Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 12, 2008

'THE PARTY OF HERBERT HOOVER'.... On Wednesday, Dick Cheney met with Senate Republicans and emphasized the importance of keeping the American automotive industry afloat. "If we don't do this, we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," the vice president said.

The Neo-Hooverite caucus apparently seems willing to wear the label with pride.

Hilzoy noted the developments overnight, but I have to admit, I'm still struggling to understand how the Senate GOP could have successfully pulled this off. Let me get this straight: the Bush White House reached a deal with congressional Democrats on a $14 billion rescue package, and the compromise passed the House with a bipartisan majority. Some Senate Republicans not only opposed the measure, but refused to let the chamber vote on the bailout unless a series of unreasonable changes were made.

Democrats, hoping to stave off disaster, went along, and agreed to Republican demands to reduce the United Auto Workers' wages and benefits as soon as the UAW's current contract expired in 2011. The GOP, led in this case by Sens. Corker, Shelby, and DeMint, said that wasn't good enough -- autoworker wages had to be cut in 2009, or else. The deal fell apart, the Asian markets tumbled, U.S. futures tumbled, and at least one of the Big Three is poised to collapse.

This, for lack of a better word, is madness. But what I really don't understand is why the rest of the Republican caucus in the Senate went along with this. Corker, Shelby, and DeMint are three far-right lawmakers from the Deep South, but they were only able to pull this off last night because there weren't enough reasonable Republicans left.

John Judis noted:

If you look at the history of the Great Depression, what tipped that event from a global recession to depression was precisely a series of dumb, craven -- or in Keynes' word, "feather-brained" -- moves by politicians blinded by ideology or by narrow self-interest. An interest rate hike here, a balanced budget there, a spending reduction or two, and we went from ten to twenty percent unemployment. Don't imagine for a moment that the failure to bailout the auto companies isn't one of those feather-brained moves.

Put it this way. What we have learned from the economics of the Great Depression is that in order to end the spiral of unemployment, government has to throw money at companies and consumers. It should be trying to raise wages, not lower them. The Wall Street bailout was a fiasco, but it was probably better than nothing. And the auto bailout was considerably better thought-out. Now there is a good prospect that two of the Big Three will fail, jeopardizing, perhaps, as many as a million jobs. That's exactly the kind of thing that Americans should not be doing. But don't tell that to those great patriots Corker, DeMint, or Shelby. They know better.

Harry Reid worked very hard -- indeed, he might have been willing to compromise too much -- to pull this together, but he noted last night, "By rejecting every good-faith bipartisan compromise -- including those from the White House and Senator Bob Corker -- it is now abundantly clear that Republicans have no interest in keeping the Big Three from collapsing.... Republicans may think that rejecting this legislation sent a message to the auto industry. Instead, they sent a message to every single American that they are more interested in settling scores than solving problems."

The party of Herbert Hoover, indeed.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (136)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Harry Reid worked very hard -- indeed, he might have been willing to compromise too much -- to pull this together

and i would suggest that that's the problem right there. the gutless, feckless, cowardly democrats who time after time after time -- despite majority status; despite congressional tricks they could employ -- have rolled over for these fucking scumbags every goddamned time. so why the hell shouldnt the repigs go for everything they want. they've gotten it in the past.

Posted by: linda on December 12, 2008 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Like Rachel said last night - Their mission is to bust unions and do whatever they can to reduce the pay of the average American worker. Big bidness would love it if they could get away with paying everyone except the execs minimum wage. They keep repeating that $70 dollar an hour bullshit, when most of the punishing costs are health care related. Neo Hoover indeed.

Posted by: John R on December 12, 2008 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Where are the wage cuts for Wall Street Workers and the pay cuts for their executives?

Posted by: impartial on December 12, 2008 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Not to sound like a broken record, but I would point out that the cloture vote wa 52 to 35. Had the four Dems who voted for the filibuster - Lincoln, Baucus, Tester and Reid (who did it as a procedural maneuver), voted the other way, it still would have failed 56 to 31. That is because absent Senators count as votes for a filibuster. In this case that included Kerry, Kennedy, Wyden, Biden and Obama.

Meanwhile, Republican Sens with upcoming elections had the opportunity to vote for the cloture or to not vote, thus avoiding the stain of a kill-Detroit vote.

I would urge people to write or call their Sens and demand that the cloture rule be changed such that the 40 votes is the magic number, not the 60.From a logical point of view, a Senator who doesn't care enough or isn't available to vote, is not going to participate in further debate, anyway.

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK


Republican = Jobkiller

Posted by: Lab Partner on December 12, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure that 40 republican fanatics would have returned to vote against the union. The Republicans are simply incapable of being trusted with anything serious. Their party needs to disappear and be replaced with an adult conservative alternative.

Posted by: Marc on December 12, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Where have all the unions gone? Long Time Passing
Where have all the unions gone?
To outsourced jobs every one
To countries everyone but this one

Oh well. I can't wait to drive a plastic car to the unemployment line

Posted by: Greytdog on December 12, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

@ danp

Obama didn't vote because he is no longer a Senator.

Posted by: John S. on December 12, 2008 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Obama resigned from the Senate. He couldn't have voted if he wanted to. Did you want him to show up and try to vote? With Republicans and the media returning to the Clinton rules, how smart of a move would that have been?

Posted by: Edund Dantes on December 12, 2008 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

What linda said is right on. Time to dump Reid!

Posted by: Rick on December 12, 2008 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Party before Country"


Where have we seen that before???

Oh yes!! Soviet Union.

Posted by: CN on December 12, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

For their country club buddies of the banks and Wall St, the sky's the limit, and no need for oversight or limits on executive compensation.
For those paid by the hour? The package was halved, with oversight. Yet was nixed over paycuts for hourly employees.

This was the most stunning and brazen act of class warfare I have ever seen. They're not even trying to hide it anymore.

Posted by: JoeW on December 12, 2008 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

I hear another narrative.

If we approved a government bail-out, then we would have started a series of government supports for each nation's auto industry. This would be the equivalent of the Smoot-Hartley protectionist sentiment.

It is the Dems who are being protectionist exactly when we need less protectionism to escape the recession.

The real question is why Pelosi gave a free pass to the bonuses of financial executives when we bailed them out?

Posted by: MattYoung on December 12, 2008 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

John S and Edund Dantes - You're missing the point. Regardless of the reason he didn't vote, his absence supports the fillibuster, because a non-vote counts against the 60. And actually, if I'm not mistaken the magic number is now 59, because there are only 99 Senators. More importantly, I'm not blaming Kennedy, Kerry, et al for not voting. They may have had legitimate reasons, and since they undoubtedly knew the outcome, they may not have made much effort to be there.

Remember, however, that Tim Johnson was out for several months because of his aneurism. Kennedy and Byrd could very likely contribute to filibusters in 2009 because of their illnesses. My point is that a non-vote should not contribute to blocking the up and down vote.

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

The real question is why Pelosi gave a free pass to the bonuses of financial executives when we bailed them out?

Gee Matt, weren't you the one who was making the argument not so long ago, that these executive compensations are completely insignificant?

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

"If we don't do this, we will be known as the party of Herbert Hoover forever," the vice president said.

Oops! Too late for that, Dick

Posted by: Marko on December 12, 2008 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Not disagreeing with your overall point, but I don't think it's accurate to call Sen. Corker (R-TN) "far-right". He's number 69 on a DW-NOMINATE-based ordering of the 110th Senate from most liberal to most conservative, based on 2007 votes. He's less conservative than the median Republicans, Sens. Hagel (R-NE) and Shelby (R-AL).

Posted by: Brock on December 12, 2008 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Gee, our old La Salle ran great, those were the days"

Posted by: Corker, De Mint and Shelby on December 12, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

It's mere coincidence that Senator Corker's home state of Tennessee is the location of the largest Toyota plant outside of Japan as well as being the location of the headquarters of Nissan USA. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's principled opposition to the bailout has nothing to do with the fact that his home state of Kentucky was just chosen as the location for a new VW plant.
Senate Republicans are so accustomed to moving in lockstep that that they're following these two over a cliff. If the Republican Senators' opposition leads to the failure or the bankruptcy of the Big Three, Democrats are not going to let voters forget it.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on December 12, 2008 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

follow the money.

my brief understanding is that it was killed by southern Republicans. I think a useful thing to do would be to look at the donations from particular lobbyists to the Senators whose votes killed the auto company loan.

in terms of money flowing from federal cofferrs 15 billions is chump change.

