Typical of inside-the-beltway politics and party shenanigans, the Senate has killed the automobile industry loan proposal. It was largely swept away by the UAW’s refusal to agree to lower compensation and ending the ridiculous pay-not-to-work contracts that give some laid-off factories 90% of their salaries for more than a year. No one can afford such a stupidly expensive program.
That said, the blatherscapes in the Senate managed to divide along the usual party lines. The Democrats want to keep the people working and make sure that management makes good, long term decisions - at high cost to the public - while the Republicans want to keep management highly paid and let everyone else fend for themselves.
Okay, it’s not quite that black-and-white but you get the picture. The politicians are playing around with decisions, not because they want to do something right but because they want to pander to voters. According to the polls, the majority of Americans don’t want to pay for loans to the Big 3.
I think most people feel that way because they perceive the loans as a bailout. That’s not what the money is, however. Unlike the hundreds of billions being spent to bail out Wall Street and keep those greedy weasels in their multi-million dollar penthouses, the auto industry funding is nothing more than a loan. It will eventually be paid back, assuming GM, Ford and Chrysler keep selling cars.
If I were the President I’d do two things. First, I’d get the names of those several thousand “captains of the universe” on Wall Street and notify every one of them that they had to return all bonuses paid within the last two years to the treasury. If they didn’t I’d draft their sorry asses into the Army and send every one of them to Iraq and Afghanistan on the first plane headed that way.
Second, I’d give the Big 3 their loans but put in a number of the conditions cited by the Congress. As President - and an automotive expert - I would, however, make them pass every proposed new model past me. If I thought any particular vehicle was wasteful in its design and functionality, had no large market, poked “the finger” at fuel efficiency or was just plain stupid, I’d kill it. As for union workers who expect to be paid their salaries for a couple years after the factories have been closed down, maybe they might like to join the Wall Street bozos in the Army. Better yet, why not send them to free trade schools?
Yeah, I know I shouldn’t be the arbiter of how everyone should live their lives or what everyone should drive but it’s pretty certain no one else has done a very good job at it up to now. At least doing things my way doesn’t make the American public have to pay for everyone else’s mistakes.