General Motors

Jun 2, 2009, 9:30 am by Paul Stiverson

When I heard the news yesterday that General Motors had declared bankruptcy I was not terribly surprised, but when I heard that they were going to see $30 billion more in taxpayer money I was a bit disturbed. GM has never made any apologies about screwing the American people, from their plant closings preceding the collapse of several steel-belt towns so GM could find greener (cheaper) pastures, to their general disregard for consumers in continuing to produce outdated designs and hiding behind the “Buy American” banner. As far as I’m concerned the American public owes them nothing: disloyalty deserves disloyalty.

During this economic downturn we the people have given them $47 billion without even a whiff of a promise of them creating any new jobs (or rather, restoring any of the jobs they have outsourced). Instead they will take that money (amounting to 60% of their market value), restructure by selling off brands, close a slew of plants, and try to recapture some of their previous “America, fuck yeah” market share with increasingly foreign made cars.

At the risk of sounding like a “What America needs” liberal, what Americans needs right now are companies that improve the buying power of the average American consumer while offering products and services that consumers want. The only way to improve the buying power of folks is to reduce unemployment by ensuring a steady stream of new jobs that a layman is capable of performing. I’m sure many GM apologists will blame unions for causing the downfall of the American auto industry, but there is plenty of blame to go around; union greed is a factor, but it is not the straw that broke the camel’s back. Look at Toyota, they have several plants in the United States, and they have to deal with the same organized labor laws that GM has to deal with. Blaming unions for this failure is simply unacceptable.

As with most problems with the industrial economy the failures are due to inertia, companies that fail to innovate are doomed to failure, and GM is the worst of the bunch. I, for one, say let them burn. Let a strong and innovative company step up and take their place (FWI: I’m not talking about Ford, they—like GM—have failed to produce any significant innovations in auto technology since the single cast V-8).

Go Back

10 Comments

mark Says:

Jun 3, 2009

CNN:Money

Paul you may need to check your totals, you're off by a couple of 0's. The government(s) never should have stepped in and wasted money, to try and prevent (or delay) the inevitable.

Toyota is non-union, except for nummi, which is a joint GM and Toyota plant in California which employs UAW.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Jun 3, 2009

Whether or not Toyota is union is irrelevant, they operate in the United States so they are subject to the same organized labor LAWS. How they choose to deal with those laws is a business decision, and it seems to be working for them.

Oh shi, I thought I typed billion. Oops.

mark Says:

Jun 3, 2009

it isn't irrelevant, when you take in to account that about 3,000 dollars of every gm vehicle sticker price is paying for union agreed upon addiotnal pension/healthplans costs. remember that companies pass all operating costs, and taxes on to the customer, so that a profit can be made.

And those billions of dollars could have been held, to allow a company that has failed; fail.

mark Says:

Jun 3, 2009

god i wish i could spell additional.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Jun 3, 2009

You are missing my point: Toyota has shown that it is possible to operate in America without dealing with unions. Why hasn’t GM done the same? I can agree with you that the UAW has choked the life out of GM, but in the end GM has the ability to operate (in America) without unions… GM’s failure is the fault of only GM. Q.E.D. poopsock.

I agree, the stimulus money should not have gone to GM, or any other company that has long-held poor business practices.

On the topic of the UAW: I don’t see a problem with people fighting for themselves. Is it wrong for auto workers to want health insurance? Is it wrong for them to want a strong retirement plan? I don’t think it is. I do think it is absurd for them to earn more than $25/hour (on average) for unskilled labor, and I do think it is absurd for them to threaten a strike when working conditions are good (i.e. people aren’t dying due to poor safety).

mark Says:

Jun 3, 2009

I never said they shouldn't want retirement or health plans. What I said was "about 3,000 dollars of every gm vehicle sticker price is paying for union agreed upon *additional* pension/healthplans costs." additional; meaning more than the average for that line of work in correlation to benefits. And, if you add all of those benefits in (which includes that additional 3k per vehicle), a GM-UAW line worker makes the equivalent of $80/hour.

The problem with unions is the leadership consistently fights for its own interests under the guise of fighting for the workers (this is strictly an annecdotal assessment from my experiences in 1 union and working with 2 others).

GM will never (maybe not never, but for a looong time) be able to throw the union from its operation; given that the UAW will be the second leading stockholder behind the u.s. gov'nm'nt.

mark Says:

Jun 3, 2009

(good subject btw)

John Grego Says:

Jun 11, 2009

Here's a stat. Annually, GM pays $4.7 billion, that's billion, to people that no longer work for GM!!!! This is insane!

mark Says:

Jun 16, 2009

I had no idea the amount was that much, thank you John.

faith Says:

Jun 24, 2009

HELL YES. this shit makes me so angry. i don't understand why we're continuing to subsidize companies that are obviously not doing anything to help anyone but themselves.

Leave a comment






If you're a link spammer you should know that no links on this page will be followed by a site indexer (go ahead, check my meta tags), so it will not improve your page ranking. . . thus it is kinda ridiculous to post here