Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bailing out the Car industry

What is the basic premise of Capitalist economy. Capital or Money goes towards the more efficient utilization of capital. Obviously capital is not wanting to go the car industry as structurally they are not viable. Foreign manufacturers have taken the baton away from the american car manufacturers long time back. We are just trying to wake up a dead elephant.

GM Motors way back in the 1980 had tried to get in business like the Electronic Data systems and Hughes aircraft which actually they sold off profitability years later. Even at that time the car industry was a bad idea. I feel you should allow the big car car companies to fail rather then provided crutches which might look politically appealing but will do more harm than good for the US economy as a whole.

Structurally companies like GM/Ford have become like large bureaucratic government institutions with all the inefficiencies which is common with a government institution.
Between 1998 to 2007 GM has invested around $310 billion in business. What do they have now, their capitalization is around $1.84billion. That is hard earned and saved money of the US economy going down the drain. Instead GM could have invested in the shares of Toyota/Honda and earned better returns.

If someone has to be helped it is the car buyers not the car makers.

70% of US GDP is through consumer spending, which tells us that the best way you can help anyone is to directly help the consumers, because if the thinking is that you can help by helping these big auto companies, we are forgetting one big issue which is Money Lost in Translation. Just imagine the trickle down which will happen when you invest say $25 billion into GM,because of all their inefficiencies and wastage, the final amount which might really come down to help the common man would be around $1 billion ( in fact I am very aggressive even with number).
In that scenario, why not just give a check to every employee of GM, that might be better and assist them in either retraining and cross training so they can get to more profitable and better industry.
Every economy goes through phases, US economy is now a leader in service industry and also the future belongs in research and innovation where US can act as the beacon light for the whole world. Let's not fight over manufacturing, let it be done by countries which are more efficient and much more tuned to that phase of the economy.
Let's get thinking and not try to do short term fixes which might look political favourable, but will surely lead to the bigger problems done the line.
It is the tax payers money we are talking about and it should be used efficiently. If I as an investor does not want to invest in GM why should the government use my money and invest in GM. There is no social good achieved in this.

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