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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The hypocracy of Congress with the Big Three vs Wallstreet (Page 2)

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Author Topic: The hypocracy of Congress with the Big Three vs Wallstreet
Blayne Bradley
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It is also enevitable that no Great Power stays top dog forever.
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Danlo the Wild
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quote:
Originally posted by Telperion the Silver:
...and when we want to go to war and, oh wait, we can't build the tanks or planes anymore!

I think it is better to NEVER have to desire to go to war.
You only go to war when you have no other choice.

And now a few notes from Hatrack's Invalid but most Accurate Prophet!

______________________________________________________________

1. Modern America enjoys the comfort of stupidity.

It's the reason why most Americans do not THINK about God or the Universe. It hurts the brain, doesn't give answers, only more questions, and it isn't profitable. They want to be TOLD exactly what God is and what God wants. Most American's don't give more than 60 seconds a year of brain time to the magical marvels of the stars, galaxies and the diamond's in the center of White Dwarves.

So we've got a bunch of idiot politicians leading a bunch of idiots. The 'Banks' have failed and needed a 'Bailout' over 20 times since the 1980's. Read that sentence again please. So. When our politicians bailed out the 'banks' with a blank check book, no one said 'How do we stop this from happening again?' so we've given them the keys to our money, with out ANY oversight. The estimate of the bailout is now $5.5 Trillion to $7.7 Trillion dollars. But hey, America's got a gaywar to win and unborn babies to save. No time for thought!

2. The Car Companies are EVIL. - It is true. You see my friend, for a long, long, long time Politicians, Car companies, Insurance companies and Oil companies have been colluding to create a system that doesn't work and steals all your time and money. Look at how much of YOUR life, money and time you've spent on your car. Car costs $15,000, Insurance $1700 a year, Gas $2000 a year, Upkeep $1000 a year. It's all a scam. Why do you think that our Highways are SOOOOOO bad and our public transportation system is worse?
Highway I-35 extends from Mexico almost to Canada. The stretch from Austin through Ft. Worth to Oklahoma is 2 lanes 70% of the way. I commute to the University of North Texas from Ft. Worth M-F. The traffic is disgusting. This was the 'plan' all along. "We're only human, AND we're government. We can't even begin to imagine what 4 lanes would look like.' I live in Texas which probably has the LARGEST automobile size average, so it's clear that the Car companies didn't give two shizzez about 'human's or 'the future' only Money, money, money.

3. We're not a christian nation, we're a capitalist nation - The Banks are our gods. If they need $10 trillion of our time and money, we give it to them. No questions asked. Why do you think that American's took the anti-greed Jesus and spent trillions of dollars erecting thousands of million dollar churches in his name? The Banks asked them to. Why did we destroy all the Native Americans? They didn't need Banks.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
I'd put my money on the US Army over the PLA.
I have no idea which tank is better, although usually I discount Blayne's ideas about Chinese stuff by about 90% or so. I do note, however, that your statement here is not the same as putting your money on the Abrams over the T99.
True. I guess I should expand that then.

In a one on one fight, yes I'd take an upgraded M1A2 against the most current PLA tank, which I actually think is an upgraded T-98, but either way, it has a multitude of advantages, even for a tank that's been in service for almost 30 years. I'm somewhat curious actually to see what they're working on for the next generation, but I know the M1 was deveopled by Chrysler Defense.

The chances however of two tanks squaring off without support vehicles is extremely unlikely though, if we actually were to fight China. The only place I could imagine it happening was if China invaded Australia or Kuwait, where they have M1s but not the kind of integrated defense that we use. In other words, if the PLA ever fought the US Army, it would never just be with tanks, which makes the discussion of indivdual tanks and their attributes somewhat meaningless, depending of course entirely on the nation being discussed.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Telperion the Silver:
And, this is not just about employment.
These factories and industries are VITAL to the STRATEGIC future of the USA.

If these factories are allowed to disappear, we will never see them again in our lifetime. Mark my words.

Michigan, the surrounding States, and much of Canada will be decimated.

Do we really want to be a second rate power like the UK or Italy?

Most of the American public does not comprehend the importance of the auto industry.

No great power remains so when they allow their industries to die.

I mostly agree with your general sentiment of support, but I'm mixed on some of your specifics. First off, I'm not at all worried about our ability to build airplanes. Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grummuan and Boeing are still in the game (by that I mean, three of the largest defense contractors in the world), and several other companies made major bids during the last round of trials that produced the Raptor and the F-35 variants. Besides, as has been mentioned we've opted mostly for quality over quantity in the military lately. Our new planes are so sophisticated, and for that matter, superior to any other fighter in the world, that we don't need to blanket the sky with them.

And for ground systems, Chrysler and GM got out of the defense game decades ago. Both sold their defense arms to General Dynamics, who made the M1 as well as several other advanced systems.

In other words, keeping the Big Three around for defense purposes doesn't hold a lot of water in the production sense. Their R&D in many areas could prove extremely helpful for defense applications, but I suspect that nothing bad will happen to that research one way or the other.

I'm concerned about how the death of the auto industry would effect the midwest. It has a concentrated effect on Michigan's economy like I'm not sure any other single industry has on any other single state. But at the same time, I have to wonder why the state legislature is dragging its feet on measures proposed by Granholm to turn the state into a green power producer. The factories might not be able to be retooled to produce turbines easily, but certainly experienced line workers and a technological hub like southeast Michigan makes it a natural place to benefit from those millions of jobs that Obama is supposed to be creating in the next few years.

I do agree though that people are underestimating the direct and indirect ripple effects the downfall of the auto industry might have.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
... GM actually had their sales decline less than Honda and Toyota.

