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Old 11-20-2008, 04:47 PM   #113
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Greed (or more delicately) self interest is what drives markets. Most people want to earn more money, live in larger, more comfortable houses, etc. The counterbalance to greed is free market competition. I want a good job, but must compete with others who want the same job. I want to sell shoes, but must compete with other sellers of shoes.

The problem occurs when competition does not exist or is stifled by government. Look at cable television. Comcast, for example, has effectively a monopoly in many areas. If you are a Comcast customer, I don't need to explain how they can increase the price for basic cable at four times the rate of inflation and have a lower customer service rating than the U.S. Postal Service and the IRS.

The simple answer to most problems in a market economy is simply to let the economy work. Unlike at NASA... in a capitalist society failure is always an option. The way we (individuals and businesses) learn to behave better is to suffer the full, unmitigated consequences of our choices, good or bad. It does not help anything to teach poorly managed companies they can be "too big" to fail. It does not help anything to reward home buyers who made particularly bad decisions related to mortgages while punishing those (by raising taxes) on those who behaved more prudently. There is a saying in economics, "People respond to incentives, all else is commentary."

For a nice piece on the bailout, try this.

Oh, and to Gene, the government really is responsible for the Great Depression. If you want to hear a thoughtful but very digestable piece, try this FRB speech by Ben Bernanke on the auspicious event of Milton Friedman's 90th birthday. Contrary to Nixon, Gene, we are all not Keynesian's now.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:53 PM   #114
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Yep. We're just as culpable. (I had edited my original post about the same time you edited this one...) we wanted personal convenience at low cost to us. That's fine as long as we can afford it. Unfortunately we haven't built anything to use in the place of personal convenience at low cost now that we can't afford it any more.

Roger
Not true. We have been building very fuel efficeint motorcycles for a long time. It's just in this land of the free most people don't want to use them for personal transportation.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:57 PM   #115
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Uh, excuse me doomsayers. Remember what gas cost a year ago? Remember when Detroit couldn't sell the little cracker box high mileage models. I surely don't want one. That was just a year ago.

Then the cost of fuel went through the roof. Oh horrors! How could this all happen? Oh woe is me, woe is me. We all must buy the cracker boxes now. What, Detroit can't make enough of them. Oh my, the Congress must crack down on those slackers! We must have the little green weenie machines right away.

Okay, Detroit says loan us some money and we'll retool. Well, Okay, as long as what you build is GREEN! GOTTA BE GREEN!!!!!!

What, gas is now less that two dollars again. Oh woe is me, woe is me. Now people want the big vehicles again. What to do, what to do.

Let's all run around like chickens with our heads cut off and yell, "THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!" That'll help!

We own one American car and one European. They are both fine vehicles. No door handles are falling off or transmissions going out. My last American car was a 95 Explorer which my son is now driving. It has nearly three hundred thousand miles on it and the engine has never been touched! Neither has the transmission. No rust either. What could be the difference??????

Anytime you get the Congress involved it will turn out badly. Let the Manufacturers determine their own course. They know what they can sell better than the Congress. If some must go bankrupt and re-organize, so be it. Let the chips fall where they may.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:17 PM   #116
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Hmmm... and electrics by Lucas were good? Ever drive an MGB? Your Jag likely has Bosch electrics... if they're the same Bosch electrics that were featured in my four Volvos in the '80s, they weren't anything to write home about either.
Yep, your right.... The electronics are junk.. The door locks don't all work, the heater fan went out, and it only has 98,000 miles on it...

BUT I did say reliability aside. It does drive and handle better than a modern Cadillac, and just about any other car the big 3 make... It will out corner a new mustang now problem. It is just made to go in a straight line. My father in law has an 02' Lincoln I think thats the year. And I would take the Jag over that any day.

Look at the whole car. Even Toyota and Honda are cheeping out now.
Look at the way the insides are put together. Are the seams lined up, are they even, does it rattle?


But I'm glad sensible heads are prevailing here... It was greed.. not only the Big 3 but us. We bought them. We didn't now any better but now we do...

Sure they make great tow vehicles, but as far as a nice drive, well I think we should all go out and test drive a BMW or Mercedes. Then we would know what we are missing...

Don't make a bunch of POO and expect me to clean up your mess..............

PS: and yes I say all this with a grin on my face But it doesn't mean I don't believe it...
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:23 PM   #117
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I think the car industry is in trouble because sales are down 45% and I think sales are down because gas was too high to buy a car then no credit available to buy a car with the economy plummet.

