Thursday, February 28, 2013

le Non! We are not lazee!

Let’s thank the French for another classic example of stupidity. . . thanks Froggies. This example involves the death a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Amiens, France and it highlights the problems with leftist thinking. Observe.

Five years ago, Goodyear told the workers that the plant was not profitable and it asked the workers to agree to some layoffs so Goodyear could keep the plant open. The plant in question employees 1,173 workers. The workers, who are represented by communist-backed CGT union refused. Just like the bakers union which killed Hostess, they decided it was better that everyone lose their jobs than that some would lose their jobs. So everyone will now lose their jobs.

In an attempt to save the plant, the Froggie government sent a letter to Maurice Taylor (some people call him Moooreece...), the CEO of Titan Tires, an American firm, begging Mooooreece to buy the plant to keep it open. Mr. Taylor responded with a stinging rebuttal of the French model:
“The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three. I told this to the French union workers to their faces. They told me that that’s the French way.

* * *

“Your letter states that you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.”
This didn’t sit too well with the Froggie Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who counterattacked by claiming that Taylor should shut the heck up because his little company ain’t that and a bag of baguettes when compared to Michelin. He noted that Michelin was 20 times bigger and 35 times more profitable and he said he would “monitor Titan Tire imports with ‘redoubled zeal’ to make sure they complied with all regulatory standards.” Sounds like the mob, doesn’t it?

The union too chimed in calling him “ignorant,” a “lunatic,” an “extremist,” and not a person “suitable to hold the reins of a multinational” company. Yawn. They also claimed that while it is “logical that companies make money. . . at some point, they also must divide the wealth fairly.”

Let us consider this.

First, how stupid do you need to be to decide that you would rather all lose your jobs than have some lose their jobs? Pretty stupid if you ask me, especially as it was clear that Goodyear wasn’t bluffing... just like Hostess wasn’t bluffing. Enjoy the unemployment line Froggie bastards.

Second, the response by the union is typical of idiot leftists - turn disagreement into a mental issue: “He’s crazy!” But who is really the crazy one here? The guy who refuses to hand you his money so you can nap it away or the lazy froggies who killed their bronze goose and now are begging for another? Have a Twinkie and shut the f*ck up, le dumb*sses.

Or take this idea that it is “logical that companies make money. . . at some point, they also must divide the wealth fairly.” Why should someone pay you something you aren’t worth and haven’t earned? And why in the world should an American citizen feel any obligation to hand over his money so that lazy froggies can keep on chugging along in their lazy lifestyle? Under this logic, I wonder why the froggies aren’t paying me to write this? I could nap with the best of them if I was lazy like you people. Where’s my money?! Frankly, Amiens deserves whatever happens next if this is the attitude.

Third, how pathetic is the comeback by Le Minster de Froggie. Titan is a relatively new company (1993) which specializes in taking over failing plants and turning them around. It makes specialty tires for things like trucks and golf carts. It is an example of the continuing dynamism of the American business model. Michelin was founded in 1888. It is an example of a country living off the family assets. The fact that Michelin is only 20 times larger after a 100 year start is actually pretty sad. This claim also highlights the daft bureaucrats mindset. First, bigger is not better. Big is dinosaur-like. Big needs subsidies to stay alive. And if Michelin really was this great example of industrial might, then why don’t they take over the plant? Why is Le Minister de Froggie le begging an upstart American company to do what Michelin apparently can’t? Doesn’t this reek of an admission the French are spent?

Also, if profit is indeed evil, why is Michelin allowed to keep $1.8 billion of that? Do you know how many Froggies could nap on that?

And what about this threat to “monitor” Titan’s imports? Sounds like a protection racket to me. Maybe we should start demanding that France pay us to make sure nobody roughs up any Michelin shops over here? It would be a real shame is something happened to this fine company of yours, frog boy.

Fourth, the anger from this really highlights how true Mooooreece’s comments were. Indeed, typically, the more angry the response, the closer to the bone you’ve struck. For years now, the French have claimed that the Gaul-lick model is superior. Ho ho ho! They’ve claimed that it allows them live like lazy welfare cases while simultaneously turning out “superior products” and “thriving multinational companies”. . . can you smell the smug? The truth is that France is living on its past glories. The companies it points to as its champions were all formed pre-World War I, before France got neutered, and they only continue to exist through incestuous relations with the government which get them subsidies and other benefits. France (this is true in Britain too) is run by a clique, with most business and government leaders coming from a small group of elite schools. They keep their industries alive through the force of government.

