Tuesday, March 31, 2009

$145.6 mil... a DAY!

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

I already mentioned not buying a new car, right? Back on March 21? Not that new cars aren't cool. They are. It's just that a financed $40k cool car isn't in your best interest, especially right now. That car is Detroit's way of shifting the crisis from them to you by getting you to go into great and untimely personal debt on their behalf. They need you to bail them out. That is, after TimmyG and the prez finish up their meddling.

This just in: TimmyG and the prez don't know how to fix the auto industry. Neither of them has run so much as a lemonade stand. They want you to buy cars without them actually having to fix anything. That's the fix. Now the US taxpayer is standing behind your next warranty. Why isn't that a comforting thought?

Next up: Bailout loans get paid out as purchase incentives for suckers who buy cool new cars they can't afford. You heard it here first.

Remember the "car czar" idea that flopped a month ago? Now TimmyG is going to head up an "auto industry panel". That should sound familiar. It's a car czar by committee, every bit as appealing as the economic-bailout-by-committee that we discussed last column. Ain't gonna work, nosiree.

The answer isn't doing what they've always done, which the auto industry panel (an A+ for arrogance on the name) doesn't understand anyway. That's how you got GM into this mess, Mr. Wagoner. Now, of course, GM is too big to fail and too screwed up to succeed. How did we get to the point of telling private industry how to operate and who should preside? Let 'em flop. They're going to anyway so get it over with and don't ask for more taxpayer money.

When I was in Armenia in 2007 there was an employer that was too big to fail so it was perennially propped up by the government. Didn't pay its taxes, didn't compete with anyone, didn't really operate under the same rules as for-profit companies, didn't have any plans to get back on its feet. Why bother when the government is perpetually bailing you out?

This employer produced parts for refrigerators. Russian refrigerators that hadn't themselves been produced since the days of humming round heat exchangers on top. Remember, Armenia has been an economic colony of Russia since forever. They had a guaranteed Russian market for their parts once upon a time but today, no market at all. The few parts that did get made were instant scrap metal which is all they were good for because they didn't fit anything anyway.

Still, the workers show up occasionally, hang around, get paid and are counted as fully employed in the census because, after all, they have jobs. The government is afraid to shut down the plant so things drift along. It embodies the old Soviet phrase "We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us." Think about that for a minute. They government is afraid of what might happen if an unsuccessful company is allowed to fail. Is that where we are? Looks like it from here. That's what happens when socialism replaces capitalism.

Our prez didn't get along with GM CEO Rick Wagoner. The prez fired him and replaced him with Fritz Henderson, whose almost-first act was to announce that he wasn't having any of that buck-a-year nonsense like Wagoner. He wouldn't ask for a raise, not yet, but he darn sure wasn't going to take a pay cut either. So part of our bailout money is going to finance his base pay of $1.3 mil/year.

His almost-second act was to announce to GM employees that bankruptcy is a real possibility. He's OK with that because he'll have a priority claim for his unpaid salary, just like the floor workers and salarymen below him.

Bankruptcy? Wasn't our bailout supposed to at least delay that for a while to give GM a chance to recover? Apparently not, so exactly what did we get for the $13.4 bil we gave GM since last Dec. 31? That's $145.6 mil PER DAY!!! And where is it now? Well, Fritz has one eye on his $1.3 mil/year plus perks. After that it's anybody's guess.

Lest we overlook Chrysler, they're being forced into a shotgun marriage with Italy's Fiat. Fiat is getting 35% of Chrysler for free! Wait, does that include the entire Chrysler bailout to date? And are we going to give them billions more in bailout money? Well?

You remember Fiat, don't you? They once made the nifty 124 Spider and some other cars that Americans didn't want. They were such utter failures in the American auto market -- couldn't keep enough spare parts in stock to handle all the repairs, for one thing -- that they were forced to leave us in 1984 and no one has ever missed them.

You still see 1969 Fiat clones in the former Soviet Union where Ladas and Zhigulis (Fiat sold entire plants to the USSR) still doddle along, belching pollutants that the Soviets (and the Italians before them) didn't require be controlled, collapsing into auto-rubble at incredible rates. Not even Russians will drive Ladas if they can afford anything else. Now Fiat is Chrysler's salvation? Don't count on it. Fiat is a mess.

You heard it here first #2: GM and Chrysler aren't ever going to repay their bailout "loans" and Fiat will go away -- just like they did in 1984 -- as soon as they have milked the American taxpayer out of his last free dollar.

From Eric Bolling's column "What the Car Czars Are Driving Might Shock You" on Foxbusiness.com:

Tim Geithner -- Acura
Larry Summers -- Mazda
Peter Orszag -- Honda
White House Economist Jared Bernstein -- Honda
White House Economic Advisor Austin Goolsbee -- Toyota

They don't believe their own pitch.

Are you mad yet?

Here's my plan: Have Chrysler start making refrigerators in Armenia.

* * * * *

We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.
Will Rogers

1 comment:

  1. This was a GREAT read for me, EXCELLENT. I especially like this:

    "Here's my plan: Have Chrysler start making refrigerators in Armenia."

    Keep Writing!