Strongest evidence that it’s about the unions

I’ve kept quiet about the proposed GM bailout emanating from the Democrats because, frankly, I don’t have enough information or understanding to add anything to the great comments you all have been leaving at the blog.  (Especially that “German” series, which has kept me in giggles for days.)

The one thing that has struck me, though, is how frantic the Dems are to save the automobile manufacturers when so many of their other efforts are aimed at destroying the car.  Since the bloated, inefficient auto industry would benefit mightily from Chapter 11 reorganization, the Dems’ efforts to save a business that creates a product they loath must be because they are bowing to a force mightier than themselves — and that would probably be the unions, right?

One of the things the Democrats do is build demographics.  Republicans stick to principles, while the Dems work on developing voters:  minorities, young people, union members, etc.  They promise all of them anything and everything, regardless of whether these promises can be fulfilled or are conflicting and, as long as a critical mass of voters in each demographics buys enough of the promises, the Dems can get elected.  Then, when the Dems can’t fulfill the promises, a critical mass of voters skews back to the Republicans, who have principles, but are dismally ineffective at putting them into play.

Overall, when one looks at the sorry state of the two parties, one aggressive and effective, but icky, and one passive and principled, but useless, it’s a pretty poor reflection on the beautiful experiment that is American politics.

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Comments

  1. Ymarsakar says

    I am having difficulty tolerating the suspense of “waiting” for an Obamanation, Book. So I am going to prepare myself mentally for the worst and get my analysis models out now so I can refine and correct them later on.

    This “wait and see” strategy may seem nice and noble but it is purely a defensive stratagem in warfare and defense doesn’t win wars.

    As you said, the GOP prefers defense. But they prefer defense because the common members and leaders of the GOP are decent people at heart and they care about their fellow Americans.

    I grew up learning politics in an America that had the Left more as the enemy than as any kind of ally against foreign threats, however, so my perspective is different. I’m also not as kind hearted towards the guilty as some, certainly not as kind hearted as Bush is.

    When you grow up learning politics by seeing tribal members as being more valuable allies than fellow Americans, it tends to skew your views on certain topics like honor, duty, cultural shock, and patriotism. The Arabs, with the exclusion of the Kurds and some Sufi sects of Islam, are intensely alien to those brought up in the culture of America. Yet I, who grew up in America, find them more admirable, even with the Arabic inshallah (our version is “A strong black man in government will give you change and hope), than our domestic opposition here in the States.

    Arabs are foolish but they have their own principles and values they won’t go back on. Arabs are intensely parochial and will do a lot of dumb things that will get their own people slaughtered over and over again, but even the ones in Al Anbar could be convinced of the truth after you kill enough of them or their enemies. Compared to the Left, Book, Arabs are able to become better the more contact they have with the US military whereas the LEft only becomes worse.

  2. suek says

    “The one thing that has struck me, though, is how frantic the Dems are to save the automobile manufacturers when so many of their other efforts are aimed at destroying the car.”

    I had a discussion with my son about this – primarily from a “wow the stock prices are down – is it a good time to buy? – what if they go into bankruptcy?” angle. I told him I though the government would bail them out. He said that didn’t make sense – that it was due to the unions, and wouldn’t get better. I think there are 3 reasons for the Dems and Obama to support a bailout:
    a) union support
    b) there’ll be a requirement that they retool for manufacturing “green” cars
    c) there’ll be a transfer of the health packages to a national health plan, and as a justification for a health plan.

    In other words, they’ll do it so they can justify and support their agenda. The question is going to be whether the rest of the US will see it as a good thing or a boondoggle. If they see it as a major step toward socialism, they’ll vote against the Dems in 2010. If they see it as government doing a good thing – even if it _is_ socialism – they’ll vote the Dems back in in 2010. The big problem for those of us who find socialism appalling is that there are way too many people who see it as a “nice” thing to have government take care of you.

    Adulthood is tough – that’s why so many fail to mature.

  3. Charles Martel says

    Speaking of using the auto unions’ health plans as a wedge to create a national health plan, I saw on another blog site that U.S. Catholic bishops, having at long last found their missing cojones, are threatening to close every Catholic hospital in the country if that Jesus-loving Christian Obama eliminates all federal barriers to abortion.

