The auto bailout went down in flames last night, saving the nation from another expensive and potentially worthless redistribution of taxpayer dollars. Predictably, Republican senators are being blamed for the failure and accused of conspiracy theories of trying to kill the UAW. Funnily enough, 10 Republicans voted for it, which you would think would help the Democratic cause, but in the end it was a thankfully timely lack of will on the Democratic majority to get the job done.
I’m not pleased to see manufacturing jobs in jeopardy, but in no way did I want taxpayer money going to support a decrepit business model while creating more direct government influence over private industry. There have been a lot of numbers argued back and forth, but one fact should make things perfectly clear: in 2007, GM and Toyota sold approximately the same amount of vehicles as Toyota. One company hemhorraged millions, and one company made millions. Guess which one was which? Granted, an abhorrent trade policy does not help, and there has been some attempts at restructuring in Detroit, but the dismal results should not be rewarded with cash to prop up a failing business model.
Which brings me back to the UAW and its President Ron Gettelfinger lashing out at Senate Republicans. The truth is that the union bears a lot of responsibility for the failure in viability of the Big Three. Take a look at the the union-coerced unemployment program that pays laid off workers $30 an hour to not work – a program that Gettlefinger sounds hesitant to do away with. Take a look at the disgustingly massive UAW contract with Ford – 22 pounds of hamstringing and costly rules, regulations, and bureaucratic red tape. And just one month ago, Gettlefinger announced there would be no more UAW concessions. Concessions? If the situation is truly this dire, then the concern isn’t concessions, it’s saving the jobs themselves.
It brings us to the big union lie that has laid waste to Detroit and much of the manufacturing industry in America. UAW workers lament they have been unsuccessful in unionizing workers at North American plants of Honda and Toyota. Is it because workers there are brainwashed by their superiors? No, it is simply because, contrary to union propaganda, non-union workers aren’t paid slave wages, they still get decent benefits, and they do so in a context that fits in with the general company business plan. You see, as the non-union majority of American workers can attest, it is absolutely possible to make a good living without the watchful gaze of a union steward. Labor unions, whose once laudable goal of insuring basic employer decency, has degenerated over the decades into wrestling with management over getting their clients the best deal, almost as if they have become the metaphorical sports agents of the industrial world.
It’s all why throwing good taxpayer money isn’t going to solve this issue – radical restructuring in Detroit needs to take place. And as a final example of how useless bailouts can be, witness the jaw-dropping $50 billion investment fraud on Wall Street. The investment arms of all those “troubled banks” are tied up in this and other financial frauds, and continues to show the bank bailout was an awful idea supporting bad management and ouright thievery.