Friday, December 12, 2008

Republicans block auto bridge loan.

Having spent billions of dollars in ill thought out wars to "promote democracy" around the world the Republicans have now balked at giving a $14 billion loan to the big three car companies because it did not include a demand that American car workers cut their wages.

The atmosphere in the Senate was tense and at times emotional, our correspondent says, as the Democrats made last minute pleas to get their Republican counterparts to vote in favour of helping America's biggest car makers - General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said he was "terribly disappointed" when it became clear the vote had collapsed, calling it a "a loss for the country".

"I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It's not going to be a pleasant sight," he said.

"Millions of Americans, not only the auto workers but people who sell cars, car dealerships, people who work on cars are going to be directly impacted and affected."

This could result in almost three million people being made unemployed and comes at a time when Barack Obama and Gordon Brown are looking for ways to put more money into workers hands in order to stave off the worst recession since the Great Depression.

It beggars belief that the same party who have squandered billions in Iraq can suddenly pretend to be the guardians of fiscal responsibility and refuse to give a fraction of what they gave to Wall Street to America's own workforce.

As Senator Reid points out, it's very hard to believe that the Republicans were ever serious about saving the auto industry.

"By rejecting every good-faith bipartisan compromise – including those from the White House and Senator Bob Corker – it is now abundantly clear that Republicans have no interest in keeping the Big Three from collapsing.

"Because Republicans failed to act, three million Americans are more likely than ever to lose their jobs and our economy is at risk of suffering even greater damage. Our hearts go out to those families who will now have to deal with this burden as the holidays near.

"Republicans may think that rejecting this legislation sent a message to the auto industry. Instead, they sent a message to every single American that they are more interested in settling scores than solving problems."

The very fact that the Republicans run the risk of making so many unemployed as Christmas approaches should say all that needs to be said about their commitment to America's middle and working class.

But, as Digby states, perhaps utter financial collapse is actually what they want:
It's true that Democrats have, over the years, enabled Republicans and helped their ideology to run amock. But right now they are all we've got and their intentions, quite clearly, are to keep the economy from tanking, if only out of self interest. The Republicans are blocking this bridge loan for both narrow parochial reasons and longterm partisan gain. There's no other way to interpret this otherwise inexplicable unwillingness of the Republicans to even grant a short term bridge loan. They want the economy to fail.
I seriously can't think of why, at this moment in time, and with the jobs of three million people on the line, that the Republicans would pull this shit.

It, literally, defies belief.

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