Posted by: grinning cat on December 12, 2008 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

should have kept reading... Dennis makes the salient point. Republicans continue to sell the country down the river because of their idiotic worldview.

America will never forget last night's vote.

Posted by: grinning cat on December 12, 2008 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Just more permutations on the system built on the river of oil. Maintaining the rise of wealth to the top requires squeezing the people supporting the base of the pyramid. We are fated to be technocrats by the machine that oil built. And the face of monkeywrenchers arrive with ideological surprise.

Posted by: lou on December 12, 2008 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Funny thing about unions and non-unions - When, the unions were still strong in So Cal, in the '70s, non-union construction firms paid just under the top union scale. However, they did not pay any pension and many did not pay for any health coverage.

When, many unions were broken in the early '80s, all wages dropped. I witnessed many small construction companies switch to a 10 to 15 an hour for their foremen and 5 to 7 dollars an hour for the workers. Many top journeymen and masters were lost to the industry. Spoke to one owner about the many 5 bucks and hour guys. He said it was great, because, he could weed out and, if the problems created were so great, he could slip on his tool belt and correct them. Many a flipper at McDonald's, suddenly, saw the "Big Bucks" of 5 to 7 dollars an hour and tried out for construction. And people started wondering why construction work had become so shoddy.

Posted by: berttheclock on December 12, 2008 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

"Gee Matt, weren't you the one who was making the argument not so long ago, that these executive compensations are completely insignificant?"

No, not me. I argued all along that Pelosi was bailing out the rich because she is hysterical.

Posted by: MattYoung on December 12, 2008 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Correction to above - Meant to say only one lead man was paid 10 to 15 an hour - It was similar to the "El Hefe" system of companies hiring undocumented workers from Mexico. They would pay one lead man and have him recruit a cheaply paid crew. With the unions, either gone, or in disarray, there was no competition.

However, what amazes me in reading so many different online papers and weblogs, this AM, is how many moderates, lib, and "Progressives", are so willing to sell out unions. Many white collared typists have garnered the luxury of sitting in their cozy environs typing merrily away, because of the blue collared working union jobs of their parents. Yet, I remember, when Kevin Drum, never lifting more than a pinkie to place his kitties in proper focus, knocked the union wages of the NYT Transit workers. Thought they were so "overpaid".

Posted by: berttheclock on December 12, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Feather-Brained Republicans will be retired in the next election cycle! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 12, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

I feel like we are going to need to exhume Chris Farley's body, strap some road flares to his chest and send him into the negotiating room, while we watch C-SPAN and yell "Tommy just sold half a million break pads!" It's surreal...

Posted by: Mike Lamb on December 12, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't the damn Dems MAKE THEM ACTUALLY FILIBUSTER???

If the idiot Republicans want to threaten a filibuster, make 'em show up with cots & blankets and actually DO it. In addition to the huge inconvenience, such a move would get far more press re the Republicans' obstructionism and union-busting.

Why does Harry roll over at every whiff of a threat from the sleazoid Repubs?

The image of Southern Democrats from the 50's and 60's -- of fat, old white guys standing in the way of progress on civil rights with their countless filibusters -- remained with the party for a long time [until Nixon adopted that as his "Southern Strategy"]. Force the Republicans to actually filibuster, keep them in the news as the craven anti-worker party they are, and let that image stick to them for countless future elections.

It can't be any WORSE than what Dems are doing now.

Posted by: Mauimom on December 12, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Am I agreeing with Dick Cheney? Yikes.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 12, 2008 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

It's worth pointing out there are a couple of very stupid Democrats who are trying to stop this bailout, as well. One of them, Claire McCaskill, is from my home state of Missouri and I can see no reason why she would oppose this bailout; especially when the man she worked so hard to get elected president has said it's necessary. It's also worth pointing out that the Republican opposing this bailout also have foreign automakers in their states who aren't unionized. They have a vested interest in seeing the unionized US automakers topple.

Posted by: Jimmy on December 12, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jimmy- I also read stories that McCaskill would vote against the bill. But she did vote with Dems last night on the cloture vote.

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. This: "By rejecting every good-faith bipartisan compromise -- including those from the White House and Senator Bob Corker..."

And this: "The GOP, led in this case by Sens. Corker, Shelby, and DeMint, said that wasn't good enough -- autoworker wages had to be cut in 2009, or else."

Do not go together. It sounds like Reid was being overly kind. How could Corker's compromise proposal be in good faith if Corker himself was one of the Republicans who killed it?

Posted by: Shalimar on December 12, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK
Corker, Shelby, and DeMint are three far-right lawmakers from the Deep South, but they were only able to pull this off last night because there weren't enough reasonable Republicans left.

For years now, many people have been looking for "reasonable Republicans". There are as many of them around as there are unicorns. This has been obvious for a hell of a long time, yet people as astute as Steve Benen normally is are just now realizing it?

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on December 12, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

but they were only able to pull this off last night because there weren't enough reasonable Republicans left.

The Republicans now own the recession. All Republicans, not just the Senate.

That means the folks in the country club and everyone who ever wanted to have a beer with Bush.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on December 12, 2008 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Harry roll over at every whiff of a threat from the sleazoid Repubs?

The only reasonable explanation is that Reid - and those "Democrats" who support him - actually favors what the Republicans are doing.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on December 12, 2008 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

So how many auto related workers are thinking the republicans might not have their backs like they claim ?

I wonder which way the same republicans would be voting if McCain was in office ? Right, that is all you need to know about their motives.

Posted by: ScottW on December 12, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

"That is because absent Senators count as votes for a filibuster. In this case that included Kerry, Kennedy, Wyden, Biden and Obama." - Danp

That makes zero sense, how can an absent Senators vote count for a filibuster ? If none of them voted, and Reid forced the filibuster, who would take the stage ? This rule needs to be amended.

Posted by: ScottW on December 12, 2008 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Why does Harry roll over at every whiff of a threat..."

Because the man is an amazingly flaccid, incompetent, conflict-averse, and feckless coward. There hasn't been a more useless Majority Leader in either party over the last century.

Posted by: bluestatedon on December 12, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

It's very simple. The GOP hates America. Their failed ideology and party identity are more important to them than the well-being of our country and our citizens.

When the country is in ruins, they will blame the Democrats and offer a "salvation" which will really be more of the same shite that got us in this mess to begin with.

Posted by: Stacy6 on December 12, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

"Why don't the damn Dems MAKE THEM ACTUALLY FILIBUSTER???"

Agreed. I get so tired of the Dems just rolling over. If they think these millions of jobs are worth fighting for (or not, if you're a Rep), then let the fillibuster begin.

Posted by: Marko on December 12, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Scottw - I'm not sure I understand your comment at 10:22. But the point is that you need 60 votes to prevent a filibuster. A non-vote counts as if it is a "no".

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

DanP: I'm curious as to what the rule is when the seat isn't filled. Obama resigned his seat. Biden hasn't yet as far as I know. Right now there is no Jr Senator from Illinois. So does he the number shift since there is only 99 Senators now or is his empty seat (not absent) count as a No vote?

Posted by: edmund dantes on December 12, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Danp this is weird. To pass an ordinary law, you only need a majority of those voting, or am I mistaken? Why is the cloture requirement different, if it is?

Posted by: NB on December 12, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

edmund and NB - A cloture vote is a vote to suspend debate. It requires 60 votes (normally, though I read somewhere that Obama's resignation changed that to 59 until there are 100 Senators again). Once debate is suspended, they have the so-called "up and down vote", where 51 votes are required to pass the bill.

I'll see if I can find the article I read about changing the 60 to 59 because of Obama. Stay tuned. :)

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Here's the article I had read. The key line is in the paragraph after the Harry Reid letter. Now, in the article, Nate Silver is specifically talking about what happens if the Minnesota seat is not filled on time, but I am assuming the same thing applies to Obama resigning.

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

NB - and no, it never matters how many people actually vote. What matters is how many seats there are. One of the reasons I never blamed McCain for skipping so many votes, is that he would have voted NO on all of them. Showing up would not have given his vote more weight, even if Obama, Clinton, Biden and Dodd stayed away from DC.

Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Obama and Biden have resigned their Senate positions. The Dems just don't have the votes needed to offset the Senate GOP's suicide wish. So let's be clear which party bears the real culpability.

