Thursday, November 20, 2008

Auto bailout - a sign of bad government

I just love the way that Congress is trying to look tough these days. An auto industry bailout? Hold on, we need details. Right.

Come on, this is the same group of people that handed $700 billion to Treasury Secretary Paulson without a plan. It was the same group of people that fell asleep when Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac were in trouble (someone wake up Barney Frank). And it was these very same people that gave away $25 billion to the auto industry about a month ago.

Does anyone seriously believe that they won’t bailout the auto industry, and receive neither repayment terms, nor assurances of industry improvement. They couldn’t even create a bailout for the financial industry that could prevent Paulson from moving the money around however he chooses, and that was a concern of House Republicans from the start. With even more Democrats in Congress, and the continued misleadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is a better outcome likely?

I’m reminded of a quote from Ben Franklin I believe.

“Doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.”

I apologize to Franklin is I got the quote wrong. But the point stands. And it will stay in place until the mid-term elections in 2010. Won’t the damage be interesting to see then.

The fact is that the U.S. automakers need to fail. Let several go bankrupt. It won’t be the end of the world. It will actually be the best thing that could happen.

When large companies fail a couple of things always happens. Several smart businessmen rummage through the wreckage and find bits that they can create new companies with. Those new companies will in part of the gap the old company had, but mismanaged. That spurs growth as a new corporation grows in that niche.

Also the old behemoth of a company slims down. Much of the old baggage is discarded, and the company refocuses on whatever they do best. Renewed energy flows and the company normally creates profits the old company could never do.

This is all good for the economy, though the jolt during the process is unpleasant. But it creates a stronger economy than the one existing before it. And more people are employed after these events than before.

The worst aspect of the auto bailout is the fact that it will be followed by an airlines bailout, and a retail bailout, and probably another financial markets bailout. The Government has made a precedent of stepping into the markets and private industry, because they are afraid of the pain. And in each case it has proven one thing. The Government has no idea what it is doing.

The more socialized things become the more the Government is compelled to step in. The more money is thrown around to avoid feeling bad, the worse everyone feels. Because the Government is incapable of fixing anything, nor can they regulate bad decisions out of business. And they shouldn’t. Bad decisions are normal business and are resolved in the marketplace over time.

Only in America is the concept of perfect markets feasible. It’s stupid and regrettable. But it also seems inevitable. Were that not so, the auto industry execs would never have taken separate corporate jets to fly to D.C. and speak with Congress. They did it because they know they will get the money.

I stated that the Dow Jones will hit 7600 in 2009. But if Congress throw more money at the problems in the markets, and involves more politicians that sleep when they should be watchful (Frank and Chris Dodd) I could be very wrong to the upside.

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