Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Lipstick Libertarian Explains Capitalism to You

GM's bad business decisions? Forced on them by previous bad business decisions--I mean, the workers did it. Megan literally can't imagine that bad business decisions are made for obvious, capitalistic reasons and that rampant capitalism can result in the demise of even large, storied, companies. Because that would be scary. So here's her explanation for why GM's problems are not actually GM's fault:

The company is scrambling to retool for small cars, and I'm sure we'll hear a loud chorus of voices saying that GM did this to themselves by becoming so dependent on light trucks. Well, they did, but I'm not sure it's fair to blame management. GM's historical pension and healthcare obligations, and the vast difficulties they have in permanently laying off workers, mean that the company had to maximize cash flow as best they could. (via Yglesias, who has the stomach to read this moron)
Megan, who thinks that world history begins, as Doghouse Riley so memorably observed, when her mother's contractions were two minutes apart, fails to grasp that "historical pension and healthcare obligations" were, in fact, earlier business decisions by management that made sense at the time. They weren't "giveaways" and they weren't government obligations (except insofar as not defaulting might have, once, been a legal requirement associated with pension and health care plans.) Megan, let me explain to you very, very, very slowly that GM made a ton of money off those earlier business decisions and simply was *too short sighted* to figure out when and how the gravy train would stop running. That's a bug of capitalism, not a feature of worker's rights.