Monday, September 29, 2008

Fools! They're all fools! =)

To continue my post about the $700 billion bailout, I find some of the stuff I read about it fascinating. The vote for the bailout failed today, and my stocks tanked. Grand total, my stocks lost precisely $1,976.29 of their value today. That's okay--I really don't mind! =) They'll go back up, eventually. In the meantime, I can keep buying stocks at low, low prices.

But the part that fascinates me is what I read in the media. It seems to me that a lot of people genuinely believe the bailout will actually cost taxpayers $700 billion dollars. It's a huge misrepresentation, and largely unfair. Wall Street doesn't deserve to be bailed out, yadda, yadda, yadda. I've read that many congressmen who actually want the bailout to pass voted against it or abstained from voting because elections are just a few weeks away and it would "look bad." And heck, if Obama and McCain can actually agree that the bailout is a good thing, you gotta think there might actually be something to it. What do we elect politicans for if it's not to make the tough choices? Alas, many of them are more interested in getting reelected than doing the right thing. I can't say I agree with everything Bush has done, but at least he does what he thinks is right. Gotta give him credit for that.

The biggest irony I find, however, is that it's actually possible that the bailout would make money in the end. We aren't just giving away $700 billion with no strings attached. We, the taxpayers, would be buying very real assests with real values, possibly for a fraction of their true value. (I'll pause here to let you finish laughing.) But seriously.... there's absolutely no reason that the US government can't get back every cent that's loaned for this bailout, plus interest and expenses, and maybe even a little extra. But that number is just so darned large, it frightens a lot of people. I don't think the media does a very good job of explaining that a $700 billion payout doesn't mean it'll actually cost taxpayers $700 billion in the end. I wonder how much stock holders lost today with the bailout failure? I suspect it might be greater than $700 billion, although I haven't found any hard numbers to back that up.

But that's okay--I'll keep buying stocks as I can, and smile that stocks will stay so much cheaper that much longer. =)

In other news, what I really wanted to talk about, was the strike at Boeing. I think it's utterly, irresponsibly stupid. A couple of years back when the machinists went on strike, I felt Boeing was being stupid and idiotic. This time, I think it's the machinists that are shooting themselves in the foot.

When they first voted to strike this time, I read that 80% of the union members voted against the contract, but 87% voted to strike! Which means that there are at least 7% of the people there who actually supported the contract but wanted to strike anyhow? That's screwed up. My gut feeling is that there are a lot of hard feelings, and many of those who voted to strike just wanted to strike out of spite. Not all, perhaps not even most, but a sizeable number. That's a stupid reason to go on strike.

And the main sticking point for them? Job security! Are these people out of their minds? There's no such thing as job security. When Boeing starts to develop the 797 and they need to decide where to assemble the plane, what do you think is going to happen? "Well, we could assemble it in Everett, but they like to strike all the time which causes problems. Perhaps assembling it in some other location where they're less likely to strike would be prudent?"

Shooting themselves in the foot. Boeing must stay competitive, and if that means outsourcing some of their chores, that's what they need to do. And it's not necessarily a bad thing either. If developing countries such as China have a financial interest to buy from Boeing--such as manufacturing some parts in China--they can sell more planes and have more business in Washington.

And while many people in this country are facing foreclosures, loss of jobs, and so forth, the machinists feel now is the best time to walk off the job?

Good luck with that. I think the machinists will cry uncle before Boeing does this time around.

But there is a serious morale problem with regards to the machinists. I'm not sure there's any simple or easy solution for it, but I do think they're shooting themselves in the foot with this strike. And if the worst should happen, and your job does get offshored to some other country, find a new one. I've been laid off twice now. It's not the end of the world. If you're good at your job, there will be another one available.

No comments: