"I'm going riding on the freeway of love, wind against my back...I'm going riding on the freeway of love in a Pink Cadillac...."
"The great political quagmire is leaders who won't lead-- I fear it is rapidly becoming the way of big Corporations too."
The first car I owned was a yellow Chevy Nova--the first car I loved was a Mustang. Since that first love, some 30 years ago, I haven't spent one dollar on anything not named Honda or Toyota.
Notwithstanding, I support a bailout for our friends in Detroit. Or, as the UAW describes it: a 'temporary loan.' The manufacturing and mass production of automobiles, trucks and durable goods is central to the U.S. economy. Quick, can you think of a U.S.-owned television manufacturer?. Less than 60 years from being the pioneering leaders in the development of the technology, one can't find a U.S.- made set. And it's not just TVs. Consider washers, dryers, vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers. They were staples of the U.S. manufacturing food chain-- now, these products are made in Asia.
Thankfully, airplanes, computers and paper is still made in the U.S. And, Bell is making Hueys Look around your neighborhood and ask: What large, durable goods in my house or garage--or in my neighbor’s house or garage-- are made by a U.S. workers?
Aside from cars made by the “Big '3," there isn't much happening in big-ticket manufacturing. Although our friends in Detroit aren't that skilled in designing and manufacturing what customers want-- and need...--but, they must not be allowed to fail.
A quick lesson about Capitalism.: After the availability of the sustainable capital is established, three roots must be present:
3. Sustainment of the status quo
Capitalism functions where mass production is efficient -- and mass production must be systematic Goods must be manufactured whether a market exists or not. Why? Because the system assumes a market will be created or found. And, with the "Big-3," a market was artificially created through incentives. The overarching problem with an 'incentive-based' market is that it's unsustainable. Can one thrive by making cars people really don't want, but buy because they are 'easy to obtain.' (If a Civic could be acquired with the ease of a Neon, who would own a Neon?)
People love their Hondas. To a fault, the average Honda customers verbalizes this: " If I get regular oil changes and replace my timing chain at 100K miles, this car will run forever." Does anyone believe that about a Neon, Camaro or Aveo?. I know more people driving Mustangs with 150K miles than I do Toyotas (though the Explorers and Expeditions seem to die off earlier than the Sequoias CR-Vs/)
Customers have little faith in the collective brand (and will) of the "Big 3." Thus, there is no appetite for a bail out. Yet, the aggregate failure of the "Big 3" could have a more deleterious effect on 'Main Street,' if you will, than Lehman Brothers and AIG combined. These groups merely had a powerful advocate saying that our 'way of life' was at risk if theirif their bailout wasn't approved.
The" Big 3" have no such advocate-- yet, their bailout is more important. The world of derivatives and paper transfer of wealth is obscure to most Americans so we don't overtly question what we don't understand....Rather, we trust our representatives and such to make good choices on our behalf. But, the auto industry touches everyone-- and, that is precisely why the bailout is critical. With banks and insurance companies, the rich get richer with the bailout. With the Big 3, it is the guy who works for the company that works for the company that makes brake assemblies for the Hummer who will be laid off with now prospect for recall. The UAW is being made the straw man. The real issue is leadership and creating a business model that works. The tentacles of the auto industry run deep. At least in Detroit, they are still manufacturing...and that, fundamentally, is good for America...except the American people don't understand why autos and durable goods must be made here. The real fault of leadership at the Big-3 is in not educating the American people about the connection between manufacturing and the American way of life. The whims and prejudices of U.S. public opinion have turned against the "Big-3." I'd start with educating the American people --especially if I wanted $25 billion.