Saturday, December 27, 2008

Conservatives on the Economic Crisis: It's All Your Fault

Posted by Gavin M, Sadly, No! at 12:37 PM on December 25, 2008.


Confederate Yankee is here to explain the evils of organized labor.

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Destroying the Village in Order to Save It

Confederate Yankee is here to explain the economy and why its collapse is the fault of you. We join this Confederate Yankee post already in progress.

[...] And so the government is going to steal $17.4 billion more from taxpayers to prolong the inevitable death of unions companies that don’t deserve to live.

For that matter, much of the manufacturing in this country doesn’t deserve to live, particularly that created with non-competitive union labor so prevalent in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

It looks like he’s gone into abandon New Orleans mode again, only this time he’s saying it was a stupid idea to build a country where a recession could get it.

[...] The simple fact of the matter is that the U.S. auto industry is not just Ford, Chrysler, and GM, but Honda, Toyota, and other “foreign” manufacturers that build cars here on the mainland United States. What separates the successful companies that aren’t asking for a bailout from the leaches grubbing for tax dollars from your already empty wallet? Greedy, bloated, self-serving and uncompetitive union labor, particularly the United Auto Workers (UAW).

Oh no, not the United Auto Workers (UAW)!

Okay, well, as you’re noticing the received distortions about the auto companies vis-√†-vis the UAW (the suspicion has long been with us that Mr. Yankee consumes talk radio — which, given his position as a conservative blogger of some prominence, is like a moonshiner who gets wrecked on airplane glue), note as well the ease with which conservatives have pivoted to support Japanese companies against nominally American ones, and their new skepticism toward the sort of blue-collar flypaper that was set out by John McCain back in, oh gosh, way back in September of 2008: “Our workers are the most innovative, the hardest-working, the best-skilled, most productive, most competitive in the world. That’s the American worker. And my opponents may disagree, but those fundamentals — the American worker and their innovation, their entrepreneurship, the small business, those are the fundamentals of America, and I think they’re strong. But they are being threatened today.”

Then again, McCain’s speechwriter smartly conjoined ‘worker’ with ‘entrepreneurship’ and ’small business,’ so it can’t be said that he didn’t actually mean toilers in the fields of ownership and finance. Sneaky that way! Back to Mr. Yankee:

Non-union car factories are cranking out the smaller, higher-quality, more fuel efficient fleets that America wants to buy, while the unionized Big Three are cranking out bloated beasts that carry and estimated $2,000 of overhead per vehicle because of concessions the automakers have made the unions over the years in noncompetitive benefits and pensions.

This has become a popular unsourced claim, but even more appealing has been the plaint that American car companies are going under because they’ve been forced by government regulation to build smaller, more fuel-efficient cars instead of bloated beasts, etc. Perhaps the first set of imaginary circumstances can negotiate a free trade agreement with the second set, creating what business experts call a “win-win.”

As a result of this bloat, to make their cars competitive on the price point, unionized companies have to remove $2,000 from some other part of that vehicle, affecting the overall quality, durability, fit, finish, and reliability. Detroit is in trouble because they’re cranking out cars that are worth less than their competitors, and buyers know it.

Is this true? We don’t know! Luckily, we have this:

Above: Book we luckily have

If the average GM car takes 22.15 person-hours to build, and even if by some accounting unknown to art or science each GM worker were actually, in real life and not in some conservative crack dream, making $73 per hour (totaling $1,616.95 in labor costs per car), then how full of crap does the $2,000 figure appear to be?

Answer: If we assume that each car ought to carry $0.00 in labor costs — i.e., to be built by slaves who forage elsewhere for food and shelter; or by a combination of those slaves and some kind of robot that you can acquire for free, and that doesn’t require any power and never breaks down — the figure appears even then to be full of at least $383.05 worth of crap, per car.1

Confederate Yankee now owes us this sum in addition to that of our previous invoice.

