Socialism rears its ugly head, and that “wealth redistributor” Obama hasn’t even been elected yet…

Never too proud to beg for a handout

Being the True Capitalist I am, I believe in free markets.  That means unlimited profits in good times, such as those the U.S. automobile industry has enjoyed in the past. And unlimited down in bad times, such as now. I think you’ll agree, unless you’re a Socialist who watches Fox News and reads pinkos like Coulter and the Limbaugh Brothers.  So I’m sure you’ll be sickened to hear that GM is begging the government for a little favoritism—“Please please please don’t let the grim reaper cart GM off in a Prius!”—instead of being the rugged capitalist that’s made America great in the past.

Read all about the hypocrisy that is American big-baby business here. And before anyone says, “It’s just a loan,” tell that to the thousands of college students who didn’t get their loans this academic year because there’s no government money for aid.

I haven’t had a chance to tune in to the right wing talk shows yet, but I’m sure they’re all yelling and screaming about this blatant Socialism.  Yup.

I particularly like this part in the article: “Wagoner took the top spot at GM in 2000, making him the longest-serving CEO at a U.S. automaker. GM shares reached a record $96.63 in April 2000, shortly before he took the helm. They fell to $4.76, the lowest since 1950, on Oct. 9…”

Now, again, all free market capitalists no doubt agree pay should be commensurate with performance.  After all, they’re always telling us, that’s why the low-level worker earns $10 an hour with no benefits (because they make sure they hire him for precisely 36 hours a week—anything more and and he wouldn’t be, cough-cough, “part-time”)—that’s what they’re worth.  When they get better skills, they’ll move up in the The Free Market of The Greatest Nation on Earth Blessed by God and they’ll make oodles.  Well, Rickie’s not been doing the greatest job, apparently.  I’ll bet Bob the office copy boy could have been running the show and missed the hybrid revolution, dismantled the innovative spirit of Saturn, killed the electric car after pouring a moonshot’s worth of R&D into it, and green-lighting dozens of look-alike gas guzzling SUVs and trucks with redundant components to feed into redundant divisions that ended up cannibalizing each other.  So, what was Rickie’s take home pay last year?  $14.4 million clams.  That buys a lot of Pontiac Azteks—remember those horrid bucktoothed and nearsighted SUVs nobody except Rosie O’Donnell would admit to owning?  —Oh, and there’s Rickie’s corporate jet, a Gulfstream GV (at least he has taste in planes), the house the board generously bought for him, the country club memberships (to network and bring more sterling business to the company, of course), the expense accounts, entourage, nymphs to sprinkle rose pedals on the ground where he walks, and God knows what else.

But you have to cut Rick a break.  He did decrease his financial gluttony, but after several, um, stellar years at the helm, GM generously restored (that must be what GM stands for: generous motors) his outsized salary. I’m sure he fought it hard.  I can just see Rick insisting, vehemently, that the perks, the pay increases, the catered food, the fine wine, the golf memberships, the paid vacations, the private school for his kids, the clothes for his wife, the clothes for his mistress, all stop stop STOP!  We have to behave like decent businesspeople, not gilded-age robber barons!  The way the free world views us is at stake!  It can be hard to keep your focus on the product, on quality, on Doing The Right Thing, so I can understand a lapse or two or three or four or five or six or seventeen from Rick.

I particularly like the part in the article where Chuckie Schumer says “Nobody wants to see the [U.S.] auto industry go under.”  I do.  I haven’t owned an American-made POS in fifteen years, and I’m very happy with the un-American Japanese and European cars I drive.  I’ve never had one that was a lemon.  With American cars, I never had one that wasn’t a lemon.  I keep hearing that they’re better now, that they’ve caught up. Based on my rental experience, I’m not convinced.  (And before anybody say that’s because they’re rentals and customers beat the shit out of them, let it be said that my first experience with imports was in rentals too and I was VERY impressed—so much so that I ditched my Yankee car and bought one immediately.)  Also, I know some people who have gone back to Ford or GM, and most of them now regret it—again.

We’re supposed to be all gung-ho when people build a better mousetrap and it triumphs.  That’s rewarding invention, innovation, and hard work, right?  Well, we have to maintain our enthusiasm for that model even when we get our asses kicked by it.

As for Rick, in the interest of preserving true Free Markets, of which I am, as I have said, a champion and supporter, might I humbly suggest he get a job for which he is better-suited and can be more appropriately compensated?  Door greeter at Wal-Mart or an Apple store are two good options…

As for Obama, if he’s elected and has the cojones to Just Say No to the drug of choice among white collar criminals—taxpayer bailouts—I wonder if he will be lauded for refusing to redistribute the wealth.  Somehow I doubt it: Jimmy Carter never was.  (For those of you too young to remember, automakers hurting in the late 70s went to The Man From Plains for money and he told them where they could shove their stick shifts.  He was roundly vilified for it, too.  How come we never cite actions like that as “cutting waste”?)

Oh, by the way, click here for a sample of Rick’s handiwork.  This is what $14.4 million dollars of business leadership buys?  No wonder the dollar’s devalued.

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