The auto industry bailout was the topic du jour on all the sunday talk shows this weekend, and the hypocrisy of those conversations is something I can simply not let go unanswered.
To be clear, I believe the first Wall Street bailout was a complete one over on the American people and another corporate welfare giveaway to Wall Street. If the bailout would actually work I would have had no problem with it. But as I've learned at Pride At Work , rarely can you solve a problem by simply throwing money at it.
This bailout does nothing to solve the problems that have gotten us to this place; the extinction of financial regulation and oversight, the incredible disadvantage American companies have providing health care, as most industrial nations provide health care through the government, and finally, income inequality levels not seen in this country since before the last great depression.
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama has been hitting the airwaves calling on the Senate to reject an automobile bailout. Of course Senator Shelby has a vested interest in seeing the demise of the Detroit auto industry, as his state has had a boom of foreign car companies like Toyota and Daimler-Benz relocating to Alabama, since, as a right to work state, the ability to unionize is diminished, thus employees at those factories make lower salaries and receive nominal pensions.
The general reasoning being purported for rejecting the bailout is that Detroit has been making a terrible product and deserves to go down for their lack of foresight in the need to make green cars, and that their management needs to learn a lesson. Maybe so.
However, the same standards could be applied to AIG, Lehman Brothers, and all of the Wall Street tycoons who have created the financial disaster that we currently face. If General Motors deserves to go down for "failed management", then one rightly could contend that the same fate should happen to AIG. Instead, AIG employees continue to go on junkets to five-star resorts, all on tax-payer dime. What's good for the goose is most definitely good for the gander.
If Senator Shelby and the Republicans get their way and a bailout of Detroit fails, then they should be forever known as the party that has moved us into the Second Great Depression.
If General Motors goes out of business, we don't only lose those 250,000 jobs, but we lose the millions that are employed making automobile parts across the country. Estimates by economists place job losses with a potential bankruptcy of General Motors at over 2 million.
If we're going to become the bailout nation, then we need to bailout not only those who have missed their million-dollar bonus, but the workers who make cars, automobile parts, and make a middle-class wage and receive domestic partner benefits as well.
We can not afford as a country to see one of the last of our remaining manufacturing sectors disappear.
Sure, General Motors needs some massive restructuring, beginning with a massive push, by the government, for single-payer health care in this country, which would take the burden of health care costs off our manufacturing sector and help level the playing field with other countries.
I never in a million years thought America would become a Socialist country. But since it has, its time to see the Socialist revolution actually help workers instead of people with million-dollar checking accounts.
And to you, Senator Shelby, I see your new claim to fame to be the one who led us into the first great depression of the 21st century.