Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Saw Detroit Kissing Santa Claus...

...underneath the Capitol dome last night.

It looks like the Big Three will get our help. Folks more learned than me are commenting on the upsides and the downsides of the deal. But it has left me wondering about something.

In the Old Testament, the Jews were commanded to treat their own people differently than they might treat others. “Do not charge interest on the loans you make to a fellow Israelite... You may charge interest to foreigners..." (Deuteronomy 23:19-20 NLT)

The same can be said of the New Testament. More lifestyle than law, it is described: "And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. (Acts 2:44-45 NLT)

You, I believe, understand this principle. "There's nothing wrong with a little nepotism," the old saying goes, "as long as you keep it in the family." We expect people to treat their own differently.

Boston Becki told me about buying sunglasses from a street vendor at the Common. "How much," she asked. "15 bucks for two pair, $10 for one." Becki countered, "I just need one pair. I'll give you $8." When he hesitated, she said, "Look I'm local -- not a tourist. If you don't sell them to me, someone else will." The local girl scored the deal.

A friend told me long ago that he was uncomfortable charging interest to another Christian. He had a unique way of handling it. He said that some people need the personal incentive to repay what they owe. He would float them a personal loan at a fair interest rate. Then surprise them by returning the interest when they paid him back according to agreement.

Which brings me back to our friends in the auto business? I had the rare privilege to deal directly with the owner of a new car dealership many years ago. He showed me two new cars on his lot. Both of them were unsold, previous year models. Both, he thought, would fit my budget. Because I pastored one of his managers, he treated me like family. He told me exactly how much he paid the maker for the car and exactly how much they were rebating him since it hadn't sold last year. Then he told me exactly how much profit he needed to make to break even on his expenses, offering to sell to me at that price. I ended up buying a late model used car from him instead, but I will always appreciate the gesture.

As taxpayers, it seems to me that we will all own part of the automakers. It's our tax dollars that may bail them out. Soooo, what if you go car shopping, find the car you want, and receive total disclosure on every item making up the sales price? There would be no "wiggle room," no haggling. They simply give you the lowest price they can afford to sell the car for.

After all, from now on we're "family."

How do you like my plan?

8 comments:

beckiwithani said...

I love it! And I'm sure the automakers will honor their part of the deal....

....And then we'll all jump on our flying carpets and sail away to a land where chocolate flowers grow and there are 30 hours in a day and humans only need two hours of sleep and those cars the automakers sold us at a fair price never break down or pollute the air ....

:)

On second thought, I think I'll just keep being glad I married someone who is very upfront about dealing with salespeople and calling them on the various tricks they try to pull. He's the one who, by example, taught me how to deal with local street vendors!

Sam said...

Thanks for a great comment, Becki. I'm off to breakfast -- having a chocolate flower (Giggle).

C. Beth said...

Loved your comment, Becki!

Great idea, Dad. Sam for Car Czar!

C. Beth said...

Oh--and great title and first line, Dad!!

Liz said...

I don't have much to say on the auto industry... but wanted to let you know that I posted about My Magic Christmas and wanted to be sure and share it with you!!

http://eternallizdom.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-magic-christmas.html

Sam said...

Liz, I posted on your blog, but I seriously hope all my readers will follow your link and read it today. It's very, very good. Thanks!

Sandra said...

I think you make alot of sense. So I know, for a fact, we won't hear you quoted on most news channels when they are talking about the subject! Common sense is not a common currency that people, especially in news and government, trade in these days.

All of this is really wayyyy over my head, so I just continue to pray for wisdom for the government officials, because I know GOD knows what's best for them to do, even though I don't.

Scriptor Senex said...

I worked in local government for most of my life and abhor any form of nepotism. It seems to me that the line between nepotism and corruption is so thin that the only safe bet is to avoid it altogether. After all, everyone is my neighbour / family in this modern world and justice of all sorts depends on treating everyone equally.
I've just read that back and it sounds terribly superior but it wasn't meant to. I guess I just want us all to treat each other as well as possible which is exactly the point you were making!