Monday, December 15, 2008

Interesting Idea

Don't bail out the Big 3 vs. We Must Bail Out the Big 3. What other way is there? How about making them submit bids for a bailout, and then only bailing out two of them? I got to admit, I'm intrigued, and would love to see the reaction of American culture to this sort of thing.

Right now, the frame is this: CEO's, wealthy investors & Unions vs. the American taxpayer. Since we see so much in terms of winners vs. losers, this frame is driving the public discourse. Right now, it is seen as a "people who don't work for money" vs. "people who do work for money."

But this would completely change in a bidding war, because then it would look like reality TV. "The Next Top 2 Detroit Automakers." People would follow it closely, have their favorites, and then chime in on the internet about which carmaker gets voted off the island. Congress could even bring in Donald Trump to the press conference, to berate each CEO and then yell "you're fired!!" at the loser.

How effective will it be? Who knows? We could only hope. But it sure would change the debate.



Dante said...

You don't think it's already enough of a game show?

I'd advise that if we were going to do this, you make Ford, GM, and Chrysler break up into their brand lineups and compete that way. Then the automaker can only use "winnings" towards that specific brand. I'm just picturing a scenario where Cadillac becomes a finalist and gets bailout money but they can't spend any of it on Saab because they got voted out in Week 3. You'd even have built-in alliances.

And since reality TV is so intent on throwing in surprises after establishing a format, in Week 4 or 5 you can toss in a whammy and let Toyota and Honda execs get in on the show and compete for the prize. It'd be like that midget love show where the midget girls suddenly had to compete with full sized girls. I could just see the midget Ford exec crying his eyes out that big boy automakers would now be competing with them.

Or you could do the one where they don't know they're on a game show and put increasingly wacky restrictions on the bail out money to see if they still do it.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Those are all great suggestions, too. We've already gotten them to carpool - now lets try to make them carpool with an obnoxious and personal hygiene challenged college buddy riding shotgun.


Another bailout article here, this one describing why Southerners oppose the bailout more seriously.

One thing missing from all this talk, though. Every article I read has something in it about foreign companies being more competitive because American unions require health and retirement benefits.

None of these articles mention that Japan operates under universal health care.

Dante said...

"None of these articles mention that Japan operates under universal health care."

Because these days it doesn't matter. Those foreign nations of Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Kentucky that the Japanese are so fond of building their cars in don't have that "universal health care" that you speak of. Japanese automakers provide health care out of pocket, too. And according to my in-laws up in Indiana and some folks who live in my neighborhood, Toyota still manages to provide excellent health care to their employees.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

It is still a valid and underreported concern.

A. Unionized manufacturers pay too much in health care & retirement vs. the market share of their product.

B. Non-unionized manufacturers still pay health care & retirement closer to the market share of their product.

C. Most non-unionized manufacturers also benefit from tax based incentives to move to US States.

D. Most non-unionized manufacturers also benefit from lower cost health and retirement benefits to workers in their home countries due to health care and retirement practices there.

E. How competitive would the Big 3 be today if they were not paying out so much in health care and retirement benefits?