Friday, December 12, 2008

The Fossil John Stossel and Company

Several days ago on Larry King Live, John Stossel’s anti-bailout stance for the auto industry showed himself to be a dinosaur. As usual, Larry King continues to sew divisiveness instead of contributing to the discussion as he claims by inviting disagreements from non-professionals on his show for national consumption. And, as usual, the intended divisiveness succeeded. Stossel disagreed with all of the other four guests on the car bailout. Stossel would have the industry die and to hell with the fallout that would be one more nail in America's coffin, if not the last devastating nail in American society’s coffin. He says “politicians” can’t fix it; they’ve never fixed anything. He would have the natural free-market mechanisms eat Ford, General Motors and Chrysler up; the natural results from the man-made Darwinian survival machine where the strong survive. The Free-Market is man-made cannibalism. It destroys and creates by gobbling up the weak just like the dinosaurs did. Give me a break, John. You are simply not thinking.

Neither are the Senate Republicans thinking. Yesterday, those senators caused the car maker bailout bill to fail in the Senate. Their approval hung on United Auto Workers wages, too high they said, and they didn’t like the “Car Czar” idea. The Bill, according to reports, would have restructured GM and Chrysler, and maybe Ford if it used the money, but they were not buying that idea. So, on those grounds, they filibustered it. Instead of listening to reputable economist, they continue to listen to Jurassic ideologues.

The fact is that politicians, like corporate CEOs, are human, and whatever they do will not be perfect. The other fact is that finally some politicians, unlike CEOs, are coming around to the idea that the human wellbeing is more important than the free-market cannibalistic dogma; that the whims of the free-market cannot be allowed to destroy societies. I hope that the free-market dinosaurs are fading away and perhaps we can get on with pragmatic government for the good of the people instead of letting corporate special interests dictate our world, but it will be too late to save GM and maybe Ford. Chrysler’s demise is a given. Unemployment will skyrocket. Depression, with a big “D,” is more likely than ever.

What we didn’t hear is 1), each worker actually earns about $38.00 per hour – not an unreasonable wage, and 2) that each labor worker creates approximately $200 value for each hour they work – that’s a great return on investment. It is the healthcare portion, an approximate additional $35.00 per hour, of the labor costs that is too high, and Congress could have done something about that. The healthcare cost is not a union demand; it is the Insurance Industry special-interest-suck-up demand. But, if you were not convinced that Republicans care nothing for the average working stiff in this country before, you should be convinced now. Why or how Republicans ever got in office is beyond my comprehension.

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