Like Samson pulling down the Philistine temple on himself, Republican members of Congress are intent on blocking desperately needed government help for the domestic auto industry. I have not seen them listed in any of the news reports so far, but I know Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama is one of the “rebels,” and I believe Sen. Robert Corker, of Tennessee (photo below) is another. Someone should record all of their names for posterity, so that if they succeed in their infamous revolt, future generations will know whom to blame. Their children and grandchildren will look back on the day the U.S. economy died, and from the depths of an unimaginable Depression curse their memory.
This may sound like irresponsible hyperbole, but I am convinced it is the stark and frightening truth. Even Barack Obama will be unable to stave off a Depression if the domestic auto makers are forced out of business. Think about it. The American economy is already teetering on the brink of disaster, and if the domestic auto industry dies, 3 million workers will join the swelling ranks of the unemployed. And that will be just the beginning. Printing money is only a temporary remedy. To sustain economic recovery, America must have jobs that produce goods, not just services. Without heavy manufacturing, the Midwest will become a vast rust bowl. There will be no investment capital with which to realize the dream of an alternative-energy industry. House prices will plunge out of sight. When the jobs are gone and the nation can no longer pay unemployment benefits, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, when stocks are reduced to worthless paper and the dollar has lost its value, when there are no resources to help returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, the streets will be teeming with the hungry, the homeless and the sick.
The Depression might last for years because I can’t see how a government-funded stimulus package (however huge) could produce results quickly enough to compensate for the collapse of a mighty giant like the auto industry. And even if massive government spending succeeded in propping up the crumbling economy for a while, that alone cannot fuel a lasting recovery. No economy can survive without a productive base.
It’s time for the American public to wake up. This is the 3 a.m. phone call you’ve been warned about. It’s time to tell those Republican nitwits to stop pouting and stamping their feet. Their tantrum could produce results that their tiny brains are incapable of comprehending. Enough already!
UPDATE: Add Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (photo far right) to the Hall of Shame. And note that his state of Kentucky is home to foreign-owned auto assembly plants. Also add Senator David Vitter of Louisiana (photo at right). You remember Vitter, don’t you? He was listed in “the DC Madam’s” little black book. Louisiana has also become a hotbed for foeign-owned auto assembly plants.
Also add Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina (photo at left) to the list of names that will live in infamy. Do you think his opposition to the domestic auto companies has anything to do with that swanky BMW plant in Spartanburg? At least he had the guts to admit he is motivated in part by hatred for trade unions.
Isn’t it amazing how little media attention these southern states are getting? I read a piece in the Huffington Post today that said since 1992, these states have paid more than $3 billion dollars in incentives to attract foreign-owned auto assembly plants.
UPDATE to UPDATE: Just 10 Republicans supported the $14 billion loan package in the 52-35 roll call Senate vote Thursday night. That was well well short of the 60 needed to avoid a filibuster. I hope the names of those who voted against the rescue package will be posted on the Web for voters to bear in mind when their terms expire.