Skip to comments.Pat Buchanan: The Toyota Republicans
Posted on 12/16/2008 9:41:55 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
"GOP to Detroit: Drop Dead!"
So may have read the headline Friday, had not President Bush stepped in to save GM, Ford and Chrysler, which Senate Republicans had just voted to send to the knacker's yard.
What are Republicans thinking of, pulling the plug, at Christmas, on GM, risking swift death for the greatest manufacturing company in American history, a strategic asset and pillar of the U.S. economy.
The $14 billion loan to the Big Three that Republican senators filibustered to death is just 2 percent of the $700 billion the Senate voted to bail out Wall Street. Having gone along with bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie, Freddie and CitiGroup, why refuse a reprieve to an industry upon which millions of the best blue-collar jobs in America depend?
In a good year, Americans buy 17 million cars. A more populous EU probably buys as many. Three billion people in India, Southeast Asia and China, four times as many people as there are in the EU and United States, are moving toward the middle class. They, too, will be wanting cars. And millions of them love American cars.
Is the Republican Party so fanatic in its ideology that, rather than sin against a commandment of Milton Friedman, it is willing to see America written forever out of this fantastic market, let millions of jobs vanish and write off the industrial Midwest?
So it would seem. "Companies fail every day, and others take their place," said Sen. Richard Shelby on "Face the Nation."
Presumably, the companies that will "take their place," when GM, Ford and Chrysler die, are German, Japanese or Korean, like the ones lured into Shelby's state of Alabama, with the bait of subsidies free-market Republicans are supposed to abhor.
In 1993, Alabama put together a $258 million package to bring a Mercedes plant in. In 1999, Honda was offered $158 million to build a plant there. In 2002, Alabama won a Hyundai plant by offering a $252 million subsidy.
"We have a number of profitable automakers in America, and they should not be disadvantaged for making wise business decisions while failure is rewarded," says Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
DeMint is referring to "profitable automakers" like BMW, which sited a plant in Spartanburg, after South Carolina offered the Germans a $150 million subsidy and $80 million to expand.
Be it BMW, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi or Hyundai, the South has become a sanctuary for foreign assembly plants, for which Southern states have been paying subsidies.
Fine. But why this "Let-them-eat-cake!" coldness toward U.S. auto companies? General Motors employs more workers than all these foreign plants combined. And, unlike Mitsubishi, General Motors didn't bomb Pearl Harbor.
Do these Southern senators understand why the foreign automakers suddenly up and decided to build plants in the United States?
It was the economic nationalism of Ronald Reagan.
When an icon of American industry, Harley-Davidson, was being run out of business by cutthroat Japanese dumping of big bikes to kill the "Harley Hog," Reagan slapped 50 percent tariffs on their motorcycles and imposed quotas on imported Japanese cars. Message to Tokyo. If you folks want to keep selling cars here, start building them here.
Fear of Reaganism brought those foreign automakers, lickety-split, to America's shores, not any love of Southern cooking.
Do the Republicans not yet understand how they lost the New Majority coalition that gave them three landslides and five victories in six presidential races from 1968 to 1988? Do they not know why the Reagan Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan are going home?
The Republican Party gave their jobs away!
How? By telling U.S. manufacturers they could shut plants here, get rid of their U.S. workers, build factories in Mexico, Asia or China, and ship their products back, free of charge.
Republican globalists gave U.S. manufacturers every incentive to go abroad and take their jobs with them, the jobs of Middle America.
And, for 30 years, that is what U.S. manufacturers have done, have been forced to do, as their competitors closed down and moved their plants abroad in search of low-wage Third World labor.
It's Herbert Hoover time in here, Vice President Cheney is said to have told the Senate Republicans -- as they prepared to march out onto the floor and turn thumbs down on any reprieve for General Motors.
