One might think that

Some of our car companies may go bust. They are all suffering and shaky. Another possibility is that Ford and General Motors might turn themselves into private companies.

Ford was a private firm until 1956. Even though it is a public company now, the Ford family still controls it. Chrysler is already a private firm. Private companies can go bust as easily as public ones.

Ford and GM are certainly going outside the country to make cars to sell back home. For instance, Ford is about to invest several billion dollars to build a new plant in Mexico to make cars for you and me.

There is no mystery about why these companies are fleeing the U.S. They are losing their shirts here.

There is no mystery as to why they are losing money here. At the moment they offer the wrong types of vehicles. High gas prices have turned American heads toward fuel-efficient cars. Our car companies have zillions of guzzlers on their hands.



They also lose money because they shell out about $1500 more than the foreign firms to make a vehicle . That is, the foreign firms build cars for our market here. In our southern states. With American workers. They have a $1500 per vehicle advantage over our companies from the get-go.

This is because our companies are lumbered with the UAW. The UAW contracts make the American companies pay lots of benefits the foreign companies do not pay. And the contracts restrict how workers may work. Management cannot shift Worker A to another job for the rest of the week because the contract wonít allow it. Down south, at the Toyota plant, there is a lot more flexibility.

Incidentally, workers for the foreign companies take fewer sick days. Workers for American car companies are absent three and four times as often as Toyota and Nissan workers in the South. You can draw your own conclusions about this. And you can imagine the extra costs that high absenteeism inflicts on the auto companies.

Some folks ask ďHow can the UAW let the American car companies go bust? How can the workers? Why donít they see the writing on the wall? The writing that says pretty soon there may not be any jobs left.

While you are at it you could ask equally embarrasing questions of teachers and their unions. For they have spent many millions to battle vouchers and charter schools. Even though they know that when they defeat those innovations they further sentence inner city kids to godawful schools.

The reason the unions and members do such things is easy to understand. They are looking out for number one. And number one ainít the car companies. It ainít the school kids. You know who number one is.

This is human nature writ large. Writ larger than that writing on the wall about car companies and inner city kids.

We look out for our own interests first. That is how we are made.

And so, the guy on the assembly line in Dearborn does not concern himself with whether Ford is going to survive. He lets the guys at the top worry about that. He concerns himself with his seniority. And with his union benefits.

The guys at the top donít always concern themselves with the companyís survival either. We have seen a number of top executives cover themselves with bonuses while their companies sunk.

One might think the UAW workers would ease up. Would give the car companies the same deal the foreign car companies get from their workers. Would do this so that their own companies could compete and prosper.

One might think that. But whoever ďoneĒ is, he is not a union member.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tomís radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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