Interestingly, the OECD claims that the productivity of French “workers” is only slightly lower than the US. But is it really? Dividing each country’s GDP by the number of people in the country finds that the average American is worth $49,896 to our economy. The average Froggie is worth $34,328. In other words, the average America is 1.45 times as productive as the average frog. Yes, you are worth one and a half frogs. . . and you’re nicer people too. But you say, it’s not fair to compare countries since most of France is unemployed, we should instead compare workers. Ok, whatever. No difference. If we only use workers, then the US worker is worth $101,453 and the Froggie worker is worth $76,290. This time, the US worker is worth 1.33 frogs. Yet, the OECD calls this “slightly below” the US productivity.

Storming Norman Schwarzkopf once quipped of the French absence from the Gulf War: “Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.” Apparently, they aren’t any better at business.

63 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Unrelated to the post, check out this article about a young girl (a Junior Ranger) who returned two sticks to Yosemite. It's really cute.

LINK

K said...

"It's really cute."

Yes, in 1955 it would be as cute as pie. Living now in the midst of a tyrannical green theocracy it strikes me as a bit on the creepy side.

As for the Froggies (and other associated commies in Washington), there needs to some kind of conference to decide a universally accepted definition of the word "fair". To me as well as most capitalists, the word means the free market value of work performed. NOT the maximum amount of money to be derived from organizing a government sanctioned gang to perpetrate extortion on those capable of creating wealth.

If they really wanted "fair", the union would buy up the factory and hire managers to run it.

Then worker's salaries and working hours would directly connect to company survival. I suspect the major problem with that solution is that the parasitical union bureaucrats would quickly find themselves out of a job.

Kit said...

We got spam!

BevfromNYC said...

Kit- I got rid of them. Spam, spam spam spam spam spam spam spam. What is Spam exactly? I mean the stuffing the can...maybe I don't want to know.

Kit said...

Bev,

I don't want to know either...

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew and Kit - I read about this and had to applaud Maurice Taylor. Why would he buy a failing company where the reason it is failing is that no one wants to work? And apparently even the great and wonderful Michelin doesn't even want it. Oh, those Froggies, what to do with them...

Love Stormin' Norman's quote - It is so fitting.

tryanmax said...

I have to agree with K on the Jr. Ranger, cute a generation ago, disturbing today. And who exactly are these "jaded nature-haters"?

RE: SPAM -- Come on, people! I get it, we're all skeptical of gelatinous cubes of processed meat, but the mystery of SPAM can be solved by turning the can sideways: "Pork with Ham, Salt, Water, Modified Potato Starch, Sugar, Sodium Nitrite." And if you're still skeptical, a tiny bit of research (that I just did) will reveal that the pork is from the shoulder, "modified" means "baked" in regular parlance, and sodium nitrate has been keeping you (and America) botulism-free since 1925. It's also naturally occurring in leafy greens.

I got nothing to say about frogs.

BevfromNYC said...

"Pork with Ham, Salt, Water, Modified Potato Starch, Sugar, Sodium Nitrite."

Yeah, that's what they said about ground beef until it started neighing. Anyhow, isn't "ham" pork? Actually,I do not have anything against Spam. If people didn't like it and/or weren't eating it, they wouldn't sell it anymore.

But, we've gotten off-topic and Andrew will be mad at us. So Tranmax, you must comment on the frogs. Because silence equals consent and you don't want us to think you are Pro-France, do you?

rlaWTX said...

so, are y'all saying that Spam should put out a frog legs version?

(Spam makes me think of "Wham" the ham advertising account in "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House")

As for France, eh. Living up to my very low expectations...

AndrewPrice said...

Some of you are a cynical lot.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I love that Stormin' Norman quote. It's so fitting! LOL!

As for the Froggies, yeah, they're something else aren't they? It sounds to me like they've reached the point Thatcher warned people about where the socialists are running out of other people's money. So sad.

AndrewPrice said...

K, Why should the union workers need to invest their own money? That defeats the purpose. Then they would need to work to make sure they didn't lose their money. It's better just to latch onto a corporate sugar daddy.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think tryanmax is pro-France. It's shameful.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I have low, low expectations for the French as well, but I thought this was hilarious to see the outrage when Taylor zinged them right in the "truth hurts" zone. LOL!

Koshcat said...

Don't be too hard on Michelin, their US headquarters is in South Carolina. Isn't that a right to work state?

Once the French start getting into trouble like the rest of the PIIGS, it will be the end of the Euro. Because at that point the Germans will have had enough of bailing out idiot countries and bring back the Mark.

Koshcat said...

