Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why are we treating Ford, Chrysler and GM as equally guilty and equality innocent?

Got bailout fatigue yet? We are living in one of the most interesting times ever in fiscal history; how can one be bored when our head is on the guillotine but the executioner has us lying face up so that we can see the blade racing towards our necks at the speed of an electronic trade on Wall Street.

Bailout or failout? That is the question on each US lip this dismal week just before the Christmas month. One curious thing (or it at least it should be a matter of curiosity for Congress) is that the three CEOs - three stooges? - who came to Congress cap in hand this week seemed to speak as one and in turn Congress speaks of them as one. What the fuck happened to competition in the US? Are we to believe that Ford, Chrysler and GM follow the same design/build strategy, the same marketing strategies, the same financing and quality control policies, the same safety and emissions principles? Or do they not as separate entities have a mind of their own? Have they for all these years been sharing the same, solitary brain cell? Congress seems to thinks so. And that notion is more troubling than the bailout, or perceived need for a bailout, itself.

The US government must think that its citizens are fools, or they are fools or the government is a fool, or all of the above. One would think that Congress would treat the three auto giants - perhaps not the appropriate terminology - as separate entities and that they ought be reviewed on their individual merits going forward. A wholesale bailout would lead one to believe, once more this year, that the US as a country has turned its back on capitalism in favour of socialism, if not outright communism. Whatever happened to supply-demand. Or is it a case of 'no one demands our vehicles anymore, so would you mind supplying some cash. Please sir, can I have some more?"

On the bright side, $50 West Texas Intermediate means relief a the pump when the Lear or the Gulfstream pulls up at the pump in Detroit. In 2008 the voters in the US made the first right decision. Now is the time to make the next bright decision; dump Ford, Chrysler and GM.

Here's a thought; the US helps out Ford, Chrysler and GM by providing financing to Renault, Citroen and Peugot to acquire the big three. The European car makers can then use the plants in Detroit to manufacture cars that make sense. In the meantime Ford, Chrysler and GM can form a tripartite consortium called USMASSTRANSIT and set about building a national transit system that makes sense.

Leave one manufacturer to build pick-up trucks and that would be Toyota with Honda a close second. No one needs to loose a job or a pension. All they need to do is stop suckling on the aging tit of an aging auto philosophy.

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