Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking at the numbers, Ian Welsh argues that GM and Chrysler would be profitable if only we had universal health care


by Ken

First, John Hinderaker at the hard-right PowerLine blog wrote a post yesterday called "NO UAW BALLOT," in which he argued that the Big Three automakers are doomed, done deal, kaput. "This chart pretty much tells it all," he wrote.

Then our colleague Ian Welsh, one of our chief go-to guys on matters economic, took a closer look at FireDogLake:

Begun, This War On Christmas Has.
Powerline Proves Universal Health Care Makes GM and Chrysler Profitable
By Ian Welsh

The chart [above] shows the losses and profits per car of some major car companies. John over at Powerline uses it to argue that there should be no bailout, because the Big 3 are so unprofitable it's just pointless. Let's do some simple math. Take a look at GM's loss per car, about $700. What is GM's cost per car for health care? $1,500. What happens if you add $1,500? A profit. Of $800/car.

What the chart proves is that American car companies (except for Ford) are only not profitable, at this point, because of health care costs. The simplest thing to do to help the US economy (by not losing millions of jobs and one of the few remaining export industries) is to just pass universal health care, taking those costs off them, and in the meantime give them bridging funds to get them by until that's done. Foreign car companies have far fewer health care costs, so all universal health care does is even out the playing field. Even Ford, with health care costs off, would be very close to profitability.

My thanks to the folks at Powerline for making the case for universal healthcare and for helping the auto industry so clearly.

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At 8:33 AM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Wow! Simplistic perhaps but it's a wonder that no one has gone to "we the people" with this plan.
With today's worldwide economic downturn, perhaps we can start the ball rolling NOW on universal health care. Afterall, we're pretty confident that the disaster was caused by human greed. Maybe the greedy health care providers can now adjust their greed to fit the disaster they've caused.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm for hang 'em high, too, Ken. Which is why I think the Obama team should hunker down, find some legal loopholes, and not let out what they plan to do about Bush's termite strategy until they've gotten into office. That will not only make Obama's efforts less inclined to be undermined, it will have the pleasant side effect of focusing the public's attention on Bush's efforts to destroy government, during his final months.

As for criminal investigations, I think they should go ahead regardless, for the good of the nation. We've had two laws for the powerful and the powerless, the aristocracy that rules and the people who work for a living, for far too long.


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