Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You think you've got the right, but I think you've got it wrong

Mickey Kaus gets it right:
the Matthews producers seem to think that gathering five journalists who all agree about Bush, the "surge," and pretty much every other topic makes for a lively dialogue. ...

But then sadly, he gets it wrong:

Unionism Is Too the Problem: Labor costs--and specifically work rules--are part of what's killing all the unionized auto manufacturers while their non-unionized competitors thrive building cars in the U.S., according to CNN Money. The famous $1,400/car health care burden is only a piece of it:

Other labor costs add to the bill. Contract issues like work rules, line relief and holiday pay amount to $630 per vehicle - costs that the Japanese don't have. And paying UAW members for not working when plants are shut costs another $350 per vehicle.

Some of the U.S. automaker's problems may be because of this:

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally vigorously defended on Thursday the automaker's decision to consider giving salaried workers a bonus based on their accomplishments in 2006.

The move came under fire after Ford posted its worst annual result and is struggling to execute its Way Forward restructuring plan.

Why not compensate values executives? Because they are idiots. This is dated today:
The head of Ford Motor Co.'s money-losing North American operations on Thursday told employees that he had given up use of a corporate jet for personal travel, an expensive benefit that had come under fire.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, had been granted personal use of a company jet under the terms of an employment contract signed when he took over responsibility for Ford's restructuring in late 2005.

So only after the greatest losses in company history does the president give up his Lear jet.

From the same article:
Ford lost $7 billion during the first nine months of 2006 and further losses are forecast in the October-December period quarter and beyond.

By Ford's own estimate, its North American unit will lose money until 2009 and run through $17 billion cash in the next three years.

Yet the workers are penalized.