Dear Bush: It’s Not the Auto Workers Fault
Toward the end of President Bush’s remarks today announcing his plan to throw GM and Chrysler a lifeline, he included a line about “American workers.”
He said “we’ll show the world American workers can bounce back,” and that “they can meet challenges with ingenuity.”
I’m not going to argue that either of these points isn’t true on its own. But in the case of The Big Three disaster, they are pretty much irrelevant.
Bush’s comment sounds like the problems faced by The Big Three have something to do with American auto workers are performing poorly. It’s really not that, though still very basic. GM and Chrysler haven’t been building popular cars, thus losing market share to foreign auto companies for years. And, right now, as the economy continues to nose dive, hardly anyone wants to buy a new car. For the few who do, credit is tight, making it tough to impossible to get financing.
Now let’s look at the causes of these problems. I can point to a few culprits:
GM and Chrysler have lost ground to companies like Toyota, which manufactures cars more people want to drive. Who picks which cars to manufacture? Workers on the line? No. This is a poor management decision.
Compounding that problem, Congress did not give companies incentives to invest in more fuel-efficient cars that drivers want.
Meanwhile, over at the EPA, agency political appointees kicked and screamed to make sure California and other states did not reset emissions rules. The Dept. of Transportation even lobbied members of Congress with auto interests in their districts to lobby the EPA to make sure it never happened.
I’m still waiting for the part about what any of this has to do with the lack of ingenuity on the part of the American worker.