My Onion Pi

If you can figure out the name, you'll know what it's about. Fortunately, I'm literate. I'm also funny on occasion. Just beware of the flying PMS.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The 3 Not So Little Pigs

Well Firestarter 5 got me thinking about "The Big 3".
As a daughter of a former GM worker I've kinda had all I can stomach with the pablum spouting going on with GM and now Ford. One thing people need to know how to do is speak "Corporate Lingo". When a corporation says "We have lost (insert absurd dollar amount)." We average people think they started the count at Zero and are now "In the red". No, no, no. They started the dollar count at last years profit margin. So when Ford Motor Company says, "We have lost one Billion dollars." What they really mean is that they only made 2 Billion dollars PROFIT instead of 3 Billion dollars profit. (Verify that at NPR) And when General Motors says "We are losing market share and $1000 per day, and will be bankrupt within three years." What that really means is if they never sell another car or make another dime and just coast off the $25 Billion dollars CASH RESERVE they have in the bank, they will be bankrupt of LIQUID ASSETS in three years time. (Verify that at MSN)

Puts a whole nuther spin on it doesn't it??

What they conveniently leave out is the disgustingly excessive salaries, bonuses, stock options, paid housing, paid cars and other ridiculously lavish perks that the top heavy Executive members AND Board of Directors receive annually - not to mention the stock dividends paid to those who own and hold the company's preferred stock (Oh! It just happens to be the same people!) (FS 5 has some of those figures, the rest are easily found on the internet)

They like to blame their woes on the lowly working stiff, who gets paid about $45 - 52,000 a year gross including their healthcare coverage if they work full-time hours.
They like to blame the unions, too.

However, has anyone noticed Toyota has plants in the US and has the same workers, the same unions, the same healthcare benefits, and still manages to gain market share every year.

Maybe that's because Toyota makes cars people want to buy, or maybe its because Toyota doesn't pay all its many top executives multimillion dollar salaries regardless of performance, or maybe its because Toyota takes competition seriously and didn't dismiss decades of trends showing other car manufacturers gaining market share.

Working in a plant, on an assembly line is a gruelling and shitty job. My father (and a lot of other people) busted his ass, lost his hearing, ruined his back and knees working night shift, evening shift and finally day shifts - day in and day out making cars for thirty years in an ear splittingly loud, greasy, dirty, smelly place that was hot as hell in the summer and cold in the winter. Then every 3 years they had to fight every contract as if it were being written from scratch. The company would sit down and "negotiate" every contract by saying "Were losing money. You need to take pay cuts and cut benefits or we are closing/laying off/moving to Mexico." When the union would point out that the Big Guys still got their bonuses the answer would be "We need to give them that money in order to retain them for their expertise." This was in the 70's and amazingly the tune hasn't change much, only now it's moving to China.

American car companies know how to do only one thing well, line the pockets of the top people - including Board Members and Preferred Stock Holders. They know how to lobby Politicians and keep greasing the wheels of Washington. They consistently crank out big gas guzzling pigs year after year, the quality is poor and the designs are stagnant. The last person in the American auto industry that had an innovative idea was John "I wanna be a coke dealer" Delorean. The "Big 3" have ignored the rise of foreign auto makers (and even laughed at their efforts at one point in time) to their detriment. They have failed to use technology for much more than CD players and seat positioning. Ford still makes cars that have crank windows as a standard part of a package.

Not one single car manufactuer has made use of developing technology to reduce gas consumption to a significant degree and not one has utilized any reasonable design ability to alter the internal combustion engine in order to make it possible for a car to run on something else. The internal combustion engine design is a century old technology. We have the ability to run cars off something else, but who wants to do that when most of the top political families (not to mention many of the fabulously wealthy) make their money off petroleum?

I hate to rip the blinders off anyone, but the truth is out there...and it ain't coming from the mouths of the spin doctors at GM and Ford.

But then's just my onion pi.....

Spin Doctored Out Hammy

One little P.S. on's nice that they blame the healthcare plans of the retirees for all their woes as well, what they fail to mention is contract after contract the workers traded off wage increases in order to "buy" those healthcare benefits after retirement. To say the company executives (true quote) "failed to calculate those future costs" makes me wonder what the hell kind of "experts" they have running that show, not to mention the accountants whose job it is to do that very thing. It's also nice that once the workers have fulfilled their end of the deal (i.e. slaved their butts off for thirty years, and spent their youth and health in the process) that the company can now say "Oh, we can't hold up our end of that deal...sorry!" That's shit in my opinion. One caveat - yes, I agree we need a national healthcare plan...but that's a whole nuther blog post and that has nothing to do with this particular smoke and mirror show.


At Wed Jan 25, 08:10:00 AM, Blogger Chuck said...

Wow, Ham. Thanks for shedding some light on that.

p.s. check out this link related to one of your other posts.

At Wed Jan 25, 09:41:00 AM, Blogger Hamrose said...

Oh my God Chuckster! That was so great it almost made me want to join the ACLU. Rockdog (I know yer out there lurking) and Queen Snarfetta you have to check out that link. Woo! How far from that are we really??? Something tells me....not as far as we would like to believe.

At Wed Jan 25, 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Networkchic said...

I totally agree with you and this sort of thing goes on everywhere, not just in the car industry. My mom is a VP at a company that used to treat their employees to nice bonuses every xmas, gifts of appreciation, and other perks, but ever since 9/11 they claim they have suffered hardships, they can't give raises anymore let alone a bonus. My company does the same thing and it's a law firm. The truth, bare, naked and ugly as it may be, is that the higher ups are not giving up their bonus, their raise, their triple digit salary. There's a law that's probably going to pass where executives of publicly traded companies are going to have to post their salaries for all to see...I think this will force a lot of people to take off those blinders. It's true what they say, the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.

thanks for stopping by my blog.

At Wed Jan 25, 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Aho said...

just stopping by, but wanted to say, true that.
i have a good freind (pencil pusher/beancounter type)at ford who has been wanting and needing out for about 2 years. His interview with Nissan is this week.


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