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Oct 21, 2009 7:52 pm
BondGuy:

[quote=Squash1]The auto industry is a great example… People who didnt’ graduate highschool making $90K a year doing nothing(They didn’t even put the parts on at the end, the computer did) and still no quality american cars.



Sq, not trying to pick a fight, but there is a lot of prejudice in this post. First, as i’ve posted several times on this board my American made SUV has been a much better vehicle than has been one of my other vehicles, a Japanese made sedan. It’s also better than at least one of the german made cars I’ve owned over the past ten years. Additionally, two other American made sedans in the fleet are every bit as good as any Japanese car i’ve ever owned. And i’ve owned about ten of those. So, the “still no quality in american cars” comment is a baseless perception, not a reality. This is confirmed by the head of Honda USA in his recent comments in that there is no longer a quality gap between Honda’s cars and American cars. For that reason he says, Honda must find a new way to compete. Additionally, he admits that the fuel saving technology on the current crop of American cars surpasses that offered by Honda. Honda will shorten its product cycle to get more competitive cars to market sooner than expected.



Doesn’t sound like Americans cars have no quailty.



As for 90k a year workers without a HS diploma doing nothing, again a very prejudiced POV. The days of Rivithead are long passed.



As for the rip on lack of education, don’t confuse that with work ethic or intelligence.



A story:



25 years ago a poor Immgrant went to a church in NYC to apply for a job as a janitor. When he was handed an application he looked at it and said he didn’t know how to read or write. The church administrator said he would fill it out if the man could sign it. The man said he didn’t know how to write his name. The administrator, frustrated, told him he couldn’t help him and sent him away.



Time went on. The immigrant went on to find a job as a brik layer. he worked hard and after few years he started his own crew. He got jobs as a subcontrator. He worked hard and it paid off. 20 years later he had built one of the largst masonry companies in the tri-state area. he was a millionaire many times over. He had learned to read and write.



Still, he liked to test the people he was dealing with. And so it was that he found himself in the sixith floor office of a law firm to complete his latest deal. The lawyer handed him a pen and asked him to sign the contract. He stood up and asked the lawyer to follow him to the window. he pointed out the window and said “Do you see that church down there? If I could sign my name i’d be the janitor in that church!” With that he gaged the lawyer’s stunned reaction, winked at his lawyer,and smiled.



Don’t judge a book by its cover. how many times do we need to learn that lesson?



And by the way, the head, as in the top, the highest, etc etc, doc in charge of John Hopkins Hospital oncology department, an immigrant and one time high school drop out. [/quote]



Not baseless… I have ownen 6 GM cars(chevy, pontiac, buick) and 3 Ford(ford, mercury lincoln)… I have also owned 4(foreign, bmw, hyundai, nissan, honda)… The foreign cars with routine maintenance required no additional work(oil changes, tire rotations, mile check ups)… However all 9 american cars have had issues(alternators in first 2 years, transmissions, gear/shift thing, head gasket, and more)…



My comment regarding pay and education was this. I am all for working hard and advancing yourself. However a high school diploma then a $75k starting salary doesnt equate. Also getting paid full wages not to work during times of layoffs isn’t exactly work ethic.



My dad built a business from the ground up with a lot of hard work and nothing more than a high school education

However we all know college teaches people how to think effectively. Some jobs require a deeper thought and knowledge process then a high school diploma could provide.



In regards to your example, I am sure the head of oncology went to med school eventually(the story would be more impressive if he didn’t).



I remember seeing an interview with a former GM executive and he stated quality did fall off for a period of time. It may be back now but it wasn’t always that way.



In regards to fuel efficiency, i find it hard to believe that the American cars are doing better. Maybe in theory and future cars(two things with american cars that never quite seem to come to fruition) but in availability in the market place I don’t see it.



