Wednesday, November 12, 2008

MY CLASS WAR. As Nancy Pelosi signals that she's sympathetic to an auto industry bailout, Press Clips reminds us of the longstanding symbiosis among that industry, the oil industry, and the U.S. Government -- "Back in the '50s, the British looked at urban congestion and saw too many cars," says Ward Harkavy. "We looked at urban congestion and saw not enough roads." As long as we're giving out corporate welfare for the good of our phoney-baloney economy, the car companies have as fair a claim on a piece of it as any debt-repackager.

Not everyone sees it that way, of course. Megan McArdle starts, as usual, by portraying those who question limiting the bailout to bankers and brokers as making a specious and sentimental moral judgment, and proceeds to paint the auto industry as especially unworthy (as opposed to our blood brothers in the usury business). She and her commenters use the term "legacy costs" repeatedly, mostly in reference to the bad debt of which the carmakers will be freed if we let them go bankrupt -- which would include the pensions to which retired auto workers are entitled and on which many of them rely, though none of the McArdlites at this writing see fit to overtly mention it. (Later she doubles down, declaring that even though UAW workers kicked back part of their health care benefits, the market still failed to reward them and anyway their cars are ugly and have silly names, whereas Lehman Brothers still has a nice ring to it and their Ponzi scheme engages us in a way that a bunch of slobs in Michigan never could.)

I still think the whole stinking bailout should be scrapped. But now that, thanks to George Bush and his predecessors going back to the fixer Reagan, we are in bailout stepp'd in so far that, should we wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er, let's just fucking nationalize this shit. It would be a shame, now that the Republicans have handed us a socialist agenda, not to go whole hog.

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