Bailout Watch 303: The Backlash Begins?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 303 the backlash begins

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


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  • Ronin Ronin on Dec 26, 2008

    @Ronnie Schreiber sayeth: "...More myths about “nobody” buys Detroit products. In October, the domestics had 55%, of the market and in November, 57%..." Who cares? 55% of a 40% loss in volume of sales is meaningless. The Titanic is going down, but my stateroom is bigger than yours. Nobody is buying their cars, they are overflowing the lots, and the industry has to crawl to taxpayers for free welfare. If people were buying their overpriced cars this would not be necessary. QED.

  • Nonce Nonce on Dec 27, 2008
    But Toyota and Volkswagen do not have to pay for the medical care and retirement of their workers. In every other developed nation, the government takes care of that. TAANSTAAFL. If the government pays, that means that businesses pay. and this country just got rid of its archaic, inefficient, byzantine, inequitable, and terribly costly employer-based medical insurance system and replaced it with a European-style single-payer insurance system, Detroit’s profitability problem would just about disappear. I agree that our current medical system is, by and large, horrible. I disagree that "single-payer" is the solution. Medicare is single-payer and it sucks, because the compensation model pays more to doctors for doing more procedures. (Our private health insurance system has the exact problem.) I know some people get hung up on "we need more government involvement" and others get hung up on "we need less government involvement," but both of those are distractions from really fixing our health care issues.

  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?