That’s the advice my father gave to me, when I first found myself in debt up to my eyeballs. I thought he simply didn’t understand. I explained, as patiently as I could, that things like cable TV and renting videos were necessities – not luxuries. I explained how I simply needed more money, and since I worked for him, it was his responsibility to pay me more so I could maintain my standard of living.
He patiently explained that “when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is to stop digging.” There’s no way to spend yourself out of debt. I learned the truth of that, unfortunately, the hard way. “Making do” became a part of my vocabulary, just as “discretionary income” and “charge it” became a thing of the past.
Here’s the problem…when it’s just you – or you, your wife, and your kids – it’s not that difficult to get everybody on board the “let’s watch every penny” train. When you’re a nation, not so much, if only because a lot of the people that are the beneficiaries of “tax and spend” policies vote. Continue reading The first thing you do, is to stop digging.→
Let’s be honest. Chrysler is RIP. Today’s announcement that Chrysler has 30 days to make a deal with Fiat does nothing but forestall the inevitable. To get the Fiat deal done, creditors must allow Chrysler to default on loans. Why would they do that, if they simply force Chrysler into bankruptcy? After all, 10 cents on the dollar is better than nothing. So let’s assume that Chrysler is heading for that big Chapter 11 (or 7) in the sky. Now what?
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we won’t see anybody buy Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep lock, stock and pistons. Nope, the parts will be worth (marginally) more than the sum of the companies. Chrysler itself is worthless – the only two vehicles they have that are in anything close to what resembles demand are the Town & Country minivan and the 300 sedan. Neither is currently considered best-0f-breed. Chrysler can sink into the sunset with few tears from the great unwashed. Continue reading Who gets Jeep?→
DATELINE: WASHINGTON D.C.: Today the President [who is suddenly worried about his ‘legacy’] announced that the [lame duck] Administration has put together a plan to give GM and Chrysler a loan [throwing bad money after good] of 17 Billion Dollars [further devaluing our currency and likely triggering inflation on a scale not seen since Carter and the 1970’s] to help them avoid bankruptcy [which, paradoxically is the only thing that would save them from annihilation]. The plan calls for the companies to submit a turn-around plan [which won’t work without bankruptcy] by March 31st [long after Bush is gone, and it’s Obama’s problem], or they will have to give the money back [as if they’d have anything left, at the rate they’re bleeding red ink]. United Auto Workers head [bully] Ron Gettlefinger immediately stated that the Bush plan was unworkable, and had far too many restrictions [that might result in the UAW having to accept salary and benefit cuts]. Gettlefinger offered that they would immediately demand that the Obama Administration rewrite the plan to remove the offending restrictions [and thus keep Gettlefinger’s job safe, and force the Big Three to continue to dance to organized labor’s tune].
Here’s the truth, people. The Big Three will not be able to avoid bankruptcy, sooner or later. The union will not allow any kind of meaningful compromise. Gettlefinger doesn’t get it – times have changed. There’s a healthy automotive industry in the USA. Just not in Detroit – and it’s one his union has nothing to do with. The 800 pound gorilla in the room that nobody – Republican OR Democrat – wants to acknowledge is that the only way to save the Big Three is to kill the union. Without the union contracts, union pension plan and union health plan, they can survive. With them, there’s no way to make it work. Period. Continue reading The following post is closed-captioned…→
I’m a conservative. I’ve been a conservative since waaaay before it was unfashionable and politically incorrect to be one. But when I say “conservative,” what I mean is that I adhere to the principles of smaller government and self-reliance – not the kind of “compassionate conservatism” and borderline soft Socialism that has been masquerading as conservatism lately.
And I’m mad as Hell this morning.
Tell you a little secret…I voted for George Bush four times – twice for Governor and twice for President. I thought – and still think – that he’s a good man, and the best candidate for the job. At no time, however, did I ever believe that he was a genuine conservative. Oh, sure, I acknowledge that he’s more conservative than Ann Richards, Al Gore, or John Kerry. But he’s far from a believer in the kind of conservatism I believe in.
As many of you may know, I’m a big fan of Jeeps. This has not always been the case. It’s really an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible change in my thinking, thanks to 9/11. Sound odd? Read on…
…is good for America, or to be completely accurate, “What was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa”, or so said Charles Erwin Wilson, Ike’s Secretary of Defense back in the 50’s. He believed that anything that was good for GM was good for America, because the two economies were inexorably intertwined. But what is good for General Motors?
I’ve been following the bailout of the Big Three for a long time. And I’ve got some ideas on a REAL solution…not this three-card Monte they’re playing in Congress. Real solutions. Here’s my ideas: Continue reading What’s good for General Motors…→
The Big Three schlep back up on Capitol Hill, hats in hand, massaging the road sores they got from actually driving from Detroit to D.C., where they will beg for bucks once again. They are in hopes that their performance will be a lot more convincing – not to mention, vastly less tone-deaf – than their last appearence. In the meantime, we’re treated to a parade of concerned Senators and Representatives who wail that, without an immediate bailout, The American Automobile Industry Will Come To An End As We Know It.™
Let’s get one thing straight. I love American cars. My wife and I both drive Jeeps. While Mrs. Digital has, on occasion, driven a rice-burner, I have never owned anything but an American automobile. On the other hand, I think that American automobile manufacturers management is clueless, the Unions are parasitical, their boards of directors are derelict in their duties, and the whole thing needs to have one giant hycolonic, so it can be reformed into something that is once-again a shining example of American know-how and productivity.
I’m a big fan of Gilbert & Sullivan. In their immortal operetta, The Gondoliers, the ingeneue’s father, the Duke of Plaza-Toro (Count Matadoro, Baron Picadoro), realizes that being a member of the nobility is at odds with his current, destitute state of affairs. His novel solution was to apply for by the public under the Limited Liability Company Act. In American terms, that means he “went public,” offering shares in his Dukedom on the stock exchange. If Gilbert & Sullivan were alive today, I’m sure they’d write The Gondoliers II – The Baratarian Pirates Strike Back, where they’d script the Duke in debt once again, applying to the government for a bailout.
First it was the mortgage companies.
Then the insurance companies.
Next it was the automobile companies.
Now the credit card companies step up for a handout.
Wanna see something REALLY scarry? If you think things are dicey regarding the economy this week, imagine working in the auto industry. Unless your company’s product burns rice for fuel, before the economic meltdown, you were likely in bad shape, financially. Since the meltdown, your company is basically Dead Corporation Walking. Double that, if you’re one of the Big Three automakers.
Lo, how the mighty have fallen.
At one time (say, circa 1960), GM, Ford, and Chrysler were the crown jewels of American manufacturing. Those three companies were the envy of the world. Americans made things. We built cars that were not just transportation – nay, they were objects of desire, status symbols, and tangible proof that the U.S. of A. was the Greatest Nation on Earth. But the times, they are a-changin.’ Continue reading Karmageddon.→