Monday, April 21, 2008

More Tax Breaks To Big Business

Shocker of the week! Our corporate-friendly government is preparing to hand out $40 million in tax breaks to “downtrodden” Ford and General Motors .

Awwww. Those poor “downtrodden” auto manufacturers! They’re so oppressed! And beleaguered! Whah!

Ford and GM both have shuttered their American plants, putting Americans out of work while opening factories in Mexico to take advantage of the cheap labor of a developing country. It’s not just factories and assembly plants that have moved overseas: in 2006 GM outsourced $15 billion in IT work to India.

Remember when all of those laid-off assembly-line workers were supposed to be “retrained” to work in new, “high-tech” industries? How’s that working out for everybody?

As if that’s not a kick in the gut, these companies continued to ignore obvious market and economic trends in the U.S., producing gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs that no one wants to buy. Check out this story from April 2006 about GM’s new $650 million assembly plant in Mexico. It was supposed to be okay because it's to build small “subcompact” cars that no U.S. customer would want:
Even with gasoline prices averaging $2.50 a gallon, there's little demand in the United States for such subcompact cars as the Chevrolet Aveo, said Catherine Madden, a senior analyst with Global Insight.

Gas prices would have to rise to $4 a gallon and remain there for a year to spur demand for subcompacts, Madden said.

"There's not a lot of indication that Gen Y is going to jump into the subcompact segment," Madden said.

GM sold 68,000 Chevrolet Aveos in the United States last year. Demand is much stronger for compact and subcompacts in Mexico and South America.

Yes, that’s the brilliant thinking that has Toyota in a dead heat with GM to be the world’s top automaker. Meanwhile, Honda and Nissan had sales increases this quarter, while Ford and GM continue to tank.

Way to go, Ford and GM. And we’re supposed to bail out these clowns with $40 million in tax breaks this year? Whatever happened to the "free hand of the market"?

We’re long past the days when the old adage ”What’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa” rings true. Because these companies no longer care about what’s good for the country (if they ever did). They care only about what’s good for their bottom line, and right now that happens to be good for Mexico and India--not so good for America.

When will we stop rewarding these corporate giants whose business policies do not benefit American workers?