Everyone seems to be weighing in on the possible bail out of American auto makers…
Tim at BI says Yes, we have to, but we should use it as a chance to force the industry to retool for green cars.
Nick at BSB says fuck ’em, GM has been losing money for years and a bailout is a total waste of taxpayer dollars.
I haven’t made up my mind yet.
But here’s something that has been on my mind since the whole conversation started…
Over the past twenty years, executives and PACs associated with U.S.auto manufacturers have overwhelmingly contributed to the Republicans.
According to OpenSecrets.org, 63% of their nearly $20 million in campaign contributions have gone to Republican candidates and causes.
This is the Republican party that is against any kind of government-funded health care options.
A Republican party that is against regulation of the health insurance industry – an industry that, unlike the auto companies, has been making record profits by denying the claims of the people it insures.
A Republican party that pushed for laws forbidding Medicare and Medicaid from negotiating better prices with drug companies.
A Republican party that has mocked and vilified the Democrats for trying to expand government health care options – a Republican party that continues to whine about higher taxes and the evils of ‘socialized medicine’ while American families and American companies collapse under the burden of out-of-control health care costs.
These are the people – the so-called ‘pro-business’ Republicans – that the auto industry has been supporting. And now they have the fucking balls to ask the Democrats for a bail out because they can no longer afford to continue paying the high cost of private health care and pension benefits for their employees?
My initial, gut reaction is FUCK YOU.
But then I remember that it isn’t the execs or the PACS or the lobbyists that are going to suffer if these companies fail.
It’s the workers (also the banks who loaned them money, but that’s a different post). And it certainly isn’t fair for the workers to suffer.
So my second, more refined thought on the topic is this: let’s turn this near disaster into an opportunity to fix health care.
Let’s give the auto industry some help but require any participating company to immediately partner with the federal government and labor to come up with a national health care solution that will work for everyone.
I want to see PSAs from Rick Wagoner (GM CEO) during prime-time network broadcasts supporting Barack Obama’s health care plan.
I want to see Ford lobbying congress FOR national health care reform – with a new understanding that health care for all Americans is in our national best interest as well as in the best interest of their individual companies.
U.S. automotive companies can NOT continue to complain about foreign automakers having some kind of competitive advantage because their workers have national health care while simultaneously supporting a political party that wants to eliminate any government-funded health care options here in the U.S.
And until they admit they are wrong, they don’t deserve any kind of bail out.