The states most damaged by the Nay vote include MI, OH, PA, WI, IL, IN. All of them, coincidentally, voted for Obama.

Coincidentally. Yep.

The proper response now is to kill some subsidies in the states where the Nay votes came from. Tobacco subsidies would be the perfect place to start: let the GOP defend the welfare their states receive.

As for the GOP effort to make the UAW the culprit, I think it's time for citizens to demand consistency: it's time Congress starts taking some paycuts. In lean times, this would be a hugely popular effort. After all, Congress screwed up in its oversight and it still can't act wisely in a national crisis.

Nobody but nobody should accept a pay decrease before Congress takes one. Let either party try and fight that reality at their own peril.

Sometimes citizens have to act to make Congress wake up to the reality that wage-earners aren't going to be their patsies.

Posted by: Kevin Hayden on December 12, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Hayden: Are you sure on Biden? I have yet to see an official resignation from him. I've seen things that says he plans to resign, but nothing showing he's actually done it. I could have missed it though. Do you have a link? There is a major difference between stating to resign and actually resigning.

Posted by: edmund dantes on December 12, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Some ironies:

Michigan, home of GM, sends billions more to Washington than it receives. Snetators blocking this proposal are from states like Alabama which receive billions more than they send to Washington.

Cost of living in Michigan is higher than in Alabama, which is why workers in Mich need higher pay, which then puts them in a higher tax bracket. So these workers are sending net tax dollars to Alabama, subsidising Alabama's auto workers, who's Senators refuse to help Michigan.

Republican message:

Why should I help you? The hole is on YOUR side of the boat.

Posted by: Broken on December 12, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The car companies are going to wind up getting the financing, but the Senate Republicans will still pay the price for what they did.

In 2010, they have a bunch of vulnerable seats. For starters, they can kiss Ohio, Iowa, and New Hampshire goodbye. Democrats will have big chances in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and North Carolina, and Arizona, Florida, and Kentucky will be in play.

I think you'll see some tough fights, with the Democrats picking up another 4 or 5 seats.

Posted by: Magic Dog on December 12, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, clear this up for me people...the big three are going belly up and the Unions DEMAND that they get to keep their $75/hr line jobs for another 2 years, and its the Republicans being unreasonable? The UAW is to the average Union worker what Blago is to the average Dem, a shame and an embarrassment. The big three going to Chap 11 means only one thing, the END of the UAW as a bankruptcy judge would take one look at their comp packages and laugh.

Posted by: Michigander on December 12, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Stop it....the bailout will do nothing but prolong the ultimate death...and is more money ultimately my kid will have to pay...enough already, these companies cannot make money and have yet to provide a plan that will show them making money...if its such a good idea private money would jump in...I am tired of paying my mortgage and my employees ...where is my handout, oh that's right I am not "too big to fail"...by definition if your too big to fail your too big....our government sucks that includes both democrats and republicans...but the auto industry has been crap forever and now you idiots believe it will fix itself in 3 - 6 months....ok, by the way , do you want to buy a bridge I am selling....

Posted by: michael62 on December 12, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"This, for lack of a better word, is madness. But what I really don't understand is why the rest of the Republican caucus in the Senate went along with this."

I don't know, maybe it has something to do with the fact that around 60% of the country doesn't want the Big Three & the UAW bailed out with taxpayer money? How freaking hard is that to understand?

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/03/auto.poll/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Posted by: I'm With Stupid on December 12, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

What happened last night was rather simple. The House paid the UAW back for their campaign contributions and the UAW lost its bluff in the Senate. Now the WH will ride to the rescue.

The UAW has saddled GM, Chrysler, and Ford with huge legacy costs to add to the incompetent management of the American firms. Meanwhile, Kia is building the largest auto plant in the world in Alabama. Can our Democratic commentators explain this?

The Obama Administration will now throw billions of good dollars after bad ones because the UAW gave millions to the DNC. GM won't have to change, and will die slowly instead of having to change radically.

The Republicans don't want either the Big Three or the UAW to die. They do want both institutions to learn from the Japanese and the Koreans and change.

You know. "Change you can believe in"?

Posted by: section9 on December 12, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

You folks crack me up. Ya'll couldn't mortgage a clue.

Posted by: elfiii on December 12, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Meanwhile, Kia is building the largest auto plant in the world in Alabama."

Actually, its' in West Point, Georgia Section 9.

Posted by: elfiii on December 12, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Keynes' philosophy is what caused the great depression to stick around for a decade longer than it should have.

Strange how history has repeated itself here but democrats fail to acknowledge the facts. Featherbrains indeed.

Posted by: Friedman on December 12, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

What a great idea! Let's give billions of taxpayer money to failing businesses. And the best part, the failing businesses don't have to make any changes to their failing business model until 2011.

I would sign my company up but we're still profitable. And according to those on the left, the profitable companies are evil. The bankrupt companies are pure.

Posted by: SirTruth on December 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

If I rememer correctly, prior to 1975, cloture required two thirds of those present and voting. Following the 1974 elections, there was an effort to change that rule to three fifths of those present and voting. Republican senators filibustered that rule change, and a compromise was adopted whereby 60 votes, irresective of the total number voting, would be required to invoke cloture.

Senator Obama's resignation accordingly had no effect on the number of votes required for cloture.

Posted by: John in Nashville on December 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, clear this up for me people...the big three are going belly up and the Unions DEMAND that they get to keep their $75/hr line jobs for another 2 years,

Let me clear it up for you: union members do not make $75/hour. They make, on average, $26/hour. They no longer get overtime. That is roughly $52,000 a year.

The median price of a home in the greater Detroit area was around $200,000 until about 2005. At $52k/year a loan for that amount with 20% down and TIPI puts the monthly payment just for a home at 32% of income, above the recommended standard of 28% for loan qualification.

Union members, particularly those with kids, have not been living particularly high on the hog. Abuses have abounded in that environment there is no question, but they have been tightening belts and making concessions for years now while losing a significant percentage of their workforce to unbelievably cheap overseas labor.

On the contrary, middle and upper management DO make $75/hour and up, waaaay up. Not to say that is good or bad, it just is what it is. But it shows that the union guy -- who, if he loses his job, pretty much doesn't have another job waiting for him in this economy and who if he takes a pay cut won't be able to support his family -- is not strutting around with a top hat and a monocle passing out greenbacks to grateful shoeshine boys.

Posted by: trex - Michiganian on December 12, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

One of the reasons the Great Depression persisted for so long was because of upward pressure on wages. (Unions, government)

Get it through your head. The UAW has shoved tons of legacy costs on the Big 3. They killed the golden goose. And then they got in reverse and ran over the corpse.

Do you want the industry to survive? You can't support thousands of non-workers with generous benefits.

Would you rather see everyone lose their jobs?

Show me one heavily unionized industry that is doing well. And any of those under competitive pressures? How about all those public employee unions sucking states dry with their pensions?

Posted by: Geoff on December 12, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

The re-writing of history continues. Hoover spent money, he got business not to fire people, and did other things that mirrored what became the New Deal. Roosevelt just intensified and continued Hoover's policies, which yielded predictably bad results. Now we've had 8 years of Bush acting like Roosevelt which has culminated in a very Roosevelt like bailout. Is it any wonder that the economy is in collapse? If Obama continues we'll have another depression. I'm glad that people like DeMint are finally standing up, I just wish they'd done so a bit sooner when Bush-Roosevelt was spending us into oblivian.

We've got to get back to real capitalism. I'm talking pre 1900 capitalism, when the country was free and we managed to turn a third world country into the greatest economic super power in the history of the world.

Posted by: Pliny on December 12, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

From reading some of these posts, it's nothing short of remarkable how ignorant those of you on the left are as to how business functions.

We have John in Nashville complaining that even though the Big Three's labor costs are driving the Big three into bankruptcy, the union workers simply can't afford a paycut, and therefore shouldn't have to take one.

The solution? Just take more money from me and give it to them.

I'm going to request that my company start making stupid decisions and become unprofitable so we can get some of John's money.

Posted by: SirTruth on December 12, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

the Unions DEMAND that they get to keep their $75/hr line jobs

Please stop repeating this fallacy.

Posted by: Juanita de Talmas on December 12, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

remarkable how ignorant those of you on the left are as to how business functions.

Exactly. Don't you know that CEOs deserve to make 400 times what the average line-worker makes because of the skill they have in leading their companies to ever higher paths to profit??

