The Post Wherein I Agree With A Huffington Poster About GM

Watching GM decline has been part of my family’s legacy. I’m a GM brat and many of my friends had dads who worked the line, were engineers, or somehow supplied the car companies. I’ve written before about watching Michigan die and this hasn’t been a sudden death. Ricky Van Veen shares a conversation he had with his dad:

Dad: Your point that GM is a health care charity is exactly correct. When companies are businesses they do well and make money and everybody thrives. When I was a kid all my health care costs were provided by GM, never a nickel out of my parents’ pocket. GM was referred to as Generous Motors. Our country lived in the immediate post-war era which is almost incomprehensible to people today. No foreign competition (it’s hard to make stuff when someone is dropping atom bombs on you). Our country had a surplus of everything. A 4-year old car was usually in the junk yard or sold to used car dealers from the South. They called it planned obsolescence. All natural resources imaginable.

So the unions said we want more and we really don’t want to work and you can’t really fire us or we will strike and you will be out of business. I know — I was there on the production line turning out crap as a member of the union. So the companies treated the unions the way the drug dealer treats a high priced lawyer – merely a cost of doing business. All were happy for a while.

But as you know that scene did not last forever. But both parties lived in never never land and pretended that all would be OK forever.The government did not help matters either.

Now, Americans are supposed to bailout (give cheap loans to) another failing industry. This will, of course, reward bad behavior. No one wants to see GM die, but does it deserve to live?

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