We rejoin this Confederate Yankee post already in progress:

[...] Michigan, New York, California… look at a the map of the areas most affected during our current economic crisis, and you’ll see areas of large populations in the Northeast, West Coast, and upper Midwest (historical big government Democratic enclaves) and a handful of swing states.

We looked and looked, and no such map was to be seen. Maybe there was a plate in the hardcover version of his post that’s missing from the paperback edition.

In any case, it’s certainly weird that the areas most affected by the crisis are centers of populations and finance. You’d think the deep South would be the first to crash, with the Franklin Mint bubble taking out Waffle House and Cracker Barrel, whose collapse would wipe out the rustic knick-knack manufacturers, dropping the floor out from under the Beanie Baby speculators, and so on down the line until you reach John Deere, at which point it’s game-over for Amway, Carhartt, Philip Morris, Mary Kay, QVC, Bob’s Big Boy, and the whole line of dominoes leading from Bally/Midway and the rest of the video poker manufacturers to Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly, and from there to one Branson concern after the next, wiping out Winnebago before toppling various Indian tribes and their casino buffet and dream-catcher keychain suppliers, landing subsequently on Disney itself, at which point the coastal elites would notice something missing but not be able to put their finger quite on what it was, until 3AM one night when they sat bolt upright in bed, saying, “Oh my God, whatever happened to the Jonas Brothers?

Democrats in Congress (and soon to be in the White House) are unwilling to address the fact that the big government economic politics of FDR and LBJ are the politics of long-term economic failure.

This is an idea worthy of admiration. After the Clinton-blamers had recited their catechisms, and after Rush Limbaugh did what Rush Limbaugh does by blustering and har-harring about ‘the Obama Recession,’ Ace, a man of vision in some ways, raised the standard of √©tonne-moi! by blaming the current situation on Jimmy Carter. But now with “the politics of long-term economic failure,” we learn that the economy has been tanking ever since America stopped listening to Herbert Hoover — or, actually, it’s a brilliant enough phrase that you could blame everything on Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Era if you wanted to, or on the cruel way in which John Adams marginalized Alexander Hamilton, or come to think of it on Oliver Cromwell.

The next time our pants are too tight in the nuts, we’ll blame LBJ for the politics of long-term pants malfunction.

Also, note that the Democrats are in trouble once again for their refusal to address this wacky rationalization that Mr. Yankee just invented. I would mention in reply that Republicans are unwilling to address their own prosampiquity, which is a word I invented.

They are continuing to sap the ability of businesses to do business, while pandering to the unions that are dragging their constituencies into ruin.

Someday America will come to its senses, and businesses will be exempt from all laws while workers receive no pay.

Don’t worry about this being a partisan attack…

Wait one second here, is this some kind of partisan…? Oh, whew.

There are plenty of “go along, get along” RINO Republicans that voted for the same legislation on both the state and federal levels to get us to where we are today.

Someday Republicans will come to their senses and defy the leftist establishment.

If you look at the areas of the country hardest hit during our current economic crisis, the bulk are those that long ago embraced big government solutions. New York. New Jersey. California. Michigan. Ohio.

Look at those areas that have weathered the financial storm better. The Deep South. The lower Midwest. The Western states.

Oh wait, we found the map he’s been talking about.

Those states that have taken the hardest hits are those that have embraced big government intrusion and union meddling. Those that have survived are those areas with far more business-friendly markets.

SCARECROW: Mua-ha-ha-ha!

FRED: I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,

VELMA: Alive as you or me,

SHAGGY: Says I, “But Joe, you’re ten years dead,”

SCOOBY: “Ri rever ried,” rez ree…

SCARECROW: Goddamn it! [pulls off mask]

KIDS: Mr. Jenkins!

JENKINS: And I would have gotten away with it too, if not for you big-government kids and your union meddling.

You’re no fool, and…

It’s like he’s talking directly to us!