Posted by: Tom Jones on December 12, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

The union have bashed and bad mouthed republicans non stop for years and now that they need their help, they're appalled they won't jump when told to - how surprising.

Posted by: MuleSkinner on December 12, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Right- paybacks a "Bitch" isn't it? The unions have for long been just a branch of the Democrap party (or vice versa) but now they are shocked, shocked I tell you that conservatives, who are not beholden to them, do not roll over and play dead for their anti-American ideology. Let them use their $77 an hour to do their own bail out. Let the unions buy the auto companies and then run them - the unions are socialist anyway so this would be perfect. Of course the first thing they would do is "revise" their extortionist contract agreements. LOL

Posted by: fred t on December 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Pay should be cut so that companies can survive and provide jobs. However, the cost of living needs to drop too. This will happen if the money gouging democrates will let go of the political strings of congress, and help the country by NOT selling out the U.S. We need to stand together and keep letting other countries know that we are not for sale. I've watched the demoncrates veto every decent proposal to help the U.S. without an consideration of how hard they make it on the population. Their main goal was to ensure the demoncrate presidential race at all cost.

Posted by: jj on December 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

It is imperative that the auto companies are bailed out so that they don't fail. I mean take a look at how successful the wall street bailout has been in stabilizing that market. right!?!?!?

Posted by: Me on December 12, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Let them use their $77 an hour

Please stop repeating this fallacy.

Posted by: Juanita de Talmas on December 12, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Leftists: the CEO's salary isn't what's putting GM into bankruptcy. It's the labor cost of $75 per hour. This labor costsincludes not only current employee wages and benefits but pension and benefits to retirees.

You can't have labor costs which are significantly higher than your competitors and expect to survive. This is particularly true when unions have rules which reduce productivity (ie. "sorry, but that's not my job").

Yoou claim to have compassion for the working person. But yet your policies drive the working person's business out fo business. And then you cry that the business was so unfair and heartless.

Business is in the busineess to make money. As a necessary and wonderful by product, the business must hire people to make money. But that concept is unfortunately lost on you leftists.

Posted by: SirTruth on December 12, 2008 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

My apologies for my several typos. But there's no edit button to correct them.

Posted by: SirTruth on December 12, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

I do understand the pent-up animous for the UAW, etc.

From the UAW's perspective, AT BEST this was a 3 month tide-over; accept these concessions for 3 months while more is worked-out. They can see what's happening ... the bloat, etc. From their perspective it's MUCH better to fight for the status quo labor arrangement (especially with regard's to wages) than it is to give in for 3 months.

Finally, if they were to accept the concessions and take the conditions of the "non-union" shops - the Union is effectively dead at that moment anyway.

The point of having a Union is to fight for something Better, Collectively ... not merely to have a job. Merely having a job doesn't require a Union.

That's Me ... I'm a Labor sympathizer ... I don't like the UAW. But, I do recognize that Unions provided at one time a very valuable service - and they will again. It was no accident that Unionism grew strong in the 30's. Hard times and Labor go together.

Posted by: Widgeon on December 12, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

You can't have labor costs which are significantly higher than your competitors and expect to survive.

That's right. If you don't pay your CEO an astronomical sum, then some other company will steal him away because of all the talent he has in running a profitable business.

Posted by: Tom Jones on December 12, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

The union have bashed and bad mouthed republicans non stop for years and now that they need their help, they're appalled they won't jump when told to - how surprising.

I think what you meant to say is:

Republican have bashed and bad mouthed and busted unions at every chance over the years. Now that they have a chance to destroy them once and for all at the mere cost of killing millions of jobs, sending the labor overseas, and destroying the economy -- they're taking it!

Show me one heavily unionized industry that is doing well. And any of those under competitive pressures? How about all those public employee unions sucking states dry with their pensions?

In the late 1990's and up until the recession started when Bush took office, Ford Motor Company was posting profits in the billions -- in a heavily competitive situation. They managed to turn a profit again in 2004 and 2005 despite skyrocketing materials and shipping costs.

In the Spring of 2007 the price of oil had risen sixfold in six years. The price of steel had doubled in six months. Shipping costs had doubled. The economy was in a spiral and consequently people were purchasing fewer vehicles. This is the perfect storm of events that no business plan, however forward thinking, can anticipate.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

trex, if what you say is true, why aren't Toyota, Nissan, or Honda requesting bailouts?

Posted by: SirTruth on December 12, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Now we see in stark relief what globalization means. We see what the much hailed free trade means to the American worker. Lower your standard of living, as inflated as it may be, or lose your job. There is something very troubling about Congress demanding directly of American workers that they take pay cuts based upon the wages of foreign workers. That ****ing reeks. At least demand the pay cuts based upon GM's balance sheet.

But if in fact Congress is looking overseas and asking directly to American workers, "Why can't you accept what those guys make?", the reality of free global trade is going to hit home quicker than a Dell customer support technician in Mumbai can **** you off. Nobody, least of all me, is shedding tears for the UAW because of their abuses, but longterm, the American standard of living is doomed.

Posted by: Windu on December 12, 2008 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

OK you whiny liberals. Anytime the government throws money at a problem ( unemployment checks and a worker doesn't look for a job, welfare and a woman has more and more babies AND doesn't look for a job) it doesn't work. American cars are shit in design and innovation. Unions simply make people work less and produce less for more money. Toyota and GM both sold approx 9.3 million cars last year. Toyota made $18B and GM lost $38.7 billion. It doesn't take a genius to see what is happening.You do not reward bad behavior. Anyone who argues how much a relatively uneducated man or woman in the industry makes vs what an executive makes needs their head examined. Another problem is the DemoRat led state of Michigan . Everyone cannot make the same money. Well they can in Cuba. Why not move there. Take all of you whiny dumbasses and move there. See if Castro's system is the best. Don't let the door hit you in the ass when you turn out the lights in Detroit and leave.

Posted by: Mark on December 12, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Free trade is good because it allows American companies to sell their goods overseas. GM actually has very good overseas' sales in some countries. Should those countries limit GM's imports? Under your rationale they should.

Free trade is also good because it allows you and me to buy certain foreign goods that we prefer.

Posted by: SirTruth on December 12, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

trex, if what you say is true, why aren't Toyota, Nissan, or Honda requesting bailouts?

Uh, they're not American companies?

But if you're looking for bailouts of foreign automotive companies, Sweden just bailed out Saab and Volvo.

We are on the cusp of a worldwide depression. The Asian markets tumbled today BECAUSE THE AUTOMOTIVE BAILOUT PACKAGE FAILED. If the automakers go under, they will take more banks with them and there will be a concussive effect that destroys jobs across this country in industries ranging from restaurants and hospitality to office supplies.

Living below the Mason Dixon line will not insulate you from the macroeconomic effects.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Anytime the government throws money at a problem...it doesn't work.

You're right...look at Wall St.

Posted by: Kashnkari on December 12, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"
Republican = Jobkiller
Posted by: Lab Partner on December 12, 2008 at 8:27 "

Democrat = vote buying UAW lackies

Posted by: Occam49 on December 12, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

I see very few of the commentors are totally ignorant of how we got here. And this is true of the writer too. Your wonderful Nanny State government got you into this and you seem to think they are the the solution to the mess they made? Just keep shoveling borrowed money after other borrowed money. The bust always follow the artificial booms and this one is a humdinger. Wait till you get a dose of the hyper-inflation that is sure to come with this fiat money. Wake up... giving all this power to the State will be worse than anything you ever seen. Do any of you really think government has done a good job at anything?!! Nice little conformists thinking exactly what you're told to. How many of you know-it-alls have ever started a business? There's a big difference between signing the front of a check and signing the back. You just keep thinking government is your pal and savior, then you will always wonder what happened.

Posted by: aware on December 12, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it ironic...don't you think.

Democrats, the ones that tirelessly bash big business, the rich, and the powerful, are now exactly the ones who want to bail out the worst offenders - these short sighted, big business fat-cats who have only been concerned with lining their own pockets! Oh, but now that Democrats see first-hand a connection between big business, jobs, and the economy, they re-characterize the debate as Republicans being anti-union.

Meanwhile, Republicans, who have been all too cozy with these fat-cat types historically, are now withholding aid in the name of accountability, just about eight or so years too late!

Can we please just get rid of all incumbent congressmen and start anew!?! To get out of this mess, we are going to need far less politics and more objectivity.