GM? That seems odd to me. Which particular numbers are you using. For example:
quote:

Consider the November sales data, showing GM ís sales down 41% from a year earlier, Fordís down 30%, and Chryslerís down 47%. Foreign brands were hurt, too: Toyota down 34%, Honda 32%, Nissan 42%, Hyundai 40%.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2008/12/04/how-far-should-taxpayers-go-to-rescue-automakers/

quote:
They also say "why don't the Big Three sell more hybrids?" Well, Ford has the best selling hybrid SUV in the world with the Ford Escape Hybrid, which they also can't seem to make enough of, and GM sells more hybrid models than Toyota does.
Forgetting the typical silliness that leads to things like hybrid SUVs in the first place, the more models thing is kind of misleading.
Consider:
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/12/02/business/02auto.graphic.jpg

Of course GM has more hybrid models, they have twice as many models in the first place.

Sales numbers of actual vehicles are more important than models.

My bad, I guess it was Ford, though I don't really think that detracts from my point. As far as the "silliness" of the hybrid escape goes, I wonder why you think it's silly? Two-mode Escalades, now that's silly. They're monumentally more expensive than an already regularly expensive Escalade, and get very small amounts of increased MPG. It wasn't worth the R&D or production dollars put into it. But the Escape is a pretty small SUV by SUV standards. It's only slightly bigger than most crossovers I see now (and smaller than some in fact). Regardless though, it gets better gas mileage than a lot of small cars do. If people are going to buy SUVs over small cars anyway, buying a small SUV that gets better gas mileage than some of those small cars is preferable to me.

I do agree however that GM should simplify their product line. From what I've read, they're going to dump Hummer one way or the other, and might get rid of Pontiac and Saturn as well. There's so much overlap from the different cars that it makes sense to get rid of some of them. But regardless, they offer large numbers of hybrids, with more coming and more impressive ones coming. It's a falsehood that keeps getting perpetuated that there are no American hybrids to be had. Part of that is also a patent issue. I know a lot of hybrid parts under patent in Japan are given first priority to Japanese automakers, and Ford at least only gets the leftovers.

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Ron Lambert
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Don't forget the GM Volt, which they have been planning to put into production in a year or two. While it will have a gasoline engine to help charge the battery, it will be propelled at all times by the electric motors, and will never run directly off the gasoline engine, like other current hybrids. This allows the gasoline engine to run at optimum speed for fuel efficiency when charging the battery. The battery also can be charged by plugging it in overnight. One of my younger brothers is an engineer for GM, and he claims the Volt will be superior to the Toyota Prius.
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fugu13
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Telp: Bankruptcy wouldn't make the factories disappear in the slightest. Some would, sure, the ones producing more cars than people need. Just like in any well-run business, including Defense.

However, most of the factories in question would remain in business, and be run by the same companies, even. Stop your ludicrous fear-mongering and get a grip.

Lyrhawn: the single executives at the top is just the tiniest bit of corporate leadership. The big three are some of the staunchest edifices of ingrained corporate culture.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I do agree though that people are underestimating the direct and indirect ripple effects the downfall of the auto industry might have.

I don't think so. At least, I don't think I'm underestimating it. Our economy is already in recession and the fall of the big 3 could easily tip us into full-blown depression. We'd see a huge spike in unemployment. Things would be bad. There is no question in my mind about that.

BUT...

1. How will loaning the auto industry money help the situation? The phrase "throwing good money after bad" comes to mind. The big 3 are losing money hand over fist when the price of cars has sky-rocketed faster than inflation over the past 3 or 4 decades. There are problems with the UAW, the suppliers, R&D, the types of cars they offer, the price of cars they offer, the fact that they expect people to continue to buy a car every other year even in the midst of this recession...which is further proof that we haven't escaped the debt-based economy that got us into this whole mess in the first place.

In other words, I doubt that we can bail them out of this.

2. Supposing that there are some set of principles which could be applied to the Big 3 to make them profitable in the VERY NEAR FUTURE (which I doubt), I doubt even more that congress will have the initiative and foresight to apply these measures to the bailout package.

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Morbo
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One fact I haven't seen in this thread is that labor is about 10% of the cost of an American car. The UAW is taking too much heat recently.

Also, if health care reform is successful next year, that would be a huge cost savings for the auto industry.

fugu, bankruptcy might not make factories disappear, but it would make pensions for hundreds of thousands or millions of retired autoworkers disappear, or be heavily discounted, or wind up in the pension guarantee fund, paid for by the taxpayers.

Christine, are you serious? You agree if the big 3 go broke it could easily trigger a depession not a recession? Then how is it not worth the risk to try and save the industry? The societal costs of a depression would be orders of magnitude greater than the billions in loans the industry is asking for.

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fugu13
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Morbo: that "about 10%" for labor figure leaves out health care (for both active and retired workers), absenteeism, paid days off, and the job bank.

The first, health care, is where the biggest expenses come -- in part because the Big Three are paying for a lot of health care that would be covered under Medicare.

Yes, pensions (well, most likely retirement healthcare) are going to be reduced for former auto-workers. There isn't a way around this.

And if you re-read Christine's post, you'll note that she's saying she expects (probably correctly) them to fail (that is, enter bankruptcy and be forced to restructure) whether or not they are given money, so why give them money? Your answer presupposes giving the Big Three money (and the amount they 'need' keeps going up by billions every week or so) will stop them from having to fundamentally change how they do business in a way that breaks contracts, a supposition she seems to be rejecting, and that I certainly reject.

