Auto Bailout: Making The Sausage

Posted by: David Kiley on December 11, 2008

One of the criticisms that’s been leveled against Republican Senators opposing the loan legislation to keep General Motors and Chrysler from going bankrupt is that lawmakers like Alabama Senator Richard Shelby aren’t even listening to the arguments for it, or even reading the automaker’s filings before the hearings. It was clear to all that Shelby hadn’t read anything more than the brief summaries provided by the automakers because he asked questions that were plainly answered in the filings.

Yesterday, a gaggle of the GOP Senators held a press conference at about noon to express their opposition to a draft bill they admittedly hadn’t read yet. Huh? That’s right, Shelby said he hadn’t read the bill.

And Ohio Senator George Voinovich, a Republican who favors the bill, said that Senate Republicans had refused to participate in negotiations with the White House because of general opposition to an auto bailout.

Refused to particpate??????????

“The leadership did not want to participate because they felt whatever came out of the negotiations, they probably wouldn’t support,” Mr. Voinovich said.

It seems amazing to me that a group of Senators are willing to so casually flush the auto industry without participating in the debate when invited to do so. Isn’t that what their constituents pay them for?

What’s the old saying? You don’t want to see how the sausage is made?

Reader Comments

GEORGE

December 11, 2008 12:49 PM

THE POLITICIANS CAUSED THIS ECONOMIC DOWNTURN FROM THE PRESIDENT DOWN ALL POLITICIANS SHOULD TAKE PAY AND BENEFIT CUTS. BUSH ,CHENEY, COX, PAULSON AND GREENSPAN SHOULD GIVE ALL THEIR GOVERNMENT SALARIES BACK AND PAID 1.00 DOLLAR FOR THEIR SERVICES.

Paul (Vw)

December 11, 2008 6:22 PM

>>> Refused to particpate??????????

.:Gasp:. I'm shocked.

It's a bad deal. Bad, bad, bad. One economist said it may take as much as $125 billion to bailout Detroit.

Shelby said the initial $14 billion bailout is "an installment on a huge bailout that will come later." To say that Shelby did not want to participate in crafting a bad deal is not necessarily a negative thing. Just because he opposes something the UAW wants does not make him into some sort of bogeyman.

Why participate in "crafting" a bill which is is fundamentally wrong to begin with (the initial blank check bailout)? Now if you could substantiate that Shelby was against doing anything at all to help out Detroit, that would be a different story.

Voinovich's constituents (Ohio) have an interest in the auto industry, so his characterization--which is just that, *his* characterization--is understandable, though impossible to prove.

Read a bill? I think most people know that congressmen don't read the bills (in their entirety) they vote on (often times they are drafted initially for them by lobbyists...such as the UAW would employ). I suspect Shelby was trying to emphasize that from some viewpoints, a bailout without substantive restructuring is a non-starter in their minds.

....

Moving right along...

Let's put it this way to give some scope to all of this...Let's say Detroit has 300,000 direct employees. A $125 billion dollar bailout is like almost $500,000 per employee. Heck, even the initial installment of $14 billion (gasp) is like almost $50,000 per employee. Where is the sanity in all of this?

....

By the way, I just got my copy of "getting the bugs out." Since I have owned multiple Audis/VWs over the years, I look forward (really) to reading it.

Noemie

December 12, 2008 8:11 AM

Al Quaida tried to hurt the American industry with their attacs in 2001.
By not bailing out the big auto industry the Senators are doing the exact same thing.
Who's hurting us more?

jerry e

December 23, 2008 12:08 AM

I don't get it with you "anti-bailout" folks! What is government for if not to provide help. Why is it good to provide economic aid at the beginning to lure business in... but not good to provide economic aid later on to help keep the business alive?!?! We give money to oil companies to incent drilling, we give money (tax breaks) to home owners to incent buying, we give money to universities to incent affordable education for the masses. How is a loan to a domestic car manufacturer different? The Europeans and Asians have always done it. Because THEY are smart enough to know the answer.

From Kiley: I don't know why you would think I'm anti-bailout. I'm not.

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