Affirmative Action For The Motor City

December 18, 2008 

It was bad enough when only Congress held an economic gun to the American taxpayer’s head.  Hell, at least they had the Constitutional power of taxation as an ad infinitum bailout for their ineptitude and greed.  

But when Wall Street jumped into the queue for public charity it really started to feel like a mugging.   

These coddled “masters of the universe” where holding a gun to the country’s economic head.  These greedy bastards who paid our elected officials to turn a deregulatory blind-eye for over a decade while they squandered shareholder and national wealth for their own grotesque enrichment where now holding the taxpayer hostage in a high states shakedown.

Either the taxpayer anti-up trillions of dollars to bailout the Gulfstream crowd or the US economy would descend into a black hole of collapse. 

The Treasury Department blinked while the Justice Department stuck its head in the sand...and the politicians used one hand for pointing the finger and the other for counting their millions in financial industry political donations. 

Where is a guillotine when you need one.... 

And now the auto industry has learned the art of the stickup. 

First, GM chairman and chief executive officer Rick Wagoner threatened Congress, “This is about much more than just Detroit.  It's about saving the US economy from a catastrophic collapse.” 

If Wagoner had any conscience or honor he would have long ago committed Seppuku, but he doesn’t, so he’s trying to bail his weaselly ass out by extorting the American taxpayer...”give me what I want or I’ll give you catastrophic collapse”. 

And Wagoner’s co-conspirators from the UAW (United Auto Workers Union) promised the same.  In fact, they were “outraged” when a hero’s list of 35 senators (including Democrat Majority Leader Reid for “procedural” reasons) defeated the Wagoner-UAW Christmas bonus. 

Speaker Pelosi blamed “Senate Republicans’ refusal to support the bipartisan legislation (as) irresponsible, especially at a time of economic hardship”.  She failed to mention that the “irresponsible” senate heroes primary reason for voting against the bailout was the greed of the UAW which stubbornly refused to bring it workers pay and benefits into line with the successful automakers producing in America. 

All of these bailout partisans are pissed because 35 right-thinking senators saw no reason to throw good money after bad.  $14 billion today would only lead to another $14 billion in the very near future and hundreds of $billions down the road without a radical restructuring of the way the Big Three do business before the taxpayer spends a dime. 

When Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow pretends that, “It's about giving them time to be able to restructure,” she fails to mention that “they” have had decades to restructure.  And, in those decades, “they” have done nothing but selfishly rape shareholder and national wealth. 

Republican Senator Corker is absolutely clairvoyant when he protested that, “If we do this under the terms that Deb Stabenow is asking, this is the beginning of probably hundreds of billions of dollars....”  

It would be akin to giving an alcoholic a $100,000 dollars today with the promise that he would seek treatment in a couple of years. 

Long before most people realized that the economy was in deep doo-doo, I can remember laughing at GM Chairman Rick Wagoner’s support for national healthcare. 

In fact, almost three years ago, I wrote GM Needs A Hug.   

That article mocked the pathos of General Motors for trying to blame the fruits of its historical mismanagement on soaring national healthcare costs and wondering why the taxpayer should foot the bill for management’s and organized labor’s myopic greed. 

Different day...same old story. 

Just this past Sunday, Sen. Stabenow tried the same ruse: “The structure we need is health care reform. If we want to get to the costs that Senator Corker is talking about, then we need to join with our president-elect and have real health care reform.” 

Additionally, Stabenow adds, “The reality is that it's health care and pension costs. We're the only ones that don't have national health care and pension policies....” 

So let’s get this straight.  Cradle-to-grave healthcare and pensions are what drove the American auto industry into abject failure and now Senator Stabenow wants to extend those failed policies nationwide. 

Talk about retiring to an insane asylum.  

There is no doubt that a collapse of the Big Three automakers would have profound effects on the US economy...but, in substance, they have already collapsed and we taxpayers are feeling those profound effects.  

Should we take what little money we have left and donate it to: politicians buying union votes; top-of-the-line pay and benefits for inefficient high-cost unionized labor; multi-million dollar compensation packages for executives who wasted $billions producing an unsalable product line and, the billionaire owner of 80.1% of Chrysler who also owns 51% of GMAC.  

That’s correct.  Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., controlled by billionaire Stephen Feinberg, owns both 80.1% of Chrysler and 51% of GMAC. 

Somehow it doesn’t seem quite American to demand that the already over-burdened taxpayer step up to save millionaires and billionaires from there own greed and folly.  

Should the taxpayer, already under the burden of Wall Street bailouts, winter heating bills and increased property taxes, be vivisectioned in order for bumbling management to continue “summering” in the Hamptons and cradle-to-grave benefits for organized labor? 

Other than market forces, what can make these companies restructure efficiently?  The management that has already ruined them?  The union bosses who demand more and give less?  Or maybe the politicians who have already pilfered and destroyed Social Security and Medicare? 

What next? 

In their quest to propagate self-reflective mediocrity, perhaps Congress will propose a bailout for Sam Zell, and his Equity Group Investments, L.L.C., who bought and bankrupted the Tribune Co. (Co., owner of several metropolitan newspapers and the Chicago Cubs).   

Do you realize the “catastrophic” consequences of a world without the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Hartford Courant? 

Who else could go broke by writing unintelligible tripe that insults the people who could actually buy and read their newspapers by supporting the whackos who neither read nor care to. 

Uh Oh...I smell a bailout of the New York Times coming at you soon.


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