So, yeah, since Republicans never plan on winning an election ever again, they all said, "who cares what Michigan and Ohio think of us, they're filthy commoners." This ThinkProgress post has a lot of great info in it, including this description of the bailout talk breakdown:
It’s clear that the Senate Republicans’ main priority was union busting. A memo sent among Senate Republican staffers called for Republicans to “stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor.” Speaking at a press conference this morning, UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said the Republicans made it “very clear” that “there are those who would do away with” unions altogether.
Gettelfinger emphasized that the myth that UAW workers are paid drastically more than employees of foreign auto makers is “simply subterfuge.” The Detroit Free Press reported in 2007 that the union was “losing its edge in pay” compared with non-unionized workers for foreign companies. (He also reminded conservatives that the union had already accepted broad concessions.)
Andrew Leonard, who we've been linking to a lot lately, makes this additional point:
So where did the auto-bailout negotiations break down? Over the demand by anti-union Southern Republican senators that domestic automaker workers be forced to accept immediate wage cuts, and the loss of benefits. I'm with Barney Frank on this one: No one asked the rank-and-file employees of Citigroup or AIG or Morgan-Stanley to cut their salaries in exchange for government handouts. Assembly-line workers at G.M. and Chrysler, on the other hand, must tighten their belts.
On the plus side, the working-class is lazy so this will probably be nice for them.
The White House today said that it may divert funds from the Treasury that were set aside for financial institutions to help bail out the Big 3. More information to come when this blog has any idea what all of this means, but here's this for now, from the NY Times:
The Treasury Department promptly indicated that it would provide short-term relief to the automakers. “Because Congress failed to act, we will stand ready to prevent an imminent failure until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry,” a Treasury spokeswoman, Brookly McLaughlin, said.
TARP is the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the official name of the Treasury’s financial rescue program, originally intended to assist banks. Referring to the carmakers, the White House statement said, “A precipitous collapse of this industry would have a severe impact on our economy,” and added, “It would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time.”
Bush is pretending to champion the working class. Car Manufactures are getting money instead of banks. This is all very strange, and this blog feels like a Friday afternoon cocktail might clear things up. Sadly, that won't be an option for several more hours, so don't expect any breakthroughs from us.