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congress: no friend to blue-collar workers

so i’ve become a big fan of podcasts. i know they’ve been around a while, but i’m just now getting on the bandwagon, so to speak. i listen (or try to) everyday to a handful of various news podcasts, including the bbc, democracy now, the economist, and the rachel maddow show. its this last one that has, over the last week or so, repeatedly covered or commented on the auto industry bailout… or lack thereof.

admittedly, i was against the bailout of the mortgage industry, big banks, and wall street. there is no doubt in my mind that they, with the help of lax regulation and oversight, have put us in this mess. it was their blind gluttony at the expense of everyone else that has pretty much tanked the US and world economy.

relatively quick to respond was this criminal administration that has, since day one, done little more than give advantage their friends while simultaneously screwing the rest of us. it seems the bailout of wall street and the banking industry is simply more of the same. there seems to be little hope of the ‘big 3’ american auto companies receiving a dime of the $700 BILLION bailout package congress rushed to pass.

don’t get me wrong, i’m no lover of the american auto industry. they’ve been not only slow to respond the changing trends, but they’ve been incredibly and stubbornly resistant to any increase in fuel-efficiency standards, to reducing the size of the cars and trucks they sell and as a result might be just as responsible for their failing companies as an economy in recession seems to be.

but when we talk about ‘too big to fail,’ a concept i find to be both convenient for the ones selling the idea, as well as a concept personally hard to swallow, why does it seem the proponents only seem to be referring to mega-banks and wall street? between the big 3, how many employees are there? how many laborers who’ve worked in the industry their whole lives? what about their pensions? their healthcare? their families? why does an american auto industry bailout seem so incredulous to the same people in congress who were so eagerly willing to bailout the financial industry?

i find congress’s reluctance to help the american auto industry not only wrongheaded, but seemingly callous. does congress secretly despise unions? or just blue-collar workers in general? i believe it was the UAW president who commented on (i don’t remember the exact quote) the notion that people who shower before going to work were quick to receive bailout funds, while people who shower after they come home from work are not.

our congressional leaders ask for detailed plans from the CEOs of the big 3, siting their inability to do so as one of the reasons for their hesitance. i don’t seem to remember similar questions being asked of citibank, AIG, fanny & freddy, or of wall street. additionally, the CEOs of the big 3 were chastised for traveling to the capitol in private jets and for collecting bloated salaries. while wall street and big bank CEOs were also chastised for their huge salaries, i don’t recall comments about private jets, which i assume they still employ for business travel.

i guess what it comes down to is a double-standard that isn’t surprising, particularly with this administration, but the democratically controlled congress is EQUALLY accountable for this double-standard. they all seem willing to put out of work tens of thousands of blue-collar workers out of spite, while they can’t move fast enough to throw money at the financial sector that put us in this mess.

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