    Speaking as an RC who has been laughing his head off for years at what passes for manhood among most of the national Catholic hierarchy, I’m almost optimistic.

    The drawback to such decisive action, though, say some commenters (<–notice that clever mass media ploy for spreading the blame?), is that it may give the Obamaites an excuse to take over the hospitals through eminent domain.

    Back to the auto unions: I agree with suek that there’s more than just pandering to union members. A bailout will work for a few months, then, as disaster inevitably looms again, it will be time for our moral betters to call for a People’s Car and a People’s Health Plan.

    O, brave new world that has such people in it!

  4. Tiresias says

    As I said: we’re not bailing out GM or Ford, we’re bailing out the UAW. And this is every bit as much (if not more) about hanging on to those democrat votes as it is anything else.

    I have no great love for the American auto industry – I haven’t liked an American car in years, maybe decades – but I do have some sympathy for the predicament in which they find themselves. The CEO of GM remarked not many years ago that he wanted to be in the industry because he always loved cars and always wanted to build them. An enthusiast.

    Imagine his surprise at getting the job and finding that it 90% entailed being an HMO manager for retirees.

    Did they do it to themselves? Yes they did.

    But they were indeed helped along by some pretty amazing union attitudes.

    Boeing just ended a strike out here in WA. Here’s how dumb Boeing’s machinist’s union is:

    #1 – Boeing’s world competition is with the government supported Airbus. Government-supported. Airbus doesn’t need to make a profit, they just need to show up: they’re government-owned! They can’t go out of business!

    #2 – Boeing builds the world’s best mouse-trap, and they were already over a year behind in deliveries before the strike began. (The 787 is a brand-new design and it has developed teething problems, as expected – but the lead-time that was built in to the delivery schedule is gone, gone, gone – and has been exceeded.) There are airlines around the world reportedly re-thinking their orders, since now they won’t see a plane for five or six years. (And of course in the meantime all those airlines’ national economies have gone into the toilet…)

    #3 – Boeing has been involved in a great fight with the Air Force procurement process for replacing the “aging” (“ancient” would be more like it) KC-135 fleet. Northrop-Grumman won the contract at the first bid, and everybody at Boeing and all their wholly-owned politicians (Cantwell, Murray, Dicks, et al) screamed “foul!” so it’s back for re-bid. (Never mind the fact that: A) the Air Force needs the damn things yesterday, and even if Boeing starts tomorrow it’ll be years before the first ones appear because they’re already years behind; B) the Air Force really doesn’t want to depend on only one supplier, they’d like to keep Grumman’s expertise real-time and alive so the whole show doesn’t depend 100% on one company; C) Northrop-Grumman, even though the hulls would have been built by Airbus, had subbed work out to more states (and congressional districts) than Boeing had.); D) the FA-18 fleet currently providing our naval air power seems to have developed stress cracks in their fuselages, so we’re facing an FA-18 recall, which will add months to everything – and piss off the Navy…)

    Jeez, fellas; things are looking kind of rocky in several directions… so – this is a PERFECT time to go on strike, obviously!!!

    You have to wonder if there’s a plugged in brain anywhere on the premises.

    When I was in school in Boston there were three dairies that serviced the Boston area. Unions targeted one of them, and there were months of the usual union BS: overturned and burnt-out trucks, people beat up, property smashed – the usual thuggery that seems somehow tolerated from these people. Anyway, the union got their way, and one of the dairies became a union shop.

    And in less than a year: I mean literally fewer than twelve months later – there were only two dairies in Boston.

  5. eli says

    “One of the things the Democrats do is build demographics. Republicans stick to principles, while the Dems work on developing voters: minorities, young people, union members, etc. They promise all of them anything and everything, regardless of whether these promises can be fulfilled or are conflicting and, as long as a critical mass of voters in each demographics buys enough of the promises, the Dems can get elected.”

    Look at all the promises they have made to the black community and how very few promises they have ever fulfilled, yet the black community continues to back the Democratic Party candidates, never noticing that for many their lot in life remains roughly the same. We’ve had welfare for 30 years and the number of those in poverty remains constant. Short term memories deficits? Maybe other groups will forget the promises made, too. Considering how shallow and superficial is the understanding of most voters.. .

    However, as we saw in California sometimes registering voters for one thing (support Obama) leads to not seeing other issues don’t necessarily follow ( support for gay marriage).

  6. BrianE says

    Like other financial problems, these days, there is plenty of blame to go around over the auto industry. Critics of management say GM didn’t do enough to go after the fuel efficient market, but they could hardly do that, considering the cost disadvantages they faced.
    Compared to Toyota, GM labor costs are more than twice as high because of pension costs and the efficiency of GM’s plants are lower which gives Toyota a $1,000-$2,000 price advantage per vehicle. GM had no choice but to concentrate on the large car market which allowed for margins to cover these inequities.
    Even if one or all of the Detroit automakers files chapter 11, it is likely that the government will still provide the financing as Debtor in Possession, since with the financial crisis, it is unlikely that any of financier could or would take this on.
    Given all the risk, reorganization is the only strategy that makes any sense, long term.

    Still, in these fragile times, it would be foolish to downplay the consequences of a Chapter 11 filing by any of America’s largest corporate debtors. The lesson of Lehman’s failure is that no one knows with complete confidence all the linkages a big debtor has to other parts of the financial market. If numerous suppliers suddenly found their accounts receivable transformed into unsecured claims at the courthouse, could they too be pushed into bankruptcy? Would the federal government then find itself on the hook for their salvation? What would be the impact on consumer confidence of hundreds of thousands of the country’s best paid workers suddenly seeing their jobs and retirement benefits in jeopardy? The Center for Automotive Research estimates a total shutdown of the Big Three would cost up to 3 million jobs, close to $400 billion in personal income over three years, and $156 billion in tax revenue—plus the pension obligations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation the government would have to assume. (The consequences of just a 50% reduction in output aren’t much better).

    In any case, this may simply be politically out of the question. Having thrown trillions of dollars at financial companies whose highly paid bankers and traders got us into this mess, it would take a Democratic politician of either great bravery or great naivete to consign to bankruptcy court the companies whose union employees did so much to get him elected. The car companies know that, and so may logically resist any plan that involves a Chapter 11 filing, and seek more generous terms directly from Congress or the incoming Obama Administration.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2008/11/dipping_the_governments_toe_in.cfm

    Suek, I think you are right that this will be used as amunition to drive national health care, the argument being that Japanese auto manufacturers have a price advantage since the Japanese government picks up the health care costs that are borne by private corporations.

    “GM says its health care burdens, negotiated with the United Auto Workers, put it at a $5 billion disadvantage against Toyota in the United States because Japan’s government, not Japanese employers, provides almost all health care in Japan. This reasoning could produce a push by much of corporate America for the federal government to assume more health care costs. This would be done in the name of “leveling the playing field” to produce competitive “fairness.””- Gary North, 2005

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north370.html

  7. Oldflyer says

    I have sent emails to the White House comment line and to my Congressional officials to protest against a bail-out. I doubt it will do any good, but we have to try. I hope millions of others are doing the same.

    The auto problem is not a mystery. Data is posted in several places (though I don’t recall exactly where now) that shows the average per hour human cost in the U.S. unionized companies is over $70; while for the non-union, foreign owned auto companies, manufacturing in the U.S. it is around $40. The U.S. companies are going to battle with one arm behind their backs. Those other countries build good product with their lower costs and have prospered. Their employees are fairly compensated and people flock to get the jobs. Hmmm!

    Of course the big Three share the blame. They bought off the unions for decades to achieve “labor peace”. It worked until they encountered serious competition. Now as the good Reverend Wright says: “the chickens have come home to roost”.

    It is a myth that U.S. manufacturers don’t build cars that Americans want. Take a look at what is on the road. All of those oversized SUVs come with nameplates ranging from Ford, and GM, to Toyota, Honda and Rover. Same with the big pickups; nearly as many Toyotas as Fords and Chevies. They have all been building what the market bought.

    Over the past decade U.S. companies have improved quality dramatically. My 5 year old Buick LeSabre is a great car, which has run completely trouble free; and I get as good or better gas mileage as much of the Honda or Toyota line. It is just as good as the comparable Toyota or Honda model.

