Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Detroit

Here we go again with the whole bailout issue, but there is a twist on the issue with the Big 3 and that is that they are asking for the money to fund the pension and health care plans on their union workers. It is great that the rest of us can provide them with a nice retirement and top of the line medical care, while they clog the roads between Michigan and Florida. This really pisses me off because there is zero reason for this and the Big 3 could be competitive in the world market or at least here at home if they weren't required to provide health care for life to a bunch of early retirees. I have a big beef with unions that only serve the interests of their leaders and not the company or the nation as a whole.

Obama has some hard choices to make over this bailout because he either comes across with the goods to keep his union pals fat and happy or he can fix this nations health care system like he promised during the campaign. I have a suggestion for him that is sure to piss everyone off, but who cares because we either do it or stop making stuff here in the US. We take the bailout money and the money in the Big 3 Health Fund and fund a minimum national insurance standard. It would force insurance companies to provide a minimum amount of coverage at a set cost and have to compete across state lines (removing sweetheart state deals), while allowing every person a chance at affordable health care for routine procedures and preventative care. Of course Obama will provide money for all the poor people, which was his plan anyway. Sure it would cost billions and the care would suffer, but he was planning on it anyway and why not give back to the public by forcing everyone to the same shitting standard of care. The UAW will lose their collective minds because they will now have to pay extra for all the cool stuff they have now. I see this as a great way of spreading the wealth around, plus you could go after all those other health care funds to seed the new agency of pain.

The sad reality is that unless we do something to remove the burden of life long health care from the manufactures of this nation they will never be able to compete in the world market against companies from countries that provide socialized medicine. It is a crappy reality, but if you want American jobs then you have to make American products that people want and can afford to buy. As an example, a low end economic American car has $2000 worth of extra labor burden then a similar Japanese model then two things are going to be true. The Japanese car is either going to be $2000 better or $2000 cheaper. The second thing is that those jobs and dollars are not going to stay here in this country but head back to Japan. Am I saying buy the crappy American car just to keep GM or Ford afloat, no because that just keeps the problem going vice solving it.

You may not agree that we have to do something and that having a national health care standard is just too socialistic, but in reality if we want to be good capitalists and compete in the world market then we need to shift costs away from companies and someone has to pick up the tab or we become India. If we want to regain our competitive position in the world then our government needs to do its part and we have to start paying for the privilege of living in this country via taxes. Too long we have believed that we could have the world without having to pay, but the piper is at the door asking for payment. That isn't to say that we should allow the government to tax us wild and waste the money or line their pockets with it, but we need to start getting real about what it costs to have a great defense, robust economy, and unparalleled opportunity.

If you have a better idea I would love to hear it because you know Congress is going to find a way to bailout the Big 3, raise our taxes, set up a completely inefficient national health care system, and have more companies lining up for federal bailouts.

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