Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The American auto industry won't get another dime from me

We all knew it would happen, but it's still depressing to read -- according to this Associate Press story, the idiots in Congress have agreed in principle to give $15 billion to the failures running the U.S. auto industry.

Imagine that. Who would have imagined that our fine members of the House and Senate wouldn't want the finger pointed at them when a lot of unionized workers were tossed out of work because they are employed by morons?

That's shocking stuff, huh? If you're surprised by that, you're probably amazed that alleged Republican George W. Bush is right in the middle of this nonsense. Rather than acknowledge that he's caused enough damage and sit at his desk with a stack of coloring books and a box of crayons, Bush is seeing just how much more he can screw up the country and annoy the five or six of us in the nation who are still conservatives.

Ah, how the mighty have fallen. A mere 50 years ago, America was home to an auto industry that manufactured the finest cars on the road. Now that industry is reduced to three companies that manufacture garbage and need help from the government to survive. It used to be that companies that couldn't compete died and were replaced by businesses that developed better products and services, but those days appear to have ended.

We officially prop up losers in the U.S. now. And, yes, Chrysler, GM and Ford are all run by losers who can't hack it in the 21st century. While those mean ol' Japanese were developing hybrid vehicles and boasting about fuel economy, the Big Three in Detroit were busily churning out vehicles that achieved the same gas mileage as fully loaded 18-wheelers and would barely fit in two car garages.

They all deserve to fail for their lack of foresight, inability to read market trends and failure to compete. They deserve to fail for not producing vehicles Americans actually want to buy, for using cheap materials for interiors and churning out garbage cars that squeak, rattle and break down like they've been on the road for a couple of decades when they're brand new. They deserve to fail for handing millions of dollars to incompetent managers and absolutely refusing to develop innovative products.

Oh, and the union leaders that helped inflate wages to ridiculous levels deserve to be smacked on their noses with a rolled up newspaper, too. Let's not forget that American auto manufacturers start off at a disadvantage due to labor that is both overpaid and unwilling to budge and inch when the companies they work for are struggling.

One of the worst things about this latest round of bailouts is that the government wants to establish a "car czar" to overhaul the car industry. That makes absolutely no sense. The government is good at two things -- wasting money and ruining things. What happens when you put the government in charge of a bunch of companies that already waste money and produce garbage? You'll get companies that are even more inefficient and produce vehicles that are even more scrapyard-ready than they are now.

The problem, of course, is that Americans will likely hate what the government-run car industry produces and won't buy the junk vehicles that barely move under their own power. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see a bunch of tariffs put in place that will force us to buy the latest rust buckets coming out of Detroit.

Until the feds artificially inflate the cost of foreign cars (many of which are made in the U.S. by American labor, by the way), I'll stick with my Japanese cars. If I'm ever blessed with the income I want, I'll switch over to some German vehicles and ignore whatever the nationalized U.S. auto industry is doing.

During my lifetime, I've owned (or driven) two Oldsmobiles, two Chevrolets, a Saturn, a Subaru, a Mitsubishi and a Toyota. The Japanese cars lasted the longest and were refined and wonderful compared to their outdated, crude American counterparts. My wife wants a Toyota Highlander next year and I think she'll get one -- that vehicle just feels like it was made on another planet compared to the substandard competing vehicles slapped together in Detroit.

Besides, with the notion of tariffs lingering out there, it might be wise to grab something new next year and drive it until things return to normal.

Thank God some conservative Republicans (I didn't think there were any left) have raised a lot of hell about the $15 billion award for stupidity Congress wants to give the auto industry. I hope they manage to block this insanity, but I doubt that will happen. The government seems to have forgotten that competition and free trade made this nation an economic powerhouse once upon a time and I fear we're in for some rotten times, indeed.

5 comments:

tata said...

This is totally ridiculous. I'm PISSED!!! The economy is in the toilet and I can't imagine how this is going to help.

I can't make rent (likely due to my own idiocy, even!) - how can I get my hands on some of that action? I'm not asking for much. $250,000 should cover it!

The Natural State Hawg said...

Tata:

I'd take a measly $10 million. That's not much, is it?

I'm mad as hell about all of the bailout nonsense that's been sweeping the nation. What the hell is going on? I thought we were supposed to be free market capitalists?

We've got a lot of people struggling right now, so why are we handing money to people who show up in corporate jets to beg for it?

It's maddening.

mcangeli said...

We own a nissan and a honda. My xTerra has almost 100k miles on it and its still going strong... won't be replacing it any time soon.

Though we can't fit our two cars in our two car garage...

Da Old Man said...

One of the biggest differences with American and Japanese cars is that Japanese cars are made, for the most part, fully loaded.
This leads to even more efficiency, and makes the car even less expensive. And, let's get real, American automaker--who doesn't want air, power windows, and a nice radio, and a host of other little doodads that we expect?

mark said...

I disagree somewhat. The asian governments back their automotive industries in ways that would seem ridiculous in the US. And, most Japanese models are actually built in the US. I like Toyotas and Datsuns. I have a 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD with over 200,000 miles in its current incarnation. In 2005, I had a big wad of cash and wanted to buy a new truck. Because the IRS said I could take a section 179a deduction for the whole thing in 1 year, I had to buy something with over 8200lb GVW. I would rather have had a rice-burner, but I saved about $8,000 in taxes buying a land yacht. Detriot was giving America what it wanted. Hell, at one time America even wanted GWB. Over the last decade, has anyone just driven around looking at all the McMansions and wondered how in the world there was that many affluent people in Arkansas to fill them? The point is the current economic crisis is everyones fault. We all looked the other way while things just didn't seem to add up, because we were comfortable.