Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the Wrong Business

Truly, it's very, very strange out there these days. The central government, which is officially in $6.4E+12 of debt, is beseiged by a quickly-increasing array of other corporate/banking/insurance/financial entities (CBIFE hereafter, for brevity) for "bailouts," which seems to mean huge chunks of money. Why you go to someone who's not only broke, but six and a half trillion bucks in the hole, for funds is, well ... very, very strange. Bizarre, even. And, as we've all heard many times by now, something like one trillion mythical dollars have been flushed into the maws of these CBIFE mendicants already, with dark hints of much more to come.

All of this gives me several causes of longer-term wonder and conjecture, such as: what is the "money" anyway, that a manifestly bankrupt entity like Mordor-on-the-Potomac can nevertheless firehose it onto favored beneficiaries in such amazing quantities? Are our exalted leaders borrowing it from someone? Maybe ... but why anyone would be lending to Uncle in these latter days is deeply mysterious indeed. Maybe they're just printing it? I daresay that's closer to the truth, although "printing" seems like such a quaint, 20th-century concept now. I'd guess that the amount of paper currency in circulation now is the merest filmy crust atop the ocean of "money" which is just ones and zeroes bouncing around in various computers: agreements amongst beggars. But that's for another post. Today I'm amused by a peculiar cultural aspect of what I hope is the beginning of the economic wreck of the Empire.

Today, I'm reading about how representatives of the Formerly-Big Three U.S. automobile manufacturers journeyed to the main theives' den on the Chesapeake Bay, traveling by car and wearing burlap bags as befits men working for a buck a year, to beg Uncle for something like $34B in order to continue their operations:
The Big Three automakers renewed their plea for an emergency federal bailout, as the head of General Motors Corp. told a deadlocked Congress the industry has made some wrong turns and economic forces have pushed it “to the brink.”

GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said time is running short and his company could be out of funds by the end of the year. “We’re here today because we made mistakes,” he said in written testimony to the Senate Banking Committee in Washington. “And we’re here because forces beyond our control have pushed us to the brink.”

Wagoner, Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Robert Nardelli and Ford Motor Co.’s Alan Mulally are asking for as much as $34 billion in federal aid. “I am sorry to be asking for this support,” Wagoner told reporters before the hearing began.

The three men are trying to recover from their appearance before Congress two weeks ago when they were ridiculed for arriving in Washington in separate private jets to plea for funds and left empty-handed. They demonstrated contrition today, pledging to work for $1 a year, traveling to Washington by car and providing specific plans for viability.
So, how were their pleas received?
The senior Republican on the panel, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, said he still opposes a bailout. “Each of the automakers have based their plans on what I believe are optimistic sales forecasts,” he said.

Democrat Senator Carl Levin, from the carmakers’ home state of Michigan, said “it’s essential” that President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama “become more active” in talks to rescue the carmakers.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said it is up to the automakers to show that their plans for revamping their companies will work.

“It’s too early to give these plans a grade,” Perino said. “The linchpin of our support has been that we would not provide taxpayer dollars unless they could prove viability.”
Let's see: these guys are asking for slightly over three percent of what's already been laid at the feet of the CBIFE community. The banksters pretty much told Our Glorious Leaders to fork over the money and do it right the hell now, and the Leaders pretty much said, "sir, yes, sir!" and forked it over. But let actual manufacturers, who actually make something physical, rather than shuffling money debt around, hold their hands out, and suddenly our supervisors are cautious, responsible stewards and shrewd judges of character. They're not going to give anybody a damn thing until they've seen every detail, and I mean every detail, nosirree Bob!

You can see that the banksters and the hereditary officeholders are members of a tribe, and these corporate manufacturers, while wealthy and privileged, are from a different tribe. A carmaker, no matter how nicely he's dressed and how lavish his compensation might be, has dirt under his fingernails. He smells like cutting oil and hot steel chips on the machine shop floor. He'd best know his place.

Mind you, I don't want to see any kind of auto industry bailout from the gummint; nor would I favor that even if the gummint actually had any money. But then, I'm at least consistent in that I also don't want the banksters seeing a dime. And if that makes "the system" collapse, so be it; I'm pretty sure it's nothing but organized crime anyway, really. To Hell with it.

Meanwhile, even my own polychinned "representative" in Congress has had his brainless say:
"What I want to hear is how they propose to pay the loan back. How not to come back again and how to have a long term strategy. And this doesn't meet the logic test, but how many dealers they need to reduce. Which brands, how they do it. Whether there should be 3 companies or 2 companies or 1 major U.S auto company is not something that congress is trained to do. But the question is, you can look at what they did and say, 'This isn't a plan.' "
Please excuse me while I go sneak off somewhere and die of embarrassment. And, speaking of embarrassment, can you believe that the Democratic Party around these parts actually failed to remove this clothespin-on-nose-talking dunce from his congressional sinecure even in this year in which Indiana went Democratic in the presidential race? Stupidity doesn't begin to explain it -- the donkey's on the payroll, too.


Mimi said...

Gee, I didn't know Indiana even had a representative.
However, if you want to compare "brainlessness," I'll bet our Jersey reps can beat yours with no sweat--and ours have a proud tradition of corruption to boot!
(Love that "poly-chinned.")

Jim Wetzel said...

Hi, Mimi! Oh, yes, we have not one congresscreature, but nine. Same number as Sauron had of Ringwraiths. Hmmmmm.

I would love to see your reps beat our reps. In fact, I'd simply adore to see our reps beaten, no matter who does it!