Bashing – III

I love that General Motors has retired two of five corporate jets.

I do not love that Congress spent their time bashing Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli, and General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner for flying privately to the hearings. What should the CEOs have done? Driven to Washington?

Has anybody in Congress ever looked at the Presidential fleet?

Has anybody looked at how Congress Critters prefer to travel? Can you spell c-o-r-p-o-r-a-t-e jet? Or the Air Force C-20? The C-20 aircraft provide “distinguished visitor airlift” for military and government officials. What’s a C-20? That would be a Gulfstream IV. As an aside, General Motors leases the G-IV aircraft Mr. Wagoner used. We taxpayers own the C-20 G-IVs.

Gee, ya think the Congress critters could maybe perhaps be bashing the wrong target?

It is far, far easier to tear down what you cannot possibly create on your own than it is to create something tangible.

I promised a solution somewhere in this series. Here it is.

Warren Buffett says the only possibilities left for the automakers are a bailout or bankruptcy.

Sorry, Mr. Buffett. You’re wrong. Bankruptcy is not an option.

Bankruptcy is attractive because it allows the companies to void their union contracts and turn over their horrendously expensive pension obligations to the taxpayers. The serious downside is that no manufacturing company recovers from bankruptcy. Would you buy a $30 grand widget if you knew there would be no warranty service or even parts available next year? Nobody would. The serious downside is that half of American manufacturing workers will find themselves out of work within 12 months. The serious downside is that some huge number of individual American shareholders (including me) will lose even more from their retirement funds because bankrupt company stocks evaporate.

But a bailout isn’t the answer, either.

I have a three-part plan. 1: Americans need an attitude adjustment. 2: Carmakers need an attitude adjustment. 3: Congress needs an attitude adjustment.

First, remember what your mother taught you: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. Bashing a business leader for doing something you know nothing about does absolutely nothing productive. If you do that, stop. The corollary to mom’s adage is simple. If you hear someone else bashing American business, stop them.

Second, American automakers need to get ahead of the curve on market prediction, manufacturing planning, and management.

GM is now working overtime in Texas to make trucks because they shut their truck plants down too early. Not enough of the American auto production lines are flexible. And ongoing layoffs have stripped American companies of their best and brightest workers (that’s not just an automaker problem. At Motorola, for example, product developers with excellent rankings are next up for layoff because all of the “average” and “good” engineers are already gone.)

Finally, the automakers do need some Congressional help. Congress can pass a law. Change labor laws to let the automakers void their union contracts. Then give those horrendously expensive pension obligations to the Fed. That’s going to happen whether we taxpayers like it or not.

Give us that kind of bailout and Messrs. Mulally, Nardelli, and Wagoner can take UAW President Ron Gettelfinger out to the woodshed and beat him until they have appropriate contracts for all the employees as well as for Messrs. Mulally, Nardelli, and Wagoner. After all, if the union folk must give up half their pay, the CEOs can give up most (90%?) of theirs.

We need to do something. Chrysler is probably worth about a billion dollars on the market. Ford’s market cap is $4.04 billion today. GM’s market cap is below Ford at just $1.91 billion. Bill Gates, Mr. Buffet, or the U.S. Congress could simply buy all three on the open market and even though it would be a better investment than the bank bailout has proven to be, that latter is a bleak thought.

7 thoughts on “Bashing – III

  1. ABC News reported that the Gulfstream-IV aircraft Mr. Wagoner flew to Capitol Hill “is just one of a fleet of luxury jets owned by GM that continues to ferry executives around the world despite the company’s dire financial straits.”

    Uh huh.

    General Motors leases that G-IV and the other (now) two private jets in their service and Chrysler rents planes on a trip-by-trip basis.

    Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y. said “Couldn’t you have downgraded to first class or something, or jet-pooled or something to get here?” when lawmakers criticized the CEOs for flying to the hearings.


    Representative Ackerman would then have asked they be prosecuted for anti-trust violations, innit.

  2. I think what we are dealing with are stupid, rectally-confused politicians who also think it is indeed their God-given right to run America — because the people say so.

    The sinister thing is that the reason the people say so is because the left does not want an educated society of critical, logical thinkers. Those types are just too hard to control and keep under their feet. We know this because they have refused for decades to offer the poor and inner city kids stuck in failed government schools vouchers.

    It’s a communist tactic.

  3. >> who think it is indeed their God-given
    >> right to run America
    > I don’t think so.


    I think both Dennis and I figured the Dems believe that.
    I know I don’t believe them.

  4. Here’s the first rub: We each agree they have a right to run the country—as long as the rules of constitutionality are observed. However, those *rules* are becoming more and more hazy as creeping liberalism has gradually injected socialist interpretation into the meaning of that staid document. Consequently, with the ascendance to power by each successive administration—regardless of donkey or pachyderm—our standard of governance now less and less resembles the constitutional republic which was founded circa 1776.

    Ronald Reagan’s influence slowed the tide a bit, but his time on Earth was prior to the advent of American history as most liberally indoctrinated voters know it to be. To them, American history began on-or-about September 11, 2001.

    I’m sure this creeping socialism is nothing new and that the pendulum of liberty has swung left to right and right to left since the beginning. I’m not enough of a history student to know those keen details—and that statement certainly validates Dennis’s assertion that an uninformed electorate is the key to liberalism’s success. But I can see current trends, as well as what has happened in my life’s span of seven decades.

    Second rub: The idea of (and the use of) the high-minded qualifier “God Given” when describing constitutional rights is indeed bandied about by democrats when the need to use it serves them; and it is certainly applied when they lay claim to absolute authority. The perfidy of this selective rhetoric greases the skids for constitutional “change” (there’s that word again); and we know from his speech that the Constitution (note Upper Case) is regarded by Senator Obama as something standing in the way of his governing ideology, i.e.: socialism. I hate socialism.

    I have to close now. I have an appointment with an official at the Medicare office, and then I need to visit the Social Security office because my check has been short for the last two months. Did I say I hate socialism?

    Well, we don’t want to push principle too far, do we?


  5. In the lead posting for this subject Dick wrote:

    “And ongoing layoffs have stripped American companies of their best and brightest workers (that’s not just an automaker problem.”

    It is a wonder to me that corporate upper-management—both forprofit and nonprofit—remains ambulatory after shooting itself in the foot by doing exactly as Dick avers. But let’s face it…the best and brightest are the most highly paid; and since cutting cost is the sole liberal textbook criterion for avoiding bankruptcy, those employees are the first to go. What is left are a bunch of pasty faced execs and butt-kissing managers who are highly regarded because of their ability to report favorably *up*. “Up”, being defined as the recipients of the corporate butt-kiss, etc, etc.

    This timeless scenario has been going on since Noah handed out pink slips when the clouds blew in. And it was in place when I entered the workforce following military service. I was never the most efficient butt-kisser, but I managed to eek out survival because neither was I the best and brightest. Always just on the borderline, was I.

    I talked to a pal of mine whose company is downsizing, and I asked him if he feared getting layed off. He said no because he didn’t make enough money. He added that if they give out cost-of-living raises in January it might bump him up into the red zone.

    Pray for recession, I told him.

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