Oct 22, 2009 12:09 am

There are great "American" cars made in the Mid - South, using non-union labor and rigorous quality control and mainly Japanese Engineering. If Americans just focus more on great stuff that is made in America, we can be enjoy good "stuff" that has value. The Japanese have proven to be our friends (by investing here). If China doesn't start buying more American goods or investing here, we should avoid the made in China label. We can do that, and still be good capitalists.

By the way, are any of the liberal stewards of capitalism and OPM  here ready to admit that the economic policy being set by the executive branch appears to be corrupt?   What about tax cuts for small business, elimination of corporate taxes, not encouraging the unions, not trying to take over a fifth of the economy for starters? Yes, I believe in free trade, I'm talking about individuals making rational choices. How long are we going to stand around and hope Washington does the right thing?   What are you telling your clients, that the short term time frames being taken regarding economic decision making are good for the market and the stewardship of American capital for the long term?
Oct 22, 2009 8:28 am

Miley - I like the “stewards of capitalism and OPM”.



I’m no liberal. But I’m not sure the EB is corrupt just yet. Obama appears to be pissing everybody off, except a few. I know that it’s hard to see it this way, but that’s the way to go. The lower Bush’s approval ratings got, the more I liked him.



Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. My hope is that Obama will get to that point. He’s not there yet.   And may never get there, but it’s a possibility.

Oct 22, 2009 1:06 pm

[quote=Squash1]

Not baseless… I have ownen 6 GM cars(chevy, pontiac, buick) and 3 Ford(ford, mercury lincoln)… I have also owned 4(foreign, bmw, hyundai, nissan, honda)… The foreign cars with routine maintenance required no additional work(oil changes, tire rotations, mile check ups)… However all 9 american cars have had issues(alternators in first 2 years, transmissions, gear/shift thing, head gasket, and more)…


SQ, you really lucked out with those foreign cars.My luck with Foreign name plates has been mediocre at best. Four trouble free Honda Accords, and two solid Civics. Two problem child Camrys, one very troubled Accord, one Accord that gets a C, a BMW 535 that a real mess from day one, another 535 that was more trouble than it was worth. A BMW motorcycle that dropped its entire bottom end less than 1000 miles into ownership.

I've had problems with American cars as well. However, Based on my experience there isn't anything gained from buying a foreign name plate. Name any brand of car and you will find a fan club and yahoo group of complainers. They are massed produced in less than 20 hours. Some aren't going to be right.

When the head of Honda comes out and says that for the first time in 20 years they are going to have to change their game plan,  the reason being that the quality gap has been bridged, I think that's valid.
My comment regarding pay and education was this. I am all for working hard and advancing yourself. However a high school diploma then a $75k starting salary doesnt equate. Also getting paid full wages not to work during times of layoffs isn't exactly work ethic.   Why doesn't it equate? Most kids go to college to get white collar jobs. Who does that leave to get dirty fingernails? We don't build anything in this country, in part, because we don't have the work force to do it. We have plenty of college educated engineers to tell you how to build it, and plenty of marketing people to sell it once its built, but someone to actually turn a screwdriver or operate a machine press, nope, not too many of those.

Getting paid full wages kept the skilled workforce in tact. The ability to lay off or call that force back on short notice was a valuble tool for a long time.

  Managing a workforce the size of the auto workers is difficult. They are large enough to be an Army. However, unlike the military, they don't live by authoritarian rule. Better to keep them happy than have them pissed off at you. In fact, it was the mistreatment of the workforce that lead to the Rivitthead mentality of phoning it in on the assembly line. This played a large part in the quality issues the big three experienced in the seventies and eighties. I'm not saying that i agree with everything the UAW did, just that i understand the thinking.

My dad built a business from the ground up with a lot of hard work and nothing more than a high school education
However we all know college teaches people how to think effectively. Some jobs require a deeper thought and knowledge process then a high school diploma could provide.   College doesn't teach anyone how to think. Most college courses do not relate to the real world. How many times did you hear a college prof say "You'll never use this but i have to teach it to you because it's part of the course? College isn't necessary for most careers outside of technical professional. And even with some of those, not needed. definately not neede to make a lot of maney. Even on Wall Street. You probably use GNMAS in your practice. They were invented by a guy without a college degree. In fact, the story, unofficial, is that he was a high school dropout. Thought processes don't get much deeper than figuring out how to securitize a government program.