Posted by: HowInteresting on December 12, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"I would urge people to write or call their Sens and demand that the cloture rule be changed such that the 40 votes is the magic number, not the 60.From a logical point of view, a Senator who doesn't care enough or isn't available to vote, is not going to participate in further debate, anyway.
Posted by: Danp on December 12, 2008 at 8:15 AM
"

Good idea .. lets give the Spendocrats a blank check to in effect pay UAW workers from the taxes I pay ... that make perfect economic sense

The UAW work rules and compensation packages are the "chickens coming home to roost"

Posted by: Occam49 on December 12, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry trex, but I don't live below the Mason Dixon line. Never have.

Now back to my point. You claimed that the Big Three can't compete right now because of the current business environment. If that's the case, why have the Japanese companies done so well? Why aren't they begging the Japanese government for money?

Posted by: Sirtruth on December 12, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Anytime the government throws money at a problem...it doesn't work.

You're right...look at Wall St.

...or the Pentagon.

Posted by: Rumsfeld on December 12, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Bankruptcy is the beginning not the end. They are NOT the big 3, that is a lie. They are the UAW three. Toyota is the biggest.

The bipartisan bailout program is absolutely idiotic. The car czar is its only redeeming element, because he could tenatively report to congress about how stupid the congressional plans are.

I worked at a GM plant for many years. The only reason to stop bankruptcy is to allow the unions to continue to feed on the UAW three's bloated corpses. Bankruptcy would help save a dying GM, that has been loosing $10 billion a year through good times and bad. If the UAW was eradicated, GM America would be more profitable than Honda (They are used to doing more with less.)

Congress's stupid plan to force green cars will thrust GM into a black hole they will never escape. GM hasn't ever been able to profit from small cars, because their labor costs are too high. Small cars remain low in price when gas is under $5/ga. Next year is $1/ga gas year. GM will be trying to sell cars it costs them $25K to make for $12K just to move inventory, while Toyota and Honda takeover GM's only profitable sector: SUVs and Trucks, in addition to dominating them in the small car biz.

It is time for the UAW to die, the only question is whether in their mad power scramble, they decide to take the UAW three with them.

Hurray for the courage of those senators willing to stand up to Darth Cheney, even if they do happen to be GOP (eww).

A few years ago, GM did an experiment called Saturn. They found the most brilliant and innovative people they could and had them build a car company from the ground up, totally separate from GM and its management, so that it could be utterly free from the taint and trappings of GM corporate. Saturn did everything with excellence, nearing perfection at every move. Even so, Saturn was never able to turn a profit because of the constraints of the UAW. Saturn folks did a better job than Nissan America ever could, but Saturn has never made a single dollar of profit.

In contrast, who is the most profitable seller of small cars in the world??? GM Asia. Totally free from the soul-swallowing UAW. General Motors - Asia is the world's most profitable sellers of small cars.

F- the UAW. They are disgusting vampires, feeding on the workers, the company, the investors, the taxpayers, and the economy.

UAW MUST PERISH!

Posted by: bubbla on December 12, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Let me clear it up for you: union members do not make $75/hour. They make, on average, $26/hour. They no longer get overtime. That is roughly $52,000 a year."

It's the all-in cost including benefits that make the rate at least $75. Every time you buy a car from GM you are paying for retirement and medical plans for retired GM workers ... plans much better than most Americans will ever see.

Not only are the per hour costs very high, but UAW [make]work rules inhibit efficient production, adding additional labor cost to the price of each car.

Face the facts, hanging fenders is third-world skill level work. Trying to pay first-world workers wages for third-world skills doesn't make sense in a global economy. If the had UAW agreed to the massive automation that the US automakers wanted in the past, they would have fewer, but more highly skilled workers, and the US labor costs would be lower and quality would be higher. It's too late now, the foreign companies are experts at automation.

The UAW, not unions per say, is the problem. In Europe, Ford and GM build high quality cost competitive cars in the worlds most competitive car market and do just fine. These European workers are mostly unionized, but the aren't UAW!!

Posted by: Occam49 on December 12, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Let 'em all go down. I don't want one dime of my taxes to go towards "bailing out" the Big 3 Idiots. They've had YEARS of trying to figure it out. It won't be a loss of 2 million jobs, folks. What will happen is what SHOULD happen and what WOULD happen to any of the rest of you:

They'll file for bankruptcy and restructure. Under the restructure they'll pick what works and what doesn't and they'll be viable. And I'm hoping the UAW isn't viable.

"The plant shutters but the workers continue to be paid AS THOUGH THEY ARE WORKING for the next, oh, three years? Four years?" NOT VIABLE

Posted by: Chloe on December 12, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing who's yelling and screaming about unions - it's not the automakers, it's the Repubs! You would think the automakers would be screaming to high heaven about it if it was such a deal breaker, but they're not.

The Party of Herbert Hoover - well, I don't know about that.

The Party On Uber RICH and F&*K the Middle Class - hey, now we're talking!

Posted by: Glen on December 12, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Who's next, the airlines? Then who? Coal miners? We have a system in this country, called bankruptcy, that deals with companies and individuals who find themselves with more debts than ability to pay. I wish chapter 11 were called "restructuring," as in "GM is entering into restructuring" and then people would relax. All the airlines have done it without the world coming to an end. The government can provide the elusive "debtor in possession" financing if no one else will. The equity holders will probably get wiped out, the creditors will take a big haircut and the UAW workers will see their contract blown up, all under the supervision of the judge. In the meantime, GM will roll on and stop being distracted by all of this.

The alternative is this silly earmark proposal.

But it looks like Bush is going to be scared into relenting and giving the money from the TARP funds, so I guess we'll never know.

As to the politics, those who act like the Dems are just looking out for the nation while the Repubs are looking out for something else, give me a break - the Dems are in the UAWs pocket a lot deeper than any GOP'er is in the pocket of the non-Detroit 3.

The only way this gets better, folks, is if we get to the bottom and start building it back up. Trying to hang on to some medium step only makes the ultimate fall, which is going to come regardless, worse.

Posted by: CenterVoice on December 12, 2008 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Teacher, Glen. Well-educated, not well paid. And certainly not union--and I'd rather remain somewhat under paid than have somebody else tell me what to do. Those dollars have strings.

Middle Class? I'm barely there.
Uber Rich? I don't even know any.

Better vocabulary than you? Most certainly. Those who resort to nasty language are just lacking the education and common sense to find something to actually say.

Posted by: Chloe on December 12, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

OK you whiny liberals. Anytime the government throws money at a problem ( unemployment checks and a worker doesn't look for a job, welfare and a woman has more and more babies AND doesn't look for a job) it doesn't work.

Is Dick Cheney a liberal??? Of all people he has just warned that if the Big Three aren't given a loan package and they fail we will enter a depression. Hello? You people took his word for every fucking thing for years.

It's the all-in cost including benefits that make the rate at least $75

No, the UAW workers do not make $75/hour, they make one third of that. Pretending that pension costs are take home pay is absurd.

Every year these benefits shrink and now retirees are finding them disappearing. In fact, because of the market conditions and plummeting stocks retirees are getting wiped out. Does that make you feel better?

Every time you buy a car from GM you are paying for retirement and medical plans for retired GM workers ... plans much better than most Americans will ever see.

Not nearly as good as what members of Congress or the Executive Branch receive, but if this is about benefit envy then certainly a reason to implement a national health care system.

If the had UAW agreed to the massive automation that the US automakers wanted in the past, they would have fewer, but more highly skilled workers

This is false on its face. Highly skilled manufacturing workers who are not members of the UAW are losing their jobs to foreign markets every year. This has nothing at all to do with the UAW and everything to do with the fact that an American can't raise a family on $5/day while a Bangladeshi can.

They'll file for bankruptcy and restructure. Under the restructure they'll pick what works and what doesn't and they'll be viable. And I'm hoping the UAW isn't viable.

It doesn't work that way. PEOPLE WON'T BUY CARS FROM AN AUTOMAKER IN BANKRUPTCY BECAUSE THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF WARRANTY LABOR DOWN THE ROAD.

Bankruptcy will simply turn into a liquidation of the company. The end.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, this is ignorant. The gov't didn't end the Great Depression by throwing money at anything. Why do you think we still had 20% unemployment in 1939? Also raising wages means higher unemployment. John Judis could learn a lot by sitting through a freshman economics course.

Posted by: Peter Holden on December 12, 2008 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

On warranties and bankruptcy, what evidence do you have of that? People will buy anything if the price is right. Or, put another way, anyone who buys a GM car, even if it gets its $15 billion, looking forward to wonderful GM warranty service is a moron.

