Monday, November 24, 2008

Bye bye Detroit

The American Auto industry is in trouble. A lot of people think t he only way it can be saved is by entering Chapter 11, which will allow it to re-negotiate with its creditors, most notably the unions. But Congress is not going to do anything that will allow the auto companies to void union contracts. Union members, as we always do (I'm not in the UAW but I am a member of the PSC, which is part of the AFT, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO--lots of letters there) believe they have "given up enough." They insist that it's time for management to give something up. But it's no secret that it's labor and pension costs that are dragging the Big Three down. Yes, they are very poorly managed--Rick Wagoner has got to go--but it is pensions that have to go. But if the auto giants default on their pensions the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation will take them over and hundreds of thousands of retirees will see their retirement income fall significantly. Taking money from old people is never something Congress feels good about, and taking money from unions is something we democrats don't come to naturally.

So a bailout is the only way. But congress can't get a bailout together. Republicans want to see the unions busted, and enough democrats are either on their side or too gun-shy to vote for yet another unpopular bailout. Yes, they know that the old axiom that what's good for GM is good for the country still hold true: but they also know that people are saying enough is enough.

And the only thing I'm really worried about is how all this is going to effect NASCAR.


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