Saturday, December 13, 2008

America The Complacent

Help me!!! Help me!!! cried the greedy fat cats on Wall Street. And so the misguided American Taxpayers gave (not willingly) the banks and predatory lenders who had wrecked the worlds economy- big BIG money so they could have a good Christmas bonus after all. But that was not enough.
Help me!!! Help me!!! cried the mismanaged American Car Companies. But this time the Senate & Congress were a little less willing. They had seen the money they had given to the financial institutions had been spent on vacations and bonus packages. But then the lame duck American President gave the Auto Makers the money anyway.
Have you ever given money to a street person- damn well knowing that they were gonna spend every last dime on booze or drugs? Are you really helping that person? By the same means are we we really helping the economy? Not at all. We are only prolonging the inevitable collapse. We are in deep shite. We all know it- but want things to stay the same. Like keeping the cable on when you can't put food on the table. Like making retro cars when you can't think of anything new to build(don't get me wrong- I like the new Challenger and Mustang but much more is needed to make a viable car business). Like building SUV's and creating marketing campaigns to make people think they need one. Why? Because the mark up is greater, the profit is bigger for the Automaker. The larger the car, the more money there is to be made. It also becomes a safety issue. When one third of the cars on the highway are Trucks or SUV's that can crush a small car on impact, we all want one just to protect our family. Personally I feel safer driving our giant GMC 15 Passenger van than our Dodge Caravan. Especially when I'm in our Dodge and a fat chick with cell phone and latte in hand driving her Suburban or Escalade cuts us off laughingly at 70MPH! So everyone gets the SUV, everyone pays for the extra gas and when the credit crunch comes and the gas prices sour to $5.00 a gallon (because of quick fortunes made in oil futures trading) people can't buy the SUV or make the payments on the one they already have. Stumble. The American car companies can't make an affordable, gas miserly well built little car. Ohh well. Capitalism is still what we claim as our birth right. So now the hung over Big Three saunter over (in Corporate Jets no less) to Uncle Sam's house to ask for a quick handoput- "Just to tide me over for a few months Unc...then I'll be good. Trust me man, just trust me."

In 2005 our bought used 1987 Dodge Caravan (not the one we have now) was ready to go. Our mechanic had just fixed the water pump and said it was time for a new ride. Being a Mopar guy and wanting to test drive a new Dodge Magnum, the family headed over to our local Dodge Dealer to look- not to buy, just to look at a few cars. The seduction began the moment we touched the Dealership Parking Lot Pavement. After driving a fully loaded Magnum AWD SXT with the big six we knew we wanted one, but were shocked by the sticker price. $38,000! This wasn't even the high performance R/T. No DVD player, no nav system. We started to walk. Then we got handed over to the closer. "Just take it home for the night...leave your Caravan here. We will cut you a deal. How about a Lease?" After trying to leave twice, but still heavily under the Magnum's hypnosis (they are excellent cars) we signed onto a lease agreement. We went this route as the Dealership Financial Guy told us that if we ever needed to return the car under the lease we would only have to pay a "small fee" and all would be good. We quietly examined the paperwork and all looked as he said. Some predators are very good at exploiting their preys weaknesses. Fast forward two years. When our small school business started to have a downturn, we just couldn't afford the Magnums $680.00 a month in lease payments. As much as we loved the car we had to returned it. Chrysler Financial quickly informed us that we had to pay $11,000 to do so! I scoured the paperwork and could not find any mention of "paying the complete vehicle cost upon return." This was the last nail in our personal bankruptcy's coffin lid. Thank you local Dodge Dealership! Thank you Ma Mopar! That's what I get for brand loyalty and buying American!

Footnote: That particular Dealership lost it's Dodge franchise when Chrysler consolidated it various brands. Now it's a used car lot! Hallelujah! Chrysler Financial is in deep shite and had to stop doing their signature predatory lease deals. Karma can kill!

I say let the all lyin' bastards die! We need new blood, new car companies, new politics, new political parties (at least three more real contenders) and a new American attitude. Turn off the cable and buy some friggin' food for your family! For God's sake! Sacrifice- American was built on it. Go back to your communities. Pull your money out of the big corporations and put it into small, local banks and businesses. That is the only way we can survive this mess completely generated by high level, closed door greed and corruption. I think the only real out of the Auto Mess is to encourage the UAW to buy the big three, fire management and move forward. But that won't ever happen. Otherwise GM needs to file bankruptcy, Chrysler needs to partner with Nissan or Volkswagen and Ford...who knows, their complete financial situation seems to be a secret.

I know guys who build their own cars using parts from junkyards and Schucks. They are called Beaters and Rat Rods, they run decent and get their owners to work everyday. I know guys who make their own gas- out of old french fry grease and yard waste. Baby steps. Walk before you run. Back to the basics. You don't deserve that big house anyway, not when your neighbor is starving just two doors down bro. If you wait too long and let him suffer too long, he will get a gun and then take your house away from you. It is the American Way.

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