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Obama Transition

Nancy Pelosi says we should bailout GM and Chrystler. Coming on the heels of the financial bailout, this will rack up more trillions of Federal debt, and it will set a bad precedent, as I argued in an earlier post. But more to the point, as Paul Farrell has forcefully argued at Marketwatch.com today, it is an inexcusable extension of Reaganomics.

[Naomi] Klein further exposed this insanity in a recent Rolling Stone article, “The New Trough: The Wall Street bailout looks a lot like Iraq, a ‘free-fraud zone’ where private contractors cash in on the mess they helped create.” Paulson’s privatization, outsourcing and management of the $700 billion bailout has the exact same Reaganomics ideological, strategic and deceptive footprints that President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to privatize, outsource and mismanage the costly Iraq War blunder. Yes, Paulson is America’s new Rumsfeld!

And they keep going at it! Where is Krugman’s vaunted conscience? This needs to be shouted from the rooftops until someone in government grows the testicular fortitude to do the right thing: Fiscal stimulus is an investment in public capital — not private capital.

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save the dinosaurs!

save the dinosaurs!

The Democrat leadership has obviously not gotten the memo on ideological shift. Here is the article from the wires.

Democratic Congressional leaders urged the Bush administration on Saturday to consider using the $700 billion bailout for the financial system to aid distressed American automakers, in a prelude to what may become urgent negotiations over additional economic stimulus measures.

This is a bad idea for so many reasons. First, it sets a bad precedent. Every progressive policy idea of the next four (let’s hope eight) years will be stained by the memory of this capitulation to corporate interests.

Second, it invites an environmental nightmare. What’s next? Bailing out the coal industry because it’s losing jobs to green energy? Bailing out AIG because they’re “too big too fail”? (Oops. Already done.) These guys are going out of business because they thought cheap gas would last forever. They are dinosaurs who deserve to die. Maybe if we’re lucky their carcasses will provide fuel for someone in one hundred million years. They even knew the good times couldn’t last, but they put that nasty thought out of their heads for instant gratification of quick profit. This is how the AP put it:

At Ford Motor Co. they called it “Blue,” a team set up around the year 2000 to design an array of small, fuel-efficient cars to compete with the Japanese. It didn’t get far because no one could figure out how to make money on low-priced compacts with Ford’s high labor costs.

Besides, the automaker was racking up billions in profits by selling pickups and sport utility vehicles. Times were good and gas was cheap.

If the government commits to maintaining failing technologies because people have jobs that depend on them we are never going to get ahead of the energy curve. If Chevron and ExxonMobil get bailouts there will be an insurrection right here in the good old U. S. of A.

Third, it validates the idea that corporations are the equivalent of citizens. It should not need to be said, so why am I saying it? Corporations are not people. They may have a lot of money, but corporations are not citizens. The business of government is citizens, not collections of citizens, or business syndicates, or legal fictions. If the Dems in Congress want to do something for the people who will be laid off if the auto companies die, put money into infrastructure or unemployment benefits. That at least will tide workers over until a true entrepreneur comes along with a better job to give these men and women. When you work in a factory it doesn’t matter if you build SUVs or hybrids — it’s all the same to the assembly worker. But if you bail out GM and Ford, all you will see for the next ten years are more SUVs and Hummers.