    Chapter 11 is painful. I have been through that; as well as Chapter 7 (death). But, Chapter 11 is useful, and if managed properly gives the company a chance. Sure, companies will downsize and some jobs will be lost; debtors will lose money; union contracts will be renegotiated to the detriment of union workers; retirees will have to go on Medicare like the rest of us; suppliers will struggle and some may fail. It is a tough world. Pouring billions of taxpayers $$ down the same un-restructured rat hole is just kicking the can down the road—again. Then the crisis will be on us again.

    One more point. If this bail-out happens we will unofficially, if not officially, become a socialist society. We should get to vote on that issue; and I don’t mean a vote for amorphous “Hope and Change”. I did not see the question on my ballot: Do you desire that the U.S. become a Socialist country? Yes/No.

    Raise your voices.

  8. Ymarsakar says

    Even if one or all of the Detroit automakers files chapter 11, it is likely that the government will still provide the financing as Debtor in Possession, since with the financial crisis, it is unlikely that any of financier could or would take this on.

    But that’s the great thing about being able to create crises, Brian. If you create the problem yourself, then you will be in control of when that problem is fixed. Your power will never go away and you will never be able to get stuck on a “problem”: not unless you chose to be.

    This is the warning given to us by Yuri Bezmenov, former KGB agent and defector to the US.

  9. Ymarsakar says

    Given all the risk, reorganization is the only strategy that makes any sense, long term.

    Correction, Brian, that was the quote I was responding to.

    Re-organization is the only strategy that makes sense if you prioritize fixing things over hoarding power.

  10. David Foster says

    Somewhat relevant: a manufacturing blogger visits a Toyota plant in Japan.

    Big-3 management has perhaps put too much faith in purely technological solutions to productivity problems, and not paid enough attention to cultural factors and to the innovative organization of work. Yes, they’ve been inhibited by union work rules, but surely they could have done more even under those constraints.

    Also, an analysis of problems faced by the U.S. auto industry should not ignore the issues with the dealer network…very hard for the companies to solve these given the existing contracts and the various state franchisee-protection laws.

  11. suek says

    >>My 5 year old Buick LeSabre is a great car>>

    My grandson is still driving my 1994 Buick (bought used) with 280,000 miles on it. It’s never had an engine rebuild, although I think we did put in a new transmission. _Nice_ car.

    Our Dodge van got smashed by an idiot driver with 289,000 miles on it. I can’t complain about American cars.

    I still would like to know how much those union bosses get paid, though. I know that the Teacher’s union boss got paid nearly $200K. Teachers who got burned out tended to try to get union jobs…as in the teachers Union, not jobs restricted to union members.

  12. BrianE says

    Every other desk in our plant has a copy of the book “The Toyota Way”, since we use lean manufacturing.
    Ford taught the Japanese mass production techniques, and now they’re teaching us. Very clever, those Japanese!
    It does require a certain mindset. While I’m not involved in production, I’ve been involved in some “events” where processes are broken down into as small as 30 second intervals, all with the goal of maintaining a flow to the production line. No wasted motion, no idle time.

  13. says

    From my point of view, part of the problem, despite all the “specialization” that the unions promise, is that American cars are poorly made. I’ve had two American cars, both terrible lemons and shoddily constructed to boot, and promised myself never to buy another American car. I’m all for “Buy America,” but when you’re talking $30,000 or $40,000 for a minivan, having a car that sees you at the shop every single month is a terrible hit.

  14. BrianE says

    BW,
    Sorry about your experience with American cars,
    Have a Grand Prix. It’s been a great car, would buy another one in a heartbeat, if I were looking for that kind of car. Zero problems.
    The Corvette is a blast. You can keep your Porsches and BMWs. Give me good old V8 torque.
    My daughter bought an Accord a couple of years ago. It spent the first three months in the shop. Since then it’s been a pretty good car.

