Monday, November 17, 2008

The "Dubya" in all of us

The title of this article is linked to an editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (click the title to go to the link)

Walt Kelly's Pogo Possum famously said: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Dr. Mihaloew's column is a welcome change to the pablum we have been getting for such a long time. It is not only us who enable the Dubya's of the world, the Dubya's of the world enable us. The defining moment, when George Bush lost me totally was after 9-11, when of all the things he could have said to comfort and rally the nation, he told us to go shopping. SHOPPING?

But really, what could he have said? This is America, the land of the entitled. Where 5% of the worlds population consume over 30% of the world's resources. The average household has more material goods than the Pharaohs took into their tombs. Occasionally, even right wing pundits like Charles Krauthammer get it right. His column on the bailout of the auto industry contains the following gem:

"One of the reasons Detroit is in such difficulty is that consumers have been resisting the smaller, less powerful, less safe cars forced on the industry by fuel-efficiency mandates."

They were only giving us what we wanted. Isn't that how business works?. Sacrifice? That's for other people. That's Jimmy Carter wearing a cardigan and telling us energy conservation is the moral equivalent of war.

I just listened to Barack Obama's weekly address on U-tube, and was struck by one sentence in the last paragraph:

"Doing all this will require not just new policies, but a new spirit of service and sacrifice, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."

It will only work if we deny our inner Dubya.


cindymb said...

How true. We are truly our own worse enemy. Before a nation can be destroyed from the outside, it must be weakened from the inside. It wouldn't require infiltration by our enemies to accomplish this. It only requires that we become complacent and do nothing.

RedWing said...

I have to say that this is a case where unions can be an incredible bottleneck to innovation. While I think Detroit auto makers COULD still pay their employees $78-$90/hr to turn screws, they would have to reorganize their entire line of thinking to do so. Will they do this? Of course not.

Toyota and Honda pay their employees $40-$60/hr to do the same things and end up making better cars. There are no unions and nobody to force Toyota or Honda to pay their employees more. Had Ford/GM/Chrysler/Chevrolet been SMART instead of living in the "Dubya" world or oil and gas, they would have created a line of vehicles long ago that were 40mpg and up. Europe has done this for years, we are just now even thinking about it. For that, we should be ashamed of our fellow automakers' management. The lack of "Green" foresight is astounding. Americans have been driving gas guzzlers for many many years and nothing has ever been done to force them to change (i.e. us dumb Americans continued to buy SUVs and large trucks).

Toyota and Honda are going to come out of this looking VERY attractive. I believe I will buy stock in both of them.

The auto unions are going to have to live with a pay cut...if they don't...they have no job at all. Period.

RedWing said...

Oh and Jamie...if you're out there my research into the automaker union industry has begun to sway me in your direction. If other unions are run like the UAW then unions are in real trouble.

I have limited knowledge on unions other than what I learned in school and over time through the news. I'm working on an innnovation blog post as we speak and may make the unions my next research project.

However, since Grey Fedora is a union member i'd like to have a post (not a comment) with his side of the argument since he has personal experience.

Jack said...

My sister in law works for Diamond Star in Bloomington Illinois, an auto factory that builds American Made parts for Foreign cars, like Mitsubishi, and while she has been there almost 20years now, she doesnt make any $40 an hour, but she has also never been treated more like family, more like an important piece of the pie anywhere else!
and I agree, I think buying stock in Toyota, Mitsubishi & Honda is a GREAT idea :)