I think they need a loan because they don't have the money to pay it back now, er, then they wouldn't need a loan. There have to be large lines of credit for consumers and companies and we know about the banks and credit dried up. There is the real problem.

But neither here nor there why, if you don't pull them back out of the hole it wont be long until the connected leg chains drag you right in too.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:32 PM   #118
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Not true. We have been building very fuel efficeint motorcycles for a long time. It's just in this land of the free most people don't want to use them for personal transportation.


We have? The only domestic motorcycle company that I know of remains Harley-Davidson. Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think any of their models get significantly over 40mpg, and there are a dozen cars on the market now that get a solid 32mpg or better. In the days of 10mpg cars, 40mpg looked pretty stingy, but why would I want to ride a motorcycle for daily transportation when I can be out of the weather, heated and/or cooled and relatively safe from road-rash in a sedan?

Further, motorcycles don't work for the elderly, the very young, or for families. They're OK when it's sunny, scary on wet pavement, downright uncomfortable when it's cold out, and useless on ice or snow. They're difficult to carry groceries on, and frankly, unless you're very skilled, even on the best of roads they're not all that safe. I just can't see motorcycles as the panacea to the dilemma of mass personal transportation in the U.S.

To give my remarks some perspective, you need to understand that I rode motorcycles for twenty-five years. I rode a lot of miles on bikes. I commuted, traveled, shopped, and vacationed on bikes. I put 60,000 miles on my '82 BMW R100RT from '83 to '86, so take my comments as those of a rider, not merely a car driver.

What I was talking about were viable nation-wide mass-transit systems... high-speed trains, commuter trains, bus systems, subways, elevated railways, bike/pedestrian trails or paths... in other words, transportation that is more efficient per person moved, and systems that don't require a personal motor vehicle moving down a street dedicated to personal motor vehicles.

Roger
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:37 PM   #119
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Irony anyone?

I thought it was a little ironic and, sadly, true to form that the US Congress was ragging the CEOs of large companies regarding the wasting of money. Congress of all groups of people! I'm in complete agreement that the CEOs might have made a better impression by riding a bus to the meeting.

My thoughts have turned from "who cares?" to "a lot of people will suffer because of all manner of mismanagement". The unions should be willing to give back a lot. The CEOs should be replaced w/ no bonus. The money should be LENT w/ shares of GM for collateral, and there better be a good plan when the companies come back to the table.

Jeez, what have I done? I've agreed w/ Sen. Harry Reid! Please don't tell anyone.

Many years ago, my older boy (then 17) asked me for a car loan. He stated that the credit union had turned him down. I told him that I would not loan him the money as he was a bad risk. He didn't understand and I explained that if the financial institution thought he was a bad risk, how was I to judge any differently? Unless there are vast changes, the car companies are a terrible risk.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:45 PM   #120
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COOPERHAWK Well said.. they make what we want to buy, but a ford explorer, Oh my, you did get one of the good ones though.

I just feel the whole SUV thing is junk, it's either a 4x4 or like the BMW a glorified 4x4 for the road.. Most of the SUV's try to do both and suck at it..

Range Rover did a great job. Ever drive one? Great on road and great off.

Well if you ever did drive one it wasn't far from the dealer as thats were it spends it time getting fixed. But as an off and on road 4x4 it's one of the best.

Look, Trucks are built to haul stuff right.. But then everyone wanted one just to drive around, and now there all soft and try to be comfortable..

You can paint poo and dress it up but it's still poo..

Same with a truck, dress it up, but it will still bounce you down the road. And if it doesn't, it's no good for what it was designed to do (haul loads)

So when someone says, "my truck is comfortable" I think, "compared to what? a roller coaster?"

Now, I have my Sequoia and like it. But It's a nice ride, will tow my AS pretty well, but would I take it off road, I mean really off road. NOPE. forest roads yes..

My 4 runner rides hard, and I take it off road... It does a nice job, but rides the road and corners like a wet worm. It good at one and not the other.

But we all wanted both and got junk. (by junk I mean they weren't good at either one.)

Look at a Jeep (wrangler) Great off road.. on road, well it does roll into the corners well, and thats not a good thing. It doesn't do much on the road well, and if it did it would suck off road.