In regards to your example, I am sure the head of oncology went to med school eventually(the story would be more impressive if he didn't).

I remember seeing an interview with a former GM executive and he stated quality did fall off for a period of time. It may be back now but it wasn't always that way.

In regards to fuel efficiency, i find it hard to believe that the American cars are doing better. Maybe in theory and future cars(two things with american cars that never quite seem to come to fruition) but in availability in the market place I don't see it.   Better fuel efficiency is a fact. The malibu out performs both camry and Accord. The Fusion may as well.

[/quote]
Oct 22, 2009 1:19 pm

" I’m no liberal. But I’m not sure the EB is corrupt just yet. Obama appears to be pissing everybody off, except a few. I know that it’s hard to see it this way, but that’s the way to go. The lower Bush’s approval ratings got, the more I liked him.

Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. My hope is that Obama will get to that point. He’s not there yet.   And may never get there, but it’s a possibility. "

  Well said, I  appreciate what you're saying here.   I witness the devaluation of the dollar, corruption of government and big corporations, unions, overpopulation of the earth, and life not getting better for many Americans.   Bottom line, a lot of things that seem wrong may work out in the long term.
Oct 22, 2009 1:24 pm

[quote=Milyunair]

  By the way, are any of the liberal stewards of capitalism and OPM  here ready to admit that the economic policy being set by the executive branch appears to be corrupt?   [/quote]   I have never understood this line of thinking. No offense Milyunair, but that's just rhetoric.   I have said here before that people are creatures of motivation. With that said, what is the motivation for someone in the Executive Branch to be "corrupt"? If you are inferring the president is corrupt (not his aides, etc.), that is a baffling presumption. I mean, the man is the leader of the free world. Neither he or his family will ever want again for the rest of their lives. What does he have to gain by bending the nation toward his "liberal agenda"? Whether you agree with his policies or not, I have a hard time believing that he (just as W) is doing anything other that what he thinks is best for the country.   Now, I think you would have an argument if you assume that only those with money or influence have the ear of the president, but those have been the people who stand to have a lot to lose by the decisions he is making. I even think you have a reasonable basis to be critical of social programs that benefit those that are not actively contributing to society, and by extension being critical of those who support them without prejuidice. I don't think you can essentially say "liberals are trying to ruin the country" (my interpretation of your criticism).
Oct 22, 2009 1:31 pm

Sorry, did not finish the previous post.

  Bottom line, imports (including oil) are going to get more expensive. Even the automotive bailout, if it ultimately makes us less dependent on oil, may be a good decision.   Republicans don't (should not) start wars. We have a vast land with plenty of resources and a relatively small population. There are natural limits to government spending, and I believe many Americans will become aware and  resentful of government (pensions) in the next couple of years.   Ironically, the old Economics 101 concepts of comparative advantage and free trade are wearing thin, and I trust Americans to discern the "fairness" of too much government, unions, and too much wealth redistribution in general.   We really need to make smart decisions about energy, and I'll stay neutral in my judgement about EB performance in that department for now. I understand the historical implications of a weak dollar, but I believe we're arriving at a point where the American right and left can find some common ground around job creation - which reinforces the importance of paying more attention to small business.   I believe the innovative power of America, backed by a few new gas-fired power plants, can be unleashed to provide cheap transportation, better food, North American made homes, and (domestic) entertainment.   Maybe there will be an American made computer. At this point, I'd pay extra.
Oct 22, 2009 1:54 pm

 It’s not  okay for me to say that Obama is corrupt, because I don’t have any proof.