  15. BrianE says

    The perception is that American cars are poorly made.
    Is the problem American built cars, or American designed cars? I think that most Toyota and Honda cars sold in America are actually made in here.
    Same American labor, but better quality? Do non-union laborers care more about the work they do? Since it is difficult to fire union laborers, do they have a lower work ethic?
    Or is the difference the engineering. I do know that not all engineers are equal (like every other profession), and some engineers are just better at what they do. When choosing materials, everything is run through a cost-benefit analysis, and pencil pushers may decide the processes or materials that are used, overriding the engineers. Engineers do have to design to a budget.
    Does the fact that American manufacturers have a built in cost disadvantage due to the higher labor costs affect the quality of materials, which in turn leads to “cheaper” cars?
    And if the big three go out of business, does that automatically mean Toyota wins all the NASCAR races?

  16. rockdalian says

    suek,
    This appears to be the latest that I could find.

    UAW President Ron Gettelfinger got a 2.3 percent raise in 2006, a year after taking a pay cut, a federal report released Thursday showed.

    Gettelfinger earned $145,126 and received $13,405 in allowances and official expenses for a total compensation of $158,530. His 2006 salary was still slightly less than he made in 2004 — $145,466 — after he and other officers took a 2.5 percent pay cut in 2005.

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070622/AUTO01/706220303/
    April 13, 2007

    As others have said, out of crisis comes power. The banks nationalized. The auto companies will be next. This is the way to fast track the socialist takeover of this country. And the door will have been opened voluntarily.

  17. Ellie2 says

    I bought my first car when I was 20 and my fourth car when I was 60. The first three were Buicks. Do the math.

    Foreign cars that are “made in America” are mostly assembled here from parts made abroad.

    About $1400 of the price of an American car is due to employee benefits.

  18. Mike Devx says

    My 1998 Ford Mustang has never been to the shop.
    Just the usual brake pads, oil changes, tires.

    I’m quite happy with my American car. I’ll be even happier if it keeps on going for five more years.

  19. Mike Devx says

    Crap! Famous last words! I just took my 1998 Ford Mustang to the store.

    Along the way, something leaped out of the shrubbery and I nailed it! I thought it was a deer, but after I pulled over and ran back, I saw that it was an obama.

    I’d never hit one of those before. I walked back to my car to inspect the damage.

    Underneath the street lights, the entire front of the car suddenly now sported a perfect sheen! Spotless and gleaming as if it had received a new paint and wax job, Just like new! But when I opened up the hood, everything inside was shattered and worthless, totally non-functional. The little that looked usable couldn’t be made to fit together into anything coherent at all.

    A bunch of liberals immediately gathered around and started admiring the sheen. I ended up walking home.

  20. Tiresias says

    Brian, #17; I don’t know the answer, and that’s an interesting question.

    I think it’s more engineering and design, because you’re absolutely right: one of my all-time favorite cars was a result of the Chrysler/Mitsubishi interaction of twenty or so years ago, and it was built in Montana; a Mitsubishi 3000. Same car as the Dodge Stealth. (The Eclipse was the same car as the Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon.)

    Built by Americans, and splendid cars. My 3000 ran for eleven years, during which time it didn’t spend eleven minutes in the shop for other than the routine. I sold it to someone who collects them, and it’s in everyday use in Florida. It’s now 16 years old, and continues to be a specimen of mechanical perfection. I wish I had it back.

    Japanese design and engineering, American workers.

    On the other hand, I leased a Ford Explorer for a little business in 2002. Leased it for three years, 39,000 miles. In the course of that 39,000 miles it needed new front-axle spindles thrice because the 4-wheel drive crapped out; it needed a new compressor and a whole set of new guts for the air conditioning; all new electronics for the 4 wheel drive shift process (they finally figured out it was lousy electronics that was leading to those new sets of spindles); it needed a new heater core; and the electronic problems ultimately spread to the transmission.

    Fortunately I had bought the extra warranty. It cost over $8,000 in extraordinary costs to keep that thing on the road for 39,000 miles. Didn’t cost me a dime – but how’d Ford do? When I turned it in I asked the guy at the dealership what they were going to do with it. He figured convert it to razorblades: Ford was already so far under water with it there was no way to get out, why make it worse?

    It strikes me that’s not a great business model they have going, there…

    The Iron Butterfly (my spouse) owned a Chrysler Sebring some years back. Beautiful car. Finally had to Lemon Law it out of our life. And Chrysler fought about it – they said it couldn’t be subject to Lemon Law because even though it was out of service for half its life, it was never for the same thing twice! (Fortunately the arbitrator had a sense of humor. He looked at the Chrysler rep incredulously and said: “And you’re seriously advancing the argument that you think that’s a good thing?”)

