I'm just about sick of it! Bailout, bankruptcy, consumer confidence... WHATEVER! The bottom line is that we're living in FEAR. We're afraid to face the music. We're afraid to take responsibility. Afraid of loss.
But what, really, do we have to lose? Our way of life? Our standard of living? Our "stuff"?
Fear has been woven into our lives, like never before, ever since Sept 11th, 2001. The Bush administration has taken this event, and orchestrated the biggest, most elaborate fear campaign for the last 8 years that has driven the "blinders-on" general American public into perpetual hysteria, panic and stagnation while big business (war profiteers benefiting from no-bid contract awards, no oversight and a blind eye from GAO), especially OIL COMPANIES have reaped the biggest ever profits since the rape and pillage days of the Crusades.
Now they want us to believe that the "bankruptcy" of one, two or all of the Big 3 would cause a ripple-effect so damaging to the car-buying public that NO ONE would ever buy an American car again. We should all be so scared!
As my grandfather would say, "The horse shit is knee deep in there!"
Personally, I'm thinking we should be more worried about the health of a company MAKING THE PARTS for a vehicle, than for the company putting the vehicle together. Why? Because the quality of parts and pieces determines the overall functionality and reliability of the vehicle.
Choose your cliché... "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link", "Garbage in, garbage out", and on and on.
You see, what the general public doesn't fully understand is that American car makers, and every car maker, are mostly designers and assemblers of components! And right now, robots do most of any car assembly. Sure, people still do it all the time- shade tree mechanics, home-build "projects", hot rods, etc., but truthfully, any monkey can be trained to assemble a vehicle. I'm not saying there aren't smart people on the assembly line, but putting a car together is a learned process. It's nothing more than a jigsaw puzzle.
However, those pieces and parts are made EVERYWHERE... foreign and domestic- specifically by our neighbors to the immediate north (Canada) and south (Mexico). Other parts, mostly electronics, are made in China and other Asian nations.
“Made in America”, anymore, really means “Assembled in America”. And sometimes not even that!
OK, remember the conglomerate Delphi (http://delphi.com/)? They filed for Bankruptcy in 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/09/business/09delphi.html). To look at the intricate, purposely complicated, tangled web of incomprehensible "bad decisions", just review the time line at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_Corporation
You can’t tell me this doesn’t have any effect on the quality of American automobiles!
Where was Delphi's bailout? Where was the government concern for the protection of consumer confidence? Where was Washington on that one?
In reality, consumer confidence is misplaced on "brand". This is fostered by emotion. And emotion is, for better or worse, influenced by marketing and social pressures.
If you have any doubt of this, ask yourself why companies, of all types, spend hundreds of millions on market research, advertising and understanding/molding consumer behavior.
There was an article a number of years ago I read that described a theory of why many of the dinosaurs went extinct. The concept was that the super-predators had grown so big, and so all-consuming, that they literally ate themselves out of their ability to sustain their own existence. They consumed all, and there was nothing left to eat. So they starved to death.
This concept is transferable to any entity that requires consumption for growth- an animal, a business, a country, an economy, a society, or even a person or family. Consumption to the point of extinction is, in a word, STUPID! Aren’t we smarter than dinosaurs?
ENOUGH! What, really, do we have to lose? What are we afraid of?
We’re all food for worms. We will all die someday. We are only here for 66.12 years on average (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy). We can’t take it with us. Everything will be left to those who come after us.
Short-term thinking and “band-aid” fixes are bad policy. We need to make every decision with this in mind.
Right now, the nature of human development is finally at a critical mass- both in economic and financial consumption, as well as the sustainability of our ability to guarantee our own survival.
The big will fall. There will be reorganization. People will be financially hurt. People will suffer.
But people will still survive. They will survive, grow stronger, grow smarter, and learn to focus attention on areas of real importance- specifically figuring out what is truly necessary for sustainable existence.
Greed is going away; it needs to. Fear is going away; it needs to. The Big 3 are going away; they need to.
I'm not saying we don't need car makers. I'm saying we need sustainable, smart car makers.
Let Detroit file for bankruptcy. Force the car makers to reorganize. Allow them to get mean and lean. Allow them to embrace human capital and resources in a sustainable way, not in an entitled mentality.
Car makers won’t go away. They will get better!
Think of bankruptcy like chemo therapy; we must constructively destroy the infrastructure in order to rebuild a healthier existence.
Then once it’s “cured”, Detroit needs to eat a smart, organic, balanced, healthy and sustainable diet to maintain it’s longevity.
Consumer confidence in a car maker isn't governed by whether or not it is "bankrupt", but by how it is bankrupted- how the marketing and advertising machine "spins" the event.
If our leaders tell us that bankruptcy will cause a decline in consumer confidence, then we will lose confidence. If they tell us to stand strong, and support our auto industry through this tough, YET NECESSARY, step in their development, growth and survival, THEN WE WILL STAND STRONG.
It's all about attitude. About what we're willing to do. About what we're not afraid to face. About being smart.
If we fail to act, we are doomed to accept whatever happens to us. If we act in confidence, we command our future and accept responsibility for our actions.