The Jury Talks Back


What else need be said?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 7:20 am


  1. And we can over-pay our UAW union workers with the extra cash from your pockets because we’d rather have zero jobs at $76.00 per hour than thousands of jobs at $48.00 an hour.

    Comment by J. Raymond Wright — 12/12/2008 @ 7:45 am

  2. I’ve opposed all of these bailouts, but let’s put to rest the “Big Three cars that no-one will buy” bullshit. The Big Three sell over 10 million vehicles a year. They’re not the cars I buy, so I understand they’re not to everyone’s taste, but they do get bought. So let’s cut that canard from our debate, please?

    Comment by gp — 12/12/2008 @ 8:22 am

  3. But the idea is to sell a product that makes you money. The Big Three have had to slash prices left and right to keep product moving.

    When you have to take a $4k loss on every car just to sell them, you aren’t making a product people want.

    The formula is “product people want” + “price they are willing to pay”.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/12/2008 @ 8:27 am

  4. gp, mockery is the least the failed automakers deserve heaped upon them, especially if it makes people laugh at the travesty. Lighten up.

    Comment by Justin — 12/12/2008 @ 9:47 am

  5. I didn’t know the Big 3 made vans that drive themselves.

    Comment by Perfect Sense — 12/12/2008 @ 10:34 am

  6. Yes sheeple, you should strive to keep up with the Jones and buy those aircraft carriers that Madison avenue touts. Really don’t see why so many people where I live have those big Ford pickups and Lincoln Navigators, Hummers, etc.

    Haven’t owned anything Big Three since the 70s and doubt I’ll ever go back. Honda, Mazda and Nissan have proven exceptionally reliable for me. My Buick and Chevys were real crap. I know many of you swear by German engineering, but after my troubles with Audi and VW, I’d never go back to them either. Mercedes upfront and maintenance costs are German revenge for losing world war II.

    I guess it is like drugs. If the clowns didn’t buy the shite, the pushers would be out of business. Screw the Big Three and especially the UAW. I felt the same about Gerald McEntee and AFSCME when I was forced to pay those cretins after I dropped the BS union membership when they passed a law requiring paying $$$ homage. Gotta love the libtard pc terms like card checks and fairness doctrine. And oh yeah, Obamafuehrer rose up amongst the Chicago Way by being a reformer who took on the establishment. Thank God he owes nothing to Soros and Daley….bwahhhh.

    Comment by madmax333 — 12/12/2008 @ 11:10 am

  7. I had an ’87 Nissan Sentra when I was 18 (Got it summer of ’96 from Grandpa) that was a damned tank. It would plow through snow drifts like there weren’t there, and I would drive past huge trucks that were stuck.

    I loved that car, and someday I will find another one and have it restored to factory (well, new radio and speakers), and drive it forever.

    35 mpg on the highway…

    *sigh* I miss that car.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/12/2008 @ 11:18 am

  8. 7, I’d rather have a 65 Skylark with the 340 BUICK V8.

    Comment by PCD — 12/12/2008 @ 11:39 am

  9. Perfect Sense, You can’t see that it is Dick Cheney driving that van. You haven’t seen Dick anywhere else have you?

    Comment by PCD — 12/12/2008 @ 11:41 am

  10. Scott, it’s something about those compact Japanese cars that make them indestructible… I don’t know if they share components with larger Japanese cars, but they clearly are the most reliable cars you can get.

    My wife’s Japanese car outlived 6 American cars that I drove… now I’m driving her old Japanese car and she’s driving a new one. It’s anecdotal, but it’s compelling.

    I find my taste for cars leads me to want American cars, but the UAW attitude makes it virtually guaranteed that I will never own one again. I am quite bitter at the way the automakers told us for decades to support them for the good of the country, when now, they are noting their survival is important for the country but the UAW won’t make any sacrifices for us. They claimed the Toyota buyer was putting their needs before the country… when clearly they are much more guilty of that precise thing.

    I’m sick of goofballs telling me that GM workers make more than Toyota workers (which is simply a lie), that Toyota is evil and has too much government support (when US trucks are tariff protected), and that Ford makes high quality cars now (when they actually chose not to for a long time, and only changed their tune because the Japanese kicked their asses for years).

    The UAW is a cancer now. I’m glad we have had labor reforms, but that was nearly a century ago. Now, the UAW is simply a criminal organization supported by bought politicians. They have no interest in seeing their workers paid what they are actually worth. These greedy workers certainly aren’t concerned with making a product they can take pride in, if their cars are any indication.

    So when I replace this Japanese car I didn’t buy, I will buy my seventh car (the first six being Big Three) and it will also be Japanese…

    Comment by Juan — 12/12/2008 @ 11:48 am

  11. I’m sick of goofballs telling me that GM workers make more than Toyota workers (which is simply a lie)

    No, it isn’t. When you factor in benefits, that make WAY more – easily more than double.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/12/2008 @ 11:56 am

  12. hahaha, I just made a typo.

