"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Word About Detroit Labor Costs

Note that the widely-reported difference between hourly compensation costs at the "Big" Three and the nonunion U.S. auto plants understates the cost disadvantage of the former, as the work rules and other factors force GM, Ford, and Chrysler to use more manhours per vehicle than is the case for the others. Hence, the per-vehicle cost disadvantage is greater than the mere difference in hourly compensation. And this is quite apart from the adverse effect of the jobs bank and other legacy costs, which are not relevant on the margin per vehicle produced, but which must be paid and thus are relevant in terms of the ability of the Three to attract private capital. As they sang in the original "M.A.S.H.," suicide (i.e., bankruptcy) is painless, brings on many changes, etc. All for the better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Starting Point

I submit that any legitimate argument made by proponents of an auto industry bailout (especially those in Congress) must begin with this graph. Anything else is the work of a scoundrel.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Queen Mother Goes Off the Reservation

Elton John, perhaps the world's best-known Gay Guy, is getting flack for his lack of outrage at California's Proposition 8 winning a majority of the vote:

"I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership," John says. "The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off.

"You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships."

Elton seems OK with his legally secured equal rights without demanding further "equal rights." Interesting. I wonder if Judy Garland will stop buying his records.

The thing is, there's been very little resistance in America against the establishment of the concept of civil unions. This speaks well of the American people, I think. We aren't cementheads: we're a fair, just, reasonable and compassionate people. There's not a single American who doesn't know a gay-oriented person or doesn't have one [or more] in their family. It's abominably stupid to ban anyone from a hospital visit or from inheriting a house that he/she has lived in for most of their adult life. America has recognized this already.

On the other hand, using legal mechanisms, especially the courts, to take away freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, of reason, about what "marriage" means...well, that's not fair, just or compassionate either.

I think Mr. John got it about right here. Well done, Sir Elton.