It's our fault the economy sucks

Monday, January 05, 2009

Let’s look back ten years or so. Ford and GM were huge, successful corporations making millions of cars all over the world. Hyundai was a joke, a car that people bought because they couldn’t afford a nice car. Since then, Hyundai has focused on making affordable cars that people want to drive. Ford and GM have focused on making bigger and bigger SUVs and complaining about union wages. So where are we now? Ford and GM are financially insolvent, in need of giant government bailouts. Hyundai is leaving behind their joke reputation and making some pretty decent cars. But why is this our fault? It’s because we are so focused on the sound bytes. When the big three car execs went to Washington with their hands out, what did we report on and talk about? The fact that they flew their corporate jets. Yes, this is a good symbol of the misplaced priorities. But it is such an insignificant part of the problem. It’s not like leaving the corporate jet at home, or even selling it, would have suddenly made GM profitable. Those execs are absurdly rich. Get over it. I know we’re jealous. But even if we make them take pay cuts, we’re still going to be making the same money we do now. The real problem is that, due to mismanagement, failure to plan ahead, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the business they’re in, these execs have gotten into a position where it is better for the country as a whole if we give them millions of dollars. They can’t take all the blame for that - some of it is certainly on us. But to focus on the corporate jets as anything more than a symbol of their incompetence is to brush the real issues under the rug as soon as there’s something we can latch onto and get really fired up about. The issue at hand is that the American car companies don’t make compelling cars (In this country, anyway) and have lost the reputation for quality they used to have. They like to use the unions as an excuse, but the unions are rational human beings who depend on American car companies to make their living - you can negotiate with them and work something out. If you can’t, you’re probably not trying hard enough. If Hyundai can do it, so can you. No more excuses from the Big Three.

Posted in: complaint , economics , stupid people