Okay, it’s almost Christmas so a parable linking the season to the automobile situation may be just right the right thing to get our stockings in a jingle jangle mood. The part of the automobile makers will be played by the, “Three Kings,” and in the world of earthly goods and capitalism, these three go not in search of the Messiah but money, which to them is their Messiah! Okay start tapping your coconuts!
To set up the scene, on the way the way there they learn that the Big King is in a very bad mood. Other subjects have put the bite on him big time. So to appear more in need of assistance, instead of arriving with their full entourages bedecked in their jewels and glitz they come dressed as paupers and using ground transportation; accommodations befitting peasants.
The King and his court greet them. “Whoa, Three Kings,” says the King. “You look like you have fallen on hard times!” The Kings reply, “You don’t know the half of it Sire!” “Our wells are running dry. We have neither food nor sustenance for our peasants and we seek Sucre, and assistance to keep our Kingdoms alive. “Hmm, what has caused this problem? For everywhere we turn we see other kingdoms doings fine. Maybe not as well as usual but they are surviving!” The Three Kings bow their heads and tell of times when once their stores were full. When no matter where you went in the land their products were wanted by everyone!” “What, happened asks the King?” Alas all the Three kings could say was, “Dun-know!” “We didn’t do anything wrong!”
But the Kings spies have told him in advance what had really happened. He knew that in times of good, these dumb Kings had squandered their assets. When others saved for the hard times ahead, they built mansions and fancy retreats and lived the life well beyond their status as Kings. To cut corners they sold products not worthy of their advertising. And they profited when they should have discounted.
After they spoke the King sent the three out into the hallway to discuss the situation with his assistants. “Let them starve the southern kingdom leaders said.” “We must help them another cried out. “The King was caught in the middle. Those who would let the Three Kings starve had their eyes on new Kingdoms of their own. Those that would help the Three Kings had gotten money before the Kings arrival so that they would sing the Three Kings approval. Being the wise King that he was, his final decision would not be easy.
In the real world it should be so simple. Yes they make a product the American people have fallen out of love with. Sales are down and prices are too high. Quality has suffered as have expectations. Letting the companies fail however has never been in option because competition is always good. If the Big Three didn’t exist, I can assure you the things we like abut our Toyotas and Subaru’s might not have been offered either. Competition has given us better gas mileage, better quality and durability and products that are safer.
As for Bankruptcy; that is no solution either. It would let the Three Kings walk away from all of their commitments. It would bust the unions and bankrupt everyone they owe money too. No one seems to bitch when a baseball player get $130 million for three years. But let someone say a car worker gets $70 dollars an hour they all go ballistic. Would you work on that assembly line? Would you move to Detroit or Michigan to get that? IF so, what are you waiting for?
The problem with the handout, bailout and prolonging of the inevitable money that President Bush just handed out is that the money will go just to support the failed polices that have gotten the companies in the poorhouse in the first place. Our biggest worry is that these Three Kings will take the money and run; or should I say drive away and America will ends up holding the tab, without any American car makers to keep the foreign car makers in check. Never forget the foreign corporations exist to make money too, and if we eliminate their competition, we surely will come to regret it!