In today's world, America faces nationalistic trade rivals who manipulate currencies, employ nontariff barriers, subsidize their manufacturers, rebate value-added taxes on exports to us and impose value-added taxes on imports from us, all to capture our markets and kill our great companies. And we have a Republican Party blissfully ignorant that we live in a world of us or them. It doesn't even know who "us" is.
We need a new team on the field and a new coach who believes with Vince Lombardi that "winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."
Well, no. You're comparing apples and oranges.
Here's the math. In 2004, GM says, its health care costs were $1,528 a vehicle and pension costs were $695 a vehicle. Total: $2,223. Toyota's comparable costs: $201 for health care (according to A.T. Kearney) and perhaps $50 for matching workers' 401(k) contributions (my estimate). GM refuses to provide legacy costs for its 2005 vehicles. But by my estimate, they were $1,850 for health care, $700 for pensions. Total: $2,550. (I'm using GM pension and health care numbers and WardsAuto.com's vehicle-production stats.) Numbers Toyota gave me indicate its U.S. health care costs stayed at about $200 a vehicle. And let's use the same, probably-too-high $50 for 401(k) costs...
Toyota doesn't provide pensions for retirees, they only offer 401(k) programs.
Toyota also doesn't offer 30-and-out programs, as does GM.
Those are state subsidies, not federal.
...and yes, Michigan provides the same incentives to the Detroit 3.
Pat’s stuck more in the 40’s.
Another point I wish to make is that I have recently gone through my collection of Hayne’s auto repair manuals bought over the years:
Chrysler Town & Country
Strange... I never bought a repair manual for my old Honda Accord or my Mazda Protege. I just changed the oil and replaced the brake pads. I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent busting my knuckles and back and how many dollars spent buying parts for those American vehicles.
Say what you want about American car quality. I’m not buying it any more. My wallet and my back can’t take it anymore. Besides, I’m cutting down on my organized labor footprint. I don’t buy union made if I can help it.
What do you mean now? Where have you been for the last century?
Oh, and if you're going to quote me, at least use my entire sentence.
Here, I'll help you out.
Were on the verge of a depression, our government is so corrupted they now control banking and all of our major industries...
Oh, and tell your buddy Piatek that he is a moron.
Don't you think that states would have offered the same incentives to an American automaker seeking to open a manufacturing plant? Problem is that the US automakers are not looking to expand production or move plants to friendlier territory because they are in the firm grip of the UAW.
Mercedes, Toyota, Honda and others made announcements that they wanted to open a plant and states competed for their business.
This is not a case of senators preferring foreign companies to US companies.
Anyone who hangs on this guy's word is not a conservative, in the limited government aspect, whatsoever.
Typically intelligent argument from a libertarian. You guys are all so smart and sophisticated.
It's all about jobs. If Americans are not working, they are not buying. The interest rate to banks is irrelevant. Washington is on the wrong track. There is no recovery without a job recovery.
The 1940s? Sixty years ago is your baseline? Yea, I could put together and manage an assembly line to build that obsolete plane without problem and without having to use any of the big three's facilities. I've done it with current military hardware.
Now if I was forced to use GMs facilities and current unionized workforce, I doubt I could keep the assembly line running with that volume over time because the odds that these union employees would sabtoge my assembly line is darn near certain. Could I set up in the south and build this simple plane, with ease. Setting up production lines is not that complicated.
I assume you are aware that Ford did not design the B-24, but was one of the contracted builders.
“One sidebar-Isn’t Chrysler owned by Daimler-Benz, why are we bailing out a foreign company?”
I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but my understanding is Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler raped the company of most of its value then spun it off to a private investor.
A VERY brief period in our history, as the European economies had been destroyed, and the Asians were just getting started. We all but had the world markets to ourselves, and American labor could extort all it could from their employers.
Of course, prior to the 1950s, many of our families lived in rowhouses or tenements (which they usually couldn't afford to own themselves), near belching factories, making only just enough to feed their families.
