First of all, had Obama handed GM any more money this week, you'd have heard a bunch of right-wing talk about the debt we're handing to our grandkids. Since Obama decided not to hand GM any more money, and decided to end diplomatic relations with the captain piloting that particular ship into that particular iceberg, you've heard a bunch of right-wing talk about the public sector interfering with the private sector.
Guess Obama just lost that whole "populism" thing. Now the right and the left get to talk smack. We'll look at how we got here another time. I'm interested in some quotes from this article, a boo-hoo "autoworkers have no friends" lament that includes the following whoo-hah quotes:
Twenty years after "Roger and Me," we are all heartless capitalists. We want efficiency, viability, and fast results, and we're not going to fritter away tens of billions of taxpayers dollars waiting for them.First of all, capitalism is only about anything efficiency and viability when there is money to be made in efficiency and viability. It is all about fast results (real or imagined), which is why we got here in the first place. Second, we already have frittered away billions waiting for them. Hey folks, we've been waiting for the wealthy CEO's and the union bosses to figure it out for years. And for years all we've gotten is higher CEO pay and higher labor costs, while, inexplicably, autoworker's real income has gone down.
But in picking the winners of the automobile industry, the government is also picking the winners and losers of the national economy. And it's very clear who the losers are: It is the same autoworkers and their families who were the losers in "Roger and Me." Who have been the losers for decades, as the slow drain of the auto industry has sapped the benefits, wages, and, most important, the job prospects of the people who depended on the mid-20th-century industrial economy.The government didn't pick the winners and losers, the consumers did. The government has kept the losers alive and on life support for too long, allowing wealthy individuals to get wealthier off the government teat all in the name of keeping autoworkers employed.
"Restructuring" means that we have reached the endgame here. The administration has said, in effect, that it will no longer expect, or even allow, the auto companies to subsidize the failing rust belt economy.In the context of the article, this is apparently a bad thing. I say welcome to reality.
The responsibility of government, however, is not to keep any particular company running. It is to keep the workers of the auto industry employed, and so far there is no plan.No, it is not the responsibility of government to do that. It is awful nice of government to do that, when they are able to do it correctly, because it helps transition the economy from point A to point B with less stress on other industries, families, etc.
But when you start talking about it being government responsibility, after years of dealing with this, after years of zero innovation, then we're better off (and so are the autoworkers) by letting the thing fail so something new can replace it.