    My first car was a Fiat 850 Spider, followed by a Fiat 124 Spider – which endured for a decade plus. (The Fiats were reliable every way except electrically, and the problems were dopey, never serious.) Then a bunch of Subarus became the business cars – I think I had six of ‘em over the years – and all ran like Swiss watches. The weekend cars remained Italian, and were occasionally troublesome, but you sort of expect that. Silly stuff from hand-built cars. (My mechanic says: “no two of ‘em are ever wired the same way – though they’re better these days. Up until 1995 you could throw away the manuals and wiring diagrams, they were meaningless. Too much Grand Opera on the speakers in the factory, everybody was singing along con brio. Made the wiring very spur-of-the-moment.”) Since then, a series of Hondas – all of which have been perfect – and a series of Mazda’s, perfect except for the introductory year of the RX-8 when they brought back the rotary engine. It had such deeply embedded engine mapping electronic problems (one of four in the country with the problem, and Mazda knew exactly who and where we were) that Mazda took them back as matter of interest so they could study them, and told all four of us: “here’s a new one.” Don’t know how the other three are doing, but mine’s been perfect since.

    So… lotsa furrin cars, one impossible, most fine, many perfect; two American cars: both imposible crap. It would be good if it were otherwise.

  21. BrianE says

    Trying to get my head around the Big Auto Bailout, and I ran into this. Pretty good stuff.

    The Twilight Zone
    I thought surely I would wake up today, scan the headines, read some articles and discover that sanity had returned to Washington. Not to be…
    Honda, Toyota and others employee about 113,000 American’s who make about 4 million cars each year in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee without the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. None of these states voted for Obama and this is important to note.
    Which brings me to the boondoggle of all farces… GM, Chrysler and the UAW union. The crisis facing Detroit is being blamed on the current financial crisis and credit crunch when in fact their downturn has been decades in the making. GM enjoyed some of their best years ever, selling a record number of cars in the credit bubble buildup of the past 3-5 years yet they still lost money and their net worth at the end of Q2 2008 was a negative $57 billion! They were already insolvent and losing $1 billon per month!
    The Big 3 have been dead for a long time, unable to change their business models due to the stranglehold of the UAW that renders their cost structure as far too rich to turn a profit. The UAW negotiated:
    1) superlative medical benefits that virtualy no one else has with zero deductibles or copays
    2) guarantees on their pension plans via the Fed’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp
    3) unproductive and unprofitable plants kept open that employ UAW labor and are producing small, ugly cars that no one is buying.
    4) the UAW Jobs Banks that pays workers for not working
    There has been zero talk amongst politicians to address those and other UAW contracts that hold the Big 3 respective heads under the guillotine yet those same politicians are screaming “too big to fail” and “not bailing out Detroit would allow the unthinkable!” The Big 3 are also saying of course that “bankruptcy is unthinkable and not an option.”
    It is insanity to throw taxpayer money at Detroit because it is a blank check… a bottomless pit with no end to the largesse or the avarice of the Big 3 and the UAW. Michigan’s democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, along with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Charles Schumer and a host of others are in the headlines every day since the election, stating “Detroit must be bailed out”, The Big 3 cannot be allowed to fail” and “TARP funds should be used to bail out GM and Chrysler.” (Did I mention that Michigan voted for Obama?) By the way, whatever happened to using the funds to assist homeowners facing foreclosures? A significant portion of the TARP funds were to be used to assist those people. That charter seems to have gotten lost in the cries from AIG, AmEx, GM, Chrysler and others “too big to fail.”