Despite a lot of promises of that level of production, Willow Run never quite made it. Their best month produced 428 planes, but by that time (late 1944) the USAAF had made the decision to phase out the B-24 in favor of the B-29 and B-32 and production was slowed.
In your gripe against unions you don't know what was going on then. Most line workers were in the 15,000,000 man military and Rosie the Riveter was on the line. There was a war to be won and there maybe more in our future.
“the greatest manufacturing company in American history, a strategic asset and pillar of the U.S. economy. “
Earth to Pat: GM is sinking faster than the Titanic, and you want the US Government to put 500 more people on board to help unfasten the lifeboats.
The real reason we win wars is not that we are more efficient. It is because the government runs our troops we are inefficient. We win because we have more and better stuff to kill the enemy. Plain and simple. If we loose that capability we loose
I was just giving an example of what we did 68 years ago. Your example assumes that union workers are not Americans first. That is a naive assumption. I am sure most would not agree with you. Labor contract have made them lazy. People in the north are not lazy. There is more poverty in the south than the north.
Id does not matter who designed the plane. It matters that they did a damn fine job of building it. As did Flint building tanks. As did A.C. Spark Plug in Flint building 50 cal machine guns. I know my mother worked on that line.
So you are saying that the people in the south are better workers because they are not union? You still fighting the war here?
Again, if the big 3 is so vital to our war effort, why can't any of you union shills name any current military hardware that they produce?
This notion that a big 3 bankruptcy will effect our military readiness and production is a LIE.
Does Ford have the M1A1 under contract? No, in spite of their enormous influence on Congress, these supposedly DEFENSE VITAL producers do NOT win current military contracts over other UNIONIZED American companies. That is because the CONTRACTS ARE COMPETITIVE BID. They lose in an open bidding process because their labor rates are sky high due to UAW collusive leverage over the auto industry for half a century.
General Dynamics is building the M1A1, why don't the big three try to win the next follow-on order for tanks? The UAW killed American auto companies, no amount of money is going to fix the fact that most Americans know Detroit cars are utter garbage. The UAW wanted to be management, now lets see them build cars without stealing money from my wallet to do it.
Regardless, I will NEVER buy an automobile made by UAW employees, period. I'm sure most, who've owned one of their autos know the reason why. Raping the taxpayer is not going to improve your auto's reputation, nor will it get us to buy them.
They never lived up to their goal but they turned out a lot of planes. My dad flew on a B-17. The Flying Fortress. He came home alive or I would not be here.
You're off by a decade. And like most of Pat's stuff it sounds far better in the original German.
Cause he lives in the past..
A lot of stuff was hidden in the 50’s.
Not really, but this isn’t the 40’s anymore..
1) Millions of Americans get up every morning and work jobs for a mere pittance compared to what featherbedded UAW jobs pay. A forklift operator at the average wharehouse earns $29K a year. A UAW forklift operator earns $106K a year. The typical associate professor at a college or university doesn't make that much.
2) Most business owners face the constant threat of bankruptcy if they do not have to satisfy the demands of their customer base. This causes them to produce useful, desireable products; not PT Cruisers.
3) Most consumers choose to reward businesses that make useful and desireable products at a fair price. They do not expect the government to decide who gets rewarded and then to extort that reward money out of the taxpayer. That reminds the average American of an old joke from Communist Russia: "We pretend to work; they pretend to pay us."
4) The UAW might want to sell off the PGA Championship calibre golf course and the automotice CEOs may want to stop the private jet travel before they bum money off of Congress which is expropriated from tax-paying families where both parents work to support a modest life style.
I kind of think that's what went through Senator Corker's mind during the latest shake-down...
Yes, and I'm sure PJB has the transcript of the corporate shareholder meeting where all the big institutional shareholders in Mitsubishi Motors got together and said. "Hey, let's sink the entire US Pacific Fleet, that HAS to increase our market share."
If the GOP senators, who whored for money to bring foreign auto makers to their states, kill this, guess what? They are not standing up as conservatives or as Republicans, they are mearly doing what the Illinois governor just got busted for doing. Being a well paid and bought for politician.
