I had a chance to speak earlier this week with Dave Stephens, a procurement technology guru who is recovering from giving nearly a decade of his life to the Dark Side of the Force. As part of his penance, Dave decided to launch a new blog (surfing in Half Moon Bay, evidently, was not enough to recover). Since Dave started Procurement Central last month, I've been an active reader. His post yesterday on the state of the US automotive industry is spot on, though he failed to mention my favorite anecdote on waste in the Big 3. Namely, how for years when traveling out of the country, GM executives (anyone in the management ranks) were required to meet an entourage of escorts and bodyguards at their arriving airport, lest the "locals" in such dangerous third world places as Mexico, Brazil, China, and Central Europe cause trouble. But you can't just blame Managements' poor financial decisions and their need for local private armies for the current financial crisis (well, maybe you can). Anyone who capitulates to union demands to pay a US factory worker what amounts to $75 an hour (factoring in wages, healthcare, pension, and future healthcare costs) is asking for bankruptcy. So Dave got it mostly right. In my view, the self-serving, protectionist, greedy UAW and Management are equally to blame for GM's debacle.