Saturday, October 4, 2008

We, The People...

Yes, I usually go on about shitty parts, shady Chinese manufacturers and all those e-geniuses that pollute internet forums. Tonight, however, something much more serious and gloomy come to mind.

As many of you may or may not know, the federal government passed the "bailout plan" for Wall St. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been approved to create liquidity in the market and take over bad mortgage based assets. Risky, speculative behavior has been rewarded. With OUR tax money, no less. Bottom line - assholes on Wall Street, fuckers who tried to make a fast buck by buying homes they can't afford and bad monetary policy by the Federal Reserve caused this rather fucked up situation and we are having to pay for it. And there's no assurance we'll see any of this money back.

What you probably don't know about - because all public attention has been focused on the Wall St. crisis - there's been another multi-billion dollar loan program being rushed through the halls of Congress and the White House.
  • On September 24, 2008, a $25 Billion loan package was passed by the US House of Representatives
  • On September 30, 2008, Bush signed a broad spending bill that includes $7.5 Billion to pay for this $25 Billion loan
Twenty-five BILLION dollars? What's this for?

Here's a little background information. Back in 1980, Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy and Congress came to its aid with $1.5 Billion loan guarantee to Chrysler's creditors. Those $1.5 Billion dollars - equivalent to about $4 Billion in 2008 dollars - brought us:
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Dodge Neon
  • Plymouth Prowler
  • Dodge Avenger
  • Chrysler LeBaron
Need I go on?

Fast forward to 2008.
  • Gas prices are at historic highs, although it's not surprising
  • The rest of the world has been paying exorbitantly high gas prices for far longer than we have and they've offered fuel efficient vehicles in their native markets for quite a while (more of this later)
  • Chrysler is already in the shithouse after Daimler dumped the Detroit company after realizing it was a bad merger. After getting dumped - and rightfully so - Chrysler can't stand on its own two feet so they are taken over by a private equity firm, Cerebus Capital Management
  • GM and Ford, which have been sitting on their fucking fat asses peddling big SUVs and trucks to a dumb fuckin buying public in the US, is suddenly facing huge excess inventory and models that can't sell in a world where gas costs $4.00 a gallon
  • Foreign auto makers possess a competitive advantage in the US market because they have a good offering of compact vehicles
See where I'm going with this?

The $25 Billion loan package signed by the White House is meant for the Detroit Big 3. It's ludicrous that tax payer money has to save companies that failed to manufacture products that didn't meet the needs of the market. If you make shitty products, guess what? No one's going to buy it. Even though the Hondas, Toyotas and BMWs of the world cost more, people would rather buy cars from these guys because the product is better (something I wish knuckleheads in the aftermarket would understand).

Let's talk about GM. General Motors touting their "Employee Pricing" program is a big fucking joke. 100th anniversary? Nigga puhleeze. You look like you won't reach your 101st anniversary so you are blowing out existing inventory so you can sell cars to your dealers. But guess what? No one wants your crappy cars. Did you know that GM spends $3 Billion a year in advertising? They were the #4 US advertiser overall and #1 in the automotive segment. Did you catch their latest ad? The one featuring the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid? Are you fucking kidding me? The words "Escalade" and "Hybrid" shouldn't be used in the same sentence, let alone a model name.

What about Ford? Their old slogan was "Quality is Job 1." Would you agree? Have you seen the new Ford Focus? Have you seen those fucked up commercials for their Mercury vehicles? The Milan? The one with the hot chick? I'd fuck her, but I wouldn't buy a Ford car. And not too long ago, Ford announced they would modify some of their production lines so that they can start to produce the European spec Focus. Why didn't they do this in the first place? Why is it that Ford Europe and Ford Australia can make decent cars but the home team can't make a decent fuckin car for a chage? The Mustang? Puhleeze! That's a shitbox on wheels at best. And they spent $2.5 Billion in advertising in 2007, making them #6 overall out of ALL US advertisers.

Finally, what about Chrysler? It isn't even a public company. Once Cerebus took over, the company was taken private. Who the hell bails out a private company? And these are the geniuses who launched that "gas guarantee" program to schill their shitty (I mean SHITTY cars). But consumers weren't fooled as they still couldn't sell cars. And they still managed to spend $1.7 Billion in 2007 for advertising. All that advertising for probably the shittiest line up of cars in America. Let's face it. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

So, we're bailing out the Detroit 3 because they made bad business decisions, they make shitty cars, they overspend on advertising (usually to offset shitty brand and product perception) and sat on their fuckin laurels for the past 5,6 years selling oversized, gas guzzling piece of shit SUVs and trucks. Lovely.

But that isn't all! It's the fuckin UAW (Union of Auto Workers) that have also contributed to this fuckin meltdown in Detroit. Would you believe... there's this thing called a "Job Bank" where laid off UAW members can go, sit around "looking for new work", do nothing, yet get paid the same salary as if they were working?! Hell, it wasn't unusual for UAW workers to get paid in the 6-figure range for working on the assembly line. Care to guess how bright these fuckers were? So the Detroit 3 agreed to pay fuckers who don't work and overpay them on top of that?

The $25 Billion passed a few days ago isn't the first. Last December (2007), Congress passed a $25 Billion loan to Detroit under the Energy Independence and Security Act (yeah, it even sounds like bullshit, doesn't it?). So taxpayer money is being loaned to Detroit so they can do things they were SUPPOSED to do in the first place, to revamp their production line and products to better meet consumers wants and demands (uh, isn't this what a manufacturer is SUPPOSED to do?) and to invest in more fuel efficient vehicles and technologies (again, isnt' this what they are SUPPOSED to do?). They are SUPPOSED to do this without asking for a bailout from the taxpayer. So they are going to use our money to make cars they can sell to us? That sounds like a case of fuckin fraud to me!

There's lots more than I can go into about how fuckin lame GM, Ford and Chrysler are (including how they have way too many fuckin brands... why not break them off and have them operate as independent entities, for one thing?), how we're getting fucked in the ass over and over by Detroit and Washington, but that would require an entire novel to scratch the surface.

Just know... this is the kind of bullshit US auto makers are pulling off. And they're succeeding. Write your Congressman. Let them know this is absolute bullshit. Better do that now, because automakers are poised to ask for another $25 Billion next year.

We, the People... need to declare our independence from this kind of blatant highway robbery.