Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Let it go under makes the case for letting General Motors fail. The counter-argument they use against GM is wondrous in its simplicity:

    The basis of GM's claim is essentially that they are too big or too important to fail due to their massive labor force. But how massive is their labor force relative to other American companies? It may be surprising that the following companies employ a larger number of workers than GM: Target, AT&T, GE, IBM, McDonalds, Citigroup, Kroger, Sears, and Wal-Mart. It is also worth noting that Home Depot, United Technologies, and Verizon all employ nearly as many workers as GM.

    The question must be posed: Should the government bail out all 12 of these companies and, if so, at what cost? I doubt that if Wal-Mart, with their 2.1 million employees, went to the government or the American people and demanded a bailout that they would receive much sympathy, let alone money. But if we are going to base worthiness of bailout on number of employees alone, then Wal-Mart is almost 7 times more worthy than GM.


    For years GM and Ford have produced a product that consumers do not value as much as the product provided by their competitors. Rather than changing their products or business model, they instead spent small fortunes on lobbyists. If the government does bail out GM, rest assured that this will not be the last time. But even if the government gives GM a check every week, there will come a time when no amount of government money will be enough to save them.

    What is the best solution? In a word, bankruptcy. By filing for bankruptcy protection, GM can escape the death grip the UAW has on the business...

    But of course, when the spigot's open and the trough is filling, all the piglets can think of is pushing their way to the front. Having done some contract work for GM way back when, I can honestly say that they were a poorly run company then, and I have no doubt they're still a poorly run company. The union rules alone were enough to drive me batty, and I didn't even have to work with them that much. It's time GM collapsed under its own weight and the union parasites finally killed their host. Maybe that will bring some sanity to the situation. A government handout sure won't.

    Posted by Tom, 11/11/2008 5:00:40 PM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...

    It's true, lobbyists have the politicians running scared. Automobile manufacturing is a sacred cow in America, where cars are a religion. No politician wants to risk votes by pissing off the UAW. It may not be rational, or pursuant to the ideals of a free market economy, but who has the guts to pull this off?

    -- Jimbabwe

    BTW, for the last two years I'm driving a foreign car for the first time, and it is kickass.

    -- Jimbabwe