July 25, 2011

Quick Hits (072511, Early Afternoon)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 2:03 pm

Two simple graphs on how broke we are at Slate (HT Instapundit).

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On Thursday, Christopher Rugaber, one of my personal faves at the Associated Press (/sarc), actually recognizes what yours truly emphasized in the latter portions of myFear-Based Economy” column: “Economy’s spring slump could last through summer … as job market, manufacturing remain weak.” Maybe Rugaber was cribbing from the column.

Anyway, if you think it’s a “slump” now, wait until you see what happens if President Obama and Democrats get their way and increase taxes by trillions. But they keep pushing for that, which tells me that they don’t really care what happens to the economy, or how much the unemployed and their families continue to suffer.

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I’m with Ann Althouse on one aspect of the David Wu situation: If she was over 18 at the time of the alleged sexual assault and did not report it to the police, I don’t see why the press is keeping her name out of the story.

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Apparently the UAW is salivating at the idea of unionizing a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Workers there need to be reminded what happened to the last UAW plant VW had in the U.S. Full disclosure: The first new car I purchased was a Rabbit made at that plant. It was a very good car, but apparently the company couldn’t afford to make them profitably.

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Rebound? What Rebound?” –the I’ve-lost-count update: In the car business, “We Are Sorry To Inform You That The Big Turnaround Has Been Postponed For Another Year.”

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Speaking of the car business and the UAW: It’s contract-negotiating time with what used to be the Big Three, but which is now Ford, Government Motors, and the $1.3 billion taxpayer loss known as Chrysler, now 53.5% owned by Fiat (Of course, we must never forget that additional billions were illegally extracted from Chrysler’s non-TARP secured lenders).

So Ford gets to negotiate with an entity which owns about 10% of one of its competitors and 40% of another, both of which have agreed to no-strike contract clauses that won’t expire for several years. Don’t think for a minute that Team Obama, which orchestrated what has been proven to be a bogus yet damaging safety scare campaign against Toyota last year, isn’t continuously doing a cost-benefit calculation on forcing a strike at Ford.

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Relating to the previous item and feeding the need for the aforementioned cost-benefit calculation, the fact that the government may have to hurt Ford to prop up GM is evidenced by:

  • The presence of 605,000 vehicles in GM dealer inventories as of the end of June, a supply of well over 90 days (122 days in trucks), and a stunning 38% higher than a year ago. Six-month supplies of certain trucks at certain dealers are apparently not unusual.
  • The fact that the company has brought back financing arrangements of no payments for 90 days.
  • (Informally learned) The fact that the company is more willing to bend the credit rules to approve buyers with shaky — even very shaky — credit.

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At the Wall Street Journal this morning, with perhaps the dumbest argument about a commerce-releated initiative I’ve ever seen (in bold):

McKinsey & Co. made itself the White House’s public enemy number—well, we’ve lost count—after releasing a survey last month showing that nearly one in three businesses may drop insurance coverage as a result of the new health-care law. The real offense of the management consultants seems to be accurately portraying reality.

Consider a suggestive new survey to be released today by the National Federation of Independent Business, the trade group for small businesses. William Dennis, a senior research fellow who has conducted the study for 35 years, reports that 57% of a cross-section of companies that employ 50 or fewer workers and offer coverage may stop doing so. Look out below.

ObamaCare’s partisans claim none of this will happen because of the social norm theories of behavioral economics. Businesses offer insurance to attract workers, the thinking goes, and it’s the right thing to do. But that assumes utter irrationality—that workers won’t take a cheaper deal when they see it and businesses won’t try to compete against their rivals.

The argument is so dumb that you have to know it’s a smokescreen. Obamacare adherents consider the disappearance of employer-provided health insurance a feature, not a bug — as long as the government effectively takes it all over through its harsh, strangulating regulation of the exchanges.

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2 Comments

  1. The only Mass Layoffs I would be happy with is when Federal Workers and all incumbents in DC lose their Jobs !!!!

    Read:

    Return of Mass Layoffs a Grim Sign for U.S. Workers

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/return-mass-layoffs-grim-sign-u-workers-190228219.html

    Comment by Gregory — July 25, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  2. Greg, thx for the comment. I noted the link at the first item in last Friday’s quick hits.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 25, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

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