    Of course GM workers make about double what Toyota workers make.

    But I continue to hear GM claim that their employees make less than Toyota workers

    …In terms of hourly wages, the pay scales are similar. For instance, General Motors says the average UAW laborer makes $29.78, while Toyota says it pays about $30 per hour.

    From Fox

    Comment by Juan — 12/12/2008 @ 12:14 pm

  13. #11

    Yes, because of the health care costs that GM’s union contracts require it to bear. Japan has a very effective state backed insurance system that supports a combined public and private health care industry. No one ever looks at the Japanese model, but it has a lot going for it.

    The core of the Japanese model is a state run health insurance program that pays 70% of your bills. The amount you pay in premiums is set by your previous year’s salary; so my first year living in Japan, my premiums were something on the order of $100.00. It shot up the next year to match my lawyer’s salary.

    Many people take out supplementary insurance to cover high cost treatments such as cancer (30% of a chemotherapy run is still a lot of money). But overall the system has delivered a high standard of health care to Japan, which is reflected in their long lifespans.

    The problem for the Big Three’s cost structure is that they took on the health care costs of their employees, the retirees and their families. That “push it forward” generosity is the biggest problem with their cost structure. It’s also the easiest to fix via bankruptcy restructuring.

    Comment by Cyrus Sanai — 12/12/2008 @ 12:15 pm

  14. Yes, because of the health care costs that GM’s union contracts require it to bear. Japan has a very effective state backed insurance system that supports a combined public and private health care industry. No one ever looks at the Japanese model, but it has a lot going for it.

    Amazingly, the healthcare system in Japan has very little to do with profitability or True Cost of labor here in the US for Toyota…

    You DO know what country we’re in, right?

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/12/2008 @ 12:28 pm

  15. GM can build plants in Japan. Toyota can build plants here, as they do all over the world, outside Japan’s healthcare system.

    It’s true that GM’s employee and retiree benefits are a huge problem with that company, and that bankruptcy is the only likely way out of that mess.

    Sadly, some see this mess as a great chance to ‘reform’ the US healthcare system, to take the burden off of GM and place it directly on me and other taxpayers. That ignores the truth: it’s not just the amount of money the big three pay in salary and benefits; it’s all kinds of market manipulations the UAW places on the big three. GM has to build cars the market does want in order to avoid paying ten thousand workers to sit around on job banks. They always have too many cars and can’t profit off them. The quality difference for decades has led to many extremely loyal buyers of Toyotas and Hondas… for whom the GM, Ford, and Chrysler brands are permanently off the table.

    Bankruptcy fixes that too… since it would give investors chances to buy parts of the big three and hopefully start new automakers that aren’t so tarnished. But healthcare reform is the ends, not the means, for many interested in this topic. It won’t fix the big three. They went too long making garbage to ever gain back most of even the US market.

    Comment by Juan — 12/12/2008 @ 12:30 pm

  16. #14

    Yes, I know that, Scott. But there are two components to the health care problems.

    The first, which you are thinking of, is the marginal costs for production in the US. On that score, the union vs. non-union status of the US workers is key. However, that production is a fraction of Toyota’s sales in the US, so its US non-union workforce, whatever they happen to be getting paid, don’t weigh on Toyota the same way the Big Three’s do.

    The second is the legacy costs from workers and their families from the seventies and eighties. Toyota started building factories in the late seventies in the US and they began production in earnest in the eighties. Toyota’s legacy costs on health care are nearly zero. GM’s were huge; they have been lessened by the transfer to the union ERISA program, but GM had to fund that.

    To make its ongoing production more profitable, GM must deal with its existing union workforce through negotiation or bankruptcy. To deal with its legacy costs, bankruptcy or a statutory substitute is the only answer, since there is no leverage to get a retiree to do anything.

    Comment by Cyrus Sanai — 12/12/2008 @ 1:21 pm

  17. #15

    Health care reform would have a marginal effect on the Big Three at this time, since they still have to force the UAW to agree to changes irrespective of what the legislation does.

    They have a separate problem, which everyone except Detroit recognizes, which is that their cars are not competitive in many portions of the market, and those portions are becoming more important again. I do not know how that problem would be fixed by throwing money at them. Even Mercedes Benz was unable to fix Chrysler.

    The issue in deciding whether to help them or not is whether this is a unique crises that needs temporary help, or if the companies are simply unfixable. Personally, I think Ford is salvageable and deserves backup assistance. The other two are open questions.

    The difference between the Big Three and Wall Street is this: the Big Three have been in slow decline for years; their problems are nothing new, and after Mercedes gave up on Chrysler, it is not clear for that company in particular what could be done. The financial system, on the other hand, is fixable by better regulation.

