All the proof you need that capitalism in American is deader than Vaudeville may be viewed this week as your Democratic Congress, at the urging of a Republican President, united to bail out General Motors.
Here’s a company that squandered its birthright as the world’s leader in the automotive industry. Rather than adjust to the times, it fought them like hell, and played every shoddy political trick to keep its corporate head above water even as it drowned in red ink. Why worry about fuel efficiency when it was easier to bribe Congress to weaken fuel-efficiency standards? Why encourage national health care when it was easier to bash its unions for driving up the cost of production with outrageous demands like medical insurance?
Or as GM Chairman Bob Lutz put it, “…global warming is a “total crock of shit. ….. Hybrids like the Prius make no economic sense.”
Yes, let’s bail these assholes out of the hole they dug their company, literally tossing it under the bus. In fact, let’s install Harold “Heckuva Job Brownie” Brown as the new CEO. A perfect private-enterprise position for public enemy #1.
Like so many American consumers, I spent more money repairing my middle-aged Pontiacs and Buicks in 10 years than I did buying and keeping my Toyotas for 25. (Let’s not even talk about my nightmare Mercury experiences. FORD = Fix or Replace Daily.) While Toyota was giving us autos with functional trunks, reliable transmissions, 20+ MPG, and brakes that actually stopped the cars on a Franklin dime, GM was building 3 ton SUV clunkers that ran on beer and testosterone. When they ran at all.
Every automotive company on the planet outside Detroit understood what had to be done to remain competitive and sell its products. Everybody else embraced new technology, responded to economic conditions, and looked down the road to a time when efficiency trumped style and showbiz. But not GM or its lickspittle representatives. Big cars, big balls, big profits.
This bozoic management deserves a bailout? You and I should pay for this nauseating, arrogant disregard for the marketplace? Why?
Years ago, Jean Sheppard said it best: “There’s nothing deader than a dead Buick.” Dearly beloved, today we should gather to bury, not to praise them.
P.S. Thomas Friedman offers a more articulate argument with the same theme here. Of course, he gets paid for it.