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fugu13
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And something I failed to respond to: no, health care reform wouldn't be that much of a cost savings for the industry, unless they could get the UAW to give up the better health care the Big Three have agreed to provide and go on whatever is created. And even then, retiree health care would still be a major cost sink (and that already overlapped with government provided health care, as I note above, so I'm not sure the idea that there's gov't provided health care is a strong argument that the Big Three won't keep paying through the nose for it).
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fugu13
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For instance, with the T99 vs the M1A2, the US military has a tank that can be easily mass-produce, while the Chinese military has one they're having problems making very many of. The US tank has been tested in numerous field conditions for nearly thirty years, while the Chinese tank has never been tested in battle. The US tank crews are extremely familiar with the capabilities and limitations of their vehicles, while the Chinese tank crews are quite the opposite.

And it isn't like we couldn't deploy a tank with the same capabilities as the T99 very quickly; we have all of them in various forms on various vehicles. That we don't see any good reason to at the moment on our MBTs might suggest something.

edit: I promise there was a post just above this responding to Blayne's tank talk, by someone else.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
For instance, with the T99 vs the M1A2, the US military has a tank that can be easily mass-produce, while the Chinese military has one they're having problems making very many of. The US tank has been tested in numerous field conditions for nearly thirty years, while the Chinese tank has never been tested in battle. The US tank crews are extremely familiar with the capabilities and limitations of their vehicles, while the Chinese tank crews are quite the opposite.

And it isn't like we couldn't deploy a tank with the same capabilities as the T99 very quickly; we have all of them in various forms on various vehicles. That we don't see any good reason to at the moment on our MBTs might suggest something.

edit: I promise there was a post just above this responding to Blayne's tank talk, by someone else.

*raises hand*
I was disagreeing with Blayne but decided other folks said everything meaningful I was planing to say anyway.

At the risk of escalating US V PLA discussion, I think the fact that many if not most senior PLA officers have zero experience conducting modern warefare is important. The last major military action China was involved in that I can recall is their month long invasion of Vietnam, that ended with tens of thousands of casualties and complete failure. You can't even say they learned much from their mistakes as they didn't stick around long enough to figure out what they were doing wrong.

War tech has evolved in key ways in the last 30 years, and the Chinese have had no opportunity to actually fight with any of this new technology. I can't imagine the Chinese fighting a counter insurgency. But then again, until the last few years America has done a pretty poor job of it too, and we supposedly learned from Vietnam.

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fugu13
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BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.
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BlueWizard
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Just out of curiosity, do you suppose that reduction in primary executive salaries will appear anywhere in the Auto-Maker's restructuring plan? Probably not.

No doubt there is an element of the UAW that has backed the company into a corner. Now some may call them greedy for having done so, but I say, executive greed is probably just as likely a contributing factor. Especially when you pay ECO's and others MILLIONS for failing.

Now generally I'm a union guy, it keeps manufacturers from taking advantage of workers, but unions also act, in good economic times, as a way of taking advantage of manufacturers. Henry Ford knew enough, that if he paid his workers enough money, they would turn around and buy cars. So, he knew he would be getting some of that money back. But the union/manufacturer relationship has become toxic on both sides. They need to find a way in which their actions benefit both sides. In other words, in ways that benefit and sustain but business, but that is also true of overpaid executives. They need to work for group betterment not personal greed.

Certainly, when and if the auto-makers re-organizes they are going to ask for huge concessions from the UAW, but are they also willing to make those same huge concession themselves? If the airline industry is any example, then the answer is NO.

Now to Wall Street. Someone mentioned the lack of flow of 'commercial paper' and the presents of 'toxic loans'. Excuse me, but aren't they at the very heart of the problem the banks and Wall Street are having? Aren't those 'toxic loan' the cause of the lack of flow of 'commercial paper'? As long as people appeared to be making money of this, they were more than willing to ignore that it was build on weaker and weaker loans, which were in turn built on more and more ridiculously inflated house prices.

In Florida, condos were bought and sold 3 or 4 times at ever increasing prices, and those condos in question weren't even built yet. This is rampant inflation caused by pure speculation. As far as I'm concerned, this is a Ponzi Scheme, and anyone should have seen it. But those early in the Ponzi/Pyramid scheme make big money, and eventually, someone is left holding a worthless bag. Someone eventually gets screwed. This was a house of card that could only fall and fall hard, but no one cared because they were convinced that they weren't gone to be the one left holding the bag.

Wall Street and the Bankers engaged in fraud. The loaned money to anyone with a pulse knowing and not caring that the loans were going to be worthless. Then quickly sold those loans to someone else, who in turn sold them to someone else, again and again, each one knowing they were bad loans, each one making money and not caring, because it wasn't them that would have to face the consequences.

I say if we bail out Wall Street, we do it by buying up the good loans, there by freeing up capital, and allowing free flow of money in the market again. Let the crooks deal with the bad loans. They're the ones who made the loans, let them deal with the consequences.

Congress should have grilled the Wall Street Bankers as thoroughly as the grilled the automakers, and demanded that they present changes to the way they do business that would assure this wasn't going to happen again. Actions must have consequences!

I have not doubt that if similar economic chaos had been caused by labor or agri-business, there would have been armed troops in the street forcing these people back in line with business interests. But when the problem is business itself, too many people in control have too much self-interest in preserving a failed system that is making them rich while destroying the country. I notice that most who made the 'immediate urgency' plea for the bail-out were uniformly people who were preserving their self-interests.

Serious demands should be made on anyone getting a bail-out from the government. They must act with consistent and uniform broader benefit, and self-greed and self-interest need to be substantially curtailed.