…I’m sure you’ve noticed that businesses and talented individuals with a drive to succeed have been migrating away from the bloated big government states to the free market states in droves within the past decade.

Indeed, although on the down side, some have had to kill their oxen, while others died of dysentery. Later, individuals with a thirst for adventure collected keys in a space station infested with aliens and zombie space marines.

No, but really here, what we’ve mostly been noticing is that jobs and capital have been draining out of the US into places like China and Haiti, where there’s a generational underclass that will work long hours under dangerous conditions for crap pay.

Mr. Yankee is thinking of a world in which things are not necessarily as they are — i.e., affected by what many have called a “global race to the bottom” — but as they ought to be. In Free-Markistan, just as lowering taxes always increases revenue and deregulation always fosters good business practices, lowering wages always benefits employees:

The “best and brightest” are fleeing cramped Northeastern apartments for McMansions on the outskirts of Atlanta; the tech companies are peeling away from Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley to relocate to climates where they have cheaper land and more educated labor pools, like North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.

For example, on Monday I’m joining a brand new marketing department of a major international high technology company.

Insert observation about “the best and brightest.”

They needed more staff, and determined that they could add more people and get more bang for their buck by building a new marketing unit from the ground up in North Carolina, for far less than they could add staff to an existing marketing unit in their California operations. Once they started interviewing, they were further impressed that the quality of resumes here was also significantly higher than they were used to in their California headquarters.

Imagine how well they’d do in India, where computer science Ph.D.s will line up to work at your help desk for $4,500 a year. That means that India’s economy is flourishing because it is a free-market country and not a bloated, big-government country full of pampered, parasitical workers, that doesn’t deserve to live.

That’s ten well-paying white collar jobs that California lost and North Carolina gained, and when the time comes to add more people to the marketing unit, which location do you think will have a natural advantage? Obviously, the site with lower operating and salary costs and a higher-quality recruiting pool has a distinct advantage.

Obviously so, as we learned just today from the Charlotte Observer:

Jobless rate for N.C. surges to 25-year high

State’s workers lose jobs at a record pace. Double-digit unemployment seen for 2009.

North Carolina lost jobs at a record pace last month, pushing unemployment to a 25-year high as the outlook for the state darkened amid a deepening recession.

Employers slashed 46,000 jobs in November, more than in any state except Florida, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those job cuts pushed the unemployment rate to 7.9 percent from 7.1 percent in October, according to figures from the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The jobless rate is now the highest since October 1983.

Damn that William Hooper and his politics of long-term economic failure.

Admittedly, this MSM story lacks all credibility because it utterly fails to account for the other people who might be added to the marketing unit.

[...]

And so I find it particularly amusing that “intellectuals” that remain in their fading big government enclaves are now panicking that those slow and stupid hicks are doing so much better than they are, and feel the solution is to penalize those areas that are doing well by forcing them to accept their failing ideologies.

Hyuk hyuk! Ah wurk fer six-fifty an hour, an ah got no health insurance a-tall, kyew-kyew! [arm pump]

This guy in particular is amusing with his blatant regional bigotry and assumed superiority. He won’t admit it and perhaps can’t even see it with his nose stuck so high in the air, but his attitude of entitlement, shared with minimally-skilled, over-compensated union sops, that has wrecked his region’s economy and led them to such desperate thoughts as attempting to force a laughable “Reconstruction” on successful southern states to make them more like failing big government northern trainwrecks.

Here’s a deal, then. We liberals will leave the red states and take our Rural Electrification Projects and Eisenhower Highway Systems with us, if the red states will stop taking our money:


1 Or more, considering that the $2,000 is ‘removed from the car,’ while in other wingnut estimations, the workers are also responsible for a similar inflation of the car’s final price. In other words, you can basically just make it up a number and blame it on anything you want.

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Tagged as: uaw, economic crisis, financial crisis, big three, auto-workers

Gavin McNett is a writer and designer in the New York area.

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