I remember as if it were yesterday when
Barry Worrell came by my house and was all out of breath because he had
found where Bob Copeland had stashed the new 1955 Chevrolets. On bicycles we
sped to the hideout of the most looked forward model Chevy ever to grace a
show room. We crept up to the old garage in the alley behind Bob’s house and
wormed our way into the garage.
There it was, a beautiful blue and white Bel-Air model. Its chrome striping
down the side and wrap around windshield were the wonder of its day. It
exceeded everything Rod and Custom Magazine had said it would be. We didn’t
dare try to open the hood, but it had been reported that Chevy for the first
time was offering a V-8. We lingered as long as we thought we were entitled
to and left the garage.
Those were the good old days and it was not that hard to tell the difference
in the cars of the different companies. After all, we only had three major
car manufacturing companies and each had about four different models. Each
model was the same design and the only difference between the each
companies’ car models were the extras that you wanted.
Then in the late fifties and early sixties foreign companies started to
import cars into the country. In the seventies these same foreign companies
started building plants in the U.S. They didn’t build in Michigan except for
Mazda. They built plants in “right to work states” such as Tennessee and
Georgia. They did that because of the strangle hold the unions had in
This past year the government bailed out two of the three American brands.
They did or they said they did, because these car companies were too big to
fail. So I ask you how big do you have to be to be too big?
If you look at the number of cars and models on the road today it would
appear that if one or two of the companies went out of business that it
would take about two days for other car companies to switch the name sign
out front and continue to sell enough cars to satisfy the buying public.
After all, we now have ten or twelve major car companies, all making the
same types of cars.
We now face the possibility of Toyota either going out of business or making
drastic changes in their name over the next couple of years. This company
has been reported to be the biggest car company in the world. No one seems
to be worried about them going out of business. If they are the biggest,
shouldn’t they be too big to fail? In fact if some politicians had their
way, they would try to hasten that day. Not because Toyota puts out a bad
product, but because of their stance with the automotive unions.
I submit that if what happened to General Motors and Chrysler had occurred
in the fifties, bailing them out would have been the thing to do, but in the
fifties the car companies were all filthy rich from making war material
during World War 11. For that reason, when foreign companies started
bringing in cars built to better specifications and tolerances, these same
companies waited ten years before they even began to try to compete with the
The other thing they did to keep the lines going was to give into every
demand the unions put down, because the cars were selling and the public
wasn’t kicking that bad on the prices going up every year.
So why did the government bail out the car companies? Not because General
Motors or Chrysler would fail but because of the unions.
The car companies are not too big to fail, to politicians and organized
crime the unions would be too big to fail. The union are operating with
reserves of from 40 to 60 percent. The government mandates that those
reserve not drop below 80.
For years unions in this country have been paying organized crime out of one
side and politicians out of the other. The result is that if those two car
companies had gone out of business that the unions would be in a heap of
trouble. Even with the two companies going full blast the unions can hardly
keep up with their obligations to retired personal and other obligations on
a month to month basis. If those companies were to go out of business the
unions would have to explain where all the money the companies and workers
paid in actually went.