For what it's worth.

Steve/bluewizard

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fugu13
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Whether or not one thinks executive incentives have been ill-structured, Executive compensation amounts are but a rounding error in the problems the firms are facing. You really can't attribute anything about the decline of the firm to the amounts paid to executives, in firms of this size for salaries and other compensation in the amounts we're talking.

Which concessions are you suggesting the automakers make to the UAW? As for not making concession (assuming there are some it makes sense to make), they've made enormous concessions in the past: indeed, it would be reasonable to say they would not be in such dire straits if they hadn't promised such amazing health care. Why do you think they wouldn't make any now, when their track record has been to make too many?

Buying up just good loans would be a great way to destroy the entire financial industry (and the rest of the country). Do you want me to into more detail as to why? Not to mention that there isn't any simple (or complicated, come to think of it) way to reliably separate "good" loans from "bad" loans. Many of these loans are very complex, and the idea that the gov't is likely to be able to sort them out is not plausible. Especially when the total value of "good" loans even with an extremely stringent set of criteria for being good is probably rather more than the total GDP of the country, much less the amount of money the government has on hand.

And that you think Congress didn't require financial companies to restructure suggests you haven't been paying much attention. The government has taken near-direct control of several of the firms they've bailed out, fired executives wholesale, and required incredible concessions on mortgage policies and the like, just to name a few things. The auto industry restructuring, even if it becomes as extreme as it really needs to be, is going to be small potatoes in comparison.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Whether or not one thinks executive incentives have been ill-structured, Executive compensation amounts are but a rounding error in the problems the firms are facing.
While this is true, I think they're a symptom of the actual problem these firms are facing.

I would firmly support the bailout if every single person in upper management were stripped of everything they own and forced at gunpoint to dance for our amusement. If they don't think it's a small price to pay, they've been spoiled.

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fugu13
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Yes, because childish acts of humiliation are the the way to decide how to spend billions of dollars.
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Morbo
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Isn't that exactly what the hearings were about? Prattling on about corporate jets and such?
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Morbo
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Yes, if you think the Big 3 are doomed to fail, it's not worth a bailout.

If failure is only a risk, though, depending on the odds it is worth a bailout.

BTW, the latest AP story has the total amount at $15 billion in loans (though I assume that will rise.) No piddling amount, but only a fraction of the amount already given/pledged to Wall Street.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.

I agree with this. I meant that more as while we are still learning, the Chinese have little to no experience either way.
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Telperion the Silver
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Telp: Bankruptcy wouldn't make the factories disappear in the slightest. Some would, sure, the ones producing more cars than people need. Just like in any well-run business, including Defense.

However, most of the factories in question would remain in business, and be run by the same companies, even. Stop your ludicrous fear-mongering and get a grip.

Lyrhawn: the single executives at the top is just the tiniest bit of corporate leadership. The big three are some of the staunchest edifices of ingrained corporate culture.

Fear-mongering? My city is on the verge of destruction. I'm trying to raise an alarm and share my feelings, which are mostly fear and frustration these days. I'll hold those who say nothing bad will happen to the factories, Detroit, or the USA to their word. Please prove me wrong.
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Ron Lambert
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Telperion the Silver, I don't think it is wise to give them the opportunity to prove you or me or anyone else wrong who recognizes how bankruptcy of any of the Detroit Three automakers will decimate jobs, in the auto industry and all the cognate industries such as part suppliers and dealers. Those who just shrug their shoulders and say bankruptcy would not be all that bad, and will just allow the car companies to restructure their financial obligations, and not affect jobs much, have no comprehension of the reality that would actually result. Jobs would be decimated. It is far, far better if the car companies are given the bridge loans--emphasis on LOANS--to maintain their cash flow while they are restructuring, with the cooperation of the unions (which they presently have), and can get their advanced new models like the hybrid Volt on the market. It is like the difference between a controlled landing (with the bridge loans) and a crash and burn (with bankruptcy).

Who would want to buy a car from a car company that is in bankruptcy? How many parts suppliers will be able to remain in business providing parts needed by repair shops and auto stores? Letting the car companies go into backruptcy would virtually end the auto industry in America. There would be no recovery for the car companies in bankruptcy. Millions of jobs would be lost, permanently. Anyone who thinks different is confusing the manufacturing industry with the insurance and mortgage industries. They are comparing apples with oranges. Bankruptcy would necessarily be the end of a car company.

When K-Mart filed for bankruptcy protection, they cut hundreds of stores--not all of them the least profitable (some superstores in good locations that had just been built within the past ten years or so were closed). Thousands of jobs were lost. I know of a K-Mart superstore near where I live that had only been built about seven years before, and always had its parking lot nearly full, that not only was closed, but since it had been the anchor store for a shopping center, the reduced traffic in the mall caused half a dozen other stores to close or relocate that had been in the same shopping center, and the mall owners were forced into bankruptcy. Eventually WalMart bought the building, but only after it had set idle for nearly four years. With car companies it would be even worse, because they manufacture the products they sell, and that manufacturing requires continual cost outlay for design, etc., which in turn require a continual inflow of profits from sales. If the car companies are delayed even briefly, they will lose their market share, in most cases permanently.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Danlo the Wild:

1. Modern America enjoys the comfort of stupidity.

I think I've spent enough of my adult life listening to people prattle on about "the average American," and assorted bullcrap. Stop and consider, there is no actual average American- you're talking about some kind of composite image based on your very limited sense of the world around you, and conflating that abstract idea with the notion that there are statistics and actual observations that support any of it. There aren't, there never have been, there never will be, and all my life I'm sure I'll hear endless accounts of how stupid and boorish the "average American" is. And I'll have to walk through my life hearing the words, and nodding along as if I know this average person, and understand his plight, or malign him, whatever is called for in the context of whatever stupid conversation I happen to be having.

