Was the unwillingness of Republicans in the senate to help autoworkers a momentary lapse of reason or a fundamental and permanent lack thereof? History will decide. To paraphrase the hated Dick Cheney, we may be watching Hooverism in action all over again. Yet it is also obvious that they are using this opportunity to undercut union jobs in this country.
In an attempt to finish off what Reagan started decades ago, Republicans are attempting to hammer the last nail in the coffins of Unions in the United States. The current lack of action on a bill to aid the ailing auto industry has been the ticket to do just that. They first held up the loan package with the insistence that union wages be cut in half. Then, when they were unable to cut the legs out from under union workers that way, they decided inaction would produce the same end and refused to act.
Why this insistence that UAW workers take a pay cut of 50%? They say that it is based on what non-union autoworkers are paid, twisting the logic to infer that foreign car companies are successful because they don't have to pay union wages. Show me the data they based this erroneous assumption on. For the most part, Hondas and Toyotas cost just as much or more than most cars made by the big three. U.S. Carmakers aren't losing sales because American cars are more expensive than foreign makes; it is because of public perception that foreign cars are more reliable and more fuel efficient.
The current slump in sales is also due in large part to our failing economy; the one that conservative policies have destroyed. Surging numbers in unemployment and underemployment make it difficult for Americans to afford new cars. Unfair lending practices make it impractical for most Americans to borrow the money they need to buy a new car. And experts have acknowledged that the high cost of healthcare is also contributing to the woes of the car industry. Though they could have already fixed this problem, conservative republicans have refused. So blaming union wages for the fix that the industry finds itself in and holding themselves totally blameless is dishonest to say the least. And this insistence on cutting wages for union workers is a blatant attempt to bust the last strong union in this country. Plain and simple.
If you had any before, this leaves no doubt that the Republican party is playing politics with the lives of American workers. Imagine the millions of people who are about to enter the ranks of the unemployed. They were making $30 an hour and the Republicans in the senate thought that was too much. How much does the annual Senatorial compensation package break down to per hour? I don't see these bozos taking a pay cut and they were directly responsible for the mess we are in. Let's not forget, either, that these same Senators fought AGAINST putting conditions of salary or benefit compensation for the bigwigs onto the Wall Street bailout.
Republicans demanding a wage cut for autoworkers must lack the capacity to understand the fundamental reason for aid to the industry; it's not to save the companies involved so much as it is to save the JOBS. So, the point of saving the company by cutting the wages of employees is??? Lost on the stubbornly ignorant conservative contingent.
For many republicans, the current financial crisis is no accidental collapse, but the product of a purposeful, methodical dismantling of this country's economic system with malice aforethought. Isn't this the intended consequence of a decades-long campaign to lower the working wage in this country? Many conservatives have complained that the wages expected by the American working class have knocked American products right out of competition in the global marketplace. So, how will this victory feel to the conservative elitists when it causes the whole economy to collapse into depression? I am sure they will not suffer much because they will find a way to pay themselves. And their serpentine logic allows them to explain away anything no matter how ridiculous the explanation.
They can’t even understand the fact that the Automakers weren't asking for a bailout, they were asking for a bridge loan. And one of the reasons that they needed to go to government is because the normal avenues of funding were no longer available, partly due to the Wall Street/Financial services FIASCO which can be directly tied to these same stupid conservative republicans’ insistence on deregulation of the financial services industry. That did not stop them from constantly labeling this a bailout, which indicates either dishonesty or stupidity on their part.
Why do conservative Republicans want to tear down the little guy? Simply because they STILL don't understand that there is no such thing as a "free" market and they still don't understand how our economy really works. They have this utopian ideal of a free market where “the market” magically solves all problems, and they cling to it regardless of proof to the contrary. And then they put their minions on television to tell us that we don't understand how the economy works.
The little guy knows EXACTLY how the thing works. He understands that he is the foundation for the whole economic system and it is built on his labor. Conservatives think that just because he doesn't demand executive salary for his hard work, he is stupid. No, on the contrary, his values are such that he does not require the high life. He just wants to work hard, raise his kids in a house that provides adequate shelter, in a decent neighborhood, and provide them with an education that will enable them to reach their goals for themselves as adults. And he is the backbone of everything that, on up the ladder, eventually enriches those that demand a platinum lifestyle.
Because, as those who were not previously aware are now finding out, if the little guy doesn't have the money to spend, the rich guy can't sell the goods and/or services that pay for his yachts, mansions and jets. Because it has been proven that if you put money in the hands of the wealthy, they invest it or spend it or save it as the whim strikes, wherever in the world they will get the best return/cheapest product. But put it in the hands of the little guy and he spends it RIGHT HERE in this country on goods and services that he needs. THAT is the backbone of this economy. That is the guy that Hooverist, obstructionist, conservative republicans are screwing by not helping out the auto industry and by insisting that their wages be cut. But, these narrow-minded ideologues still don’t understand that if we cut their wages like that, they won't be able to spend any money anyway. Duh.
Republican Jim DeMint of South Carolina tried to blame the UAW for the impasse that doomed the bill, saying “It looks like the UAW blew up the deal.” NO Mr. DeMint, it sounds like you are passing the buck.
Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said: “We have had before us this whole question of the viability of the American automobile manufacturers. None of us want to see them go down, but very few of us had anything to do with the dilemma that they have created for themselves.” While I won’t blame the woes of the big three completely on destructive Republican policies, those policies have certainly contributed to the automakers’ woes of late. Car sales were still moving up until May of this year but the financial services crisis was like throwing gasoline on a fire. So Senate Republicans DO share some blame here; sorry Mitch—wrong again.
But why pretend that these idiots ever had any intention of acting in good faith to address the problem? Even Republican George Voinivich said "Some of them, frankly, don't want to do anything." If there was a question in your mind, that should quell it. No amount of bargaining would have led them to do the right thing here. They still value their political ideals over the life and security of the average working man.
But here is a warning to those conservative republicans, in case they believe they won any kind of victory here: Even if you did nail the lid shut on the UAW and the auto industry in this country, you also dug your own grave. There are consequences to every action AND INACTION.