You really have to read this if you haven’t already – apparently a letter has been circulating around EmailLand lately, and it only just now made its way to my inbox. It’s a response to a pitiful plea for bailout support that was sent out by Troy Clarke, President of General Motors. When one average, hard-working American – Gregory Knox, President of Knox Manufacturing – received this missive in his email inbox, he decided to let loose and give Mr. Clarke a piece of his mind. That piece turned out to be quite honest, truthful, and not only thankfully sane, but refreshingly American. I’ve checked it out on Snopes, and sure enough, it’s for real. So I’m sharing it here, to hopefully add to the throngs of average Americans who are shouting the same sentiments right back at Mr. Clarke and the rest of Congress. Maybe they won’t listen to us, but they should at least be well aware that if they continue down the path of the bailout, they sure as hell won’t be receiving any of our money or our votes.
Dear General Motors,
In response to your request to call legislators and ask for a bailout for the United States automakers please consider the following, and please also pass this on to Troy Clarke, the president of General Motors North America, for me.
You are both infected with the same entitlement mentality that has bred like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping the nation, awaiting our new “messiah” to wave his magical wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep “living the dream.”
The dream is over!
The dream that we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the world’s most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement-minded “laborers” without paying the price for these atrocities, and that still the masses will line up to buy our products.
Don’t tell me I’m wrong. Don’t accuse me of not knowing of what I speak. I have called upon Ford, GM, Chrysler, TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle, and countless other automotive OEM’s and Tier ones for three decades now throughout the Midwest and what I’ve seen over the years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.
Mr. Clark, the president of General Motors states:
“There is widespread sentiment in this country, our government and especially in the media that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management. It is not.”
You’re right, it’s not JUST management; how about the electrcians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass, so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time for a job they could easily have done within their normal 40 hour week.
How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all kind of scare tactics for putting out too many parts on a shift and for being too productive (mustn’t expose the lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?) So you really not know about this stuff?!?
How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke’s sad plea:
“over the last few years we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors…”
What the hell has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?!?
Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them?
The K car vs. the Accord?
The Pinto vs. the Civic?!?
Do I need to go on?
We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades.
Time to pay for your sins, Detroit.
I attended an economic summit last week where a brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu, surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of “bailout money.” Yes, he said, this would cause short term problems, but despite what people like George Bush and Troy Clarke would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day and something else would happen where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new efficient ones would pop up. That is how a free market system works. It does work if we let it work.
But for some reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn’t work, that we need government to step in and “save us”. Save us, hell! We’re nationalizing and unfortunately too many of this once fine nation’s citizens don’t even have a clue that this is what’s really happening, but they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams! Yeah, THAT’S important!
Does it occur to ANYONE that the “competition” has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades now in this country?
How can that be???
Listening to customers…
Investing in the proper tooling and automations for the long haul…
Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr W Edwards Deming four decades ago…
Ever increased productivity through quality, lean, and six sigma plans…
Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like “the enemy”…
Efficient front and back offices…
Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn’t be telling anyone anything they really don’t already know in their hearts.
I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into. My children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did at their age. I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way), I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work them through.
Radical concept, huh?
Am I there for them in the wings? Of course, but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults.
I don’t want to over-simplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and government.
Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins.
Bad news people, it’s coming whether we like it or not.
The newly elected Messiah really doesn’t have a magic wand big enough to “make it all go away”. I laughed as I heard Obama “reeling it back in” almost immediately after the vote count was tallied. We might not do it in a year or in four. Where was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for the office?
Stop trying to put off the inevitable.
That house in Florida really isn’t worth $750,000.
People who jump across a border really don’t deserve free health care benefits.
That job driving that forklift for the Big Three really isn’t worth $85,000 a year.
We really shouldn’t allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the globe.
That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn’t be living in that $485,000 home!
Let the market correct itself, people. It will. Yes, it will be painful, but it’s gonna be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it is a nation that appreciates what it has and doesn’t live beyond its means. Gets back to basics and redevelops the work ethic that made it the greatest nation in the history of the world. And probably turns back to God.
Sorry, don’t cut my head off, I’m just the messenger sharing with you the “bad news.”
- Gregory J. Knox
Knox Machinery, Inc
Franklin, Ohio 45005
Well said, Mr. Knox! I certainly wish there were more politicians like him around, and hell, for that matter, simply more Americans like him. Then maybe we might actually be a little closer to solving this mess the right way, rather than digging ourselves even deeper into this hole of debt we already find ourselves in. Continually bailing out companies and individuals who repeatedly engage in unsound financial practices is like shooting yourself in the right foot after already shooting yourself in the left one. Fairly soon you won’t even have a foot to stand on, and it’ll be your own damn fault.
Wake up, people. Times are going to be hard enough anyway, let’s not make them any harder by completely decapitating the free market system that made us the greatest, most successful, most independent country in the world. Name me just one socialist nation that can even hold a candle to what we’ve accomplished, then I might actually think that bailing out any companies at all might be a good idea. But guess what? You can’t even name one. So let’s just drop all this nationalizing crap once and for all, okay?