I wasn’t willing to make a bold prediction on the GM bail out, and I still won’t. I saw it as a difficult decision. But, I also live in the rust belt and I knew that allowing GM to go under would be devastating to this region, hurting everyone from parts suppliers to health care providers. In hindsight, I think they made the right (if politically unpopular) call.
I expected the chorus of certain doom and definitive statements from the Right, because if there’s anything Grover Norquist knows, it’s the auto industry. GM was Obama’s First Katrina. It might have been his second. I can’t keep track.
“This is somewhere in between Baghdad and fixing the flood in Louisiana,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said, comparing the GM decision to major stumbles by former President George W. Bush. Obama “has decided to take this over. He now owns it.”
I have to say, though, I was a flat-out pissed to see what may be my least favorite cable tv guest, even-the-liberal Robert Reich, emerge as one of the bailout’s biggest critics.
I thought his alternative proposal to the Obama solution was laughable, including as it did vague plans to “retrain” and “relocate” workers.
Cash could be used to retrain car workers, giving them extended unemployment insurance as they retrain.
Fabulous. I’m still not sure what a “car worker” is, but blithely tossing out “retraining” is easy, so I’m not surprised.
And then there’s this:
But US politicians dare not talk openly about industrial adjustment because the public does not want to hear about it.
Really? Who are these cowardly and loathsome “politicians” who dare not talk about “industrial adjustment”? Are any of them named Bill Clinton?
Would that Reich had been such a vocal critic when he actually had some power. No matter! He’s had all these bold and brilliant ideas all along, he just never implemented any of them, you know, when he was in charge of labor policy.
When conservatives needed a stick to bash unions with, they reached for Reich, so thanks for that, Robert. What we really need in this country is another fake-debate where we add up union workers hourly pay and benefits, and insist that’s their wage, although that math only applies to blue collar workers. We don’t do that addition when we talk about white collar workers. Ever.
Can I put Reich in the George Will category of credibility if he doesn’t revisit this issue?
Will sneers at “the automotive engineers in Congress,” though apparently his own automotive engineering sensibility towers above Motor Trend. Why has he been been denying us his expert automobile criticism?