Isn't it odd that the majority of the guys screaming the loudest have Japanese plants in their districts, and that they arranged for some rather nice incentives for those plants to be there? Don't you think that the Dems can't see that? If GM goes under and brings down Ford with it (MOPAR is dead no matter what), and we get millions of angry unemployed former workers, does anyone really think that in 2010 they will say “Well, at least the GOP bailed out the banks!”
The GOP is really trying to kill themselves off, and this just might do it. You can't block a small bail out with a group of congress critters with questionable motives and not get some blow back. Not when you just gave a trillion to the Treasury department, and no one seems to remember what happened to it.
The Whigs, Know-Nothings, Federalists and many other major American parties disappeared, so can the Democratic or Republican parties if they fail. Another will appear to take their place.
Bankruptcy is the way that gets done.
Better public education is how you fix UAW.
Makes me wonder why Buchanan is flacking for the bondholders. This is very strange.
But for years here, I have been told to sacrifice what I believe in to vote for an “electable” candidate, and now some of the same are saying it is time to draw a line in the sand.
Lets just say this is a bit odd, and those screaming virtue are not the lily white fiscal Puritans that they are pretending to be.
Plus, oil prices went way above the ability of the market to sustain that industry, and there was a worldwide wheat and grain shortage LAST YEAR brought about by the sort of cool, dry weather that preceeds a major glaciation.
The Ice Age is returning and you just have to expect some stuff to go bad.
And pretty soon, Chevies, Fords, and Chryslers.
Nope. The original purpose of gun control was to disarm blacks. You know what a bitch it is to clean blood out of white sheets.
Ask people here how many other professions are represented by the UAW other than autoworkers. They also represent a lot of nurses, agricultural workers, machine shops, aerospace companies, and other industries. But your words will fall on deaf ears, because unions=evil; cheap, easily exploited labor=good. America is going the route of Britian, where people who work in manufacturing are ranked as second-class citizens, who are beneath the contempt of the financial elite. The banking bailout is the proof in the pudding. Hand out cash with no strings attached to all of your banking buddies, and let manufacturing twist in the wind. Let ALL of them fail, none of them deserve bailouts. Let them pay for the choices they made. But as we see here, the monied elite protect their own.
He needs to write a convincing article as to why the American taxpayer needs to reward failure. The free market is a rough and tumble adventure - only the best business models survive, it’s not for the squeamish...businesses survive based on merit, rather than entitlement. To me, free markets are a hallmark of conservatism. Buchanan has always been a protectionist, which puts him at odds with pretty much most of the Republican Party.
>>We wanted carburetors and fuel injection that could get us 100 miles to the gallon. We had this technology in the 70s, but the car manufacturers allowed OPEC to by those pattens.
That’s right up there with the 9/11 truthers and the chemtrails folks.
He has one valid point- what they’re asking for is far, far, far less than what Wall Street got.
Yeah, that was a stupid assertion, about Mitsubishi bombing Pearl Harbor. Those planes were guns in someone's hands. One thing I learned from my grandfather is that French engineers taught Mitsubishi workers how to build those planes. And that's why some of those Japanese workers learned how to speak French. So, the French also bombed Pearl Harbor! As you say, all those workers are long dead.
Why should the U.S. consumer support overpaid union workers?
Real free trade (not the phony NAFTA/WTO kind) opens up markets and benefits the consumer, and that is the purpose of the market.
Those are not 'free trade' agreements, they are managed trade between nations.
A true free trade agreement would simply removing all barriers of trade between the nations, not managing them.
You are correct, but regaining a reputation is very difficult once it is lost.
And the Democrats didn't have anything to do with those managed trade agreements, NAFTA/WTO?
The fact is that those union workers would rather see their companies go under rather then make concessions.
The Soviet Union collapsed because it overspent money on trying to keep industries going that were not productive, and we will also.