Mitt’s Clever Plan

Today I found myself replying to Mitt Romney’s editorial in the Detroit News.  You see, a few years ago, Mitt wrote an editorial in the NY Times about how Obama shouldn’t bail out the auto companies.  Now that that is one of the two non-controversial things Obama has done in his presidency (you know what the other one was), Mitt has decided to stand by his editorial by writing a follow-up in the Detroit News.  It’s all part of Mitt’s clever plan to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in my home state, which Mitt’s father was governor of back in prehistoric times.  Mitt was heavily favored to win, but now Santorum has surged from behind (pun intended) and taken the lead.

Anyway, since I wrote about the Chyrsler commercial here, I’m reposting my comment too:

 

A few years ago everyone said Obama was a socialist. Now we find out he was actually a crony capitalist all along. Name calling can be very confusing!

The fact is, Obama’s plan definitely saved GM and Chrysler. Mitt’s plan may also have saved GM and Chrysler like he says — I’m no expert, but I’m willing to grant him that it’s possible both companies would have survived without a bailout.

But Mitt’s plan would have resulted in massive layoffs, cutting relatively high-paying manufacturing jobs at the moment that Michigan could least afford it. And when the companies finished restructuring those jobs wouldn’t have come back. The best Michigan could have hoped for was lower paying non-union jobs that would have maximized corporate profits at the cost of the state’s work force. In a more likely scenario, those jobs would be in Mexico or Asia today and Michigan would be left with nothing.

And Mitt Romney doesn’t even address the issue of jobs in his editorial. He has clearly thought a lot about the rights of corporations, but he doesn’t seem to have given a second thought to people’s jobs, and how Michiganders would put food on the table. Not just jobs at auto companies either — jobs at every company that does business with those auto companies as well. Today GM and Chrysler are back on their feet, the bailout money has been returned to the Treasury, and a lot of Michiganders still have their jobs. It might not be a shining moment for free market capitalism, but it’s the result all of Michigan was praying for.

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Halftime in America

Republicans talk a lot about the Real America.  Well, I’m from Michigan and I can tell you that Michigan is what we thing about when we think about the Real America:  tough, individualistic, but also kind and humble.  And Michigan proved it when Chyrsler and GM took government bailouts and, unlike the financial industry did, lived up to their obligation to taxpayers by paying back their loans ahead of schedule and using the money to save hundreds of thousands of American jobs and create thousands more.

Bailing out the auto industry was unquestionably the right decision.  For every job that was saved or created thanks to the bailout, three more jobs were potentially saved in industries that provide parts or service for cars.  In three years, GM climbed from bankruptcy to become the world’s number one auto company again.  And because, unlike the bankers, the Michigan residents who staff the corporate headquarters of the Big Three were human enough to admit that fair is fair, and that one good turn deserves another, American auto companies have reversed their decades-long policy of shipping jobs overseas and churning out oversized, wasteful vehicules that nobody wants.  Because when it comes down to it, these people are human beings who want to look their neighbors in the eye and to sleep at night.  Living in Michigan does that to you.  And, of course, because sustainability is good for business, not just the environment.

Republicans have been bitching non-stop about this ad for the last 24 hours — they say it’s pro-Obama and pro-union, even though the ad doesn’t mention Obama or unions.  It is about teamwork and pulling together in hard times.  The fact that Republicans associate those things with Obama and unions is just a tacit admission that teamwork and pulling together are the charateristics of their opponents, and that Republicans were talking about market forces when they should have been worrying about thousands of people and the livelihood of an entire region of the country.  The Real America is better off today because the federal government was watching out for it — well, half of it anyway.  The truth of the ad is undeniable, plain to see even through partisan blinders.  This time, reality really does have a liberal bias.

And, finally, I just want to say how classy this ad was on the part of Chrysler.  We all gave them a hand, they came through for us, paid us back, and then they said thank you, and told us that generous people like us are what makes America great, and what will make us strong again.  Aw shucks, Chyrsler, you can have my bailout money any day.