Not to be too cynical, but what kind of a$$hole guilts a child so much that she mails back two sticks? It's like our country has moved from being Uncle Sam to a Jewish Mother.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, What? The HQ of this proud company is in the United States AND in a right to work state?!! Sacre bleu! That's cannot be. Michelin is the champion of France not South Carolina!

On the PIIGS, everything I've seen says that France is already in trouble and it's only getting worse. Not surprisingly, their plan to tax themselves to prosperity isn't working.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, It's the Junior Ranger code. You might as well attack the Boy Scouts for guilting a child to tell the truth after they lied.

BevfromNYC said...

rlaWTX - "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" is one of my favorite movies ever!

Andrew - Hey, we know have a formula to determine "the truth" - If the volume of outrage is equal to or greater than the statement made:

Outrage =/> statement = Truth

See also - Outrage/Threats of White House at Bob Woodard's recent statements about the sequester...see it really works!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Sadly, that does seem to be how the world works. Truth is in the eye of the angry mob.

T-Rav said...

Seems fairly simple to me what happened here. The union assumed the plant could be profitable while keeping everyone's jobs, if only the people in charge would give more. If they wouldn't do it themselves, they needed to be "persuaded." Fuzzy logic, to be sure, but for liberals, everything that happens is always some rich guy's fault.

Koshcat said...

I don't see inadvertently taking home two sticks (obviously very small to mail back) is the same as lying.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, My guess is that the union decided this was a bluff, that there was no way they would ever really close the plant when confronted with strong worker opposition. Imagine their surprise.

Now they are insanely angry about what they've done to themselves and they are lashing out -- which is the wrong way to attract someone else to buy the company.

K is right, if they really believed their garbage, then they should have bought the plant themselves.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, It's the same thing -- she's broken the Junior Ranger code and she wants to "do the right thing." That what makes this so cute, that she's not even weighing the "will I get away with it" and "will anyone even miss this stuff."

If this was eco-parents forcing some girl to do this out of the blue, then I would agree. But she's a Junior Ranger -- she's following her code the same way Boy Scouts following theirs. That what makes the story cute.

Koshcat said...

I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehole, but there seems to be a purvasive issue of continuing to guilt our children to death. Kids by nature want to please and have a fairly strong guilt issue. There is a time and a place for using this tool. Working with a kid to not lie is an appropriate use. But I see people abuse this tool constantly. Kids worrying that we are destroying the planet with CO2 or using too much water. Most of it comes from the schools and perhaps I am hypersenitive as I often have to sit down to reassure my daughter. Earlier this week she was very anxious and worried about the CSAP. I explained to her that they weren't testing her but testing her teachers and the school. If she is being taught well, she will do well. After the first day she told me it was really easy. This guilt is coming from the school. "Make sure your child eats a good breakfast and gets a good night sleep" and so on. Shouldn't these be a good idea every day?

I understand it is her code and God Bless Her for trying to do the right thing but it seems that same as going to the police asking for a ticket because you were doing 56 mph in a 55 zone.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I agree with you in a general sense. I think it's shameful how people (left and right... yes, right) try to guilt their kids into following their ideologies.

BUT I don't see any of that in this story. I see no evidence that the parents guilted her into anything. This looks like a story of a kid who takes her Junior Ranger status seriously. There's no evidence the parents forced her to do anything or tried to shame her if she didn't. There's no evidence the parents forced her to become a Junior Ranger or had an environmentalist agenda. The parents didn't even release the letter -- the Ranger service did -- so there's no PR angle. This is just a girl who wants to live up to the spirit of an organization she's proud of. That should make us very happy.

And seriously, how is this different than someone who returns a wallet they found on the street or takes something back to a store which was inadvertently put in their bag? This is a little girl's version of a good deed. Nothing more.

tryanmax said...

I was for France before I was against it, or something like that. Frankly, I'm torn. We certainly don't need France, thanks to California and Wisconsin, but it doesn't escape my attention that there must be some connection between wine and cheese and really bad economic policy. What do we do?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's an interesting observation. Perhaps we should ban wine and cheese?

tryanmax said...

On the other hand, I actually prefer German wine and English cheese, so...

BevfromNYC said...

Okay, really, whose parents/schools DIDN'T use guilt to get kids to do the right thing? What do you think religious training is all about? Guilt. Hey, I am Jewish, I know from guilt! Guilt can be a powerful tool for good.

BevfromNYC said...

Tryanmax - Uh, oh, I prefer Italian wine and Spanish cheese. You may be on to something with your "wine/cheese/poor economy" thing.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Guilt is the primary tool parents use to instil values. The whole idea of the honor code doesn't work if you don't believe in guilt.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I prefer German wine as well, but I'm not a big wine drinker. The only English cheese I know is Stilton and I do like that. The best cheese I ever had though was made in Switzerland (I was visiting at the time).