Look, the point is they shouldn't get free money, I don't even think they should get the loans. It's not going to fix the problem, just postpone what trouble there in now for a few years while they waste more money, but this time it's our money.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:55 PM   #121
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Where does the $700 Billion that the government is spending to rescue financial institutions come from? Is it printed and will it cause inflation?
The bailout money is sort of printed. The money is created by the Federal Reserve/Treasury and lent to the institutions needing a rescue. The Fed/Treasury gets back IOUs from the institutions. The collateral for these IOUs is everything the institution has. Repaying the Fed comes ahead of all other debt holders. Senior debt holders even come behind the Fed so it is very unlikely the U.S. government will lose any money on these bailouts. And since the government charges interest (and gets equity in AIG) they (we the taxpayer) might even make a little money, as happened with the Chrysler bailout. (The bailout in 1979 paid back in 1983 netted the U.S. Treasury $350 million.)
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:13 PM   #122
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Look,,, Reliability aside.... There all just plastic on the inside. and now my Toyota is too.... I think Toyota and Honda said "boy those americans will buy crap so we can lower our standards and still sell cars....
Yeah, the new Tundra and Sequoia have pretty cheap looking interiors. (New Expeditions and Suburbans have rather nice interiors.) All car companies are trying to control costs, but they're not all equal at what they priortize. Toyota has also publically stated that they rushed development on some platforms - the current Camry interior is a disappointment compared to a Malibu. (Newer Toyota models look a lot better.)

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My 1989 Jaguar is 100 times nicer on the inside than a new Cadillac.. For one there is no fake plastic wood.... REAL... Power everything and I mean everything... And this is a 1989 remember... what were Cadillac in 1989 (BOATS) Rides nicer and can go around a conner without putting you in the ditch... It has handling...
Depends which Cadillac you're talking about. The 1992 STS was quite a nice handling car. Had real Zebrano wood on the dash too. The new CTS has a lovely interior - it is better finished in some ways than a new Jag XF.

It is way too easy to paint American cars with a broad stroke. One of the most reliable cars you can buy now is a Ford Fusion. That CTS is as enjoyable to drive as an Audi, Mercedes, or BMW. A Buick Enclave is as quiet and soft-riding as a Lexus RX. (And yeah, I've driven all of them.)

The problem was is that for too long, buoyed by SUV sales and profits, not much attention was paid to the car side of things. The Taurus, Focus, Cavalier, Impala - all left to wither on the vine. Daimler starved Chrysler's development process with a big focus on cost-cutting. Once attention and sales moved from SUVs to cars, there was a product gap. And cars aren't as profitable as trucks, a problem if your cost structure is based on them.

I'm not a domestic apologist - I own a Honda minivan (after an unreliable VW Passat.) I suggest Accords or Elantras to a lot of people. I'd buy a last-gen Tundra as a tow vehicle, if I get a bigger trailer. And there have been (and still are) some bad domestic cars. But there are clear signs of a product turnaround. Should of happened sooner, but....
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:27 PM   #123
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Two days, nine pages, 122 posts, a myriad of well thought out and well written perspectives on a very controversial topic, and still not a single angry, accusatory, or retaliatory post.

You folks are the best.

Roger
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:50 PM   #124
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Where does the $700 Billion that the government is spending to rescue financial institutions come from? Is it printed and will it cause inflation?
Well, if too much is printed it will cause inflation, but right now we face the potential of deflation. Japan didn't acknowledge they had weak banks and a cratering real estate market in the 1990's and went into deflation and didn't deal with their problems for years. So printing money may be a good thing to balance de- and in-flation.

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Old 11-20-2008, 06:57 PM   #125
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I could use a press of my own. C'mon whaddaya mean you don't care to buy some high risk debt from me.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:03 PM   #126
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Thanks to all who responded positively to my post, especially the private "thanks".

I knew my comments would never sway some of you, and that's OK, but some of the responses continue to surprise me. I find it hard to believe that some of you are clinging to your beliefs that this is all self imposed by the domestic auto makers and that they are EVIL. It is almost as if you revel in their potential demise. But how interesting the automakers all over the world are now requesting the same protections from their goverments. I guess they're all bad and all to blame for the credit crisis.

There was a time that there was American Spirit. There was a time that people pulled for the underdog. It didn't matter of they were your team or not, you wanted then to win against the odds. Now it seems many just like to "pile on" and kick someone when they're down. I feel sorry for you. That is no way to go thru life.

The domestic auto makers certainly aren't perfect, but they don't deserve the hatred I see many clinging too. Buy whichever vehicle you choose, that's your perogitive, and if you've personally had recent bad experiences with domestic vehicles, I can't blame you for your personal shopping choices. But please just stop it there. There is no real value in continuing to bash the domestic automakers in this thread that many seem to be clinging tightly to. It is serving no useful purpose but to perpetuate myths.

Ok, that's it. I am done. No use replying directly to me as I won't be participating further. I just hope you remember your positions when the inevitable depression hits your neck of the woods if the big 3 go under.
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