Just when you think the country is going straight to hell, something happens to make me think maybe things will work out OK.
Tonight, that moronic $14 billion bailout plan for the inept U.S. auto manufacturers died in the Senate. Why? A few Republicans acted almost like conservatives for a change and officials from the United Auto Workers union (UAW) acted like the pigheaded, reality ignoring fools they are.
As we all know by now the U.S. auto industry is in trouble due to a combination of things. The Japanese are stomping Chrysler, Ford and General Motors into the ground by resorting to a remarkably unfair tactic -- building cars that people actually want to buy.
Of course, those technologically, gas guzzling piles of junk that are rolling out of Detroit are built by an incredibly overpaid labor force, thus making things even more difficult for American car makers. It seems the bailout was killed by Republicans who demanded that the UAW agree to cut salaries so they're in line with what American autoworkers working for Japanese companies make.
The union, of course, refused and the pro-bailout crowd couldn't find enough votes to ship $14 billion to an undeserving industry. That's pretty much the correct result. I do wish the bailout for the financial industry would have met with such opposition, but that's all water under the bridge (a bridge that was probably also paid for with money borrowed from China and Japan, by the way).
A few things about this whole episode bother the heck out of me. For one thing, the issue that killed this nonsense in the Senate came about because a bunch of Republicans wanted labor costs cut. It should have been killed out of the gate because governments simply don't go around bailing out rotten companies in a capitalist economy (assuming we still are capitalists, of course) and then nationalizing them. Without the stubbornness of the unions, it seems that bailout might have passed the Senate -- there simply aren't enough free market conservatives left to generate the support to block anything for purely economic reasons.
For another, we've still got George W. Bush and his filthy cronies to consider. Apparently, pushing for this bailout is part of Bush's master plan to completely piss on conservative ideals before he's sent back to Texas. A conservative president would have lobbied hard against any talk of bailouts, but Bush has proven time and time again that he has no problem with letting the government fool around in the free market.
I'd love to see this bailout die for good so that our incompetent auto manufacturers would be forced to reorganize under Chapter 11, renegotiate their ridiculous labor contracts and be under the gun to design some innovative vehicles in order to compete with the superior automobiles produced by the likes of Honda and Toyota.
However, I doubt anyone will be shocked if the Bush administration rides in to rescue a bailout that any Republican worth his salt ought to oppose.
Update -- Arkansas Senator has the right idea
According to this story from ArkansasBusiness.com, Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln said she voted against the auto bailout plan because the bill would have committed more taxpayer money to a failed business plan. Good for her. I'm glad I keep voting for Lincoln.
Lincoln, a Democrat, usually does a very good job of representing her constituents, and she's lived up to her reputation here as someone who considers her vote rather than just doing what her party tells her.
That's in direct opposition to our other senator, Mark Pryor. Pryor, of course, voted for the bailout. But who really cares what Pryor does? He's an idiot and I'm embarrassed that he is affiliated with my state.
Update -- Bush is a bastard!
Well, according to this story, Bush may well raid the $700 billion bailout fund set aside for the financial industry and give it to the crybabies in the auto industry. Why the hell is that alleged Republican going out of his way to reward failure?
Companies that can't compete deserve to die and make way for businesses that can manufacture products that consumers want to buy. That's called capitalism. That's called giving the consumers the power to determine what products and services they want and how much they are willing to pay for them. That is the way the things ought to be.
That blasted $700 billion bailout for the financial industry and this latest nonsense has set a nasty precedent. Any industry that can't hack it can turn to the government and ask for money. They may get it, too.
Thanks, Georgie! You made me regret my decision to vote against both Al Gore and John Kerry. You've almost made me look forward to four years of Barack Obama because he can't possibly hate the free market more than you do. You suck, Bush, and you're nothing more than the Republican version of Jimmy Carter.