Yes foreign workers are willing to work for less. That's why the jobs we need are the ones that we can do more efficiently than they can. Absent government interference, that's the jobs we will have.

As to the autoworkers, no one is happy about people losing jobs if that's what happens (although, frankly, it has been happening for years now anyway). The answer is to deal with them, not prop up the corpses that they call employers.

Posted by: CenterVoice on December 12, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

In calculating the average cost per worker in the southern plantation factories, one must needs factor in the average per worker annual value of the tax cuts provided by the State and local governments to the foreign auto companies for locating plants there. Not only do those tax cuts to the foreign companies exceed the value of the bridge loans to the 3 domestic auto manufacturers, the workers and the other citizens have to pay more in taxes to cover them. Isn't that exactly what the Hooverites were objecting to in the WH/Dem bridge loan bill? Or do they only want to pay subsidies to foreign car companies not domestic ones?

Posted by: Toutatis on December 12, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

On warranties and bankruptcy, what evidence do you have of that? People will buy anything if the price is right.

Uh, no, they won't, and they're saying as much:

Bankruptcy fear was the single biggest reason car shoppers avoided buying GM cars, according to a survey conduced in the fall by CNW Market Research.

Among GM owners who bought their next car from another manufacturer, 32% cited a potential bankruptcy as the reason. The next biggest reason - dealership or pricing issues - pushed away only 11% of shoppers.

If GM (GM, Fortune 500) were to go bankrupt, 97% shoppers intending to buy a car within six months said they would stay away from the automaker, according to a different CNW survey. The figure for Chrysler was even higher at 98%.

Yes foreign workers are willing to work for less. That's why the jobs we need are the ones that we can do more efficiently than they can. Absent government interference, that's the jobs we will have.

With just a wave of your hand you've dispensed with a breathtaking number of economic issues. In no particular order:

Third world countries will always be able to offer every good and service more cheaply -- so on your theory it's bye-bye U.S. economy. Did you know you can fly to India for a heart operation at 1/5th the cost in the U.S.?

The U.S. needs a manufacturing base for purposes of defense. These same auto factories made tanks and munitions in WWII.

This is a WORLDWIDE economic meltdown, in which all players are struggling. If when the smoke clears U.S. manufacturers are left standing, so much the better.

All of the thousands of suppliers to the Big Three are not unionized -- so on your theory they are not bad guys. But many of them will go under when GM goes under and because they all supply for Toyota and Honda and non-automotive industries their demise will drag other businesses down with them.

When we're all tied together with a rope, it doesn't make sense to throw the guy you don't like over the cliff.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, but had anyone asked US (Americans) IF we wanted to pay for MORE bail-outs, those on Capitol HIll would have known that we DO NOT!!

IF the autos cannot make it in business, then Chapter 11 is available to them to reorganize themselves to become better competitors in the "marketplace."

IF those Billions go to the autos, they will spend them, and still go under, because they would NOT have reorganized; would NOT have built a better product that we Americans would buy!

Regardless of the motivations by either party in Congress, both of whom are demonstrating the abject failure of the U.S. Constitution and why the current "FORM" of government is wrong for this nation in the 21st Century, the issue remains that WE AMERICANS do NOT want any more TRILLIONS of debt being imposed on us. Period.

If the U.S. Government wanted to experience a major SECESSIONIST movement, it has given our nation THE reason.

Giving more $$ to the autos is just prolonging the day when they go "bust" anyway. They are an anachronism via an incompetent, arrogant management. Did the Unions cause this? No, the management did by agreeing to terms that the companies could not afford to meet. And, now look! The autos' management made the corrupt decision in their contracts with the UAW, and are now demanding that WE AMERICANS pick up the tab that the autos KNEW they could not afford.

Let them reorganize, and then build products that Americans WILL buy.

Once again, the arguments have been reduced, ignorantly, to political "party" squabbling, INSIDE THE BELTWAY, when the ISSUE belongs in a 21st Century solution that will not occur until this FORM of government is changed to one that IS representative of US, not the Elites, who placed this nation in this "Great Recession of 2008, 2009, 2010..." in the first place.

The Autos are NOT the only incompentent ones here...the $11 Trillion national DEBT creators on Capitol Hill ARE equally, if not more, corrupt and incompetent as those in Detroit.

We Americans have no faith in either.

Posted by: GC on December 12, 2008 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Some perspective. Even our Japanese rivals understand that the Big Three must not fail:

Toyota, GM’s top-selling global rival, which has seen its US sales plummet this year, warned that the failure of a US carmaker would have knock-on effects on its own business.

"The US auto market is shrinking rapidly," Toyota said. "A major bankruptcy would exacerbate an already difficult environment for Toyota and the industry. We hope to avoid this situation."

As Washington deliberated over whether and how to help Detroit, the problems in US carmaking showed signs of becoming a global problem. "The only government not helping right now is the US," GM said.

Sweden and Brazil this week became the latest governments to step in with aid for their car industries, which have been threatened by the general global downturn in car sales this year and the US carmakers’ problems in particular.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

The UAW extorted money from automakers for years when times were good. The chickens are home boys! Isn't it amazing that dumb ass democrats can't figure out that paying assemblers 80K+ is a stupid way to run a business. What about 100% pay after retirement? Oh they deserve that because that's what was extorted, I mean agreeded upon. Why is union extortion not a crime? Why do federal employees need a union? Not enough laws to protect them?

Posted by: Reason on December 12, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you should take a moment to remove your cranium from your rectum.

The Republicans in the Senate are the only ones left that can stop the Democrats from destroying our country. Bravo to them!

It astounds me that people like yourself think that the government bailing out ANOTHER poorly ran company, that is primarily failing due to their ridiculous labor costs, is the right thing to do.

The companies are dying because of the UAW, not because of Republicans.

I say good riddance... This has just cemented my belief that I will no longer purchase cars from the big three... but I will instead start purchasing cars from Japanese and Korean companies that build their cars in the USA.

Posted by: Steve on December 12, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

This article is ridiculous, and so is the group-think present in these comments. You are absorbing fantasy lessons from the Great Depression. Despite all the money FDR threw at the depression, unemployment was still at 20% eight years later. Bailouts do nothing but prolong the suffering and stick taxpayers with the bill. Giving Detroit $15,000,000,000 with no concrete plan for restructuring is insanity and will do absolutely nothing to save anyone's job in the long run. If this mentality of borrowing against our future to spend our way out of the problem prevails, the dollar, and this country with it, is going to collapse within our lifetimes.

Posted by: Tommy on December 12, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

If the Japanese are so convinced that the US automakers are too big to fail, let them bail out Detroit.

Posted by: DougS on December 12, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

the CEO's salary isn't what's putting GM into bankruptcy

The hell it isn't. If you're paying someone hundreds of millions of dollars and they run the company into the ground, something is wrong.

Posted by: Putin Nitup on December 12, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Let me think...less cars = less gasoline sales = lower oil prices vs a chance to bust the biggest union in the country. Oooh! Oooh!
This must have been a difficult decision for Mr. Cheney.

Posted by: tf gray on December 12, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Impeach Obama...Bust the UAW...Deport actors and queers...Find out if Joe "I'm a moron" Biden is still alive, and...Bow down to Ted Nugent

Posted by: stopglobalwhining on December 12, 2008 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

why would we bail out a failing industry?

good. place the debt on the young and future generations of hard working americans like myself.

unions are the reason american automobile companies can't compete in this world. if they just agreed to that concession, the bill would have passed (even though it SHOULDN'T)

filipino-american college republican.

Posted by: tutoy on December 12, 2008 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Look the Republicans probabaly should have given this a pass but the UAW is still whistling in the wind. By waiting till 2011 there may not even be an auto industry to save bailout or no.

Out of the $73 hour hourly cost to build a car about about $15 of it comes from obligations to retirees. Another $15 comes from pension benefits and worker furloughs. The rest or about $53 per hour is wages and healthcare or slightly higher than the southern manufacturers. At the end of the day its that $30 gap that needs to be whittled down. The auto companies cannot lay off any more people. They are already down to 250,000 workers. Any smaller and they won't have the workers to build the cars. They can slice wages but it won't seem fair to have current workers making $45,000 per year to pay $90,000 per year to retirees.

