A Bail-Up, Not a Bail-Out

From what I understand, and correct me if I’m wrong because this is from an article I read about three years ago, there are a number of countries (like, if I recall correctly, Australia) in which United States automakers can’t sell many of their vehicles because we fail to meet emissions standards and other environmentally-concerned regulations. Of course, considering the recent focus on churning out an endless parade of SUVs, it’s hard to be surprised that many U.S. autos don’t do so well overseas.

In related news, hey, how’s that banking bailout working out? You know, with all that firm oversight to make sure the money gets spent as intended, and doesn’t allow healthy banks profit from the situation or anything crazy and corporatist like that.

Undoubtedly, we’re going to have to do something to keep the economy from collapsing, and the downfall of the American auto industry could be disastrous if we allow it to continue on to annihilation, especially when we’re already so economically vulnerable. But if we’re going to just hand over a blank check to the auto industry to do with as they please, they’re just going to squeeze out another batch of large, bland, gas-guzzling shitlogs, using the money to keep Business As Usual going long enough to stitch together some golden parachutes in time for all the executives to dramatically dive away from the violent collapse, maybe with some awesome slow-motion shots from multiple angles to really bring in those summer blockbuster crowds. All on Joe the Taxpayer’s dime. (No, no, different Joe — not Joe the Plumber. He doesn’t pay taxes, remember?)

I have my doubts we’ll get our $700 billion back from the banks within my lifetime, mostly because the guidelines that were supposed to make the whole thing rationally play out were either never really laid down or are alarmingly poorly enforced. I’m still of the opinion that we ought to have reclaimed the salaries and bonuses of CEOs of the banks that were the biggest failures from the last year or two in order to offset some of that loan, because if anyone should have to make sacrifices to get things back on track, it should be the people who fucked things up so much in the first place, especially if they were given millions or tens of millions of dollars at the time to not fuck up, but I digress.

What we need to do — especially after blundering it so badly with the banks — is adopt either of these approaches, if we have any intention of succeeding at all and not just giving up and saying “the hell with it” and tossing billions or trillions of dollars all over the place for anyone to do whatever:

A) Partial, temporary nationalization. This way, the taxpayers have effectively bought majority holding in the U.S. auto manufacturers in question, which among other things means keeping executives reined in and ensuring profits will directly pay back the loan. There are other benefits involved, but this is the gist of it.

B) Strict, extremely rigid guidelines, enforced to their fullest extent, that dictate precisely how this money can and cannot be spent, and how automakers must change their business strategies to be more competitive internationally. This means working damn hard to make vehicles that are more eco-friendly than ones available from foreign manufacturers so that they’re even a little bit competitive in places that actually give a fuck about not letting our species get wiped out a hundred years from now because DRILL BABY DRILL LET’S HAVE A FUCKIN’ PETRO-PARTY UP IN THE HIZZLE! COME ON OVER TO THE GAS PUMP GIRLS WE’RE GONNA HAVE US UP A WET T-SHIRT CONTEST! If we’re failing so hard to foreign automakers, perhaps we should be doing as they’re doing instead of charging headlong in basically the opposite direction, rolling out the 2009 Chevy Gigantor and shit. No, I don’t care if it can tow a dump truck full of depleted uranium — nobody fucking needs to do that. Also, slicing down the godlike pay and treatment of CEOs would probably help a bit.

Anyway, you can boo-hoo-blubbery-boo all you like about how privatization is the panacea for all the world’s problems and that anything even resembling socialism or regulation is The Great Satan, but when you consider that these banks and automakers fucked up pretty badly as private businesses and had leadership that could only be described as disgustingly corrupt and executive-pampering as private businesses, it’s hard to chirp the loving praises of how The Market is inherently pure and devoid of corruption and that it’s impossible for mismanagement and corruption to happen anywhere outside of government.

Yeah, some might claim that it was the government’s corporatist involvement in banks that led to that disaster, but a) well, that’s like saying “golly gee shucks, the banks just didn’t know what they were doing, paw!” and completely ignores the fact that lobbyists exist and that a lot of the corruption in government actually comes from private businesses, and b) deregulation would’ve had the very same effect — the only difference is that businesses wouldn’t have to use lobbyists to make sure their interests were secure, they could just do whatever they wanted without having to manipulate government first.

(Oh, and by the way, while I’m on the subject, you guys remember that whole crusade a few years ago to privatize Social Security by dumping it in the Stock Market? Take a quick look at the DJIA and the COMPX and get back to me on how well you think that would have turned out, especially over the last month or two. I only had $3k personally invested and I’m down to probably just over $1k, I can only imagine having my entire retirement savings tied up. I know someone who had $4 million in that they’d invested over the last couple decades, and they’re now down to a little over $1 million. Hard to see how “let’s privatize things even MORE” is really going to fix anything at all, considering, you know, plain, clearly-observable evidence and all.)

