You know who I won’t shed a single damn tear for? The electric-car-squashing American auto industry. These are the same people who buried their inexpensive, reliable plug-ins once it became clear people actually *wanted* them (and thus the reduced need for marked-up dealer maintenance that comes with dumping the fragile combustion engine).
But as with so many old-fogey corporate institutions right now, the automakers are in peril. And the Democrats want to help:
“In order to prevent the failure of one or more of the major American automobile manufacturers … Congress and the Bush administration must take immediate action,” said Pelosi, D-Calif.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that Democrats were “determined to pass legislation that will save the jobs of millions” as part of a postelection session. “This will only get done if President Bush and Senate Republicans work with us in a bipartisan fashion, and I am confident they will do what is right for our economy,” said the Nevada Democrat.
When asked why, every politician says jobs:
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday that the crisis in the auto industry is urgent, arguing that “the national economy rests on this.”
“This industry supports one in 10 jobs in the country,” Granholm said Wednesday on CBS’ “Early Show.” “If this industry is allowed to fail, there would be a ripple effect throughout the nation.”
If we were so hellfired-worried about the little guy, I’d ask: what if we took the same tens of billions we’ll almost certainly throw at GM, Ford, and Chrysler (each) and instead invested in each auto industry employee for 1) new job training skills, 2) career placement assistance in the new field of choice, and 3) a 12-month severance package while new work is sought? Seems to me we could go right around the fatcats at the top.
But maybe that’s too simple. Maybe there aren’t enough other jobs and other industries to absorb the auto industry workers. If so, I’d say that we could invest the collective industrial knowledge and personpower into massive new public transportation projects for a a post-oil economy. Let’s bring back the spirit of the New Deal by absorbing the auto industry’s loss as our national infrastructure’s gain.
But maybe this is all too unrealistic, too. That’s cool. I know what thing that isn’t: nationalizing the motherfuckers. You lawmakers want us to have an American auto industry? Fine. Then I want part ownership, along with every other citizen, so we can cut the crap and build vehicle technology for the future instead of the past. We could immediately end all SUV production to save lives on the road and reduce oil consumption, and we could roll out electric cars at break-even prices within 2 years.
If we’re taking ownership in the financial sector, it can be done here, too.
Corporate welfare without national ownership in return is nothing more than the rich stealing from the poor. If an industry is “too important to fail,” then it belongs in the hands of everyone and not a few short-sighted, greedy, stock-slave executives earning tens of millions of dollars to run their company into the ground and steal from us when it craters.