That said, as Bev says, you may be onto something here. I wonder what other basket cases make wine and cheese?

BevfromNYC said...

Let's see: New York makes wine and cheese. Vermont only makes cheese and Texas only makes wine. Maybe it's the combination of the two that is the source of economic instability.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, By this point, most states make wine, but I'm told they aren't good at it. Maybe you need to be good at it for the negative effects to kick in?

Greece makes wine and cheese too, right?

Koshcat said...

I'm probably just curmudgeony today. In-laws have been stuck here an extra week due to the snowstorms in the midwest.

AndrewPrice said...

Yike, sorry to hear that! I've got relatives visiting too right now. You have my sympathy. :)

tryanmax said...

Koshcat, tell your in-laws to suck it up and go home or risk having their Midwestern status revoked. I don't care if flights are cancelled. Rent an SUV. Or a dogsled. LOL

Koshcat said...

The drove and I-70 was closed until last night. It is not their fault as I'm sure they would like to be home too. I just want to get back to where I can walk out of my room in my underwear without scaring anyone. They left early this morning.

tryanmax said...

LOL! I was just having some fun. I know I-70 was a mess. Last winter they closed I-80 and I saw what happened to some of the idiots who went around the barriers. And SUVs and 4-wheel drive mean nothing to ice.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I've seen the SUVs of which you speak. I can't tell you how many people seem to think that having an SUV makes you immune to ice, and those people always end up in a ditch somewhere.

Just as bad are transplanted Californians who come here and think that you should stop periodically when it snows. Ug.

Koshcat said...

On a positive note, their son who has a lawn care business and also bought a snow plow for his truck has been really busy. The first two years he only used it once. I think he has been working day and night the last week. I told him every time he pushes snow forward he should make the sound CHA-CHING.

The regulations on his business are INSANE. Talk about unfriendly to legitimate businesses.

AndrewPrice said...

What kind of regulations?

Koshcat said...

If he is driving his truck towing the trailer with equipment, he can be stopped without cause to be "investigated" to ensure he has his permits and his tires have adequate tread, etc. If he is missing anything he can be fined on the spot and not allowed to continue on until the issue is rectified.

If he lays down fertilizer he must calculate exactly how much per square foot. He must document what day and time along with the temperature, humidity, and wind speed.

Generally on the surface there were probably good intentions behind these but sort of gone overboard.

AndrewPrice said...

Interesting. I can see the tread thing, but I don't understand the fertilizer stuff.

wahsatchmo said...

I have some close friends of the family who immigrated here (legally) from France who love to talk about French attitudes. There is a funny dualism where they celebrate France's culture and openly endorse socialism, while in real life it's expected that they'll cheat the government at every turn.

Many will accept unemployment checks and government benefits while secretly running a business on the side. The VAT is so poorly understood that most businesses exploit it or cheat it in one way or another. The French pay lip service in support of their country, but behind each word they all have a deep disdain for their government.

I love the union's attitude towards dividing profits among workers "fairly". What crap. I once got in an internet argument about companies passing along the cost of government imposed burdens to their customers in the form of raised prices, and was flabbergasted with the response I got:

"Why don't they just take it out of their profits? Why doesn't anybody ever think of that?"

Holy crap. At that point I gave up. Prices are set by the market's demand for a product. People will buy an iPhone for $400, but balk at the price of $7.99 per lb of ground beef. The company must derive its profit in the context of these prices set by the market, and in that sense, its profitability is nobody else's business or even relevant. A company may choose to be the low price leader and sell huge quantities at low margins, or it may charge a higher price and emphasize quality at higher margins. But a company can price itself out of business easily, either offering a product at a price that won't cover its costs, or pricing itself out of the market because no one will buy their product at that price.

But when government imposes new taxes and burdens on companies, every company participating in the market will end up raising its prices because of these costs. Why? Because they know their competitors will do the same, and they'd be idiots not to when they can use the government as an excuse. It's one of the few times the market will act as one: when the government intervenes in such a manner that affects the cash flow of all participants.

One last thing about the French in relation to the story about the girl returning the sticks. We had a French student stay with us when I was young, and we took him to the Petrified Forest. They have a little museum there with letters from people returning the little petrified pieces of trees that they'd taken (you're asked not to take anything out of the park, of course). He asked why they sent them back.

We of course told him that the park was there for everyone to enjoy, and if all the tourists took something there'd be nothing left for anybody else. He responded:

"If this park were in France, it'd be picked clean in a month."

