I’ve been going back and forth on the proposed Big Three bailout, and right now I’m at No, bad idea.
And here’s why – and why I think I’m going to stay on No, bad idea, for the duration. They’re not where they are because of bad luck or the more general economic downturn. They’re where they are because of bad business decisions.
When gas prices began their climb up from $1.20 or so a gallon back in 2001 and 2002 to $4 a gallon earlier this year, the Big Three said Supersize me and built bigger and bigger automobiles that were bound to fare poorly at some point when people decided individually and thus collectively that paying a lot of money in gas for a vehicle that itself cost a lot of money in monthly payments and insurance and upkeep made no sense.
Ironically, now gas prices are creeping back down toward the 2001-2002 level. I paid $1.49 a gallon the last time I filled ‘er up. But only now, way, way too late in the game, are the Big Three getting it.
I understand the reasons for propping them up. We’re talking a couple of million jobs between the automakers and their suppliers. But I’m not believing the worst-case scenarios being advanced by the execs who are trying to squeeze us out of billions of dollars to buy them some time to tweak their failed business models.
Sorry, but if bankruptcy isn’t an option, as we’ve been hearing in the form of not-so-veiled threats, then take steps to reorganize short of bankruptcy. That’s what I’m having to do in my business, and what a lot of people in businesses big and small are doing to be able to survive in these tough times.
Maybe they end up consolidating operations. Maybe a foreign automaker comes in and buys their carcasses. I doubt seriously that at the end of the process that no bailout means no more American auto industry.
And by the way, we knew it was your index finger and not a real gun you were threatening us with all along. Geez, how dumb do you think we are!
– Column by Chris Graham