    Comment by Cyrus Sanai — 12/12/2008 @ 1:32 pm

  18. I think it’s wonderful that Cyrus has the correct view on the need for GM to use bankruptcy to have sensible agreements. He’s 100% right.

    I mean, I always figured he went wardriving for wifi porn hacking in a Toyota, but he probably uses a Buick since they have bench seats that are much easier to set a laptop on. He couldn’t park in compact spots at all the news affiliates he shopped his story at for ages, so that’s a pretty significant sacrifice on his part.

    Even the weirdo pervert charlatans can see what needs to be done. I hope GM’s bankruptcy lawyers at Weil can convince them to do the sensible thing file under Chapter 11. If not, Cyrus might get angry, and we all know what a persistent little devil he is. He might even threaten to sue! Ok Ok… of course he’ll do that.

    Comment by Juan — 12/12/2008 @ 1:33 pm

  19. #18

    My background is as an international transactional lawyer. I also do bankruptcy work, Juan, and I am currently working on major bankruptcy matters. I worked for some of the largest law firms in the world. What, pray tell, do you do for a living?

    Nothing? No job? No degree? No resume? That’s what I thought.

    Get a job that teaches you something, or maybe enroll in community college. Then get back to me.

    Comment by Cyrus Sanai — 12/12/2008 @ 2:36 pm

  20. I agree bankruptcy is the best solution, especially for GM. For the record, though, there are still some people who like and buy big GM vehicles. I’ve driven a Suburban/Yukon since the early 80’s, and I hope GM doesn’t cancel the product line because I plan to keep buying them. Judging from the vehicles in my area, GM and Ford could break even selling the big SUVs in my town alone.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/12/2008 @ 2:47 pm

  21. Why bankruptcy?

    Spin off each division into smaller, more nimble companies.

    Make Corvette part of Pontiac, or better yet, a stand alone company. Saturn can stand on its own. So can Chevy and GMC. Buic has been of life support for far too long. Cadillac, let’s see if it can really compete – sink or swim time.

    This gets rid of the ponderous bureaucracy (that has expanded to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy). Each smaller company can renegotiate with the UAW (or not at all) as it sees fit.

    After all, GM was mainly formed by mergers and acquisitions.

    Comment by Dr. K — 12/13/2008 @ 4:41 am

  22. Dr. K, the best way to make little companies out of big ones is bankruptcy. At least in this instance.

    Those investing in the big three were taking a gamble. A dumb gamble that they obviously shouldn’t benefit from. And those investing in the sprouting new car companies that are made from purchased parts of GM… paying off the billions in debt GM has amassed, had better do their homework this time. Some of those companies would grow into giants and some would fail… oh no!

    Ford won’t go bankrupt… they are actually doing fine! Chrysler won’t go bankrupt, they are part of a successful investment company that will sell them Chrysler off!

    When people discuss bankruptcy, they are probably only talking about GM.

    Comment by Juan — 12/13/2008 @ 12:15 pm

  23. Cyrus, we don’t need your resume.

    I’m familiar with you, as are thousands of other people who saw you threaten to sue Patterico over comments that were relatively tame. We know you are obsessed with your mother in a strange way only you don’t consider overly litigious and that you abuse judges.

    You also work with oil deals, like me. Big deal. You’re still the closet thing to Deb Frisch I’ve seen, and it’s good to see you at least have the shame to realize you need to defend yourself.

    Back to GM though, you’re absolutely right that bankruptcy is mandatory. Even sickos can be right about some things. Don’t sue me!

    Comment by Juan — 12/13/2008 @ 12:18 pm

  24. Heh! The last bankruptcy case I appeared in included the murder of the secured creditor, the murder of one of the debtors, the murder of the junior creditor’s attorney, and the attempted suicide (with permanent brain damage) of the junior creditor.

    As for Cyrus’s hatred of his father … that is, thankfully, beyond my understanding.

    Comment by nk — 12/13/2008 @ 1:50 pm

  25. Apparently my bankruptcy experience is profoundly limited. I don’t hate anyone and no one has been murdered.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/13/2008 @ 4:19 pm

  26. You’re still young, DRJ. Give it time. :)

    Comment by Scott Jacobs — 12/14/2008 @ 2:10 pm

  27. Keep your guard up but talk to walk-in potential clients in doubleknit leisure suits with flowered shirts opened down to the third button. Adventure will come your way.

    Comment by nk — 12/14/2008 @ 5:29 pm

  28. Heh. Adventure as well as an indecent exposure charge, depending on how many buttons the shirt has.

    Comment by DRJ — 12/14/2008 @ 7:25 pm

  29. […] Meanwhile, at The Jury Talks Back, Scott Jacobs has an amusing statement from the Big Three that will bring a bitter smile to your face. […]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Using TARP to Bail Out Big Three: Illegal? — 7/21/2009 @ 10:55 pm

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