way, of course, but what is your assessment of the problem? Was it simply the credit crunch? Are these executives blameless?

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Toyota and Honda sales were down 30% in November. It’s not just the domestics that are getting killed.

@flippin eck: I will try to find it and take a pic for you tomorrow!

@Dodgerblue: Personally, I say we have mass deployment of rickshaws towed by obese children. We can take care of several problems at once.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Artificially cheap gas for many years of a booming economy, which allowed people to love them their big expensive SUVs, followed by a rapid rise in the price of gas, causing people to suddenly hate their SUVs, followed by a credit crunch, and that credit crunch preceded, we now learn, by a recession we now recognize has been going on for a year.

Like I said before, no business operating on a “just in time” leveraged modern fashion can survive an instantaneous 30% drop in sales. This was the month over month drop from September to October. YTD sales through August were only down 10%, the cliff was hit in October.

The sales slump is affecting all the imports to nearly the same degree.

So why are the big three failing? Oh, I don’t know, I guess they chose to have older, less efficient plants, as opposed to all the brand new plants built by honda and toyota recently. I suppose they chose to have an older work force, with a greater percentage of workers having retired. They chose to stay where they were and pay the UAW, instead of relocating amongst the pigfucking union-haters of Alabama, where they could have cut wages in half, don’t forget to damn those idiots for that dumb move, geeze, arbitraging regional wage variations is the new black, didn’t you know?

Its largely structural. Otherwise, why is GM, which builds many fantastic small, efficient, reliable cars, closer to death than Ford, which just 3 months ago was veiwed as the industry’s basket case, because it doesn’t have shit for product. Maybe GM actually just spent a boatload of money on new models of efficient small cars, and are cash-strapped? Maybe they have been spending boatloads of money on developing the Volt?

Oh, no, its that they are idiots, that must be it.

@Prommie: I have to respectfully disagree. GM is the company that demolished efficient public transportation in the US. Now the changing circumstances are demolishing GM, which does not have some divine right to stay in business. Someone or something else will fill the void.

Let’s not even get into GM’s handling of the EV1 program.

@Dave H: Who Killed the Electric Car?

::ducks and runs::

@Dave H: Ah, yes, the Who Killed Roger Rabbit conspiracy. Its true, the GM of the 30s and 40s did do that. Before GM did that, I could have gotten on a streetcar in Point Pleasant, NJ, and travelled by streetcar to New York. But that was the GM of the 30s and 40s. Go ahead, kill it, cut off your nose to spite your face.


Nobody wants these things to fail, Prom, it’s just that we are horrified to the point of shitting ourselves at the amount of money all this is going to cost, and by god, somebody is going to be responsible for it. I still think we should nationalize them and use them to turn out massive public transit projects. Much better than just handing them a blank check….

@JNOV: It never needed to be killed, JNOV, its a simple matter of physics that they have not yet solved. There has never been, and still isn’t, a safe, long-lasting battery that is able to store enough energy. Thats what they are still working on, the batteries, electric cars are easy to make, right now, all, ALL, trains are electric, they use those diesel motors to run generators to produce the electricity for the electric motors. Electric cars are simple, its making an extension cord long enough that is the problem.

GM has a hydrogen fuel cell test program going on right now in New York, hundreds of people are using hdyrogen fuel cell cars in NY, they cost a million a piece, and even that technology does not give a long enough time between hydrogen refills to be practical. This bailout presents an opportunity, tie it to development of electric cars (of course that does not solve the problem of pollution by the power plants that will make the electricity. Use the bailout to fix the industry, don’t throw away the only industrial base left in america.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: You are horrified at $25 billion for an industry that actually makes something, and one in which the benefits of its activities remain here (employs US workers, their paychecks remain in the US economy) but you are not horrified by $3 trillion for the Wall Street firms that make nothing?

@Promnight: The auto makers are suffering from unfortunate timing – had they been the first in line for the bailout, okay, but at this point all of U.S. ‘Merikah is suffering from Bailout Fatigue ™ and is wondering “When the fuck is this going to stop? Where is my beautiful bailout? Will my grandchildren’s grandchildren be the generation that finally pays this off?”

@Jamie Sommers: Thoughts on this essay about how Gov. Nappy will have a hard time getting confirmed? Besides the fact that I think it’s complete horseshit (GOP will be more than happy to gain the Gov seat & eliminate a challenger to McCain), it’s hard for me to take this dude seriously since he’s completely unable to use commas when needed. My inner copy editor wept when reading it, and it was difficult to move on to the substance of his argument.

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