Why Not Bail Out GM?

Megan McArdle argues that those saying we should bail out General Motors and save its workers just like we did the banks and insurance companies miss the point of the bailout. Whereas a collapse of the financial sector had the ability to take down the rest of the economy with it, that’s just not true in manufacturing.

Besides that, propping up the likes of Citibank will likely actually result in saving Citibank. Not so much GM:

GM’s operations are not otherwise sound. They have been headed for this moment since 1973. Conservatives blame legacy costs, and liberals blame management. They’re both right. GM’s legacy costs are crazy. So is the UAW leadership, which, goaded by the retirees, is knowingly driving the company into bankruptcy rather than negotiate clearly unsustainable deals. Those legacy costs would probably not be supportable by any company in a competitive environment; the UAW’s expectations were created in an era of comfortable oligopoly, when all costs could be directly passed on to the consumer. And the poor quality control on American cars is, from all reports, the responsibility of the union, which maintains downright silly work rules that not even the most ardent liberal could defend in both the Big Three and their various parts suppliers. My favorite was the supplier plant that was forced to work in english measurement even though they had to sell parts in metric. But the examples are legion.

But too, management doesn’t seem to be trying much harder to keep themselves out of bankruptcy court. The company could have limped on for longer if it had, y’know, made cars anyone wanted to buy. That’s not the UAW’s fault. GM’s management seems to have a positive genius for making horrible cars, as if they’d deliberately sat down and asked themselves how they could best combine ugly, inconvenient, and unreliable into one expensive package.

Aside from trucks, in which Ford, Chevy, and GMC continue to be the market leaders, and a handful of niche vehicles (the Corvette, for example) that’s right.

Beyond that, it’s worth noting that the American automobile industry is doing just fine — just not Ford, Chrysler, and GM. My wife drives an Acura made in Maryville, Ohio. My parents both drive Nissans made in Smyrna, Tennessee. My own Nissan and my mother-in-law’s Toyota were made in Japan but both of those badges have huge assembly operations in the United States.

Detroit’s heyday is past but Americans in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, and Ohio are making plenty of cars Americans want to buy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. dennis says:

    James,

    I consider it outrageous that we are bailing out GM and the auto industry. But once you go down this road, it’s hard to turn back. You would think conservatives especially would have learned this lesson by now.

  2. Bithead says:

    Beyond that, it’s worth noting that the American automobile industry is doing just fine — just not Ford, Chrysler, and GM. My wife drives an Acura made in Maryville, Ohio. My parents both drive Nissans made in Smyrna, Tennessee. My own Nissan and my mother-in-law’s Toyota were made in Japan but both of those badges have huge assembly operations in the United States.

    And the connection there?
    These others are not UAW dominated.

    Face it, Liberals usually run on platforms attacking corporate America. Why would they be trying to ‘defend them’ now? Fact is, they’re not. What they’re really doing is bailing out the UAW, from home they invariably get dollars and votes.

  3. odograph says:

    I think we might need to give them some cash, but it could be contingent on something big … chapter 11 at a minimum, or better yet, a break-up into a few smaller auto companies.

    The deconstruction of GM into it’s original companies … disamalgamation.

  4. odograph says:

    s/could/should/ above

  5. odograph says:

    Note – I can’t access the McCain on Leno thread by it’s heading, or make comments. Google Chrome tells me “This webpage has a redirect loop.” Firefox gives me a general error.

    … my comment there was going to be “does anyone else find the construction ‘I’m so proud of her’ a little strange? It diminishes her even as it complements her.”

  6. […] Read the whole thing. […]

  7. James Joyner says:

    Note – I can’t access the McCain on Leno thread by it’s heading, or make comments. Google Chrome tells me “This webpage has a redirect loop.” Firefox gives me a general error.

    Try now. I initially posted without a title.

  8. od says:

    Instead of giving a bailout to the financial markets they could have given a bailout to the tax payers by a 700 billion dollar tax cut. However, once they’re down the road of bailing out companies that basically screwed up, there’s not really a great reason to stop – ideally they’d start bailing out small businesses too if they’re going to play that game.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    Bankruptcy is the right solution for the Detroit automakers because of the court’s powers in equity to re-write contracts.

