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12/14/2008

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Jack

Redmund: It may help to put things in perspective to understand that assembling cars today takes less than 30 man hours and that the labor component is a small fraction (10% or so) of the sales price and eclipsed by dealer margins.

Dealers over the decades have locked themselves in with a host of state and federal laws that prevent direct sales or other distribution efficiencies. So far I've not seen any lament from (union busters?) about the built-in inefficiencies of there being far too many dealers or the protectionism they've gotten for themselves.

You, and other sidewalk superintendents have me wondering just what is to be gained by pounding down the wages of UAW members whose wages plus benefits do not stand out by comparison to the total wage packages of police, fire, teachers in many areas, plumbers etc.

Were you the turnaround CEO, how much do you think you could "save?" At 30 hours per car $10 is a $300. Or perhaps you think $20 could be carved out with a Walmart-like cleaver most likely crafted in China? For a gain of $600????

Or? are you, as Neil suggests, going after the retirees? Bankrupt the pension plan and toss them all over to PBC so taxpayers will have to pony up to make that solvent?

Or? Is this, at its roots a philosophical matter? Are you of the belief that working folks are unworthy of H/C or a pension after devoting most of their productive lives to a corporation? In short.......... what is your vision of how those working to create one of the highest per capita GDP's in the world should be treated?

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Daniel, I suspect that the real problem is not the free market versus regulation. More likely it is human nature run amok. If we had decent, self- regulated folks with a conscience running the government and our oligopolies, there might be fewer indictments and bailouts.

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