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Friday, June 12, 2009

GM Demise, Nicotine Nazis & Other Ramblings

GM Demise & Other Reports (my politically incorrect ramblings)

Guess the American taxpayer now owns about 60% of General Motors…does that mean we get a free car or great options?

In reality, there are many reasons behind the demise of GM.

· They didn’t keep up with emerging trends toward fuel efficient, affordable cars
· The rising cost of retirement pensions and health care have hurt them
· Some would say union wages have hurt them

Regardless of the reasons, GM had a 75+ year run and the old cliché about “what’s good for GM is good for the country,” no longer holds true. I know many of my relatives retired from GM and they’re none-too-happy.

A number of years ago I was flying to Washington DC to give a speech. Seated next to me was a postal governor and she explained to me that the major reason behind postal rate hikes (at least back then…now, fuel costs contribute greatly) were the annual increases in pension and health-care costs. It was killing them (and us). Few industries today offer a policy of working for only 20 years with a generous, full benefit pension policy. You’re darn lucky to get a pension…period!

Perhaps it is time we get some kind of national health insurance in place. It goes against my grain in many ways, however, America is less competitive internationally because of the lack of such a program. I submitted my plan to President Obama even before he was elected. My plan for a national health program would be paid in part by adding a monthly premium to auto and/or home owners insurance policies, creating a larger subscriber pool. The number one reason for US personal bankruptcies is due to uninsured medical costs, which destroys a lot of family finances.

After just a few months of relief at the pump, cheap gasoline is disappearing.
"Gas prices have risen 41 days in a row, to a national average of almost $2.62 a gallon. That is a sharp increase from the low of $1.62 a gallon that prevailed at the end of last year ... The national jump in prices, far larger than the normal seasonal increase, is pulling billions of dollars from the pockets of drivers. It threatens to curtail a modest recovery in consumer spending on items like apparel and electronics." –June 9th-New York Times
You’ve heard me state it before…the era of cheap gasoline is over with. Perhaps now is the time to take advantage of the President’s plan of offering $4500 rebates if you trade-in your old gas guzzler for a new, fuel-efficient model. This might help spur auto sales, but most Americans can’t afford the new car payment anyhow!
They need decent paying jobs first. More than 50,000 car dealership employees stand to lose their job.

Nicotine Nazis

Since the propaganda of medical types are convinced that smoking is worse than sex was to Victorians most citizens will doubtless think prohibiting tobacco (the real proposal; regulation by the FDA is merely the first step) is a fine solution that will lower health-care-related costs even though the battle-cry of the last thirty years has had no effect.
The usual logic was applied: you may not smoke, but all diseases are tobacco-caused so either you are ill because of “second hand smoke” or you took a puff behind the woodshed when you were thirteen and forty years later you got cancer because of it. Smoking has become the easy, automatic answer for cause of death and is probably implicated in cases of suicide and car crashes…and for raising cash for the government.
A black market will surely spring up, which may account for the BATF ruling that all purchases of fifty cartons or more must be reported to them! Even if all taxes are paid. Seriously. You have to fill out a form including your license plate number and full personal data. Smuggling is a fine business opportunity, just ask Mexican drug runners. Does anyone remember American history? One of our founding fathers, John Hancock, was a smuggler.

That’s it for this week. As always, I provide useful stuff. Get your own copy of our 155+page reports…45 Ways to Make a Living Without a Job and How to Live Better on Less by sending an email to:

Yours for better living,
Bruce David

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