    As I wrote in my earlier post on this subject, I think that Bithead is both right and wrong. He’s right in that union contracts are an unworkable burden on the auto companies. He’s wrong in blaming it on current union leaders or members or even current corporate management. The blame belongs squarely to past corporate management who behaved as though there were no tomorrow. We’re living in the tomorrow their imprudence has created.

    Today’s automobile industry corporate management is making its own, original mistakes which Stephen Bainbridge outlines nicely. The domestic industry like the dancing mule in the story needs a shot with a 2×4 to the head to get its attention and bankruptcy would do that nicely.

    Bottom line: bankruptcy not bailout

  10. Bithead says:

    I think we might need to give them some cash, but it could be contingent on something big … chapter 11 at a minimum, or better yet, a break-up into a few smaller auto companies.

    That would certainly work, since the first thing such an arrangement would do is to remove the Unions from the equation. I’ve a better; How about we remove the unions as a first action?

  11. Bithead says:

    As I wrote in my earlier post on this subject, I think that Bithead is both right and wrong. He’s right in that union contracts are an unworkable burden on the auto companies. He’s wrong in blaming it on current union leaders or members or even current corporate management. The blame belongs squarely to past corporate management who behaved as though there were no tomorrow. We’re living in the tomorrow their imprudence has created.

    Wait, now, Dave… you’re blaming the companies for agreeing to union blackmail, particularly when the force of government was bing used to back the union’s position? Sorry, I’m afraid I don’t buy it.

    Oh, I do agree that management can be blamed for a number of GM’s ills… but that ain’t one of ’em.

  12. ken says:

    Blaming the auto company unions is as intellectually dishonest as would be blaming the auto company customer for decisions made by auto company management.

    For the last thirty years at least everybody could see that a crisis was coming and that US companies were doomed unless management changed the way they built cars. The only ones hurt by the failure of these companies will be those who were not smart enought to prepare for the widely anticipated failure.

  13. DC Loser says:

    I wish bit would get off his union bashing soapbox and talk sensibly about this. There’s enough blame to go around with Detroit. The unions are certainly unrealistic by pressing their pay and pension demands in a declining industry (like the British coal miner unions in the 70s and early 80s). But nobody put a gun to GM, Ford and Chrysler’s head and forced them to sign the contracts. Nobody dictated to them that they should make crappy cars with lousy quality. Nor did they tell them to put all their eggs in the SUV and truck market without any thought to what happens when oil prices spike. I remember then Ford CEO Jacque Nasser gloating (during the SUV heyday) that Ford had over $100 billion in cash from the profits they made selling SUVs. What did Ford do with that money? Buy tropy marques such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, etc., that did nothing to improve quality or technology in their North American products. They ended up selling all these at a loss and what’s left? Most of the blame for this disaster rest solely with the decisions made in the Big 3’s boardrooms. Yes, the unions compounded the situation, but they didn’t call the shots.

  14. Wayne says:

    “The blame belongs squarely to past corporate management who behaved as though there were no tomorrow”

    You mean about like the spending habits and management by the U.S. Congress? Kicking the can down the road can only go on for so long. Unfortunately the voters like union members and management want money now then will point blame at everyone else when the sh*t hits the fan.

  15. Drew says:

    Having been in the steel industry in a prior life….this is deja vu all over again.

    I watched senior union members sell the younger ones right down the river so they could keep their pay and bennies structure in place. Eventual result? A restructured – and much smaller, with fewer employees – US steel industry. Too bad, youngin’s.

    The same fate awaits GM et al. Are unions to blame? You bet. Work rules and legacy costs are the biggest problem. And DS is correct in observing that the contract breaking mechanism must be brought to bear. Is management to blame? My gosh. Did you see the poor designs and quality put out in the 70’s all the way through the mid-nineties? Talk about losing your brand! And I didn’t even mention the unfocused multiplicity of brands, empire mentality etc. Terrible performance.

    But the fact is that Detroit is making a lot of fine vehicles today. Unfortunately, the die has already been cast. In the broadest of strokes, there is only one solution: The brand and manufacturing footprints must shrink. The benefit and work rule paradigms must be changed, and UAW employment must decline.

    Without that, any bailout money is going to go right down the toilet. But do you really think Reid, Pelosi and Obama are going to let GM go down on their watch???

    By the way, if we were in Australia those greenbacks would rotate the other direction……..

  16. Bithead says:

    Blaming the auto company unions is as intellectually dishonest as would be blaming the auto company customer for decisions made by auto company management.

    For the last thirty years at least everybody could see that a crisis was coming and that US companies were doomed unless management changed the way they built cars. The only ones hurt by the failure of these companies will be those who were not smart enought to prepare for the widely anticipated failure.


    and

    I wish bit would get off his union bashing soapbox and talk sensibly about this. There’s enough blame to go around with Detroit. The unions are certainly unrealistic by pressing their pay and pension demands in a declining industry (like the British coal miner unions in the 70s and early 80s). But nobody put a gun to GM, Ford and Chrysler’s head and forced them to sign the contracts.

    Actually, no.
    At every turn, the federal government universally backed the union deamds on wages and benefits… You tell me… in a situation as regulated as the auto industry, how does one turn down the government-backed union?

    Nobody dictated to them that they should make crappy cars with lousy quality. Nor did they tell them to put all their eggs in the SUV and truck market without any thought to what happens when oil prices spike

    They’ve been building fairly decent cars and trucks for the last two deacdes. I drive two of them. And guess what? The quality issues were the companies trying to keep costs down so as to allow for Union wage and ebbie demands while hitting consumer price points… as in trying to meet the reality of the market.

    And why did trucks take off the way they did? Government pushing us into altoids boxes instead of cars. The smaller cars simply didn’t sell; people didn’t want them. So, pin that one on government and their CAFE standards.

    Meanwhile, are you really telling me that they shouldn’t have been making vehicles people wanted to buy, and instead buidling the vehicles the government wanted them to build?

  17. DC Loser says:

    And why did trucks take off the way they did? Government pushing us into altoids boxes instead of cars. The smaller cars simply didn’t sell; people didn’t want them. So, pin that one on government and their CAFE standards.

    Meanwhile, are you really telling me that they shouldn’t have been making vehicles people wanted to buy, and instead buidling the vehicles the government wanted them to build?

    Is that why all those trucks that the people were clamoring for are now piling up unsold on the dealer lots, and sales have tanked? If Detroit had made an effort to build better mileage cars that could have boosted their CAFE numbers, they’d still have something to sell. Ford is pushing a decade old design (in the Focus) has its small car class leader. How pathetic. Chrysler is all but given up on small cars, and GM is selling rebadged Korean cars that gets worse gas mileage then my 8 year old Corolla.

    With the falling oil prices, I’m expecting Detroit to begin ramping up SUV production very soon.

  18. Bithead says:

    Is that why all those trucks that the people were clamoring for are now piling up unsold on the dealer lots, and sales have tanked? If Detroit had made an effort to build better mileage cars that could have boosted their CAFE numbers, they’d still have something to sell.

    Gasoline prices are the direct result of an overstepping government, and a ‘no drill’ policy. Period. What you’re saying here, is they should have figured the government would screw up free market rpicing on energy?

    With the falling oil prices, I’m expecting Detroit to begin ramping up SUV production very soon.

    Actually, you’re a little behind the time… they’re already buidling them to sell… And why not? They’re selling. As usual, when given the choice, people go for anything but the compact.

  19. DC Loser says:

    Ha! The reason those workers have to do forced overtime at the Arlington plant is because all the other GM SUV plants in the US have been shut down. Lets look at sales numbers. According to Wards Automotive numbers, domestic light truck sales declined 42% in October from a year ago. That’s not what I’d exactly call a sales rebound.

  20. Bithead says:

    Ha! The reason those workers have to do forced overtime at the Arlington plant is because all the other GM SUV plants in the US have been shut down. Lets look at sales numbers. According to Wards Automotive numbers, domestic light truck sales declined 42% in October from a year ago. That’s not what I’d exactly call a sales rebound.

    What you’re missing is the effect of the overall economy, which has been killing sales at about those percentages, across the board.

  21. The Manichean blame game is part of the problem. Management is responsible, the UAW is responsible, Congress is responsible, and complex interactions between these players via the laws of unintended consequences are responsible.

    Bending management over alone won’t solve the problems. Bending the UAW over alone won’t solve the problems. Getting Congress to act responsibly at all won’t solve the problems. Personally, I don’t think it can be fixed without being utterly broken first, i.e. bankruptcy. The only thing I’m certain of though is that pouring money down a hole in an attempt to fill it will solve no problems and will create even more.

  22. DC Loser says:

    We can debat this until the cows come home. This will be my last comment on this. The bottom line is that those companies that were heavily dependent on SUV and truck sales saw their numbers tank. Those that were moderatly dependent on trucks (i.e., Toyota) saw their numbers fall, but not as large as those of the Big 3. Those that had no large trucks in their inventory saw the smallest sales downturns (i.e., Honda). That tells me the buyers were staying away from trucks and buying more small cars percentage wise than the gas hogs.

  23. Bithead says:

    None of them were selling much of anything, DC.
    None. And again, the fuel price issue lands directly at the feet of government.

    Complain if you like that the Big Three should have seen that the government was going to foul up energy prices with their over-stepping, and that they should have been making the cars the left wants them to make… insted of what was selling… but that doesn’t seem to remove government culpability, nor does it make the Big Three look all that bad, sorry.

  24. DC Loser says:

    Bit, you kill me with your “it’s all the government’s fault” paranoia, tin foil hat and all.

  25. Bithead says:

    Uh huh. Your attempts to avoid the bloody obvious are what slays me.

    Let me show you something.

  26. LFC says:

    Gasoline prices are the direct result of an overstepping government, and a ‘no drill’ policy. Period. What you’re saying here, is they should have figured the government would screw up free market rpicing on energy?

    Not the drilling canard again. Guess what! There are over 30 billion barrels in undersea reserves ALREADY LEASED. There are 66 million acres of land ALREADY LEASED. The companies are the ones holding up drilling, not the government. They’re doing this for several reasons.

    First, it’s not smart business to suck all of your future resources dry today. Second, holding those leases boosts their balance sheets. And third, there is a limited amount of equipment and trained personnel to do the job. Opening up the entire East Coast to drilling will do nothing more than add 25% to the already unutilized drillable inventory.

    Actually, you’re a little behind the time… they’re already buidling them to sell… And why not? They’re selling. As usual, when given the choice, people go for anything but the compact.

    That’s right. That’s why Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia are all going bankrupt and don’t sell any cars, right?

    Take a look at the most popular cars on edmunds.com, based on searches. The top 5 are all by Honda, Toyota, or Mazda, and the biggest vehicle is a Honda CR-V. The first American car is #18, and the first full-sized truck is #29.

    America’s big 3 are dying because they simply haven’t kept up. They ran to the markets of full sized pickups and minivans, and have little else to offer. In the meantime, the Japanese and Korean manufacturers have a whole series from “first car” to luxury car, and are creating brand loyalty among the young.

  27. Bithead says:

    Not the drilling canard again. Guess what! There are over 30 billion barrels in undersea reserves ALREADY LEASED. There are 66 million acres of land ALREADY LEASED. The companies are the ones holding up drilling, not the government. They’re doing this for several reasons.

    No.
    That’s what the government thinks is there.The oil companies are not drilling because there’s nothing there.

    Opening up the entire East Coast to drilling will do nothing more than add 25% to the already unutilized drillable inventory.

    Even if I take this at face value… and I don’t… you don’t suppose that wouldn’t have an effect on the price? Consider the price jumps after only a 5% tightening of supply.

    That’s right. That’s why Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia are all going bankrupt and don’t sell any cars, right?

    Look again; I said the relative sales figures are off, across the board. The ones you mention are not failing for one primary reason, and it’s not because they’re selling mor cars in the states…it’s beacsue their labor costs are lower.

    I suppose it’s not occurred to you to look at the cost of production per vehicle, in terms of what kind of vehicle costs what? Even asuming everyone wanted a smaller vehicle…(Demonstrably untrue) the Big three couldnt’ produce it because their labor costs are too high, making smaller cars unprofitable, even assuming they’d sell.

    Why would their labor costs be too high, do you suppose? Yep… unions, which have been backed by the force of government.

  28. LFC says:

    That’s what the government thinks is there.The oil companies are not drilling because there’s nothing there.

    Basis for that? It’s interesting that you toss out the Energy Dept’s figures out so casually. Who says they are so wrong, other than you?

    Even if I take this at face value… and I don’t… you don’t suppose that wouldn’t have an effect on the price? Consider the price jumps after only a 5% tightening of supply.

    You’re ignoring the fact that the offshore rigs, specialized ships, and people to do the work don’t exist. There are much larger world-wide finds (like Brazil) that are being exploited very slowly because of the amount of time it takes to ramp up the necessary infrastructure.

    Ramping up is also only a sound choice if there is so much oil that the new equipment will be fully utilized. Big oil in this country knows that its not worth an enormous capital investment for the amounts of oil still left. Better to get your leases and, as your wells go dry, move the existing equipment. That is called smart business. Even if “drill here, drill now” would be good for the country, it’s not necessarily smart business.

    Look again; I said the relative sales figures are off, across the board.

    No, you said “As usual, when given the choice, people go for anything but the compact.” That statement is demonstrably false when you look at overall car sales, not just sales by American manufacturers. Japanese compacts and even subcompacts have been top sellers for years, and Hyundai looks like its coming on strong.

    The ones you mention are not failing for one primary reason, and it’s not because they’re selling mor cars in the states…it’s beacsue their labor costs are lower.

    It’s only partially labor costs. I have no love of auto unions, but to lay the entire set of problems at their feet is to dodge the fact that the American companies have lagged in technology, engineering, and quality control for decades.

    I’ll give you a “for instance”. There was an article out relatively recently about how Toyota created a new process to make engine blocks for the Camry. They were able to reduce the cost of manufacturing a Camry by over $1,000 while improving quality, but it took a big up front investment.

    As to quality, one only has to look at Consumer Reports to see what is reliable and what is not. GM experimented with this when they first created Saturn (I believe their slogan was “a different kind of car company”) but Saturn is now just another GM nameplate, and their quality has suffered because of it. They no longer rate as high as their competition.

  29. Bithead says:

    Basis for that? It’s interesting that you toss out the Energy Dept’s figures out so casually. Who says they are so wrong, other than you?

    Heh… there’s one obvious answer…

    You’re ignoring the fact that the offshore rigs, specialized ships, and people to do the work don’t exist.

    Like any other busienss, those pop up when allowed to.

    Ramping up is also only a sound choice if there is so much oil that the new equipment will be fully utilized. Big oil in this country knows that its not worth an enormous capital investment for the amounts of oil still left. Better to get your leases and, as your wells go dry, move the existing equipment. That is called smart business. Even if “drill here, drill now” would be good for the country, it’s not necessarily smart business.

    Nice try. We have enough dopmestic oil, even assuming current consumption rates and YOY consumption increases, AND assuming we’re talking about pulling from only domestic sources, to last for 60 years.

    No, you said “As usual, when given the choice, people go for anything but the compact.” That statement is demonstrably false when you look at overall car sales, not just sales by American manufacturers. Japanese compacts and even subcompacts have been top sellers for years, and Hyundai looks like its coming on strong.

    But have been outsold, on an order of scale, by trucks and vans and SUV’s. That WAS the complaint, wasn’t it?

    It’s only partially labor costs. I have no love of auto unions, but to lay the entire set of problems at their feet is to dodge the fact that the American companies have lagged in technology, engineering, and quality control for decades.

    and…

    As to quality, one only has to look at Consumer Reports to see what is reliable and what is not. GM experimented with this when they first created Saturn (I believe their slogan was “a different kind of car company”) but Saturn is now just another GM nameplate, and their quality has suffered because of it. They no longer rate as high as their competition.

    Still, their quality has been good. As I say, I’m driving two. And to the etent taht GM was forced to reduce Saturn’s footprint, guess why? Labor costs, imposed by UNIONS.

    Again, your ability to dance around the bloody obvious is staggering.

    Each of which has but one base cause.

  30. LFC says:

    Each of which has but one base cause.

    Aaaaah, the magic bullet of the idealogue. “If we just took care of the unions, then … PONIES!”

    Of course, oversimplification is best for some. Having a single demon, particularly one they didn’t like in the first place, helps them sleep at night.

  31. Barry says:

    A few comments –

    First, if Megan says that the sun rises in the east, expect sunrise to shine in your west-facing windows tomorrow morning. The woman is so full of it that it’s not even funny anymore; I’ve seen her state extremely dumbf*ck things, get schooled by her own commenters in the first few comments, and continue on, blithe as Maureen Dowd.