AndrewPrice said...

wahsatchmo, The Germans I know are the exact opposite. They will openly claim to despise their government and to call it oppressive and they will accuse every other German on the planet of being obsessed with rules... but then they will follow all the rules without question. In fact, whenever I've pointed out how silly many of their rules are, they will respond with the most stunning pro-authoritarian response imaginable... "they must have a reason for this."

Ug.

On the parks, I didn't know that returning items to parks was that common? Interesting. It's a nice instinct though since these are public parks and hence we all theoretically have a property right in them.

Koshcat said...

Andrew, most of it including the tire tread issue is just a form of harrassment. It is no different from the good ol' boy sherriff pulling you over for broken taillight.

Scared Whiteboy: Why'd you pull me over officer?
Sherriff: You have a broken taillight.
SWB: I didn't know. Which one?
Sh: This one (smashes left taillight).
SWB: Shit! Why'd you do that?!
Sh: Don't get smart with me boy. I see you got a colored fella' in the back seat. You got ID boy?
Really Scared Black Kid: Yes, sir.
Sh: Don't take that tone with me boy!
(walks back to car)

Sh: Ok, boys you are free to go as soon as you pay your fine.
SWB: Fine?
Sh: For the broken taillight.
SWB: Ok. How much?
Sh: That'll be $500.
RSBK: $500?!? grumble grumble
Sh: You say somethin' boy?
RSBK: No sir.

Sh: Much obliged. Drive careful and get out of my county.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Why am I not surprised? That kind of garbage is far too common.

Koshcat said...

Very enlightening wahsatchmo. I think the Greeks are the same way. Demand all these government benefits and make a living avoiding taxes. It makes their snotty, American's don't pay enough taxes even more annoying since they purposefully avoid paying their own. Starting to see the same here. I was talking with my tax accountant and he sees dishonesty daily but more often from people in the lower tax groups then high tax raters like me. His theory is that they have nothing to lose while I have everything to lose. The IRS knows this but they still come after us with audits much more often.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, Most of the West Virginia economy was like that -- cash basis, undeclared. I met an unbelievable number of people who were on welfare and then earned bunches of income under the table. They were all Democrats of course. In their minds, taxes are things other people should pay to support them.

Unregistered cars, unrecorded property sales, dummy corporations, fake IDs from multiple states. The whole region could have gone to jail for RICO.

Koshcat said...

Maybe we should give west virginia back to virgina?

AndrewPrice said...

I doubt Virginia would want it.

Actually, in my travels around the state, the state consists of three parts. The northern panhandle area should be given to Pennsylvania. The eastern chunk fits in well with Maryland/DC/No. Virginia. The Southern part is most like Kentucky.

... and everything is named for Robert Byrd.

rlaWTX said...

yeah, but eastern W[bG]Va is awfully pretty...

wahsatchmo said...

Koshcat, I'm a tax guy too, and it's a fact that the IRS now follows the money more than ever. It doesn't do them any good to try to track the small time cheats, since they're hard to find, tend to live off the grid, and even if they're caught, they've got nothing to seize. Much easier to go after those who have money and will make an effort to cooperate. All you have to do is make a massively unfair assessment, then once a taxpayer realizes the cost to win in an audit, they'll often be convinced to settle. It's legalized extortion.

Good point about the Greeks. You reminded me of this article at Vanity Fair I read some time back (the whole thing is well worth the read). From the last paragraph:

"...the place does not behave as a collective; it lacks the monks’ instincts. It behaves as a collection of atomized particles, each of which has grown accustomed to pursuing its own interest at the expense of the common good."

Yup.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, True. Maybe we should nuke it from space? :D

AndrewPrice said...

wahsatchmo, That's a fantastic description of Greece and much of liberalism actually.

Koshcat said...

Robert Byrd Home for Retired Wizards.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, LOL! Yeah. But don't worry, he was part of the "good" Klan, the part the wanted to bring the races together.

Wizard Byrd said...

"We only provide good clean hangings performed by God-fearing gentlemen."

AndrewPrice said...

I would say that sounds like Byrd, except there isn't enough crazy, enough corruption, or enough spit. I believe every sentence the man spoke included a demand that some government program be moved to W(byGod)VA.

Individualist said...

Monitor Maurice's tires all they want but do something about it and Maurice can take them to the World Trade court.

If Maurice can prov3e that tariffs or unfair customs practices are employed by the French government then the World Trade court can authoirize legalized tariffs on French goods.

I vote ban Perrier Water....

BevfromNYC said...

Btw, you talk about the Germans and Greeks! The Russians/Communists are experts at gaming their own system better than anyone!

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