No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for July 19th, 2010

Bleg time

by @ 19:33. Filed under Miscellaneous.

No, not for me – I wouldn’t do that to you. R.S. McCain wants to blame Erik Telford in person for not getting a speaking gig at RightOnline, and he needs your cash. Since I’m the bastard that launched this round of #BlameErikTelford, I feel honor-bound to ask you readers to help Stacy make it out to Vegas along with Uncle Fred, a whole heap of friends, and me.

If you have the means, make it a large donation so he can actually fly out instead of zombie-driving with his 17-year-old son.

Government/UAW Motors and closed dealerships – an alternate take

by @ 15:53. Tags:
Filed under Business, Politics - National.

Most of my friends are seizing on the wrong aspect of the report on Government/UAW Motors’ closing of dealerships from TARP’s Special Inspector General. Private (or putatively private) enterprise, especially one in such bad financial shape that it is in bankruptcy, does not have a responsibility to be an employment-for-all agency. Indeed, government has neither the responsibility nor the authority to be an employment-for-all agency.

Rather, it’s the processes used by Government Motors and UAW Motors to shut down certain dealers, and the acceleration of the shutdowns ordered by the Obama administration’s Auto Team, that bear scrutiny. The report noted that the Auto Team ignored advice given by both the companies and outside experts that a rapid shutdown to match foreign car companies’ models might not be appropriate, “particularly in small markets in which the U.S. companies currently have a competitive advantage.” Indeed, both Chrysler execs and at least one outside expert told the Auto Team that shutting down dealers in the middle of a recession could hurt sales even worse and in such a way that it would take years to recover.

The report also noted that in the wake of legislated arbitration applying to both Government Motors and UAW Motors, a senior GM official stated that the final number of dealerships wouldn’t affect the recovery of GM. Taken together with the 216 GM dealerships restored (out of 1,454 cut) and 50 UAW Motors dealerships restored (out of 789 cut), the report “suggests, at the very least, that the number and speed of the terminations was not necessarily critical to the manufacturers’ viability.” At the same point, the report notes Ford Motor Company is closing dealerships at the rate GM had wanted to in its Treasury-rejected February 2009 restructuring plan.

Along the same lines, the report states that the lead advisors for the Auto Team, Ron Bloom and Steven Rattner, did not consider cost savings to be a factor in determining the need for dealership closures. You heard right – there was no business case made by the Auto Team to close the dealerships that were closed. Indeed, it was only after Congress demanded a cost-savings analysis that GM ginned one up out of whole cloth.

While UAW Motors appeared to follow its set of guidelines, the report noted that those guidelines included subjective elements such as choosing which dealers get to add product lines they previously did not carry and whether the market served was a “desirable” one as part of an implementation of Project Genesis (a pre-bankruptcy plan to have every Chrysler Group dealership carry every Chrysler Group brand). In at least one unnamed market, subjectivity cost the top-performing Jeep dealership its franchise in favor of a slightly-lower-performing Dodge dealership in the same market, with only the explanation that UAW Motors wanted the Dodge dealership and a pair of poorer-performing Chrysler/Dodge dealerships, to sell Jeeps.

Further, UAW Motors didn’t include an appeals process for those dealers axed. The stated reason was they wanted to be rid of those 789 dealers by the time they exited bankruptcy.

As for Government Motors, while the purported criteria for selecting their wound-down dealerships were all objective, the report noted that undeterminable factors outside those measures were used to wind down dealerships, including at least two dealerships who otherwise would not have been wound down. GM did not document why some dealers that met wind-down criteria were wound down while others were not, nor did they have complete criteria data for 308 of their then-5,591 dealerships.

While GM did have an appeals process for dealerships selected to be wound down, it was a criteria-free process. GM did not provide guidance for the data dealerships were to submit as part of their appeal, did not establish criteria for the review of the appeal, and did not document the reasonings behind the decisions to either grant or deny the appeal.

All in all, the report leaves the possibility that the closure of dealerships was, at least partially, driven by politics and especially the donation records of the principals of the dealerships, wide open.

Hope, change, a return to gravel roads

by @ 14:07. Filed under Politics.

(H/T – Purple Avenger)

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest victim of the POR Economy – paved roads. With declining tax revenues and skyrocketing petroleum-based asphalt costs (left unmentioned except in the comments over at Ace of Spades HQ is the skyrocketing cost of government), more and more localities that are faced with rebuilding roads are simply completing the job of ruining the pavement and going to gravel roads.

I could look on the negative side (the dust that’s kicked up, the paint chips and cracked windshields from the flying gravel, the slower speeds and more numerous accidents forced by the uneven traction inherent in a gravel road, the more-frequent maintenance required, the increased likelyhood of a road closure after a good rainfall), or I could look at this as creating and saving a lot of road maintenance and auto repair jobs. Given I’m about to quote the Avenger’s close, guess which outlook applies:

Its all part of the Ogabe junta’s master plan to punish America and reduce the lifestyle gap between us and the 3rd world.

Monday Hot Read – Tom McMahon’s “Pomposity and Hypocrisy in Wisconsin”

by @ 13:40. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

I don’t know how many times I’ve told you to read 4-Block World, but it’s time to tell you again. Today’s 4-Block deals with the two Democrats running at the top of the ballot in Wisconsin and just one of their “do as I say” moments:

Once again, I’ve made the executive decision to shut down comments here.

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