Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Big Three...Idiots At The Washington Post

If it weren't for Marie Cocco(for how stupid Ms Cocco is, visit Shout First) and Kathleen Parker, E.J. Dionne would be the biggest idiot writing for the Washington Post.
Oh, what the hell, let's just assign the title on a rotating basis.
Today, E.J. Dionne is the biggest idiot writing for the Washington Post.

Mr Dionne writes, in his column, Bailout Must Focus On Auto Workers, "There is a paradox at the heart of the proposed bailout of the auto industry. The rescue would have no chance of passing without the muscle of the Big Three's unionized work force. Yet you can't turn around without hearing someone trash autoworkers for the terrible crime of trying to earn a decent living."

Firstly, there's absolutely nothing paradoxical about that. Nothing.
You know, it would be a really good idea if people who are paid to write for a living actually knew the definitions of the words they use.

Secondly, as for trashing "autoworkers for the terrible crime of trying to earn a decent living"...give me a break!
Autoworkers are paid well. Very well. They are paid more than you.
They are paid so much, they'll probably hire you to count their money.
The lowest figure I can find, and this from someone defending these division-of-laborists, is, including benefits, $38 an hour.
That's $79,000 a year.
Without benefits, the average UAW thief makes $58,000 a year.
Toss another wage earner into the household, and hey, you're talking about decent money.
So, spare me the "trying to earn a decent living" populism, Mr Dionne.

Besides, we know you're in favor of these false wages because, as you write, "Long-term economic growth depends upon a well-paid middle class."
Well, no it doesn't.
If it were that simple, then all employers should just raise everybody's wages. Oh, but wait, then prices would rise and we'd be right back where we started.
Long-term economic growth -or, continued prosperity, if you will- depends upon allowing the free market to determine prices. And that's exactly what wages are. Wages are a price.
But when you allow union bullies to distort that process, well, you end up with companies that can no longer afford those prices.

And please don't tell us, as you do, that "if the Big Three had designed better cars, they would not have lost as much market share to Toyota, Nissan and other competitors."
Market share, while diminished for the Big Three, is not the issue.
If GM loses money selling 6.6 million cars, as they have done through September of this year, then they would, if they became a smaller company, lose a correspondingly proportionate amount if they were to sell only 3 million, or 1 million cars. You know, like Ford and Chrysler.
If market share were the sole determining factor, then Toyota would be going broke too, as their market share is roughly equal to that of GM.
Market share is only a problem insofar as legacy costs have to be paid. (I'm assuming each of these companies earns enough to pay their suppliers, meet their payrolls, and keep the lights on. Because if they can't even meet those costs, then there's nothing worth discussing here. Not only should they not get a bailout, but congress should pass legislation shutting their doors immediately). But legacy costs don't have to be paid. So, the Big Three should simply stop paying them. Let the UAW strike, then replace them with people willing to work for wages determined by the free market.
Legacy costs are simply future costs predicated on present conditions(the good times), with the assumption that the present conditions, market share, will remain, at least, static, or expand in perpetuity.
The Big 3 made these cradle-to-grave promises when times were good; now times are bad and they are not able to honor those deals.
Since their market share contracted, the only solution, short of not paying the legacy costs, is to raise the price of their cars. And be undersold by the competition.
Which is exactly what is already happening. Only they're not raising the price of their cars. which would cut their sales even more. Hence the fact that they're broke.
Will the recipients of these legacy costs make any sacrifices?

The cause of that loss of market share is not, as Mr Dionne states, the design of American cars.
Toyota, I can aver without fear of serious contradiction, has the most boring line-up of cars on the road.
People aren't buying the Camry because it's sexy.
No, the loss of market share is attributable to one factor: quality.
And whom do I blame for that? The guy who put the car together.

I hope the 3 Big Chiefs make a better case for their cause than you, Mr Dionne.

On the upside, you won't be the biggest idiot writing for the Washington Post tomorrow.

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