Thursday, April 30, 2009

Missing The Point

I'm an unabashed fan of Mickey Kaus, but he really misses the point here regarding the new and un-improved Government Motors:

The union's ownership so does not seem a problem. It seems a virtue. Let the UAW, as new owner of GM, pay the price for the overgrown work rules of its locals. Let the UAW demand above-market raises from itself. Let the UAW try to raise money from new lenders after the previous round of lenders has been royally screwed (thanks, in part, to the UAW). And then let the UAW try to sell the cars that result.

But that's the problem. They won't have to sell the cars.

It's long been a joke that General Motors was really a healthcare and pension company that made cars as a sideline, but now GM is effectively a federal agency. Take as comparative examples what happens when the SEIU or NEA get together with politicians. Why, the SEIU or NEA gets what it wants--more money, the politicians get what they want--campaign donations and in-kind election aid, and the taxpayers get... the bill.

That's the problem with unionized government employees: the union and politicians collude, and pass the bill on to the taxpayer. As a near-monopoly, GM and the UAW got away with a similar kind of collusion up until the late 70's, when market competition brought the whole comfortable deal to a screeching halt--but there is effectively no competition when the government owns the business. Now, every GM employee is effectively a unionized Federal civil servant.

The new Federal GM is going to be an utter disaster. Every penny-ante politician and bureaucrat will have their fingers in car design, marketing, distribuition, you name it. It won't matter that they and the UAW won't be able to sell any of these crappy Homers--they can just go back to the Treasury for another bailout. And another, and another, and another.

The UAW owning GM as an independent company would probably serve everybody involved right, but that's not what we're looking at here. We're going to get the Government owning GM and running it for the benefit of the UAW, and that's got fiasco written all over it.

No comments:

Post a Comment