Look around you- you know stupid people and smart people, and ignorant people and informed people, and skinny people and fat people, but these people do not make an average. As long as you insist that they do, you will perpetuate the idea that something has to be done to appeal to a non-existent entity. Though you personally are no good at convincing anyone of the validity of your claims, you will continue to convince at least yourself of this hopelessly stupid worldview.

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fugu13
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Exercise some reading comprehension, Telp. Nobody has said nothing bad will happen to any of the factories, just not all of them. Furthermore, I've been quite explicit at many times that a lot of pain will be endured. Just understand that the least pain for your city will be a significant restructuring of the auto industry, and the loss of many jobs right now, as opposed to the loss of far more jobs on far worse terms, later. Bad things happen, and the proper response is not to curl up in a ball, start making up things about what will happen (incredible damage to our country's ability to defend itself, for instance), and tell people that if only they hand over more money the bad things will stop.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I do agree though that people are underestimating the direct and indirect ripple effects the downfall of the auto industry might have.

I don't think so. At least, I don't think I'm underestimating it. Our economy is already in recession and the fall of the big 3 could easily tip us into full-blown depression. We'd see a huge spike in unemployment. Things would be bad. There is no question in my mind about that.

BUT...

1. How will loaning the auto industry money help the situation? The phrase "throwing good money after bad" comes to mind. The big 3 are losing money hand over fist when the price of cars has sky-rocketed faster than inflation over the past 3 or 4 decades. There are problems with the UAW, the suppliers, R&D, the types of cars they offer, the price of cars they offer, the fact that they expect people to continue to buy a car every other year even in the midst of this recession...which is further proof that we haven't escaped the debt-based economy that got us into this whole mess in the first place.

In other words, I doubt that we can bail them out of this.

2. Supposing that there are some set of principles which could be applied to the Big 3 to make them profitable in the VERY NEAR FUTURE (which I doubt), I doubt even more that congress will have the initiative and foresight to apply these measures to the bailout package.

What do you consider the very near future? The auto industry isn't the type of industry that's really designed for very fast turn arounds. Even if they solved all the problems with their leadership, and union contracts, it takes months and years to close factories, shift production lines, ramp production up, and years to roll out new car models.

The bright side I think is that they aren't starting from square one at this very moment like a lot of people seem to be insinuating. It's the credit crunch that caused such a precipitous drop. Ford was doing just fine earlier in the year. Part of the problem is that they were producing cars expecting to keep selling 17 or 18 million units anually when that number was far from sustainable, and in response they've collectively shuttered a lot of factories and cut tens of thousands of workers. They were doing that even before this crisis hit, and without it, I think they would have been fine. Actually I think it's quite possible that Ford will be fine anyway. Ford isn't actually asking for an out and out cash payment, they want a line of credit, so in case things DO get even worse than they are now, they'll have a bit of a cushion.

I really do think that they'll get better though. They've already made some dramatic changes, and have more on the way. If they hadn't made any of the changes they made in the past few years, then I might be more inclined to agree with you. But I'm also perfectly willing to admit that I have an extreme personal interest in this. It's not just Detroit that's dying, it's southeast Michigan as a whole, and far worse than just generally saying the rust belt or the midwest.

People like KoM would be quick to say something along the lines of 'just suck it up and take what's coming to you.' But I can't fathom being that callous. The auto industry is unlikely to be what it was in its glory days, but they certainly have a place in the world if everyone would help them get there. And I think we as a state have a bright future in the renewable energy industry, and are poised to reap huge benefits from the Obama Administration plans. But to everyone saying "too bad" and "let them fail," I have to ask where your sense of community is. And if that doens't work, where's your common sense? As a tax payer you'll fork over a lot more money if they fail than if you help them out.

Throwing good money after bad is one saying. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is one that might be better.

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Yes, because childish acts of humiliation are the the way to decide how to spend billions of dollars.

Well, at least we'd be assured of getting something out of it. [Smile]
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.

I agree with this. I meant that more as while we are still learning, the Chinese have little to no experience either way.
Experience is not that important, or more accurately it is better to say that the experience gleaned from Iraq is not important, its like in Ender's Shadow the Battle School was based on what "they learned" from the Second Formic War, which did not last long enough to the natural order of warfare to weed out the incompetents.

The conventional fight between Iraq and USA did not last long enough to give the USA any better experience then they had before, other then Massive Number of Smart Weapons = Looks Good on TV.

In contrast though the Chinese had learned a great deal from US performance at least in 1991 as they underwent the largest and most effective force reorganization ever undertaken by a conventional military in history, and confirm these assumptions in 2003.

Outside of a nuclear exchange neither side possesses the military conventional capability to seriously harm each others mainland. So technically any discussion of the merits of anything is moot, however doesn't detract it is still a fun whatif to discuss what is the better Tank, the T-99 and the Abrams. (The T99 has ana ctive laser defence system, something I don't think the Abrams has)

Also, the Chinese do have UAV's and AWACS, and the Z-10 Attack helicopter.

Also I question America's ability to mass produce Abrams in a hurry, last I checked according to The Rise and Fall by Paul Kennedy a major problem for the Super Powers of the Cold War is that modern defence systems are complicated and sophisticated so that they are consequently considerably harder and more expensive to build fast.

Some things you might be able to mass produce in jiffy but not MBT's.

