Every day the past couple of weeks it seems the media is filled with news of the various HUGE companies coming to Washington, DC looking for federal government bailouts for their companies and industries. Once again, the "big guys" of our corporate economy can jump right to the head of the line looking for PUBLIC funds to cover their proverbial "derrières". In most cases, these are some of the most egotistical, hedonistic business leaders in the world. It seems all the heads of Wall Street and the "Big 3" automakers no longer believe in free enterprise and competition. They seem to think that just because they have grown to such a behemoth size in a few decades and employ so many thousands of people...they should have carte blanche to manage their companies any way that they choose. They think they are too big to fail. Their boards allow them to spend money any way that they choose as officers of the company...and in most cases these "leaders" of corporate America have huge "golden parachute" contracts that insulate them from almost ANY fallout of their own actions or failure of leadership. In a competitive, free market world, this would be unheard of...or at the least...we would allow companies taken down by bad leadership to live by the fruits of their actions...or inactions maybe.
But now...their multitude of sins, lack of competitiveness and stewardship over BILLIONS of dollars in revenues simply translates to an attitude of "if you let us fail, you will lose tens of thousands of jobs, and our foreign competitors or foreign debt holders will continue to squeeze our poor souls out of the markets." These people have the audacity to place the risk and blame on everybody but themselves. We have seen this industry losing competitive steam against foreign competitors like Toyota, Nissan and others for YEARS now. How much more of this will thinking Americans continue to put up with?
The most appalling representation of this last week was the heads of the "Big 3" automakers all flying into DC for congressional meetings asking for billions of dollars in bailouts. These CEOs ALL flew in on their private huge jets, limosined to the halls of Congress, and then without squinting or blushing at all, asked for the government via the country's taxpayers to bail them out of their debts. I watched some of these proceedings and found myself very angry with these conceited, cavalier and myopic executives with ner an apology nor plan to pull themselves out of the dump they put themselves in economically. They have been playing "Wizard of Oz" for so long that they have lost touch with the reality of their circumstances...and for that they are asking the American people to cover their proverbial asses. If they succeed in getting their bailout, their boards will probably OK each of these guys a huge bonus with it...or maybe an upgrade on their corporate jets? Wouldn’t surprise me.
I think Ron Paul has it right in his diatribe against where our government seems to be headed on these bailouts during this economic crisis...
We must remember that governments do not produce anything. Their only resources come from producers in the economy through such means as inflation and taxation. The government has an obligation to be good stewards of these resources. In bailing out failing companies, they are confiscating money from productive members of the economy and giving it to failing ones. By sustaining companies with obsolete or unsustainable business models, the government prevents their resources from being liquidated and made available to other companies that can put them to better, more productive use. An essential element of a healthy free market, is that both success and failure must be permitted to happen when they are earned. But instead with a bailout, the rewards are reversed – the proceeds from successful entities are given to failing ones. How this is supposed to be good for our economy is beyond me.
I truly do feel for many of my friends and even relatives that work for or are retired from automakers in America. They are obviously "feeling it" in their stock plans, 401Ks, and stand to risk many of their benefits such as healthcare. Yet, from the investor’s side, there HAS to be a better way to turn things around than just giving the greedy bullies on the economic block whatever they want to "guarantee our survival". Let's get these plastic weasels out of the henhouse of free enterprise and bring in some leadership that has more to say than just "I'm sorry" and "help me or else". It's time for REAL leadership and solutions. If I were a Congressman, I wouldn’t even want to see these people on my doorstep again. I would put a sign on the door "no solicitors". You can get those signs for like 99cents at Walmart...who according to reports by the way are having a very decent quarter economically.