Bailout Debate, Tough or Inapropriate and Clean Yard

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Good Morning,
We’ve got a lot to get to this morning and I think you’ll have a lot to say about the topics…at least I hope you do. Don’t forget to weigh in on the poll question…I’ll explain below…

The CEO’s of the Big 3 Automakers are again on Capitol Hill trying to explain why they should get $25 billion to keep their business afloat. Many of you will note that I wrote in favor the the banking bailout weeks ago. That was then, this is now.
The Banking Industry made one big mistake coupled with a wave of greed. To my reading of the situation, the Auto Industry has made so many mistakes and management and Labor have been so greedy the examples become too long to list.
I’d agree with the Iowa State Economics Professor we had on last night that said, let the Auto Industry go into Bankruptcy and let the government guarantee financing to see them through that restructuring. I’m willing to put my tax dollars up to save this industry but only if it’s going to be a competitive industry. That means changing the corporate and labor structure.

I agree management failed…get new managers. I also think the Union is in LALA land if it thinks that United Autoworkers are making “reasonable wages” The cost of making a car in the US is largely made up of the labor cost and it is simply not competitive with other automakers. That includes companies like Saturn, Honda, Toyota and BMW that are making cars right here in the US and are doing it without Union Labor. The Guys who head up this Union aren’t credible after you realize how much they’re making in a year. Read this article from the Detroit Free Press from last fall. Lets just say I don’t think I will NEVER make close to that kind of money.
How about the average worker? The AVERAGE cost of those workers is anywhere from $70-$78 PER HOUR! How many of you make that much? How many of you will EVER make that much. The average starting salary for a Broadcast Journalist is about $14/hour. If you’re generous and calculate the kind of benefits most of us get…lets go overboard and make it $30/hour. We’re not even close.
Unions serve a valuable purpose in many industries and can be an important way for workers to guarantee they’ll be treated fairly and paid a fare wage. How can we feel anything but insulted by the suggestion that these autoworkers are somehow the “victims” of bad management as this article on the Huffington Post suggests?
I think we can use the autoworkers as an example of that protection gone too far, and in many cases abused. No one wants to see the hundreds of thousands of people who work for this industry sent to the poor house but that doesn’t have to happen in order for GM, Ford or Chrysler to be competitive.

Tough Talk
As someone who is thinking a lot about being a parent these days, I can’t believe a Des Moines School Board Member would send an email to a student with a reference to oral sex in it. If you take an objective look at it, Jonathan Narcisse is someone who brings up topics no one wants to talk about. He shakes up the comfortable, ordered world of education and I think that’s probably a good thing.
That said, as usual, Jonathan has gone too far. He says he doesn’t care. I do.
Our Schooll Board Members should have better judgement than this and Jonathan knows it. I also think Jonathan would be the first to tell you that the kind of “tough talk” he’s giving this kid should be coming from his parents. If it doesn’t, it’s not the job of a government official to take the place of that parent.
Lastly, it appears Jonathan didn’t fully read the kid’s letter. He’s not some high school kid failing second grade math because he does nothing but wrestle. He’s no idiot. He’s a kid taking a math class he’s not supposed to be in for another two years. It’s a bad rule that keeps a kid out of an extracurricular activity because he didn’t overachieve…enough. It’s also a bad system that passes this kid into a class that he can’t handle. So how do you fix it?

Kids and Smoking
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since the tobacco companies settled with the States suing them? We had two experts on this morning talking about the efforts to keep kids from smoking. the point was, a lot of this money is going to plug budget holes and not going to the health programs it was intended for.

How Long Would you Wait?
I just got a call from a woman who heard us talking about today’s poll question. It stems from three experiences I had in the last week that kept me waiting. First was at an appointment I made. The sign in the waiting area said if I was 20 minutes late…I’d need to reschedule. The second was an appointment I had with someone to meet me at my home. They never showed up but I wasted two hours waiting. The third was an appointment where inexplicably, I wanted in an office for a half hour before just walking in and saying I’d reschedule. Now, let me be clear, I don’t think anyone was trying to be rude, and I’m sure in most cases they were more embarrassed than I was mad. I was however, in all of these instances, debating how long I’d wait before leaving. So I want to know how long you wait.

I have to go. As Always, feel free to disagree, comment or question anything you see here.

10:54 update: I forgot to add one more topic here. For the first time this fall, we used someone to do a fall clean-up.
At first I thought, this is not going to be worth it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My yard is cleaner and looks better than it ever has in the fall. It will be easier to deal with in the spring and the bonus is that I didn’t have to bag anything, or drag any of those bags out to the curb.
As Ferris Bueller said: If you have the means…. I highly recommend picking one up.


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