The Republicans were asking the UAW to do the unthinkable in their eyes, but it will happen. The only question is when, how and who. The AMerican people will not stand for a second bailout if no changes have been made.

Posted by: Craig on December 12, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Four hours later and still no explanation from trex as to why the Japanese companies make money and the American companies are going bankrupt.

Posted by: sirtruth on December 12, 2008 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

why would we bail out a failing industry?

The United States government bailed out a failing Chrysler Automotive in the 1980's with a loan package under similar circumstances.

Chrysler returned to profitability and the American taxpayers made money on the deal. Chrysler's profits and flowed into the economy as did the wages of the employees who were kept working.

It is in the best interest of the American economy to have a viable automotive/manufacturing sector and all of the positive economic results that arise from it.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Four hours later and still no explanation from trex as to why the Japanese companies make money and the American companies are going bankrupt.

Because they pay their people less. Because they get tax breaks at the local level. Because they have access to insanely cheap labor in Asia. Because they have more market share (in the U.S.)

But primarily because they have no legacy costs.

Japanese companies are the perfect example of why unions are necessary. They think nothing of making employees work sixteen hours a day for no extra pay. My brother in law is an engineering manager for a Japanese robotics firm, and aside from the insane daily schedule he is frequently required to work around the clock with no pay and no recourse. Yes, 24 hours. Three, four times a month.

To prevent that kind of abuse is exactly why unions were born, and when you let them die that is the system that will likely return.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Go ask the Toyota workers at the plant in Kentucky if they want a union (they don't). Ask those employees if they're paid well (they are). The bottom line is that the Japanese companies have a much better business model than the American car companies. The Japanese companies are efficient and make money. The American companies are inefficient and lose money.

But how is giving GM billions of taxpayer dollars going to result in them making money? What will be different in 6 months? Or two years? The have no plans to become efficient and make money. This is a just another government give-away program.

By the way, most companies are not unionized and I am not aware of one company that requires employees to work 24 hours straight. Your example is nonsense. But if your brother-in-law's job is so bad, he can go get another job. That's how the free market works.

Posted by: sirtruth on December 12, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, most companies are not unionized and I am not aware of one company that requires employees to work 24 hours straight.

1) What you are or are not aware of is immaterial. You do not seem particularly bright or well informed.

2) The Japanese work culture is so well known for its excesses that it is parodied constantly.

"There's a lot of pressure on people to work very hard and it's just relentless," Metic said. "If they refuse overtime and you don't have a union, you're not seen in a good light. Toyota comes first. Your family comes second."

Gred Mordue, assistant general manager of Toyota's Canadian operations, acknowledged overtime is common at the Cambridge plant. Employees work nine- or 10-hours shifts Monday through Thursday, at least eight hours on Friday and an occasional Saturday, Mordue said.

3) The ONLY reason that the Toyota workers at the Kentucky plant have ANY of the basic protections that their counterparts in SE Asia lack is because of the union culture here in the U.S. that would shut them down in a heartbeat if they tried it, you stupid fuck.

Your "bottom line" conclusions are nothing but unsupported drivel that continue to ignore the facts that have been laid out and are presumably based upon some overblown estimation of your own reasoning ability.

And as a bonus, you mewling turd, here's what some employees of the Toyota plant in Kentucky have to say:

Despite the wages, some Toyota workers say they need a union. They complain the company drives them so hard that people get injured, and when they can't work anymore, Toyota pays them off to leave

Leonard Habermehl is a skilled repairman and makes up to $85,000 per year. When he came to Toyota in 1990, he didn't see why he needed a union. But after years of service in which he says he has seen people injured and forced out of their jobs, he now believes the plant should unionize.

Now that you're thoroughly discredited please do fuck off. And next time try and have a basic grasp of an issue before pontificating.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

But how is giving GM billions of taxpayer dollars going to result in them making money? What will be different in 6 months? Or two years? The have no plans to become efficient and make money.

And wrong again:

GM Submits Plan For Long-Term Viability To The U.S. Congress

December 5, 2008

General Motors Corp. today submitted a plan to use Federal bridge loans to create a leaner, more competitive company, one that is profitable and self-sustaining for the long term.

The plan, submitted in response to Congressional hearings in November, includes a detailed blueprint for a successful, sustainable General Motors. Building on a product renaissance and comprehensive restructuring that has been under way for several years, the plan calls for:

# Increased production of fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-saving technologies;
# Rationalization of brands, models and retail outlets;
# Reduced wage and benefit costs, including further reductions in executive compensation;
# Significant capital structure restructuring;
# Further consolidation in manufacturing operations.

GM is requesting term loans of up to $12 billion to provide adequate liquidity levels through December 31, 2009. GM anticipates an initial draw of $4 billion in December 2008. In addition to the bridge loans, the company is requesting a $6 billion line of credit to provide liquidity should a severe market downturn persist. GM's intent is to begin to repay the loans as soon as 2011.

Posted by: trex on December 12, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

There is a lot of screaming and yelling on this thread about the $70 - $75 per hour figure that has been used in various ways by pundits and posters. I hope this adds some clarity to the issue.

Big three labor COSTS = $70-$75 per hour.

Recent base hourly wages for Big 3 UAW workers = $25-$35 per hour (does not include benefits)

Actual average hourly wages when including shift and overtime premiums = $35 - $45 per hour

or - annual cash compensation for a UAW worker averaging 32-33 hours per week is between $64 and $75 thousand per year (Chrysler 2006 figures)

The difference between the wages figures and the cost figures is a combination of immediate benefits and FICA "contributions" and the afformentioned "legacy" costs (retirement benefits).

full disclosure on these numbers - recent concessions from unions bring these costs down 4-8% from 2006

While I am still undecided about the need for a bail-out and the nit-picker in me understands that statements like "auto workers are paid $70 per hour" are technically inaccurate, anyone arguing that UAW workers are not making a lot more than the average hourly worker is also completely off-base.

Posted by: RRD on December 12, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Since September we have watched congressional republicans put their party politics ahead of the good of the nation and economy. It is GOP before the constituents they were supposed to serve. Who needs Al Quaeda when we have Republicans ruining the country from within.

Posted by: CAH on December 12, 2008 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is all about repaying the union thugs for their efforts to elect democrats - no one in Washington cares about the actual car plants.

The problem IS the union thugs and this bailout does not address them - it simply stuffs money down their pants in return for their loyal efforts to elect democrats.

Any wonder why the rest of the country is opposed to money for union thugs? Bush doesn't want to see the Big 3 losers implode on his watch - so he will throw the unions a few billions to last another 30 days.

It's all very simple.

Posted by: Perry M on December 13, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Voting for a democrat is wasting one's vote the have no spine and voting for a republican is committing sucide. you see the situation we are in. if republican need a fillibuster give to them and dems should stop winding or crying it irritates me.

Posted by: brown on December 13, 2008 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Newsflash for you "screw'm and let'm die" folks:

(1) The double whammy of extraordinarily high gas prices and implosion of credit market pushed the Big Three to the edge. Foreign car manufacturers are hitting their governments for "bridge loans" until the worldwide economy settles down, too.

(2) The foreign car manufacturers with U.S. plants don't have any "legacy costs" because their employees haven't aged out, yet. The Big Three have high legacy costs because the U.S. doesn't have national health care-- unlike the rest of the industrialized world. Japanese, Korean, German, Swedish etc. manufacturers don't function as health care providers (and, surprise, don't have to include insurance companies' profits in their labor costs).

(3) The foreign carmakers were bribed with $100s of millions in tax breaks from southern states who deliberately prevent union organizing. Combine that with non-enforcement of federal labor laws and union organizing is dead before they start.

(4) If the Big Three go bankrupt, taxpayers will have to assume pension burdens for the companies. Wouldn't you rather give the Big Three a fighting chance to keep funding that from eventual profits?

(5) If the Big Three go bankrupt, 80% of buyers won't buy their product. It's the death sentence.

(6) If the Big Three go under, then approximately 1-3 million people will lose their jobs. Immediately the taxpayers will be on the hook for unemployment and, eventually welfare and medicaid. Also, 1-3 million taxpayers will be eliminated from tax rolls. The companies that the newly unemployed USED to buy products from will have to cut back, too. Ergo, more unemployment. With more unemployment there will be more mortgage defaults and the credit crisis (which started all of this) will be prolonged. It's a downward spiral, see?

So, $15 billion might be "kicking the can down the road" until the economy turns around but the alternative could be a MUCH worse.