    Second, James: “Besides that, propping up the likes of Citibank will likely actually result in saving Citibank.”

    Note how:

    a) The money which was supposed to restore liquidity seems to have gone instead into the banks’ balance sheets, while the banks cut back lending,
    b) How the bailout has grown – AIG has now sucked down ~ $100 billion, and is going to get ~$50 more billion, and
    c) The administration is doing this with the same level of transparency and accountability that they’ve displayed for the past 8 years.

    I think that a bailout might work, but it’ll be an FDR-style New Deal II, *after* the Bush*t bailout has been spent – and I expect the administration to have p*ssed away all $700 billion long before Inauguration Day, and to have spent several hundred billion $ more that they weren’t authorized to spend.

    Third, a bankruptcy by GM would put (guessing here) a few to several hundred thousand people out of work *immediately* (GM workers and supplier workers), with that number doubling in a month or so (people who work at every place where GM/supplier worker dollars are spent). And that’s *beside* the psychological impact.

    In short, a GM bankruptcy would probably doom us to a Great Depression II.

  32. Bithead says:

    Aaaaah, the magic bullet of the idealogue. “If we just took care of the unions, then … PONIES!”

    Actually, wasn’t that the promise we were given to justify unions?

    Are there other problems aside from unions? Certainly, government being the biggest among these others. Will eliminating all the other problems solve GM’s woes to the point of sustainability, if we leave the unions in place? NO. (Remember just a short while ago when the big battle cry from leftists claiming to be fighting for the life of the planet was ‘sustainability’?)

  33. Floyd says:

    Bithead;
    I usually look up to you, and you go breaking my heart and destroying my faith….[grinz]
    You can’t really blame the unions for the problems when they turn out a superior product at a lower price, with better dependability.

    Ford abandoned it’s core business to go whoring after margins by buying upscale name plates instead of preparing for the lean times and concentrating on producing the cheap solid reliable hoi-poli vehicles which built their business in the first place.
    They only need a revival and new leadership who better understands their history.

    GM squirreled off all their profits into GMAC, and then started crying that they were broke, instead of living up to their honest[and contractual] obligations.
    ANYTHING that happens to a company is the fault of management by simple definition.
    Good GAAWWD! They get paid enough to work wonders and poop cucumbers,and you think that they are naive enough to fall victim to bunch of guys too stupid to deserve a decent wage?

  34. Andre Kenji says:

    The most bizarre thing is that GM and Ford are something healthy in Brazil(And yes, most of their plants are heavily unionized). Few people have Japanese cars(Toyota Corolla, a luxury product, is an exception).

    They also have smaller and more efficient cars that aren´t sold in the US. For instance, the Ford EcoSport, a compact SUV that´s a bestseller in Brazil.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNccrSiH0uQ&feature=related

  35. James Joyner says:

    Third, a bankruptcy by GM would put (guessing here) a few to several hundred thousand people out of work *immediately*

    That’s not how modern American bankruptcy law works. How many airlines have gone bankrupt over the last few years and continued to operate?

    Chapter 11 would allow GM to reorganize and minimize some bad debt and move on. Whether it’ll continue to exist in the long term as “General Motors” or whether the likes of Oldsmobile will continue, I dunno. I can just about guarantee that Chevy and GMC will be here decades from now, though.

  36. Wendy says:

    I’m a quality consultant to companies who make automotive parts and I have yet to find anyone who supports the bailout. Workers and management alike say, “let them fail”. We’ve been in the automotive assembly plants. For the most part, workers are under-skilled, under-worked, and overpayed compared to most (all?) other industries.

  37. Floyd says:

    Wendy;
    And you got paid for that opinion? Probably more than those overpaid guys who actually produced something.
    You make a good case for bad management though, since they get paid to run the business and then have to hire consultants to cover their incompetence.

  38. Bithead says:

    You can’t really blame the unions for the problems when they turn out a superior product at a lower price, with better dependability.

    And at exactly what point did that happen?

  39. Floyd says:

    I’ve got two excellent examples in the garage as we converse. Both Fords of course!
    BTW; I am qualified to judge in this case.

  40. Bithead says:

    Ah. So the unions get all the credit for those cars in your view?

    Well, let’s see.
    I’m curious; Ford what(s)?