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fugu13
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Experience is extraordinarily important, and our armed forces have rather more experience than just Iraq, especially those parts of the armed forces that might actually be involved in most wars with China on the other side, unlike our tank crews. For instance, our naval and air force people.

You question our ability to mass-produce the Abrams? We've been making the things for nearly thirty years, and have made something along the lines of 9000 of the things. I don't care how nice the T99 is, when we can field 100 for 1 forces of Abrams against it (and various other Chinese tanks that are inadequate against the Abrams, of course), it'll be squashed like a bug.

Going back to how long we've been producing the Abrams, over 9000 were produced in under 30 years, for an average of over 320 a year. And most of them, by far, were produced in a few large batches, meaning that the number produced in many years would have to have been well over 1000 (for years now the main factory has mostly been producing what's needed to remake M1A1s into M1A2s). So yeah, I think we can mass-produce MBTs, especially as that's only from one factory.

And I rather suspect we'll have little problem developing a counter-measure to the laser defense system, meaning it won't help it shrug off the Abrams' main gun. But the Abrams is going to have a decent chance to shrug off T-99 rounds that the T-99 won't have against Abrams rounds: depleted uranium armor. The T-99 only fires depleted uranium shells, as far as I can tell.

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Blayne Bradley
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And when was the last time a competant tank crew with proper non defective munitions went head to head with an abrams? Last I checked even the T-72 could knock out an Abrams as being the primary fear of US army planners before 91'.

Your also being very foolish, so what 9000 over 30 years? China has produced at least 2000 to 3000 T-96's over the last 8 years and they're not even trying military modernization has always been the least important overall of China's Four Modernizations.

The ability to produce X many over Y many years is not indictitive of an ability to mass produce them, mass production implies 9000 over 1 year not 30, and does the US army have a full 9000 deployed and in reserves? Nope, most are sold to foreign militaries. How many are in Europe? How many are in reserve? How many can be deployed in a rush?

Considering China's manufacturing base is larger then the US and many other things indictitive of the a Great Powers military-industrial strength (steel production, shipbuilding) the statistics on the matter imply it is China that produces the advantage to build more for less. I at least have a certified expert in the field as my source that you cannot mass produce modern MBT's whats yours? Or are you using an entirely different definition of "mass".

This isn't WWII where we have definate "good tanks" and "bad tanks" such as say taking a Grant to a fight with a Panther, the late Cold War tanks have never had a proper fight with each other and their capabilities and protections (when sufficiently upgraded) that it is impossible to say that an Abrams can "squash" a T-99, 98 or 96 "like a bug" that is a foolish statement. I should also point out that Pakistan was suitably impressed enough with it to make the Al Khalid tank based on it.

100 to 1 where do you get this number from? Your ass? Lets take say China's 2500 of the T-96, plus the 300 or so of the T-99 thats at least 2900 and take 500 of the Type 88 while of dubious use in a 1 v 1 fight can still if competently led ambush the abrams and take it out.

So 3400 to maybe 5000 total Abrams that the US can deploy "in a jiffy" Thats is most definately not 100 to 1.

I still believe you over value the experience gained from both Iraq wars, you were fighting what, a second rate military, without spare parts badly led, couldn't replace any losses and showed no indication on how to use the toys Russia and the US sold them? Oh you know how to kick a punching bag good for you. In every way the US military fought Iraq was done through training and doctrine, there was no real change in how you fought in 2003 then in 1991 you learned nothing other then "hey this works" the same lessons China had just by watching.

Seriously what do airforce and navy people do? Fly a plan to designated area, pick a target and push a button using whatever combination of training know how and gut instinct that is a natural part of the usage of such weapons? How in any way does that differ from training aside from increased risk and that the target actually dies and destroys something of value?

You learned nothing. Maybe the grunts learned how to better combat insurgents but since the very notion of occupying even a mere fraction of the Chinese mainland is a preposterous notion you'll never get a chance to employ anything you learned there.

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fugu13
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China's manufacturing base isn't anywhere near larger than the US's. The US produces over 20% of all manufactured goods in the world, by value. China produces less than 10%. China still hasn't developed good manufacturing techniques for large capital goods, so they're importing almost as much as they export (being a good customer for the US's extremely strong ability to manufacture capital goods, coincidentally).

Your tendency to make up facts (or at least be credulous when people make things up talking to you) is not a good one.

And your laughable denigration of the skills involved in being in the airforce or navy is, well, laughable. Ask some of your Chinese military friends if having experienced naval and air forces matter, then come back and tell me what they say. And we certainly wouldn't be fighting on the Chinese mainland; if it came to that, we'd nuke China out of existence. Any military conflict between us, if it comes to that, will largely be 'minor' conflicts utilizing and in support of proxy states. In such cases, air and sea capabilities will far outweigh MBT capabilities in importance.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
My bad, I guess it was Ford, though I don't really think that detracts from my point. As far as the "silliness" of the hybrid escape goes, I wonder why you think it's silly?

Let's just say it takes Americans to find an expensive way to make an SUV use as much fuel as a small car, rather than simply getting a normal small car (or better yet, a hybrid small car) in the first place).

The Ford Escape makes perfect sense in a silly country, but its still silly.

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
... One of my younger brothers is an engineer for GM, and he claims the Volt will be superior to the Toyota Prius.

Did he put his money where his mouth is, in GM stock? That should probably be enough punishment for his proverbial counting of eggs before they hatch.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.

I agree with this. I meant that more as while we are still learning, the Chinese have little to no experience either way.
I see that "learning" is now a euphemism for two foreign wars started by the US [Wink]

Even as a Canadian, I'm thankful for the Chinese having no experience either way and I only wish that Americans had no experience either way too. Unfortunately, even after these two wars are over, I wouldn't bet any money that the US won't be doing any more self-initiated "learning".

