I have tried several times to sit down to write my thoughts about the looming auto bailout (and bailouts in general). Just when I get something crafted, the situation changes – which, I suppose, is the price one pays for writing about politics, society, and culture. I sought yet again this morning to put words to paper on the subject, but then I read this piece by Deroy Murdock in today’s National Review Online. I am not sure I could be any more cogent on the subject.
While Murdock suffers from the same love of hyperbole that I do, I am not sure that he means it in a half-joking manner when he refers to Bush as “Comrade”. His point, however, is one that is largely lost on the lefty (read that “mainstream”) media and those that think CNN is “fair and balanced”. Most conservatives, especially fiscal ones, have been at best uncomfortable with Bush’s seeming desire to spend like a Democrat. I freely admit that I have been willing to give Bush a pass on spending throughout most of his tenure because of his hawkish foreign policy and his social conservatism.
However, the past few months have brought the proverbial chickens home to roost, spending-wise. The amount of money the Federal government has thrown at the economic problem (which, in my view, is largely of its own making by meddling in the free market) is beyond most people’s comprehension. However, it was clear that most people in the country were not up for such a bailout. It passed anyway, and all we can hope for is that Paulson is in fact the genius he is made out to be.
The auto bailout, however, is another matter entirely. Whether you agree or not with the President’s decision to use TARP funds to circumvent the Congress (three guesses as to my position), did anyone really think this wasn’t going to happen? The people were largely ignored when it came to the bailout, so raising a large voice of opposition to bailing out the auto industry (except Ford, which may have just bought them a new customer next time I am in the market) didn’t seem, well, worth the trouble.
The question that needs to be asked, by all involved, is this one: “How did we get to this point?” From my perspective, Public Enemy #1 might be the UAW. Someone needs to get the message to the leadership ofthe UAW that the times, they have a’changed. This isn’t the 1930’s – the days of class warfare are over (if they ever existed in the first place). No disresepct to anyone working for these firms, but the fact that the Big Three’s average labor cost is $79/hour says everything that needs to be said. I am all for people getting paid well for their services, but that figure is a wee bit ridiculous. Hey, auto workers..do yourselves a favor, and pry the UAW out of your factories.
On to politics as usual…I thought of writing something about the Blogo scandal in Illinois, but quite honestly…I can’t decide to laugh or cry. I feel bad for the people of Illinois, and specifically Cook County, because once again, you are being made the laughing stock of the country. It is bad enough that Chicago gets mentioned right along with Tammany Hall in the History of American Politics 101; this just adds yet another chapter to that sad story. The problem is that the system there has been so corrupt for so long, the chances of it ever cleaning itself up is slim to none. Blogo, unfortunately, is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.