Chump Change

The (domestic) auto industry has clearly been investing in stupid things over the years, such as lobbyists to insist on not raising the auto fleet mileage averages (so-called “CAFE” standards) which would have, over the course of time, resulted in our nation being virtually free of the need to import foreign oil by now… instead, electing to go the opposite way so they could sell more SUVs. They could have instead used their once considerable clout to lobby for socialized medicine national single-payer health care and improved pensions, to relieve them of those crushing obligations. They could have made vehicles with better service records than the Yugo. But nooooooo…. They did none of those things.
And bizarrely, if you can believe it, having f***ed up virtually every aspect of bid’ness over the years… here they are now, having to go to Congress to beg for money. And at this point, after watching over $100 billion of taxpayer money be pumped into AIG alone. largely to preserve its 200,000 or so white collar jobs, the pathetic auto industry, which, certainly with its suppliers, probably accounts for at least ten times as many jobs, can’t even get a lousy $14 billion package out, as an auto-industry rescue bill died in the Senate at the hands of members from states with foreign car plants that pay a lot less.
Priorities folks: after tax cuts for the rich (which are decreed from God), the most important thing on Republicans’ agenda is union-busting. And they’ve always hated the UAW in particular. And that’s what this was about: the UAW refusing “parity” to lower its own members already compromised wages to the same levels as their counterparts working in US plants making Toyotas, Hondas, etc.
In a country that actually produces less and less, it’s domestic auto industry was one of the last large industries that employed a lot of skilled industrial workers and paid them well; naturally, that’s too much for Republicans, who are almost saying “from hell’s heart we stab at thee,” as, come around three weeks from now, there will be a whole lot less of them in the Senate and House.
Most people have their heads up their ass and haven’t figured out that we already have what the Chinese would call “socialism with American characteristics”… having intervened in the financial sector at least fifty-fold what the auto-makers were asking, trotting out crap about “moral hazard” is way, way too little, too late. Yes, the auto-makers are badly managed, but a $14 billion bridge loan beats the hell out of the social costs of having these enterprises fail and having their workers go on relief.
Just saying.