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
China's manufacturing base isn't anywhere near larger than the US's. The US produces over 20% of all manufactured goods in the world, by value. China produces less than 10%. China still hasn't developed good manufacturing techniques for large capital goods, so they're importing almost as much as they export (being a good customer for the US's extremely strong ability to manufacture capital goods, coincidentally).

Your tendency to make up facts (or at least be credulous when people make things up talking to you) is not a good one.

And your laughable denigration of the skills involved in being in the airforce or navy is, well, laughable. Ask some of your Chinese military friends if having experienced naval and air forces matter, then come back and tell me what they say. And we certainly wouldn't be fighting on the Chinese mainland; if it came to that, we'd nuke China out of existence. Any military conflict between us, if it comes to that, will largely be 'minor' conflicts utilizing and in support of proxy states. In such cases, air and sea capabilities will far outweigh MBT capabilities in importance.

China possesses at least 20 MIRV capable ICBMs capable of obliterating 20 or so American cities which is incidentally at least 80 million people. Your childish immaturity is also laughable, as well as your inability to name sources.

You can't win the original argument so you try to change the rules typical, also is typical is your inability to reasonable argument.

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Mucus
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There are times that I'm extremely thankful for the fact that Blayne is merely a Chinese fanboy rather than actually Chinese.

In the former situation there is at least some hope that Blayne will start worshiping the Protoss or something when Starcraft II comes out. The latter would truly be depressing because we'd be stuck with him forever.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
My bad, I guess it was Ford, though I don't really think that detracts from my point. As far as the "silliness" of the hybrid escape goes, I wonder why you think it's silly?

Let's just say it takes Americans to find an expensive way to make an SUV use as much fuel as a small car, rather than simply getting a normal small car (or better yet, a hybrid small car) in the first place).

The Ford Escape makes perfect sense in a silly country, but its still silly.

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
... One of my younger brothers is an engineer for GM, and he claims the Volt will be superior to the Toyota Prius.

Did he put his money where his mouth is, in GM stock? That should probably be enough punishment for his proverbial counting of eggs before they hatch.

Well, do the Canadians have a cheap way to make SUVs use as much fuel as a car? Does anyone? My point is, if people are going to buy SUVs anyway, what's the argument against making them more fuel efficient? Sure, it would be BETTER if people would buy more cars, but if they aren't going to regardless, I fail to see the error in logic. And I won't get into a discussion in silliness from a citizen of the land of maple syrup and moose. If everyone in the world drove 100MPG cars instead of SUVs, your country would be in a hole pretty quickly, or rather, a tar sand pit. In fact I imagine the steep decline in oil prices has already moved you towards that goal.

As for the Volt, if it performs anywhere near its touted capabilities, I think it'll blow the Prius out of the water. That's a big if, but we'll see.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
There are times that I'm extremely thankful for the fact that Blayne is merely a Chinese fanboy rather than actually Chinese.

In the former situation there is at least some hope that Blayne will start worshiping the Protoss or something when Starcraft II comes out. The latter would truly be depressing because we'd be stuck with him forever.

Do you actually intend to stop being a disrespectful snot anytime now? Serious find a part of my argument and argue the point with facts, these snide "I am better then thou" sideways comments you can shove them somewhere unpleasant.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.

I agree with this. I meant that more as while we are still learning, the Chinese have little to no experience either way.
I see that "learning" is now a euphemism for two foreign wars started by the US [Wink]

Even as a Canadian, I'm thankful for the Chinese having no experience either way and I only wish that Americans had no experience either way too. Unfortunately, even after these two wars are over, I wouldn't bet any money that the US won't be doing any more self-initiated "learning".

I wanted to say this, but it got lost in my other thoughts. I too wish war was something that everyone in the world could lose a few IQ points concerning. But on the flip side, so many other inventions have come out of the war think tank.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Well, do the Canadians have a cheap way to make SUVs use as much fuel as a car? Does anyone?

Yeah, both Canadians and the Japanese do. We take the SUV, sell it to Americans for big bucks and then buy a small car for ourselves. Its not only cheap, it makes money [Wink]

(or did anyways, before Americans started going broke)

quote:
If everyone in the world drove 100MPG cars instead of SUVs, your country would be in a hole pretty quickly, or rather, a tar sand pit. In fact I imagine the steep decline in oil prices has already moved you towards that goal.
Believe me. I'd be the first one to cheer in a world of 100MPG cars. You know very little about Canadian politics if you think every Canadian from every region feels much pride about the tar sands or how much they pollute.

quote:
As for the Volt, if it performs anywhere near its touted capabilities, I think it'll blow the Prius out of the water. That's a big if, but we'll see.
Thats not the only "if" I dispute. The second "if" I dispute is also whether the consumer will really buy the Volt.

The third "if" I dispute is whether there will really be a GM Volt. Without a bailout, if Telperion is any indication, it may very well be a Honda Volt or a Mitsubishi Volt [Smile]

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.

I agree with this. I meant that more as while we are still learning, the Chinese have little to no experience either way.
I see that "learning" is now a euphemism for two foreign wars started by the US [Wink]

Even as a Canadian, I'm thankful for the Chinese having no experience either way and I only wish that Americans had no experience either way too. Unfortunately, even after these two wars are over, I wouldn't bet any money that the US won't be doing any more self-initiated "learning".