    Barack Obama was in Washington yesterday to meet with President Bush, ostensibly to discuss the transition of power, address homeland security and terrorist activities that threaten the U.S. from around the world. Instead, Obama says his priority was to discuss Bush’s endorsement of using TARP funds to bailout GM and Chrysler and “was disappointed that President Bush was non-committal, that there was more style than substance in their conversations.”
    Perhaps President Bush is reluctant to add to Obama’s rhetoric of his “failed economic policies of the past 8 years” as Obama opined relentlessly over the past two years of his campaign. Perhaps President Bush doesn’t see bailing out Detroit as a smart move for all the above reasons. Perhaps President Bush foresees criticisms and claims of cronyism if he were to endorse an unintended use of TARP funds for car makers. (See my post of November 6, titled “Not Even With a 10 foot Pole” that explains the cronyism.) Perhaps it is time for the very inexperienced President-elect to step up to the table after his January inauguration and push his own chips and political reputation to the center of the table and declare “all in.” Perhaps it is time Mr. Obama realizes the scope of the very large stakes that Michigan (I want to make sure that I mention that Michigan voted for Obama.) is demanding him to orchestrate. Mr. Obama will soon realize how very easy it is to cheer and criticize from the cheap seats. Maybe he and Nancy Reagan can have a seance and ask The Gipper or Rod Serling for some guidance.

    http://mortgagemeltdownblog.com/?p=841

  22. BrianE says

    More good stuff. An appeal to George W. Bush:

    Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and all the lesser Democrats now want yet another bailout as payback for a big push for Obama by Michigan and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. This is true idiocy. As long as Detroit’s auto makers are hostage to the UAW and enabled to operate with a 1960s business model that was only profitable when they owned the U.S. car market (in excess of 80% compared to less than 20% today), they will forever be back, asking taxpayers to subsidize their bloated abominations. It is, plain and simply put, an unsustainable model and they will predictably be back, incessantly needing more taxpayer bailouts to stay afloat.

    TARP was set up to assist foundering banks and Wall Street brokerages. To use those funds for anything else would be the supreme “in your face” to taxpayers who massively were against a bailout anyway. (Try getting TARP approved today with the 20/20 hindsight we have now and it would be soundly defeated!) If you and the Republicans in Congress, who have enough votes to stop this travesty in the Pelosi-called lame duck session, allow TARP to be adulterated via a TARP amendment the Democrats need to divert those funds to the Big 3, this will have YOUR fingerprint on it and be on YOUR watch. When it goes awry, as surely it will, the history books will record that it was YOU that drove the nail in the coffin of the meltdown and created an outcry of cronyism. Mr. Obama, Ms Pelosi and all their sycophants would also no doubt label this as “the fitting legacy orchestrated by George W. Bush” and “the exclamation point on eight years of failed economic policy.”

    When Ronald Reagan, a hero of yours, mine and much of the adult populace of the U.S., fired the striking Professional Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) in 1981, after first giving them an ultimatum to return to work and release the choke hold they had on U.S. commerce, he made a statement to the citizens of the U.S. that no one should have the power to bring this nation to its knees. Well, Mr. President, it’s your turn, your supreme opportunity to make that same statement as your legacy. It will be painful at first but mostly in Michigan and on the left side of the aisle in D.C. where none of them particularly appreciate you anyway. Your approval ratings are already low so you have little to lose yet much to gain. Let Mr. Obama’s fingerprints be on this one and history will saddle him with this never ending boondoggle, already at $50 billion in government loans and beseeching you to feed the monster.

    Mr. President – this is your shining moment. “No” is a complete sentence. The bailout of Detroit is wrong and you know it. It will not work. The meltdown did not cause the abysmal failure of The Big 3… it merely brought 30 years of bad management and union inefficiencies into focus. Take a poll today of all U.S. citizens and I’m guessing 90% would vote “NO” on a bailout of Detroit. Those same people would ask you: “What happened to the focus on saving homeowners from foreclosure? How did TARP funds and this debate get diverted to Detroit?

    Detroit is working their spin that this will negatively affect 3,000,000 workers. Making the wrong decision affects another slightly larger group, 75,000,000 homeowners, already screwed royally by the Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi liberal freight train… the very failed social engineering experiment known as CRA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, subprime mortgages and bloated executive pay of criminal CEO’s like Franklin Raines, Jim Johnson and the boards of their two government disasters.

    An iconic voice from the 1990s, Susan Powter, built her weight loss empire on a saying: “Stop The Insanity!” It’s time, Mr. President. Please do NOT let them do this. It is just wrong.

    http://mortgagemeltdownblog.com/

    I suggest you read the entire thing.

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