  Generally power corrupts. As capitalists, and I mean that literally, as investors, we seek return on capital.   The return on capital of owning the presidency, as you point out, satisfies all personal material wants, which leaves any judgement on my part subjective until there is proof of material corruption.   I was worried before the election and did not vote for the man, but I think he is largely selling out the folks who voted him to office.   You have to look at the areas where most Americans, liberal or conservative, could probably agree.   1. With seven billion people, the world is a smaller place. Global warming is not the issue, sustainability is the issue.   2. In general, big business and big government are corrupt. ( I mean, there is waste, inefficiency, the accretion of other people's labor to favor individuals in a big way).   3. I'm not saying we don't need factories or government, I'm saying they need to be limited.   4. Obama favors a coalition of big government, unions, big corps, special interest, and is corrupt, just like almost every other power broker.   5. When he ignores the development of small business (in a recession) - he demonstrates corruption.     The new economy looks like: buying less stuff, having more freedom (you are the boss), paying less taxes, minimizing regulation, having more free time, eating healthier food, enjoying you big screen and driving less.   And being less reliant on a string of super tankers that stretches between here and the Middle East.   In the sense that Obama represented himself as being an agent of change away from greater economic complexity and economic dependence (globalization), I believe so far he has caved into the unions, corporate lobbyists, and government hubris (he let's Congress call the shots).   Compared to what needs to be happening right now (cut small business payroll taxes, use government policy to promote energy independence, use government policy to promote competition in health care instead of using it to take it over and create more unions) ... Obama looks old school.   Unfortunately, the calling to successfully lead the world right now involves an unprecedented mixture of capitalism and government policy.   You would hope that a man who has all of his material wants satisfied could think for himself and stand tall, but I'm having my doubts.    
Oct 22, 2009 2:15 pm

Sorry for the long posts, but I guess this is my thread and it’s a free country and you choose to read, so screw it.

  Simply stated,   1. We have exported the good jobs and we are dependent on imports for much of our energy.   2. We've been so busy trying to save the world that our lives are not really improving.   3. We need to cut government, yet create jobs. Since small business creates 70% of new jobs, payroll tax cuts would be a good start.   4. If we have to borrow or print the money to do that, we should at least do that now. As the dollar devalues, that creates more problems, so we should cut government.   5. As the dollar devalues, imports are more expensive. We need to rethink what we produce and what we consume if we want to enjoy a good quality of life.   6. Our costs are never going to be as low as China. Most (urban( Chinese people live in rabbit hutches in crowded, polluted cities where experience corruption and fear about personal expression.   7. When the dollar is worth less, anything imported will eventually cost more. You'll need to buy American.   8. To avoid the corruption of unions and big business (which favors government and taxes on you personally) - you need to start buying from smaller businesses, when possible.   9. All of this is good for the Earth, and it is good personal economics. You may not care that children are starving some where right now or that a cloud of coal dust is reaching America from China, but sometimes the stars line up and doing the right thing is good for all.   I'm not trying to be extreme here, but when you look out fifty years, it kind of hits you in the face. Nine billion people, do you want your kids depending on the Middle East for energy and the economy dependent on the successful importation and sale of the next generation of cell phones?   Be a good capitalist and figure out how you can reward good behaviour and punish ignorance and corruption, and "profit".
Oct 23, 2009 11:07 am

Ok, so my former sales assistant calls me and says that “everybody got a new Merrill baseball cap today”.  She says it’s kind of funky looking.  I ask her if she will look at the label and tell where it was made.  She laughed and said she’d have to get back to me because she already gave hers away. 

Anyway, she calls me back and says it was made in China.  Good ol’ BofAMERICA.  I would guess conservatively that they had to have distributed at least 20 to 30 thousand of these.  And then it reminded me shortly before I left the company, EVERY employee got a stupid travel mug.  200 HUNDRED THOUSAND travel mugs (Omar, I bet you got one).  And this was days after Ken Lewis announced his plan to reduce the workforce by 35,000. 

To top it off… where were these travel mugs produced?  In China of course.

Go bank of ?America?

my rant.