Friday, November 14, 2008

Bailing Out the Titanic with a Walrus

Exactly what is this whole bailout thing? American Express becomes a bank so they can get money from taxpayers? I thought AmEx was the strongest, best-run credit card co. in the world? I thought they were pretty draconian in their quest for only signing up sure things.

Well... except I have one, which really doesn't speak well for them.

And the Big Three automakers are begging for our spare change as well. As the Rivethead once said, maybe they shouldn't have been marketing rhinos when the world really needed a lot of gerbils. Now we have a year's backlog of Hummers just waiting to be purchased by the next wave of Rap moguls to sweep the country. Or Boy Bands. Or perhaps Hannah Montana needs to give her entourage and her fan base a free car each, just to keep them showing up as she passes through a drug- and alcohol-fueled pooberty (remember Drew Barrymore? remember?).

While the Big Three stare down the barrel of the Big Sleep, Americans must ask themselves, if Toyota can do it, why not us? Japan had one of the uglier recessions of the last fifty years, and Toyota didn't go under, neither did Honda, Subaru, Isuzu, or even (gasp!) Suzuki. While American car manufacturers do occasionally create an interesting car, most of them are indistinguishable piles of cheap plastic toy knockoffs of each other's bad designs. The PT Cruiser (gag!) morphs into the Magnum (huk!) flattens out into the 300 (only without the homoerotic, beardy, bloody fight scenes).

Where is the American Prius?

(author's disclaimer - I drive one, and it f%^&*$g rocks!)

Sure, there's the Saturn Vue, or maybe the Chevy Volt (next year, next year, next year - why is it always next year?). But these are odd exceptions. Otherwise, you get these crappy cars that look a lot like their Japanese or Korean counterparts, only with cheaper materials and sleazier salesmen.

So, my solution? Let 'em all drown in debt. Someone will come along, buy up their assets and do a better job of it. And if the UAW needs to take a pay cut, well, the rest of us did - so there.

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