I wanted to say this, but it got lost in my other thoughts. I too wish war was something that everyone in the world could lose a few IQ points concerning. But on the flip side, so many other inventions have come out of the war think tank.
Have they? Can we say for sure that silly putty wouldn't have been accidentily discovered even if they hadnt been trying to make synthetic oil?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The US produces over 20% of all manufactured goods in the world, by value.
Are we sure that value's the best way to measure this? In theory, if the US produced just one single manufactured good that was worth billions of dollars, we could make similar claims.
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katharina
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There is nothing inherently bad about bigger cars. If they use only as much fuel as a smaller one, why not get a bigger one?
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fugu13
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Tom: if you have a better way . . . ? At least price is a reasonable way of approximating how much people want something.

Anyways, pretty much all manufactured goods produced in the US have rough equivalents from other countries, with the exceptions comprising only a small amount of that total value. So, if you like, we're producing more every year of typical manufactured stuff, measured by number, producing the same stuff other high-industrial countries produce with fewer people, and producing more of the same stuff other high-industrial countries produce than anybody else.

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Mucus
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katharina: Because the same improvements that were used to make the larger car use as much fuel as the smaller car can be used to make a smaller car incredibly fuel efficient. Its all relative, not absolute.

i.e. There's nothing special about the current absolute value of the fuel that a current American SUV uses that makes it a special threshold to shoot for.

Ideally we should be trying to minimize pollution against the world average as a temporary milestone, and then to the minimum, not measure ourselves against some theoretical max of how much we "could" pollute if we bought everything we were able to.

fugu13: Shouldn't there be at least some kind of adjustment for purchasing power or something? For example, a perfectly legitimate copy of say Windows XP sold in China carries a substantially different price than in the US. Since a large proportion of manufactured goods produced in each country is produced for the local market, wouldn't this disparity skew the results?

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katharina
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There is a point, however, when the advantage of the bigger car outweighs the advantage of ever-less energy to run. It isn't as if there were NO arguments for a larger car - there isn't anything inherently bad about them. If it can be done well, it should be done.

Following your line of reasoning, no one should ever have a stand-alone house because apartment buildings are more fuel efficient.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
BB: the occupation of Iraq helped us learn many things about fighting guerrilla warfare, but our record in warfare against conventional foes is stellar.

I agree with this. I meant that more as while we are still learning, the Chinese have little to no experience either way.
I see that "learning" is now a euphemism for two foreign wars started by the US [Wink]

Even as a Canadian, I'm thankful for the Chinese having no experience either way and I only wish that Americans had no experience either way too. Unfortunately, even after these two wars are over, I wouldn't bet any money that the US won't be doing any more self-initiated "learning".

I wanted to say this, but it got lost in my other thoughts. I too wish war was something that everyone in the world could lose a few IQ points concerning. But on the flip side, so many other inventions have come out of the war think tank.
Have they? Can we say for sure that silly putty wouldn't have been accidentily discovered even if they hadnt been trying to make synthetic oil?
No, but neither can we say for sure that people would have independently figured out all these things either.
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Juxtapose
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
There is nothing inherently bad about bigger cars. If they use only as much fuel as a smaller one, why not get a bigger one?

Actually, in some respects I think the size is, inherently, a problem. when cars are on average bigger, then roads and parking stalls have to be bigger. This tends to spread buildings out, which makes alternative forms of transportation less viable, which requires more cars.

While I agree there are benefits to larger cars, I'm having trouble thinking of one that, relative to smaller cars, benefits someone other than the owner/user. I'll also freely admit that the problem I mention above isn't really a problem in rural communities. Which is why I think making trucks and SUVs more fuel efficient is a good thing. Pretending as though consumer needs ought to be uniform is silly, but the "bigger is better" attitude is really one I think we ought to examine more as a country.

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
If everyone in the world drove 100MPG cars instead of SUVs, your country would be in a hole pretty quickly, or rather, a tar sand pit. In fact I imagine the steep decline in oil prices has already moved you towards that goal.
Believe me. I'd be the first one to cheer in a world of 100MPG cars. You know very little about Canadian politics if you think every Canadian from every region feels much pride about the tar sands or how much they pollute.
While that's true, we've also grown pretty accustomed to balanced budgets. Look at how effective the Conservatives were in the last election at painting the Liberals' (well, the Liberal leader's) Green Shift proposal as dangerous to the economy.

The budget was balanced back when oil was in the $30-40/barrel range, though, so I don't think it's accurate to attribute our current slide toward a FY2009 deficit solely to the decline in oil prices. I think it has at least as much to do with the economic meltdown in the U.S., given that the lion's share of our manufacturing exports go to the U.S. Declining commodity prices don't help, but on their own they shouldn't be enough to tip us into deficit unless the Conservatives' recent tax cuts were big enough to tip the balance (I'm not sure of the revenue loss numbers for the tax cuts, which I opposed).

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
While I agree there are benefits to larger cars, I'm having trouble thinking of one that, relative to smaller cars, benefits someone other than the owner/user.
Carpooling.
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fugu13
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Mucus: there are a number of methodologies that can be applied, but purchasing power parity is one suitable for income, not production.

In this case, price is pretty reasonable, because a lot of things we produce are bought in China (since China's ability to produce capital goods is still tiny), as well as other countries in the world at all levels of development. That is, if we were to adjust their goods upward due to being more valuable in relationship to what else could be bought, our products (at least the ones going to China and similar nations; the methodology is arguable) would need to receive the same adjustment.

The typical ppp adjustment would also be based on goods it doesn't really make sense to adjust manufactured goods based on -- food and the like. And doing an adjustment based on local prices of equivalent manufactured goods would result in much less adjustment.

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