Archive for December, 2008

disgust rolls on

Disgusted, once again, but this time on the other side of the coin. The Senate Republicans have blocked the automaker’s bail-out – good for them. Bad for them that the reason was that they wanted the autoworker’s union to agree to wage concessions as a condition to the bail-out. It seems that the only difference between Democrats and Republicans on this issue is the part of the automaker’s business that they want to micro-manage. I suppose that I can be consoled with the fact that, regardless of motivation, the bail-out appears to be a dead issue. Want to bet that the White House decides to give some of that $700 billion bail-out fund to the automakers? No takers? Don’t blame you.

bail out or cop out?

Disgusted. Yep, disgusted. That’s the best word I can find to describe how I feel about the “big three” auto makers here in the States. I know that my view of business ethics may be a bit “Pollyanna,” but I expect the people in charge to actually take responsibility for the state of the business, suck it up when things get bad and to take the actions necessary to get the business back on track, and this does not mean groveling for money at the foot of some government bureaucrat.

It is an embarrassment that the chief executive officers of these companies are willing to trade pretty much anything in order to gain a pittance of government support. The few billion that the government appears willing to throw their way will provide little to no real relief and will only invite government’s participation in an area where they have no management expertise. One only needs to look at the increasing financial requirements of the government to know that they have no idea of how to control costs, and every successful businessman knows that making money in business is all about controlling costs.

If the automakers are really in that bad a condition, then let them file for bankruptcy and reorganize. Truthfully, I doubt that even that would be absolutely necessary. I suspect that they could cut their operations tremendously and downsize to the point where they can still survive, but I am not privy to their balance sheets. The problem is that the CEOs of the big three do not want to make the hard decisions and take the necessary action. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to blame everything and everyone else rather than personally take on the responsibility for the failure of their businesses.

Times change, and business must change with it. Unions must also recognize the need for change or they will become obsolete. Like it or not, “fair” or not, workers in the United States are now competing globally for jobs and will not be able to retain the levels of compensation that were acquired when the American automotive industry was at its peak. To be fair, this applies to all types of businesses, not just the auto makers – we are all competing globally.

In addition to the pay of union workers, the compensation paid to management must also be adjusted. Of course, the CEOs of these companies aren’t going to see it that way. All the more reason that the big three should go into bankruptcy if it’s that bad – they need reorganization from the top down. The current management has failed. As a stockholder in any of these companies I would not be able to accept keeping the current management.

Time for another word – frightened. I’m afraid that the government is going to provide a “bail out” with strings attached. There is talk of a “Car Czar” being established to watch-dog the auto industry. This is a foot in the door – a step towards government controlled business. This is not Capitalism, and it frightens me that we are standing at the top of a very, very slippery slope. Which brings me back to disgusted again. That we have business leaders willing to turn their authority – their right to run their businesses as they see fit – over to the government in exchange for cash, makes me want to puke.

Freethinkers : A History of American Secularism – by Susan Jacoby

An exploration of secularism in America from the founding of the country to today. It seems there is so much history that I just do not know anything about and this book has helped alleviate that situation a bit. This book helps to balance the overtly Christian slant of Cleon Skousen’s history of the Constitution.

(Finished 12/7/08)

office of the president-elect?

What a heaping pile of bullshit, but then again, why should I be surprised at anything that the President-elect and his cronies would do? It’s all about puffery and image, after all, and always has been. What else could it be for a person of no true substance? Thus it is that they created out of whole cloth the “Office of the President-elect” and the “Office of the Vice-President-elect.”

In the “About” section of the change.gov web site, they say that, “This site is for the Office of the President-elect and Office of the Vice President-elect, as recognized by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended (3 USC 102 note).” Hmmm, so the “Office of the President-elect” is established in that law? I think not, but go ahead and read it yourself. Nope, can’t find it. Yes, it establishes the procedures for providing for a smooth transition for the President-elect into the presidency, but nowhere in that act or related acts is there any mention of an “Office of the President-elect.”

Just a sign of things to come, I fear – more style than substance. I know, it’s just a little thing, but it’s the little things that reveal the truth.