Thursday, December 11, 2008

Auto Bailout Talks Collapse In the Senate

From The New York Times:

Auto Bailout Talks Collapse in the Senate
Published: December 11, 2008
Filed at 11:36 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.

The collapse came after bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to steep wage cuts by 2009 to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped President George W. Bush would tap the $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund for emergency aid to the automakers. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have said they could be weeks from collapse. Ford Motor Co. says it does not need federal help now, but its survival is far from certain.

The White House said it was evaluating its options in light of the breakdown.

''It's disappointing that Congress failed to act tonight,'' a White House statement said. ''We think the legislation we negotiated provided an opportunity to use funds already appropriated for automakers and presented the best chance to avoid a disorderly bankruptcy while ensuring taxpayer funds only go to firms whose stakeholders were prepared to make difficult decisions to become viable.''

The Senate rejected the bailout 52-35 on a procedural vote -- well short of the 60 required -- after the talks fell apart.

The implosion followed an unprecedented marathon negotiations at the Capitol among labor, the auto industry and lawmakers who bargained into the night in efforts to salvage the auto bailout at a time of soaring job losses and widespread economic turmoil.

The group came close to agreement, but it stalled over the UAW's refusal to agree to wage cuts before their current contract expires in 2011. Republicans, in turn, balked at giving the automakers federal aid.

Reid called the bill's collapse ''a loss for the country,'' adding: ''I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It's not going to be a pleasant sight.''

''In the midst of already deep and troubling economic times, we are about to add to that by walking away,'' said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman who led negotiations on the package.

I have watched, as the Republican Rat Bastards and their ilk in the media, have attacked the Auto Industry, mainly by maligning the unions.

Because, that's what this is all about.

Those lowlife mofos, want to bust the auto unions. They want everyone to live in constant and consistent fear of losing their jobs, and being abused as they are in those plants in the south. Mofos like Richard Shelby want all states to be as ass-backwards as his Alabama.

They didn't say SHIT about how much the folks on Wall Street were making. BUt a blue collar guy, making a decent wage, oh no, we can't have that, now can we.

I'm so mad about this, I can barely type.

There are MILLIONS of jobs attached to the auto industry. But, these blood sucking mofos could care less. They could care less about the American Worker making a living that is actually decent. That has something like benefits. That has a wage where he can live with his family, and maybe even save up.

Have the auto companies been mismanaged? Of course they have. Nobody doubts this.

But, to listen to the constant refrain of the GOP rat bastards trying to place this on the UAW - fuck that.

I want all those ' working Americans, White Americans' to take good, hard look and see who wants to make you all serfs of the corporations. Every last one of them mofos has an ' R' behind their names.

We have a Mainstream Media that is too pathetic, and probably doesn't even know anyone whose family has made a living. Whose family got out of poverty and into the middle class because of those union jobs. This is what I mean about having ideological diversity on the Obama economic team. Give me a couple of folks who have FAMILY that actually WORKS in this country, over 5 more Chicago PhDs.

Rachel Maddow says it nicer:


Brian said...

For the Republicans...This is mostly about crushing the Unions. They see this as a golden opportunity to finish off one of their Nemesis's... The UAW. It also has to do with the fact that Japanese companies have some of their U.S. factories in Red States.

I have always had mixed feelings about the auto workers at these big companies. They are always portrayed as the everyday, blue collar common man.. or working class folks. But the fact is, many of these workers are earning upwards of $30-$35 bucks an hour or more...and are living quite nicely. Many earn more than white collar workers earn in other companies. They often earn much more than folks who have wasted years going to college. I'm nowhere near the same tax bracket as these people. And their health benefits are on par with what Government officials get. It annoys me when they are portrayed as suffering working class folks....when the majority aren't anywhere near the bottom, suffering with the low wage or moderate wage workforce. That's been a myth for years. So I have a hard time feeling too sorry for them. Although it will be a shame if they lose their jobs. They even had a program (up until recently) where laid off workers were getting all or most of their pay.

I'm more concerned with the ripple effects down the line... the employee (the real struggling person) who works for an auto manufacturing supplier... who may lose his/her job...and the small businesses that rely on auto plant workers.

20 + years of bad management is finally catching up to the big 3. And the Unions hands aren't clean either. I'm all for Unions... but over the years... Unions (especially the auto Unions) grew into huge bureaucracies...and became too greedy. They had their share of corruption as well. In the last several years... especially during the 90's economic boom... they probably asked for too much.

The competition has much less financial liability....lower labor costs, fewer retirements, etc. Some of this has to do with the fact that many of those companies are subsidized by the government... for example, some overseas based manufacturers don't have to pay nearly as much on healthcare...because in many cases, this is already provided by the Country where they are based (this is why we need comprehensive health coverage for all).

Hopefully there will be a compromise at some point. Perhaps some of the money from the Financial fund will be diverted.

In the meantime, the stock market will probably tank when it opens later this morning.

But I will agree that this is yet another example of the Republicans sending working folks down the river without a paddle... and without even so much as a prayer that they might get a paddle.

I'm still wondering when my Recovery Plan will come.

redante said...

Unions are one of the last bulwarks for workers and working class people to advocate for themselves in American society. If they are busted what else do we have as a line of defense against those in charge who would rather organize society according to market forces in a Darwinian race to the bottom? Of the lowest wages as possible, no security, little to no benefits, little to no environmental protection, etc. This isn't just a fight about bailouts. It's a fight about the future of American workers and whether or not an entity such as the labor movement will even exist in any meaningful way in US society.

AI's observation is correct that many of these foreign auto companies are subsidized by their governments and therefore, can compete in a way that US companies cannot. However, what if there were something like universal healthcare in the US -- American auto companies could have lower production costs and can compete with foreign auto companies. Yet you find many of these Republicans who would oppose a bailout on the auto industry would also oppose universal healthcare.