It’s Not The Money, But How You Spend It

Two items merited attention on the NBC Nightly News tonight, due entirely to the contrast between them. The first was a last ditch attempt by that wealthy scumbag presently occupying the White House, at salvaging something of his presidential legacy by offering a financial carrot worth around $17.5 billion to a terminally sick donkey, long abused and starved of sustenance by its masters to the point it will soon require euthanasia, and masquerading as the US motor industry.

American vehicles have long been viewed as tat by the rest of the world. Outdated, cheaply-made, prone to failure, and totally out of their league among the more sophisticated European and Japanese vehicles available, one only has to hear the experts’ opinions on products from the US motor industry to realize how grossly left behind by the rest of the planet this industry has become over the last twenty years.

Had the senior management of Chrysler and GM bothered to look beyond their own borders during the eighties and nineties they would have seen the R&D being pumped into Volkswagon, Toyota, Honda, Citroen, and other manufacturers. Instead, they sat on their buttocks and filled their pockets with cash that might have been better used funding similar technologies, rather than supporting the private jets and high-flying lifestyles of top executives.

Does George W Bush seriously believe $17.5 billion will save this dinosaur industry? Possibly, he’s stupid and arrogant enough to imagine himself saving GM at its last gasp, like some aging North American Saint George rescuing the damsel from the jaws of the dragon. Unfortunately, in this case the damsel’s already been eaten and the bones regurgitated.

The British motor industry suffered a similar fate twenty years ago after the government of the day poured billions of pounds into British Leyland in a vain attempt to keep it afloat. It’s demise was due to exactly similar circumstances as that of Chrysler and GM today – a senior management team that couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery, let alone run a major industry. Ironically, British Leyland lost out to the more advanced Ford and Vauxhall (GM produced) vehicles of the day.

The biggest stink, and the one most motivating to British politicians of the time, concerned the thousands of BL production staff who would be thrown out of work if the industry was allowed to die. It did die, and they were left jobless, but government retraining schemes meant most found work in other sectors. That’s what must happen in the US today. As green technologies gain ground in the marketplace, ex-carworkers can be trained to fill the many jobs created by these new industries.

To use life-support on a patient already dead reveals the stupidity of a president who insists that throwing money at an extinct dinosaur in the hope of making it breathe again is the ‘responsible’ thing to do. Of course, it has nothing at all to do with responsibility, but a great deal to do with one man’s over-inflated ego.

The second item from NBC Nightly News was more heartrending. It revealed some of the letters received by the US post office during its annual ‘Dear Santa’ campaign, and by so doing laid bare the heart of American poverty. When tiny kids ask Santa for clothes to keep them warm, and anguished mothers beg money to provide a meal for their child at Christmas, it not only tugs at the heartstrings, but exposes the true hypocrisy of that great marketing ploy, the ‘American Dream’.

Maybe there was a time when the ‘American Dream’ was more than hype, though delving through history fails to unearth it, but the last eight years has seen such a decline in this nation’s fortunes that the legacy of George W Bush will never be saved by postponing the demise of the car industry. His is a legacy of economic catastrophe, of millions thrown into poverty both at home and abroad; his is a legacy of five million orphans in Iraq and countless numbers of children brought to suffering in America.

George W Bush was happy to dip into this nation’s coffers to the tune of $700 billion for the purpose of saving his buddies in the banking industry, and now at Chrysler and GM. He was happy to spend a trillion dollars destroying a Middle Eastern nation, and unnecessarily slaughtering over four thousand Americans in the process.

If there’s one thing George W Bush can do well it’s spend money. Unfortunately, what he chose to spend it on has been highly detrimental to those people he was supposed to represent. What a different, and better, country this would be if he’d chosen to spend it ensuring American kids had warm clothes in the winter, and American mothers could afford at least one meal for their child at Christmas.

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4 Replies to “It’s Not The Money, But How You Spend It”

  1. Perhaps we’re easily pleased, Chez Twilight, but we love our Chevvy Monte Carlo, it’s our second and we have had no problems at all over 4 years. It is not “tat”!!

    I deliberately chose to buy American, and when in the UK we always bought UK made vehicles. If everyone did the same a very different story might have emerged on both sides of the pond. But there arose a kind of snob value in driving Japanese or German, or Swedish, or French cars…in the USA a similar snobbery is apparent.Sorry, RJ, but this thing thing was rooted in good old snobbery, way back IMHO.

    I don’t agree with you on the car issue, RJ, but I can’t fault you on the other part of you post. My heart bleeds for the poor innocent kids and families brought low by GWB and his cronies.

    Let us hope for better times from 2009 on.

  2. I heard a wonderful analogy on CBC radio the other day, where it compared two grocery stores, each on opposite corners of an in intersection. One kept up to date with innovation, consumer responsiveness, eco-products, etc., the other dished out the same old, same old and was facing bankruptcy.
    The question asked was which store would you invest your money in?
    As to the criminal debacle of the reign of George the Dimmer, the tally of ill, dying and bankrupt as the result of no univeral health care has still to be finalized.
    XO
    WWW

  3. Twilight – we’ll have to agree to disagree on the US car industry. Your Monte Carlo has either a 3.4, 3.8, (6 cyl) or 5.3(8 cyl) liter engine. It’s fuel consumption is quite appalling due to the big-bore, long-stroke engines that have been the bane of US vehicles for years. To achieve any sort of performance the industry relied on huge gas-guzzling engines rather than the smaller, more highly engineered European and Japanese motors, that managed superior performance with better fuel economy.
    The British car industry also fell way behind, which is why they went to the wall. It’s not snobbery that caused Brits, and now Americans, to buy foreign cars. They are simply better.

    WWW – a simple, but effective, analogy.

  4. Carwise, I went Japanese many years ago, for two reasons. They were far more affordable (to buy, run, and insure) and they were far more reliable than about 90% of any others on the market.

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