When Chrysler is finally restructured according to the Obama Administrations directives, the workers will control the means of production. Well, fifty-five percent of it, with the US and Canadian governments getting ten percent each in lieu of loan repayments, while Fiat gets 35%.
What do the owners get? Evidently nothing. What do the creditors get? Fifty cents on the dollar, if they're lucky. If they refuse to play ball, maybe one third, or less, or nothing. Does this all sound vaguely familiar to anyone? The word expropriation comes to mind, for some odd reason.
Oh, and the poor Chrysler customer gets stuck with whatever rotten auto he might have been unfortunate enough to purchase. The different state lemon laws are now null-and-void. I dare somebody to make an obvious joke about making lemonade. Yeah, tell it to the dealers whose businesses are being abolished by the corporate decisions that will effectively close down one third of them. Tell it to their employees while you're at it.
Luckily, some dealers will get their own bail-out, subject to the terms of the bankruptcy proceedings, so its not all gloom and doom. That the company had to get permission to get the financing it needed from a separate financial institution after its own financial branch refused to do so is somewhat galling, but it looks as if somebody in Washington at least is awake enough to figure out you're not going to sell many cars without dealers.
There are other factors involved here. For one thing, this deal is only good until 2015, after which it will be renegotiated, probably in the Unions favor to avoid a general strike of some duration. By then, of course, depending on which Democratic Party members of Congress end up exercising the most influence over the next few years, the company might well be run into the ground, or off a cliff-or maybe even to the bottom of a tidal pond for all we know. If it is not, it will probably be thanks to the influence of Fiat, not the government.
The UAW looks to be the gift that keeps on giving, so obviously it would seem their new stake in the company is based on much more than the reputed worth of their health care insurance as determined by the terms of their past contracts. After all, GM is headed possibly in the same direction, but since their creditors have a much higher claim than did Chrysler's, the UAW only stands to gain 35% of that company. Greed was the undoing of the Chrysler creditors. Evidently, they just didn't have enough of it.
So now that the UAW are now apparently to become high-stakes owners of two companies, the majority owners of one of them, will anything rein in their own excesses? Doubtful.
After all, why bite the hand that hands over the campaign contributions? Where once these donations to the Democratic Party politicians came from the confiscated dues of the rank-and-file workers, now they will also come from the hoped-for profits of the company-otherwise known as anybody dumb enough to be a Chrysler from here on out-and also, by the way, the American taxpayer.
This then might well be the sign that people have long warned about, the dangers of the incremental implementation of socialism, with workers controlling the means of production while businesses are gradually expropriated owing to or based on the pretext of some pressing need or emergency.
It is quite telling that Marx's Das Kapital has seen a resurgence in popularity, becoming on the best-selling economic and business books in recent times.
No, of course its by no means proof that America is headed for a socialist path from which there is no hope of return. It just looks that way for now. But as bad as it does look, we can take some comfort in that, while there might be a problem stocking the showrooms with Chrysler vehicles, there is not likely to be long lines queuing outside the doors in desperation for one.
Does anybody really think Chrysler, utilizing the Fiat model, can produce a fuel efficient quality automobile at a reasonable price-under UAW control, and government oversight? It sounds like a losing proposition to me, and I'm not hopeful that the urge towards self-preservation in the long-term is going to overcome the greed that comes naturally along with government bureaucracy, money, and influence.
After all, as we all now pretty well know, even in the old Soviet Union, the workers never really controlled the means of production, did they?
The deed is done! One-fourth of the dealerships are now officially eliminated, and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in the process. One silver lining-you can probably buy a new Chrysler for about what you might pay for a big flat-screen television set, and a decent used one for about what you might put out for a decent ten-speed. Good luck finding a place for parts and repairs. My advice-stick with the ten-speed.
BRAIN FART ALERT!!!
Unless there's such thing as one-hundred ten-percent, The US and Canadian governments share of Chrysler is a combined ten percent total, not ten percent each. I hate to admit it, but when I tell people to "do the math" I'm not relaying helpful information, I'm asking for advice.