Monday, February 16, 2009

Riddle me this, Batman....

How come a bunch of people from the organization that can't get the mail across town in three days and that pays $500 for a hammer think they have any business empowering commissars to lecture people on efficiency and fiscal responsibility? If the car manufacturers are that screwed, maybe it's time to let them circle the drain instead of throwing Monopoly money at them and commanding them to magically revive by haring off down the trail of some mystical Strength-Through-Joy Electric People's Mobile that will have to be subsidized to the gills if it wants to undercut the Maybach on price and will be about as fun to drive as a Jawa Sandcrawler stuck in first gear.

Then we have this gem:
He has scheduled a "fiscal-responsibility summit" on Feb. 23 and will unveil a budget blueprint three days later, crafted to put pressure on politicians to address the country's surging long-term debt crisis.
Obama scheduling a "fiscal-responsibility summit" would be like Hunter S. Thompson scheduling an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It’s good to see that the party that took Congress in 2006 on a platform of fiscal responsibility is sticking to their “Pay-As-You-Go” guns.

Mahomet on a motorscooter, we are living out Atlas Shrugged, except we have no Hank Rearden or Dagny Taggart, just a bunch of Mouches and Boyles.

17 comments:

reflectoscope said...

Come on, Tam! Don't you know that the One knows what is best for you, and will take away all your money and guns so you have no way of proving him wrong?

Grazie for the snark to go with coffee this morning.

Jim

pdb said...

British Leyland, here we come!

Turk Turon said...

"If the car manufacturers are that screwed, maybe it's time to let them circle the drain instead of throwing Monopoly money at them and commanding them to magically revive by haring off down the trail of some mystical Strength-Through-Joy Electric People's Mobile that will have to be subsidized to the gills if it wants to undercut the Maybach on price and will be about as fun to drive as a Jawa Sandcrawler stuck in first gear."

Wow!

Ken said...

How come a bunch of people from the organization that can't get the mail across town in three days and that pays $500 for a hammer think they have any business empowering commissars to lecture people on efficiency and fiscal responsibility?

Because we permit it.

WV "aboomi": Nothing more need be said.

Adrian K said...

I'm sure we do have a Hank or Dagny around. Are we going to hear about THEM from mass media except in the most scathing tones?

Of course not.

El Capitan said...

I'd kinda like to drive a sandcrawler stuck in first gear... Right through Berkeley, CA, making sure to grind all of UC Berkeley extra fine under the treads.

Don Meaker said...

I always thought of Dagney Taggert looking like Tam...

fast richard said...

Fiscal resposibility to a democrat is raising a trillion dollars in taxes on "the rich" to pay for that trillion dollars in "stimulus". What are they going to call the new Hoovervilles? Should be "Obamavilles" or "Pelosivilles", but I'm guessing "Bushvilles".

Tennessee Budd said...

Good to know someone else remembers the Kraft durch Freude wagen.

Anonymous said...

Generalizations of the inefficiencies of large organizations are easy. Should the government tell the big 3 how to run their business? No. Should the government bail them out? Ideally no. Realistically yes. Wasted money? Not as much as accepting the increased costs to taxpayers for health care and pensions if you allow the company supported benefits to die with the companies. Not to mention lost tax revenues. I think people on both sides of the far right and far left should imagine how the world would work, really work, if their viewpoints were realized to the fullest. Neither is particularily functional for our world.

Zdogk9 said...

I seem to recall the Govt. seized a whorehouse in Nevada for failing to pay taxes. They managed to operate it at a loss.

Anonymous said...

In 1916 the Post Office owned an all-electric vehicle fleet. It was their experience that convinced government and industry that these vehicles were not workable.

I'm against government subsidy, which is why I do not own a BMW.

Ride Fast said...

Damn, Tam, your in fine form. Your just flat out cracking me up today.

mts1 said...

When I heard that this morning, I laughed so hard I got dizzy and had to pull over. I immediately remembered the Reagan clip where he said, "The nine most dangerous words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'" For the Big Three, it has to be like, upon getting an assigned doctor with National Health Care, learning that he is Dr. Kevorkian...

Let the Big Three reorganize on their own, with Wall Street's help. Same for the banks. Gov't only as a referee, if you need one. That's how the Japanese handled their 1997 depression. Take the auto workers to be laid off, send them to work for the TSA or the local Dept of Homeland Security wherever they live, so they can go to night school and get new skills, still live in the areas they like. Or have them build the border fence. Or have them build the mystical New Infrastructure.

But I make sense, and as I was told, therefore have no future in government.

wv: gronar. Says it all.

Bond in Michigan said...

The 500 dollar hammer and the 1200 dollar toilet seat were blamed by liberal democrats and the news media (much overlap) on the air force. Actually the Air Force Logistics Command was partially responsible but the news coverage was oversimplified and very biased.

I worked for the Air Force as a civilian engineer (Civil Service) for over three years between 1986 and 1989 at McClellan AFB in Sacramento, California. Before the cold war ended there were five logistics bases and a headquarters base (Wright Paterson AFB) in Dayton, Ohio in the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC).