In any event, we have to do something to keep the economy from collapsing, so we can’t just ignore the banks and the auto industry, but unless that something involves strict government regulation and oversight or a kind of buy-out by the government resembling *gasp* socialism, then it won’t really help the economy much, we’ll never see our billions of dollars in “loan” money again, and the richest will use the opportunity to yet again get even richer at the expense of the remaining 99% of the country, who are all left to free-fall and crash because we were philosophically opposed to emergency brakes on elevators for some reason.

24 thoughts on “A Bail-Up, Not a Bail-Out”

  1. This sort of shit, with these massive bailouts, is EXACTLY why I’m thinking of leaving the country within the next 5 years. I’m thinking Japan; I’ve heard it’s not a bad place to live.

    I don’t mean to diss Obama, of course. I voted for him. I’m just not sure we haven’t already passed all hope of redemption.

  2. Panda Rosa: I’m sorry I can’t constantly be your dancing monkey, and I apologize for having more complicated thoughts than beating the living shit out of the easiest target available time after time after time.

    Yes, I am aware that the Chick Dissections are amusing and funny, and I appreciate your enjoying them so much. But again, I’d like to refer you to what I felt was a very clear explanation in response to your last complaint on the matter, wherein I talked about time, effort, the fact that I’m not paid to run this site, and that my life has other priorities and higher aspirations than making fun of Jack Chick.

    At the very least, it would be nice if you could contribute to the discussion instead of firing off these snippy little gripes. I appreciate your readership and your participation in discussions, but if all you’re going to do is whine about how you dislike my writing anything but Chick Dissections even after I’ve explained to you how this site and my creative motivations operate, that appreciation is going to wane quickly.

    This is and always has been a politically-oriented website packed with writing similar to what you see in the post above, and if you feel this is only now “taking a turn” in whatever direction, I’ll advise you to take a quick look at the “Archives” navigation located on the left side of the page.

  3. Also, just so you know, whining at me is probably the worst way to motivate me to do what you’d like me to do. I do my best to not comply with and thus positively reinforce passive-aggressiveness, whining, guilt tripping, and other annoying behaviors, because I don’t want to create an incentive for people to direct them at me with equal or greater intensity to get the things they want. My response, then, is typically to delay whatever task they want accomplished, because I want to ensure that they don’t get the impression that their behaviors are actually accomplishing anything, because ultimately, such behaviors shouldn’t accomplish anything since they’re fucking annoying and should fall out of use.

  4. I’m thinking Panda Rosa might mean something else (although I’m not sure, but this is how I feel.)
    That he doesn’t find the twentieth article about how you’re socialist and America isn’t very interesting anymore.

    Although then, I do agree with you that these articles are still necessary, because that is still the problem. America needs some socialism, but steers clear from anything that as much as smells like socialism.

    So it’s not your fault we’re kind of getting tired of this, it’s just simply reality we’re getting tired of.

  5. Panda Rosa: I’m actually working on a Chick Dissection over on my own site. If I can just get off my ass and get back to work, I could have it done by the end of the week. Might that be enough to sate your jones and get you to stop dissing J?

  6. Panda Rosa: Maybe your negativity is just a way of seeking attention? Don’t know. We ALL enjoy the Chick Dissections but there is more to life than Chick, as entertaining as they are, and a little brain stimulation and intelligent interaction has never hurt anyone. The world can be a frustrating place and it is nice to have this forum to vent, exchange ideas, etc. Lighten up on J and be happy this is here. 🙂

  7. Sorry to be the one who farted at the party.
    All I meant was that the articles about socialism are getting repetitive, I meant no disrespect.
    But it’s like going to see your favorite singer only to have him or her insist on preparing the world’s best barbecue instead. It’s nice, but it’s not quite what you paid the $75 tickets for. Or going to watch your favorite college football team and find they are going to spend the whole time debating how to end world hunger.
    J, you just did such a good job with the Chick dissections that you left me hungry, scratched, bleeding and crying in the alley begging for more.
    A dog can’t help whining if it hasn’t figured out any other way to make its point.
    Oh well, this is still a good site even if it does not hold my interest. C’est la vie.

  8. Panda: If you want to read Chick Dissections, do them yourself. Start a blog for them. Get your friends to do them. I’ll look at them if they’re funny. Maybe I’ll join in if I’m feeling inspired.

    Jabber: You should be awarded one gold-pated Internets for your “diversion” at the bottom of paragraph four. These fuckers say they’re worth the multi-million-dollar salaries and bonuses because they’re taking responsibility to NOT FUCK UP THE ECONOMY. Yeah. Keep up the good work, guys.

  9. For what it’s worth, I’ve always seen this as a political blog with some humorous content rather than a humour blog with some political content.

    Whether or not gas-guzzling American behemoths are actually legal here, for the most part we don’t want them because we drive as much as you do but we’re not fucking idiots about it. (Also, fuel costs more over here, although still less than it does in most of Europe.)

  10. I can’t be too smug, though: we already did the whole “privatise our equivalent of Social Security and let people invest it in the stock market” thing a while back. Whoops.

  11. “Panda Rosa Says:
    It’s nice, but it’s not quite what you paid the $75 tickets for”

    Except last I looked nobody is paying J for his time to do dissections.

  12. Comments 13-17: Awesome! In total agreement with all that was posted. With the Dissections, they are extremely entertaining and obviously require quite a bit of J’s time to make them so. As stated above, J is not getting paid for doing them yet sacrificing quite a bit of time to get them done. I believe that there is a spot for donations??? You like what you see, like what is posted, like to contribute, show it! Just a suggestion.

    What is enlightening about this site is that there are many viewpoints expressed. I especially like to read posts from other countries and see what has and hasn’t worked for them and everyone’s opinions of the posts.

    The fist line in 14’s comment is the best. Sometimes the rants and the analogies are so comical you almost encourage them. Keep it up, J, and don’t let the “Downer Debbies” get the best of you.

  13. Re: Overdone ragfest: If you don’t like the author(s)’s views, why bother going to their blog anymore? If you’re going to let something like, oh, gee, (gasp, shock, horror) the expression of their opinions deter you enough to make you whine, why do you keep coming back for more?

    Like J (and my mom) said, “The more you bugs me, the slower I go. Stop bugging me, and I might get around to it quicker.”

    As far as the actual topic of these silly (crazy? evil? nah let’s not go that far) auto companies, I have no fuggin’ idea what to think. I’ve been in a little self-absorbed bubble for the past 18 years, and had no clue that the government was even allowed to bail shit like this out, so my thoughts on the subject are quite useless.

  14. I found this site from the dissections, sure. I tend to prefer the ones with the more pointed political comments rather than the ones that are mostly about the (lack of) quality of Chick’s art, and I am actually more entertained by the political rants than I am the dissections. Seems like most of the best ones have already been covered, anyway. It seems as if you enjoy the dissections, it stands to reason you’d enjoy the rants as well? J’s style is pretty consistent through the dissections and the rants, the rants just give you more content. That’s my take.

  15. Getting back to the rant and the bail-out, what Detroit hasn’t apparently learned from the past couple of decades is what consumers are looking for–a quality vehicle, few maintenance calls and good mileage. It isn’t all about big and gas-guzzling with poor emissions for the environment. As we become more aware of the effects of global warming and other environmental concerns, we are looking for the best our dollars can buy. Detroit’s lack of awareness has caused them to suffer in the market and now, as usual, it has all trickled down to the employee. They are the ones who are going to lose when all is said and done. The plant closures, the lay-offs, etc. are management’s way of saving money. They, of course, don’t take pay cuts, lose out on bonuses, cut back on golden parachutes. They are never the ones to really feel the impact of their poor decisions. Now, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t dilemma. If you don’t bail them out the employees suffer, if you do they continue with their poor business sense. Maybe they should just have to file Chapter 13 and let the chips fall where they may? Who knows what’s best but my heart certainly goes out to all of those workers who are struggling to make ends meet. They say because they are union they are getting more money than the foreign car makers’ employees yet they usually don’t have the high medical costs that US employees have. Most foreign automakers are from countries who have socialized medicine so the costs to their employees are less and they can work for less pay. Maybe the bail-out is the wrong way to go because it will take away the focus from the real issue here–poor management decisions. Just a thought.

  16. Weird… no mention yet of the Shoe v. Bush affair? I kind of hope to find a ShoexBush fanfic in the internet someday… Bushoe? Shoeush?

    Anyways, I agree, it’s extremely idiotic to buy a car that can pull a cow 10 meters while guzzling a whole tank of gasoline when I’m stuck in traffic in the big bad city…

    [[intelligent]]Folk would usually buy gas-efficient or even a hybrid sort of car if they live in cities where you can only adavnce a few meters per minute due to heavy jams and all the sort of stuff that happens there.

    I’m aware hybrids are not good for interstate travelling though…

    By the by: I enjoy both the political and Chick Tracts… They are different sides of a same coin o’ madness.

  17. Weird… no mention yet of the Shoe v. Bush affair? I kind of hope to find a ShoexBush fanfic in the internet someday… Bushoe? Shoeush?

    It’s a little soon for that, perhaps. But the shoe has dropped. (Ahem) I mean, the shoe throw meme is alive and kicking.

    OK, enough with the corny (bunion-y?) puns, here’s a site giving a broad sample of jokes inspired by the incident, including Internet videos:
    http://www.blogher.com/shoes-vs-bush-and-end-late-night-chuckles There may be room for the Bushoe fanfic yet.

  18. I’m not good at beginning writingnesses, but I guess I can collabvorate in the middle parts.

    “As the shoe flew towards it’s target, the shoe saw something in that old, dim-witted-looking man, that was amusing… no, attractive, even; as if it meeting this man face was meant to be, not as an aggression, but as an act of love and destiny. Every milimeter, every millisecond that went through was an excruciating travel through spines and needles, prickling the very existance within the shoe. In the meantime, fountains of lust and desire flowed from within.”

    Sorry for the crappy grammaticalness, but not knowing if the shoe is boy or girl makes it kinda hard to write without using “it” to refer to… it. Plus, it makes it unable for me to write florid purple prose about shoe genitalia.

    Oh well. I’ll leave the writing to those who CAN write 🙂

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