A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, December 12, 2008

GOP Flop Stops Props

Earlier this week, Congress tried to send a nice Christmas card to the auto industry by crafting a bailout package for the Big Three American auto companies. The card would have said, “Merry Christmas and Please Don’t Die!” The measure passed muster with the White House (!) and sailed through the Democratic controlled US House. Ah, but those rascally old spoilsports in the Republican dominated Senate had a holiday card of their own for the auto industry, “Happy New Year and Drop Dead!”

The Senate threatened to filibuster the proposal in an effort to rein in organized labor. The bailout is now DOA until at least January. The Republican members in the Senate turned their thumbs down to the idea of propping up a linchpin of American industry. (Thus my succinct explanation for my Variety style headline.)

So, what happened? The idea – putting up money for the automakers to borrow with lots of conditions and a specific timetable to meet with penalties if goals were not reached — seemed like a dream come least for the Democrats (AKA, Friends of Organized Labor). The bailout even had the support of President George W. Bush (AKA, That Lame Duck Guy; Cheney has dibs on the title Imperial Emperor). The package would have allowed the Big Three auto giants to survive the holidays and really get down to the business of reorganizing themselves after the first of the year.

Well, it was not meant to least for the time being. The Republicans (AKA, Friends of Wall Street) weren’t so much after sending a message to the Big Three as they are in wanting to cripple the auto workers union. The UAW has made a major concession to save their members' jobs — eliminating the controversial jobs bank was a step in the right direction — but Republicans wanted more. The UAW could take the practical route and give back more to the industry; after all, their union dues will dry up once all of their workers are unemployed by company bankruptcy. On the other hand, the union is probably itching for a fight what with the end of eight years of union-busting policies in sight. It just wouldn’t be American for the UAW to curl up and die now.

It’s a pity that the package didn’t make it to the Oval Office for the President’s signature. It had all the drama of a classic inside-the-Beltway political fight. It even allowed for the position of “auto czar” to be created in true old-fashioned Washington style. Yes, find a crisis to solve and with a knee-jerk reaction, find somebody to oversee solving the problem and possibly to scapegoat later. That’s the Washington way: drug problem, appoint a drug czar; not enough gasoline at the pumps, appoint an energy czar; intelligence problem, appoint a leader who stubbornly holds on to his preconceived notions of the world and allow him to invade another country; but I digress.

Now we’ll see if all the doomsday scenarios will play out. Best case scenario: Big Three automakers are able to keep their factories working even as they negotiate their ways around the inevitable bankruptcy filings. Filing for chapter whatever doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Worst case scenario: bankruptcy does turn out to be the end of the world. In this case, the Big Three failure takes their workers, the UAW, all the other feeder industries, and the rest of us with it as we all swirl around in the waters of economic recession and down the drain. Race you to the bottom of the toilet, everyone!

Will the auto industry finally fail? Will the Republicans have the last laugh? Will that lame duck guy get a final gasp for his legacy? Will I break my arm as I pat myself on the back for this blog’s snappy headline? Keep watching, America! Oh, and by the way, Happy Holidays, but don’t drop dead.


Post a Comment

<< Home