Since then the bases in San Antonio and Sacramento were closed and the AFLC was combined with the Systems Command to form the Material Command. At McClellan they had large warehouses full of spare parts and huge hangers and workshops for repairing aircraft and portable equipment and parts. Typically each airplane would rotate back to a logistics base for major overhaul and modernization about every 8 years. Transport aircraft, both military and civilian contract, landed and took off 24-7 with repairable at depot level parts and new and refurbished spare parts.

The congress, especially the liberals, wanted to use military purchasing as a political tool to reward their friends. There was language in the military spending bills requiring small business, minority, veteran, and female owned contractors special treatment. Since a large successful tool making company could be more efficient and sell hammers at a lower price the minority, female, etc. owned companies were allowed to sell their product at a higher price. A not very smart bureaucracy was formed to define the "fair price" of various parts and materials that specialized and rare expertise were not required to supply. They would not require a state of the art weapon system to be produced by the political spoils system, but toilet paper, hammers, boots, etc. would be. The prime contractors such as Boeing would be pressured to have subcontractors that would be minority, female, etc. The turkeys in the "fair pricing" department decided that the "politically correct" price had increased in the middle of a contract and raised the payment for the remaining hammers that had been ordered to compensate. Some of the hammers cost the air force $500 because of the retroactive increase. I don't know if this was required by the language of the spending bill passed by congress or the government employees come up with this themselves. It is really stupid either way but would never have happened if congress did not micromanage to create political pork. The company that sold the hammers would have been laughing all the way to the bank!

The lying liberal journalist that started the story about the $1200 toilet seat didn't bother explaining that it was for an aircraft toilet. The C-141 had toilets similar to other large transport aircraft and civilian passenger planes. The C-141 stayed in the inventory much longer than expected. It replaced the C-133 (4 turboprops) which replaced the C-124 (4 piston engines) which replaced the C-97. The C-17 was a replacement for the C-141 while the C-5A & B was a replacement in some ways also. The C-130 was too small and slow and the C-5 was too big to replace it. When the air force buys a new airplane they have to make long term plans for parts and maintenance. Some parts stay in production because they will be used up and replaced continuously, some are used by other military and civilian aircraft, and some are expected to last until the airplane is retired. Some parts are manufactured during the production run and shortly after, then stored in warehouses in logistics bases for many years and then scrapped still in military specification packaging forty years after they were manufactured. Military transport aircraft are generally designed to last over 20,000 hours before they are replaced and civilian transports about the same. Above this time in the air (and number of landings and takeoffs can also be a factor) cost of maintenance will greatly increase and reliability decrease. The C-141 was not replaced until the airframe time was over 40,000 hours and wing spars were cracking. Wing spars are a part that normally is not replaced, instead the aircraft is usually junked. The old C-141s before the C-17 was available were sent back to the manufacturer for rebuilt wings with new spars as well as fuselage skin replacement. There is a engineering trade off between airframe design life and weight or cost. Heavier or more expensive (better) materials airframe will allow a longer lifetime but with less payload/higher price. The DC-3/C-47 was over designed, heavier than it needed to be, less cargo/range than a modern aircraft. It was respected because it was so tough and lasted so long. Some were still flying after 150 engine replacements: 1200 hours/engine (TBO) x 150 = 180,000 hours.

Most part manufacturing costs have a large set up component as well as the cost for material, labor, energy, rentals, taxes, insurance, overhead, etc. for each part. If they only had to manufacture enough toilet seats for the C-141 until the C-17 replaced it the reverse engineering and manufacturing set up might be over $1100 per seat and the materials, labor etc. less than $100 per part. If they were foolish enough to design a non generic aircraft toilet in the late 50's for only one airplane a $1200 part cost to go back and make a small number of spare seats is not surprising in that context.

Why can't an air force transport that was frequently used for delivering 100+ army paratroopers use the same toilets as a DC-8 or a Boeing 707? If not why not base the design on the commercial model and add a few heavy duty parts. If large air force transports need their own military specification toilets (Perhaps the army guys are really good at breaking stuff!) then standardize and use the same model in the C-124, C-130, C-133, C-141, C-5, C-17 etc. The Air Force Systems Command ordered the C-141.

After three years and three months working for the Air Force I was eager to leave The $500 hammer and the $1,200 toilet seat stories were mostly political propaganda from the lefty news media that did not agree with the Reagan defense budgets. The meme that the air force bureaucracy was incompetent was frequently true but it was commonly caused by political factors outside the commands. After the Viet Nam war, replacing the C-141 had to wait a long time. Most of the inefficiency that I observed was boring, complicated and could not be explained in a simple 15 second sound bite. The news media lies and exaggerates to make the military look bad, other large government agencies that they agree with are not treated so harshly.

Sorry about the long post. There is so much political BS out there.

staghounds said...

"The troubled companies must show that they can be viable for the long-term, or the government could recall the loans."

So, if they lose this money too, they have to give it back. Riiiiight...

How on earth can anyone print or say such nonsense?

Submit word sooda- John Boyd buys a coke.

Tam said...

Bond in MI,

That was exaggeration for comic effect. I understand the reason that specific hardware for aircraft of limited production runs is going to be expensive, if only due to economies of scale.

Still, the .gov in general and DoD in specific, is normally not qualified to lecture against profligacy. Witness Darlene and Charlene Corley.