I know the following letter, first published in the Park Rapids [Minnesota] Enterprise, contains some highly contentious attacks on The Big 2.8 and slurs upon the United Auto Workers. It’s also a bit lacking in the factuality department. But I’m republishing it because I believe the miffed missive mailer represents more than one consumer’s antipathy towards the domestic automakers. If the broad strokes painted here are in any way reflective of a segment of the car-buying public, if that sentiment swells as longtime D2.8 critics become more vocal and visible, well, it’s an abandoned airfield full of not good. And if GM, Chrysler and then Ford belly-up to the bailout buffet for yet more billions, they could well be evoking the law of diminishing returns. (Or endless socialism.) After all, at some point, they have to sell cars to someone.
“Now that the president (and I imagine Congress) has approved a 17.4 billion dollar bailout for GM and Chrysler, what should the American consumers do? My advice … buy foreign cars. The so-called Big Three in Detroit have been ripping off the American car buyer for decades. None of these cars produced in Detroit are worth the price tags placed on them. Many of them break down before the warranty goes off or shortly after. And they depreciate the minute you drive them off the lot. Why the outrageously high prices? Because some execs at Ford, Chrysler and GM have been knocking down mutli-million [sic] dollar paychecks for years. And union workers, many of them high school dropouts, are making anywhere from 65 to 75 bucks an hour for standing in an assembly line putting in bolts and nuts that any 5 year old could do.
“If the American taxpayers are going to give almost 20 billion (probably a lot more when Obama gets in office), then the American car buyers should get one heck of a deal when buying a new car. Which brings another question to mind: How is the government bailout going to help car sales? Our economy is in slump, a recession (depression, in my opinion), who has the money for a new car? So Detroit gets billions to keep poorly managed, overpaid car companies afloat. How will that help car sales? Why should the American taxpayer help companies that have been overcharging us for years with poor quality cars?
Buy foreign cars. Let Detroit go under. And those guys and gals making 75 bucks an hour better get used to working at fast food joints for one tenth of the pay.
Tom R. Kovach