Archive for recession
The New York Times article begins, “Faced with staggering new unemployment figures, Democratic Congressional leaders said on Friday that they were ready to provide a short-term rescue plan for American automakers…” To translate that into what it really means, it would read: “Faced with staggering water in the lower decks of the ship, crew members of the RMS Titanic said they are breaking out the Dixiecups to bail out the ailing ship.” You can all go back to your staterooms now. We won’t sink after all.
Dumbfucks, your piddly bailout isn’t going to do jackshit, except take that much money away from projects where it could possibly have an impact. Everybody, everybody, everybody is in agreement that the long-term prognosis for the automakers is death. The only question is quick death or drawn-out, expensive death. The brilliant men and women who have been leading this country into the ground for the past 30 years have decided on the latter, which is the stupidest, as well as most cowardly, decision they could make. They want to appear as though they’ve done everything, while doing everything will just make things worse. But no, appearance is what matters to the spineless scum that populates the halls of Capitol Hill.
There were two ways they could have handled this that, while not without pain, would make some degree of sense. 1) Let ’em die, which I think is the best decision. 2) Throw oodles of money at them, all they need and more, because you know damn well they low-balled what they asked for and it will only last them six months to a year, and they’ll be back for more, pointing, as they do now, to all sorts of progress that’s “just around the corner.” (“This time we’re really turning a corner, honest we are, and we’re starting to get it. Now, can we just pick up our pre-signed bailout checks now because we have a 1PM tee time at the Lexington Country Club golf course. Thanks…“) Instead they do neither. Congress makes the same mistake it made with Vietnam, with Iraq, and with most of the social programs out there: they agree to support it, but only half-heartedly. They give it money, but not too much lest they stir the wrath of the voter. They compromise, hoping to eat their cake while having it too. The result is not enough funds to do the job but enough to, along with all their other half-hearted programs, further mire the country in debt. That’s one of the main reasons we’re as broke as we are, and have such a large number of check marks in the “failure” column. We no longer do things in a bold way. We no longer refuse to do things. We…take a…sort of middle ground.
Great going, guys. You’ve shown that you, just like the three clowns you’re bailing out, don’t have a clue how to utilize your resources. You have a lot of nerve lecturing them when you’re exactly the same.
It’s a new day, GM is promising us. We’re going to get smaller and leaner, and lure customers away from small foreign imports with our own line of competitive, fuel-efficient cars. No more gas guzzlers. No more bloated productions, big bureaucracies, bloated labor costs. They’ve gotten the message and learned how to compete. This is a different GM.
No, that isn’t the testimony from yesterday’s trip to Capitol Hill. It’s what the troubled car company promised more than 25 years ago with the introduction of its Saturn line. After an initial success GM quickly reverted to its old ways, absorbed the once-independent division into the company mainstream, stopped coming out with new models, and basically turned the Saturn into Just Another Econobox in the ailing General Motors lineup. Its one success in a quarter of a century, and GM killed it off. Everything that made Saturn different was wiped away.
Then there was all that research into the EV1. Yeah, I know it had issues, but every new technology does. Why spend billions if you’re not interested in change for the long-haul—you know, the kind of change they once again promise they’re advocating now?
Chrysler went to the government begging for money twice. The first time, under the leadership of Lee Iacocca, they indeed paid their loan back early and came out with a highly successful line of “K” cars. (I thought they were crap, but mainstream America seemed to dig them.) But again they reverted to bland and boring and had to beg for more money to build a new technology center about 12 years later and come out with their LH line, which skeptics claimed stood for “Last Hope.” Once again, after being initially successful the automaker reverted to its old, fat, lazy ways.
And Ford…let’s not even go there. Let’s just say they haven’t had an exciting product since the mid-80s, when the Taurus and its other aero-cousins hit the market and redefined what a mainstream sedan could look like. After that their streak of “innovation” was over faster than Henry Ford could kick Edsel in the balls.
I’d like to know why when they say this time, they really really really really really really really get it, swear to God, cross my heart and hope to die, we should believe them. Would you believe a child molester who was paroled the fourth or fifth time and says this time he can live across the street from a schoolyard because he’s really really really really really really cured?
If Congress gives them a nickel they’re even bigger fuckwits than I think they are. Let the three (it seems laughable to even call them The Big Three anymore) go under. They will take much of Detroit with them, it will decimate the economy, yes. It’s time we stopped living in denial that this economy can escape decimation. Otherwise we are just prolonging the agony.
