Rant and rave with The Hawg!

By Ethan Nobles on 9:57 PM

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Folks, this place is starting to look a bit like a ghost town.

In the past week, the only things posted here at the All Arkie Army have been a couple of YouTube videos.

Yes, it's my own fault for not being more active. I've got the cure for that, kids -- a good, old fashioned rant.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that the federal government has effectively taken over Chrysler and General Motors.

President Barack Obama insisted the government has no interest in running the auto industry. Of course, at the same time, he announced that GM CEO Rick Wagoner had been forced out of office by the government, that GM has 60 days to get its act together or receive no more federal funding and that Chrysler had damn well better work out a merger with Fiat in 30 days or else.

Ford, of course, was left out of the discussions. That company wisely refused government cash and the interference that comes with it. Yes, the feds often dangle cash around to try to force themselves in areas where they don't belong -- just ask Chrysler, GM and Wagoner.

Think back to when the federal government decided the drinking age across the nation should be raised to 21-years-old from 18-years-old. Of course, establishing the drinking age is something left up to the states.

Ah, but the feds went ahead and dangled that cash again. "You either raise that drinking age or we'll cut off your federal highway funds."

Most of the states complied. Louisiana refused and had to put up with a rotten highway system until the state complied.

But, back to Chrysler and GM. Those companies went out and begged for federal dollars to save their companies from ruin and they damn well deserve the consequences that always come with federal help. Screw them.

Screw their boards of directors and executive officers who were stupid enough to keep producing and marketing SUVs when gas was about $3 a gallon. Companies that lack the foresight to adapt to changing marketing conditions deserve to fail. Screw the UAW, too, which has made labor so expensive that Japanese car companies with American factories pay their workers about half as much in wages and benefits as their "Big 3" counterparts and turn out a superior product, to boot.

What we're left with are a couple of government-run auto manufacturers that make overpriced junk, have management teams that couldn't pick up on market trends if they were run down in the street with them and are in no position to compete with far superior vehicles manufactured by other companies.

Frankly, I'd buy a damned Peugot before I purchased a Chevrolet and let it rust in my driveway. I'll stick with my Toyotas, thank you, but one can't help but wonder when the feds will used the time-honored, dirty trick of protectionism to strong arm us into buying American vehicles. Things will be heading that way, just hide and watch.

Why? Because GM and Chrysler simply won't be able to compete with companies that produce superior, more affordable vehicles. Yes, B.O. and his lads are going on about forcing GM and Chrysler to produce more fuel efficient vehicles and other things that their international competition has been doing for years. Uh, we're behind the curve on that count, so what makes anyone think we'll surpass the competition?

You'll still have management that believes thinking ahead means figuring out what to have for lunch, labor unions that howl about salary negotiations and have resisted more efficient manufacturing techniques (because they put people out of work) and government interference at a level that is almost unimaginable. In a free market economy, companies like Chrysler and GM fold because of their inability to compete (and, truth be told, one or both of those companies should be out of business).

Ah, but we're not operating in a free market, are we? No, the simple notion of letting consumers decide how to spend their money will be regarded as something that's not in the best interest of the country. That's where protectionism comes in -- if you can't compete, then protect your market from competitors.

The government, in the 1970s, wasn't a bit shy about using protectionism to shield American industries. Just study up on how the feds harassed Volkswagen because the Big Three couldn't come up with an answer to the Beetle (apparently, the technology that gave birth to a car that was designed in Germany while Adolph Hitler was still in charge was baffling to our auto industries).

At the end of the day, we'll lose our ability to choose how to spend our dollar without government interference when (and if) the government rediscovers the joys of protecting industries that don't deserve it. I'd argue that consumers -- free of government meddling -- should be able to purchase a Chevrolet, a Chrysler, a Toyota, a Kia or whatever vehicle they believe fits their needs. The loss of that freedom to choose will be pitiful, but we'll be told it's in the best interest of the nation.

These days, that's about all the government has to say and people will believe it almost every time. That's been true for at least 20 years.

4 comments for this post

Terrific rant.
And by the way, the problems in the auto industry are so huge, it would be better to let them fail. To act as if auto manufacturers have never failed before is silly. Studebaker, Willys, LaSalle, Graham Paige, and on and on yet our country got along just fine without. Some comapny will fill in the gap and make better cars.
Did you know that up until very recenly, those bozos in charge at GM had paid out huge stock dividends, even though the company had awful years?
Toyota cars come basically with every option one wants, yet GM charges for every last item, making each car more expensive to make. Henry Ford originally painted cars black because it kept costs down. Customization makes them cost more. A lesson lost as GM sought to wring every dime out of the customer. And gave them junk to boot.
Blame labor, blame management, blame everyone as there is plenty to pass around.

Posted on March 31, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

Well, since he decided to go the route of bailing them out, there had to be accountability and the firing of Wagoner will warn future CEOs that they can not just a company into the ground and expect to bailed out scot free by the government.

At least we should be thankful for that, because there is nothing else to be thankful for in this whole thing.

The companies should have been let to fail.

Posted on March 31, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Da Old Man -- Thanks and you are right. This administration would have bailed out Edsel.

Denford -- Yes, they should have. They will fail eventually and take a lot of our money with them.

Welcome to "change" in America.

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 12:19 AM  
Anonymous

Does this suprise you the government has took all it can an will again, over and over until people as a whole rally against what they are for, or opposed too. It is our own falt we are affraid of them.. It should be the other way around... Until we the people get sick and tired of being sick and tired this is how it will remain. Sad really. Alittle thought, but no action thats Americans at their best... We are the people we make the choices IF WE CHOSE TOO!!!
JUST A THOUGHT!!

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 1:46 AM  

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