Everyone who has read anything that I've written knows how I stand when it comes to government intervention in private enterprise: can't stand it. When the government forced the $700 billion bailout for "Banks" (and based upon recent activity, I use that term very loosely), I was rabidly against it. When the house Republicans stood up and fought it, I thought "Finally, they're getting it", but yet, in the end, John McCain came in, convinced enough Republicans to go along and it passed. Until the end of time, I'll be convinced that was the straw that broke the camel's back for many conservatives on McCain and lost him the election. Had he broken with the majority and stood with the American people saying "No" to companies that had screwed themselves financially, he could have stuck with the Maverick label and forced the Obamessiah to take a position, something he's rarely done.
That all having been said, I think that the treatment of the Big 3 CEO's by congress this week is deplorable. Let's think about this for a second:
1. "Come back with a business plan and we'll take a look and decide whether we'll loan you the money" -- Really? Since when has congress ever given a rat's ass about 'business plans'? And how many of them would actually recognize a business plan if it hit them right square between the eyes? Was AIG required to present a business plan when they got their $$? Nope. How about PNC when they got their money and then turned around and used it to NOT take care of bad assets, but instead buy National City bank? No, they weren't either. Screw you ignorant congresscum and your hypocrisy.
2. "I can't believe you flew here on a private jet to ask for money" -- Wait? Someone who has lived suckling to the government tit for the last 20-something years, flying private jets either at the taxpayers expense or some lobbyists is questioning the use of a corporate owned jet when it allows the CEO the opportunity to stay in the office until the last possible minute and get immediately back to work, all the while doing work ON the jet? I've done the private charter thing before and it's great. You leave when you're ready and when your work is done. You can work on the plane, stretch out and get things done, AND you can take phone calls and be generally productive especially when dealing with extremely sensitive subjects, like oh, the saving of your entire industry.
3. "Are you willing to work for no salary or a symbolic salary until your company gets turned around?" -- This one is almost laughable. First, when have you EVER heard a congressman offer that (other than Ron Paul, who didn't offer to take only a dollar, but has a greately reduced office budget)? A congressman who offers to take only a dollar for his salary would be an honest one to ask that question. Any of the others should shut the hell up until they stop living on the taxpayer's dime.
I'm not necessarily for a bailout of the auto industry, but I am not nearly as against it as I was against the one for the financial industry. I see the bailout of the auto industry one as one that actually may be necessary to save jobs as opposed to provide the Treasury Secretary's friends with the money to save their individual companies. If it happens, there needs to be strings attached, such as quick payback terms, restrictions on moving jobs to non-US plants, and others.
If congress doesn't bail out the companies, I'm hoping that all their talk about bankruptcy is just bluster. Because if it's not, the effects on the economy of a GM bankruptcy will make the bad news of the last 4 months look like a walk in the park.