Honest, guys, you have proven again and again that Americans cannot compete. We can’t manufacture anymore, except in very small, specialized batches, or where we steal a European concept or design (and oftentimes not even then), so let’s stop kidding ourselves. It’s a lost art, a lost skill. Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, when the best and brightest among us all decided it was cooler to be “in high finance,” pushing around pieces of paper to make them magically more valuable instead of designing and building things and getting our hands a little dirty, instead of learning about math and science and art and all that other nerdy stuff, we sealed our fate for generations to come. Those generations have now come. The Europeans and Japanese still build things. They don’t find it demeaning to work on shop room floors. They don’t believe all the desirable jobs are in upscale office suites where people throw around obscure words and concepts that even they don’t understand, but won’t admit to not understanding, while planning power lunches and golf-course retreats, feeling smug and superior in their “white-collar” education.
Remember that raah-raah economy that started in the 80s? The greed-is-good, money-money-money fast-moving world extolled by Ronald Reagan and allegedly “fiscally-conservative” Republicans as proof America was the greatest economic powerhouse in the world, “the envy of all other nations,” as George W. Bush freuqently said early in his tenure and rarely say anymore? Free markets were magic. They floated in the ether above all criticism. Anybody who wanted respect and power didn’t dirty his fingers futzing with machinery. He never suffered more than perhaps an occasional paper cut as he turned bunches of C+ securities into a basket of “Grade A” funds by “repackaging” them and “adding value” through…through…well, maybe you can explain it to me. These were the people we respected and aspired to be like, who we wanted our kids to be as we encouraged them to pursue MBAs above all else. Meanwhile we forgot how to make toasters and press LP records that didn’t pop and click, and later CDs that didn’t skip and stutter. Did we worry? No, because we still had those finance guys in power suits running around in glass towers doing things nobody understood, but apparently making lots of money doing it. People in “other countries” with smaller economies than ours were doing all that manufacturing stuff under our logos and they did it so much better than us and for lower cost and that was not particularly alarming anybody.
This is what happens when you build castles on sand, when you bet a country’s future (and political and social philosophies) on smoke and mirrors. As the saying goes, greed is good. Now it’s just going the other way….That’s good, too.
…Or house of cards.
I just read a TERRIFIC article in, of all places, Business Week, that’s the best—nay, maybe the only—insightful look into the world economic crisis that I’ve seen. Apparently even some business-types are starting to see what I’ve been saying since college in the late 80s—this whole fucking “globalization” thing—they make everything and we provide financial “services,” shuffling paper like a Vegas dealer washes the deck—is a HOUSE OF CARDS. Hello!?! Isn’t this something a twelve-year-old could figure out???
It’s amazing how stupid people can become when they get dollar signs in their eyes. Warren Buffett once famously said most of them couldn’t run a lemonade stand, and he’s right.
Mind you, I find the Business Week author’s “solution” uninspired—fiscal stimulus: isn’t that how we got into this mess?—but he’s at least got the diagnosis right. That’s half the battle. And he does say one important thing: “The global economy has to go through a readjustment process that will be difficult even if policymakers can restore confidence in the financial system.” Amen. As they say, no pain, no gain. Get ready for a lot of pain, Americans making $50,000 a year who just bought $400,000 houses on top of leased Lexuses and Infinitis for the driveway. You’ve earned it.
Remember them thar beer drinkin’ blue collar types who wuz Reagan Democrats in the 1980s and continued to foller the party line in the 90s becuz they thought the Repiglicans wuz doin’ good things for ‘Murica by keeping out them foreigners and bashing the queers? Them macho men who believed men belonged in the factory, wimmen belonged in the kitchen and weekends wuz spent huntin’ or watching NASCAR on teevee? Them tough guys who watched Charles Bronson movies, listened to Michael Savage and beat up the smart kids at school (when they bothered to go) cuz “ed-yi-cashun is for sissies”? Well, them folks now bankrupted, as the Repiglican way of life has collapsed around their “Gawd Bless The U.S.A.” quilts. Ain’t it a shame..? Now, some of ’em might even vote for a Muslim Socialist Darkie!
Leading in Job Losses, Rhode Island Struggles On
JOHNSTON, R.I. — The family resemblance shared by John Hallam, his brother Arthur, and their cousin Dennis goes far beyond their ruddy features these days.
All three were laid off this year from jobs they had held for more than a decade, with John losing two jobs in just the last nine months. Dennis’s 29-year-old daughter, Mary, a single mother of two, is out of work too, having lost her job at a restaurant when summer ended.
“What the hell’s going to happen to us?” asked John, 58, who drove a truck for a lumber company. “There are no good jobs anymore.”
Read more here.
Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a “tent city” — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go. (Associated Press)
Ted Rall knows what he’s talking about. Here’s a column about our economic situation—not just today’s situation but that of the recent future of the miraculous “new economy”—that tells the unvarnished truth. Just click here to read it.
Thanks, Ted, for cutting past the BS that most people swallow whole, because they are stupid sheep.