Bailout Watch 122: McCain: Spend the First $25b, THEN We'll Talk

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Interesting strategy: tell Michigan voters you support the bailout (small “b”) but not THE BAILOUT (big ass “B”). Well, not yet. The position is a nuanced modification of Senator McCain’s previous flip-flop. Regular readers will recall that the presidential candidate was against any bailout to American automakers– before he decided to sacrifice his principles (whatever love is) to appeal to voters inside Motown’s battleground state. The AP [via The Detroit News] reports on Senator McCain’s Detroit dirty dancing on Meet The Press. “Republican presidential nominee John McCain declined Sunday to support an additional $15 billion in funding to help U.S. automakers weather a difficult economic climate but did not rule it out… ‘Let’s get the first $25 billion to them first,’ said McCain, adding that the government could ‘see how that works before we say we’re going to give you some more.'” Right. $25b in no to low-interest loans for “retooling” will save Ford, GM and Chrysler’s bacon. Yes Chrysler. Remember Chrysler? Anway, a refresher: “Obama has also said the loan program should to be doubled to provide $50 billion.” And get this: “The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research has estimated that General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC may need a $15 billion bailout to survive the nation’s financial crisis, which has led to sluggish sales and limited the availability of credit for auto loans.” I am astounded that the AP AND The Detroit News would let such an absurd statement go unchallenged. As they BOTH well know, GM is burning through $1b per month. Shame on them.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 27, 2008
    This is a website that once praised John McCain for telling Michigan voters that he “doesn’t believe government should bailout any industries. Period.” Why do we admire the quality of thinking in absolutist terms? Is that the elusive idea of having “principles?” +1. I'm glad you brought this up. I think this started when "flip-flopping" became a mortal political sin. It's part of a larger trend: it's no longer appropriate to take stock of one's situation and change direction, because it throws any decision you have or ever will make into question. You show yourself as fallible, and are shortly made mincemeat of by absolutists. It's also what's gotten a lot of corporations--GM comes to mind, but there are many others--into trouble. They cannot, ever, admit that they might be wrong because of the liability issues that might arise, so instead they pile on the excuses, lies and harebrained strategies ever higher to stave off the eventual failure because the feel they have no choice. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to fixing it, but the current political/legal climate almost totally prevents a leader from making that kind of admission, thus forever chaining them to their current state, lest they be seen as weak, liable or a "flip-flopper". Meanwhile, you have people like Kat Watanabe admitting that, yes, Toyota has screwed up with regards to growth-versus-quality, and that they have plans in place to address it.
  • Koblog Koblog on Oct 27, 2008

    How many here seriously believe Obama will save the U.S. car market? Or give 95% of American workers a tax cut while simultaneously promising to raise every other conceivable tax? Or make Detroit an honest city? Or lower the ocean level? Or provide "free" health care?

  • EBFlex No they shouldn’t. It would be signing their death warrant. The UAW is steadfast in moving as much production out of this country as possible
  • Groza George The South is one of the few places in the U.S. where we still build cars. Unionizing Southern factories will speed up the move to Mexico.
  • FreedMike I'd say that question is up to the southern auto workers. If I were in their shoes, I probably wouldn't if the wages/benefits were at at some kind of parity with unionized shops. But let's be clear here: the only thing keeping those wages/benefits at par IS the threat of unionization.
  • 1995 SC So if they vote it down, the UAW gets to keep trying. Is there a means for a UAW factory to decide they no longer wish to be represented and vote the union out?
  • Lorenzo The Longshoreman/philosopher Eri Hoffer postulated "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and ends up as a racket." That pretty much describes the progression of the United Auto Workers since World War II, so if THEY are the union, the answer is 'no'.