In every crisis there is opportunity. That lesson has been well-learned by all the wrong people over the past eight years.
American defense contractors like Blackwater, Triple Canopy and DynCorp made obscene profits in the chaos created by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in Iraq. Imagine their armored Humvees pulling up to Treasury every month for billions of our tax dollars.
The banks have their getaway armored truck parked at the side door of Treasury right now. They've only been able to load $250 billion but they're idling at the loading dock waiting to see if the new Treasury Secretary will be the same rent-a-cop the current Treasury Secretary is.
And then there's the inept and stubborn auto industry, that refused to have a business plan for the 21st century, waiting at the back door of Treasury in their gas guzzling SUVs for whatever is left after the orgy of stealing. Democrats want take $25 billion away from the bank robbery in progress and loan it to the auto industry.
Is this a Bridge Loan to Nowhere or a Bridge Loan to the 21st century?
Naomi Klein speaking at the 25th Annual Miami Book Fair this weekend points out that we are not nationalizing banks, we are corporatizing the treasury. She nailed it.
Jack Quinn, the Former Clinton Administration Counselor, put it this way, "Bush came as a Social Conservative but is leaving as a Conservative Socialist".
Either way, Disaster Capitalism is alive but may be on life support. Time to pull the plug. Republicans may grieve if they wish, but we should dance on its grave and get our money back!
We can start with getting $25 billion of the $700 billion back in the next few days. Let's take it from the bank bailout and loan it to the auto industry and build a Bridge Loan to the 21st century.
Barack Obama has talked about appointing a Car Czar to oversee the spending of the $25 billion, but there aren't any further details. Details must be presented during the lame duck session of Congress that begins today. A Car Czar is just one condition.
Should Congress find the votes to take back at least $25 billion and loan it to the auto industry in the lame duck session of the 110th Congress (not likely in the Senate), they ought to attach it to a long list of demands that need to be set down in writing.
Some of those conditions must include:
-- Job protection first and foremost. Job protection is the only reason to bailout failing auto makers. Three million jobs are the reason why we must do it.
-- Removal of all current management including the entire Board of Directors, CEO, Presidents and Vice Presidents.
-- Recruitment of people from successful car manufacturers and pay them no more than 44 times the lowest paid line worker. Bonuses should be based on sales performance not stock prices.
-- None of the bailout money may be used to finance overseas operations .
-- End dividend payments on the little bit of value the stocks currently have to preserve what's left of them.
-- Capping executive pay at 44 times the pay of the lowest paid line worker going forward.
-- Allow workers and retirees to be the first to buy into a National Healthcare Fund subsidizing them if needed.
-- Streamline the product lines to one or two models.
-- Retool the products -- Biodiesel buses, vans, heavy vehicles and cars.
Biodiesel engines can be put into any weight automobile, bus or SUV. Biodiesel engines pull tour buses everyday. Biodiesel engines are diesel engines with a modification. There is no need for R&D.
-- Concurrently invest in building sustainable biodiesel fueling stations with Government Infrastructure Investment dollars in the hands of small private entrepreneurs. There are currently 495 biodiesel fuel stations in the US -- Here is a map http://find.mapmuse.com/interest/biodiesel and here is how easy it is to retrofit existing gas stations http://www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/guide/
-- Prohibit speculation on biodiesel or you will end up with a biodiesel "bubble" and we will be right back where we were on crude oil.
-- The bailout can not be tied to any other issue like Colombian trade deals. This should be anathema to the UAW as well, since the reason we don't do a Colombian Free Trade Deal is Colombia's brutal oppression of labor organizers there.
Some of you may have other items that should be included in any bailout (especially on the dealership system). It's your money! Write your Senators! You only have two. www.senate.gov
The UAW should immediately engage in information awareness regarding union workers who are already being blamed for the auto industry's crappy management, allergy to innovation in fact, collusion with government and big oil not to make fuel efficient automobiles and the murder of the electric car and other innovations.
The failure of American automakers is a systemic failure of management (as is the case in all of failing American behemoths), not workers. Productivity is up in the US! Time to thank American workers, not punish them because of the "narcissistic idiotcracy" that American management has become! Somewhere along the line it became okay for management not to know how the people they manage did their jobs! How is it possible to manage people when you don't know what they do? We have an epidemic of failing upwards and rewarding that failure in American Big Business.
Sadly, even if a bailout bill is passed in the lame duck session of Congress by some seismic shift in thinking about the magnificent American worker instead of the corporate culture that tries to kill them, by Republican senators like Richard Shelby Bush will most likely veto the bill.
The loss of these jobs will have a cascading effect on the already seriously injured economy. The Bush Corporatists are trying to shatter the entire economy and empty the Treasury to guarantee maximum recovery time. We can not let him take one more dollar or job on his way out.
The automobile industry did not "go down" because of the economy. This wound is 100% attributable to laziness, greed and narcissism.
Democrats must make sure that blame is squarely placed on those who can not or will not change and adapt to the 21st century demands placed on our workers and economy.
I sure wish workers got to vote on their corporate leadership and culture but if we lend them money, we have more say than they do!
The bridge loan to the 21st century will be paved with the egos of the biggest losers and built by those who survived them and finally get their ideas heard.
If we build it, they are done. Let's make Congress do it. www.senate.gov