Posted by: SaltyDawg on December 13, 2008 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Here's another view from Jay McDonough, a progressive blogger, that points up labor costs aren't really the Big Three's largest problem.

Imagine that a Congressional bailout effectively pays for $10 an hour of the retiree benefits. That�s roughly the gap between the Big Three�s retiree costs and those of the Japanese-owned plants in this country. Imagine, also, that the U.A.W. agrees to reduce pay and benefits for current workers to $45 an hour � the same as at Honda and Toyota.

Do you know how much that would reduce the cost of producing a Big Three vehicle? Only about $800.

That�s because labor costs, for all the attention they have been receiving, make up only about 10 percent of the cost of making a vehicle. An extra $800 per vehicle would certainly help Detroit, but the Big Three already often sell their cars for about $2,500 less than equivalent cars from Japanese companies, analysts at the International Motor Vehicle Program say. Even so, many Americans no longer want to own the cars being made by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

[Entire blog at http://www.examiner.com/x-243-Progressive-Politics-Examiner~y2008m12d10-automaker-labor-costs ]

Posted by: SaltyDawg on December 13, 2008 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

SirTruth asked:
"trex, if what you say is true, why aren't Toyota, Nissan, or Honda requesting bailouts?"

and a little later: "You claimed that the Big Three can't compete right now because of the current business environment. If that's the case, why have the Japanese companies done so well? Why aren't they begging the Japanese government for money?"

They are! Or rather, they asked for - and got - such money. Unlike the US, the Japanese government didn't make them beg, what with Toyota revenues being down more than 60%. But that shouldn't surprise us - the Japanese government has been subsidizing them for decades. You can read all about it in such "leftist rags" as the Wall Street Journal if you care to learn how big a fool you've been making of yourself.

And you made one other major error. The issue isn't whether the Big 3 can "compete" in this year-old recession. It is whether they can remain solvent until the economy picks up and people start buying cars again. Competition has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Joreymay on December 13, 2008 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

This should be real easy to understand, The liberal tree huggers wanted these nasty suv's and trucks to banned from the roads because they treaten mother earth. Then gas went to $4 per gallon and all the enviromentalist screamed horray, we can get all these bad for the enviroment suv's and trucks off the roads and be more like the europeans. Well guess where the big 3 made all there money?

Then we have the resident idiot, that sadly I have to admit that I voted for twice, say we have to save all the banking institutions with $700 billion of all of our hard earned tax payer dollars, and now everyone wants in on the act.

Remember folks this is our money there spending

Posted by: Tom Carr on December 13, 2008 at 6:49 AM | PERMALINK

By the way I just wanted to say that I own my own business and I employee about 20 people, I've cut my income in half to try to weather this storm. And my next move will be to cut salary's of some of my employee's, I don't see anyone banging my doors down to help me and my employee's. The only thing I hear is cut cost and try to survive.

Also I don't want anyone telling me how to run my business, especially the goverment.

Posted by: Tom Carr on December 13, 2008 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

The unions and the democrats are in control across what was once the industrial heart of America....now called the rust belt.

I am sure their is no conection.

Seriously, what business in their right mind would choose to locate in Michigan?

Posted by: James on December 13, 2008 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

I used to love Ford's but you know what I will never buy one again. During these past few weeks I learned that around $2000 of the cost of my Ford Ranger went to legacy costs, etc... I could have bought a Toyota for less and gotten an equally good but better equipped truck. I did not buy my truck to pay for some retired dudes health or pension. I bought that truck to pay for labor, materials, and understandably a little bit of profit for the stockholders. Good riddance UAW and the complacent Big 3 you ripped me off.

Posted by: G5M3A2B4 on December 13, 2008 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP lunatics posting in this thread are poster children for the collapse of that party into madness. They parrot garbage from Jonah Goldberg about how "the new deal made the depression worse" - completely discredited outside their fever swamps. Their hatred of unions is so deep that they want the domestic auto industry destroyed. It's frankly unbelievable. We can waste tens of billions on a war of aggression, hundreds of billions bailing out rich bankers - but it is absolutely crucial to destroy domestic manufacturing because the people working in it are unionized.

Hopefully the toxic waste that is now the GOP will be replaced by an adult opposition party.

Posted by: Marc on December 13, 2008 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

The auto bailout is hugely unpopular with the taxpayers, and for good reason: like Tom Carr above, who has done what he was supposed to do including eating his own mistakes and moving on, we see our taxes going to people who refuse to take reponsibility for the wrong decisions. The fact that they're big doesn't change the rules. The auto industry will survive very well because the profitable automakers will pick up the slack and hire the old workers and increase their business with the suppliers. Cars will remain affordable and our taxes can go to other wasteful things like Barney Frank's pension.

Posted by: musqua on December 13, 2008 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Revisionism?

Keynesian economic policies made the Great Depression last longer?

Howabout some facts: Three major countries tried "Keynesian" economic policies successfully in the 1930s: Japan, Germany and England, in that order.

Japan initiated the first Keynesian policy in history. By 1933 Japan was out of the depression. By 1939 Japans industrial productivity had doubled, which is why they felt they could take on the U.S. a year and a half later.

Germany implmented Keynesian economic policies in 1933 and was out of the depression by 1934. By 1936 they had a labor shortage.

England implmented Keynesian economic policies in 1934 and was out of the depression by 1935.

In the United States, the effort at Keynesian economics was to small - in 1942 the U.S. implemented Keynesian economics full bore, and in three short years doubled the gross national product.

Keynesian economics does work.

Republicans want to ruin the United States. They've been at it for thirty years. They're almost done, whether successful or not.

Posted by: Bub on December 13, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

SirTruth, howabout some truth:

It was revealed on Maddow last night, Toyota workers in Kentucky actually make more than UAW workers.

Furthermore, automobiles aren't just labor intensive products, they are capital intensive. Labor only accounts for only 10% of the cars content.

Labor isn't killing GM, its the Republican party which refused to provide a competitive health insurance remedy for Americans, its the Republicans who gerry rigged regulations out of the financial industry to create a subprime implossion, it was Repubblicans who shoved supply side economics down the nations throat, keeping wealth concentrated and causing demand to collapse, it was, and currently is Republicans who want to deny Americans a decent wage, it was and is Republicans who would rather help the Japanese take over the country's economic base, then provide decent wages for people and who want to gut the arsenal of democracy while they are sellling our ports out to Dubai.

Republicans = Traitors.

Posted by: Bub on December 13, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I did not buy my truck to pay for some retired dudes health or pension. I bought that truck to pay for labor, materials, and understandably a little bit of profit for the stockholders.

Health care and pensions are built into the cost of nearly every product and service that you use in this country that originates here or transacts here, from banks to airlines to Levis, back when they were made here.

I guess rather than reward Americans who not only worked hard their whole lives to build American products, many of whom fought for rights for American workers -- you'd rather see your money go to foreign companies who are doing their best to put American companies out of business, and who give their workers inferior protections and benefits.

Posted by: trex on December 13, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Saltydawg wrote "Do you know how much that would reduce the cost of producing a Big Three vehicle? Only about $800."

Which would have added about $80 billion to the Big Three's botton lines over the past 5 years. Two and a half times the amount requested for the bailout.

So what is your point?

Posted by: RRD on December 13, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Do any of you really think government has done a good job at anything?!! "

Well it used to before the republicans took it over. as I remember when Clinton left office we were at peace, the economy was strong and we had a surplus. Now........

Posted by: James G on December 13, 2008 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

"One of the reasons the Great Depression persisted for so long was because of upward pressure on wages. (Unions, government)"

Upward pressure on wages during the depression???? 25% of the country was out of work and would take ANY job. So you have a huge oversupply of labor and no demand and this led to upward pressure on wages??? You must be reading the Ayn Rand history of the U.S.

Posted by: James G on December 13, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Wow, this is ignorant. The gov't didn't end the Great Depression by throwing money at anything. Why do you think we still had 20% unemployment in 1939?"

Your right abourt the ignorant part, only it's you! The depression lasted so long becuase the government failed to act in time, allowing the problem to get too big to manage.

Posted by: James G on December 13, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

"The Republicans in the Senate are the only ones left that can stop the Democrats from destroying our country. Bravo to them!"

ROTFLMAO!!!! if it wasn't so painful. The republicans are the ones who have ALREADY totally destroyed our country!!! You idiots are really blind to what you have done, aren't you?

Posted by: James G on December 13, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly