I admit it. I'm stuck on this subject. I find myself barely able to contain my rage every time I think about these greedy bastards taking our money and giving themselves massive bonuses after tanking the entire world's economy. What if we just pick one of these bonus babies at random, drag him out of his home, and let people who've lost their homes stone him in the public square? I know, I know, it's just not a thing I ought to be advocating. It's a violent revenge fantasy, and it's beneath me. But it would only take one, I'm guessing, for the others to voluntarily give back their ill-gotten loot. A guy can dream, can't he?
GM and Chrysler, evidently having burned through the billions already given them, are back in front of Congress, asking for more bailout money. I'm proposing that we create a new measure of automotive efficiency, one that reflects current realities.
I kept wondering why, no matter how much money got put back into the banking system, the credit markets won't unfreeze. Then it hit me. Every time these guys refuse to lend money, the government ponies up more billions. If it were me, I'd keep playing that game until the Treasury was empty, which apparently is exactly what the bankers are doing. There's a reason why they're rich and we aren't.
Picking up the theme from my last cartoon, the outrageous money grab by top managers continues. What astonishes me is the rationale given by some otherwise very smart people for paying such insane sums: that you have to pay this much to keep top talent. If the top talent was dumb enough to give his janitor a million dollar loan without checking to see if the guy could pay, I say fire the talent and hire the janitor. Bet he wouldn't make the same mistake.
I have mixed feelings about the failure of the bailout of the auto industry. On the one hand, it never made sense to me to give the money to the folks who have failed so dismally to build a modern auto industry. I worry that their reach in the economy is so great, though, that if they fail, the economy will plummet even lower, into a full-blown depression (if we're not in one already). Plus, when I hear Republicans who so vehemently opposed the bailout say that it would save unions, not people, I wonder if they have a clue what they're saying. Are union jobs not real jobs? Do union members not pay taxes? Has Republican dislike of unions turned into reflexively blind hatred? Is an industry too moronic to save itself being denied help by a Congress too dunderheaded to understand the consequences? Are we talking dumb and dumber here? Then again, congressional Republicans are finally ignoring their president. That in itself may be a positive sign. If only they'd done that from the start maybe we wouldn't be in this mess.
The Big Three is back before Congress, hats (with much smaller head sizes) in hand. This time, they handled the symbolic stuff a tad bit better. Instead of flying in three separate corporate jets, they drove, although they haven't gotten the hang of carpooling yet. And they all agreed to cut their hefty salaries. We don't know about bonuses or stock options. And this time, they have plans to downsize their industries, to make them more efficient, and to redesign their fleets for more fuel economy. That they came up with these plans in only two weeks is a miracle, given their inability to answer basic questions about their strategies for saving their businesses the last time they came begging. Somehow, I can't quite envision the same self-satisfied dinosaurs who presided over the years-long decline of the American auto industry being up to the task of evolving it quickly enough to make a difference now.