Rant… (Note: I started writing this a week ago, but ran out of time. Hence the untimeliness.)
I hear the auto industry is in trouble. They don’t know why. I can tell you, and I won’t even ask for an eleven-gazillion dollar bonus… They’re not making the cars we want at a price we can afford.
I’ll say it again using most of the same words in a slightly different order.
They’re not making the cars we want. And we can’t afford the ones they are making.
It’s that simple. Really.
Did they mismanage their companies? Sure! (A congressman wryly noted “It’s strange to see you guys get out of a private luxury jet to come to stand in front of us and beg for money.”) This might be the one and only time you’ll hear me say this, but paying the AVERAGE worker at an auto plant $74 an hour may be part of the problem. I have a college degree and 20 years experience in my field and I only made $15 an hour — and that was in a union shop. I’m happy the workers were getting such a high wage! Don’t get me wrong, I’m on their side, but the wages do seem to be out of line with the rest of the economy… Is there any wonder that us $10-15 per hour people buy Toyotas?
MAKE A CHEAP ELECTRIC CAR! You’ll make billions. I know, I know, they say it can’t be done with current technology. (“Current” technology. Get it? Oh, I’m positive you do. And don’t get all negative on me now…) But we never will develop the technology unless someone gets off their duff and starts working on it! Go ahead, make a small, comfortable electric car that only goes 50 miles on a charge. If it’s affordable, people who only drive 50 miles in a day will buy it!
So lets go ahead and give the auto makers all our money (or at least all we have left after the oil companies, banks, and insurance companies have had their share), but let’s put a caveat on the dough. Okay, CEOs, you bozos ran your companies into the ground, you’re fired. No bonuses, and no you can’t keep your jets. You did a BAD job and should not be rewarded by either the government or your shareholders. Same with whatever structure you have in place running the companies. Get rid of ’em, hire some people from Toyota or Honda to come in and teach us how to do what we taught THEM to do 50 years ago…