The Analytic Atavar

Idiosyncratic Musings of a Retrograde Technophile

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Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Man Has to Know When to Stop Bailing & Abandon Ship


Senate Republicans kill auto bailout bill , Jim Puzzanghera , L.A. Times, Dec. 12, 2008.

Republican opposition killed a $14-billion auto industry bailout plan in the Senate on Thursday night, putting the future of U.S. automakers in doubt and threatening to deliver another blow to the economy.

But attempts to craft a deal fell apart after Democrats would not agree to force the union to accept wages on par with U.S. employees of foreign automakers by a specific date.

Senate Democrats couldn't bring the measure up for a vote without the support of at least 10 Republicans. Ultimately, they were seven votes short.
(h/t Patterico)
Could it be that the reason newspapers (especially the L.A. Times) are failing is that they have ceased reporting and fact checking, and have instead become hacks for the daily Democrat propaganda. A simple check at the Senate website vote tabulation, Cloture Motion on H.R. 7005 (Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008), shows that the final vote was 52 yeas, 35 nays, and 12 not voting, so they were 8 votes short of invoking cloture; that, in fact, 10 Republicans did vote for cloture:
    Bond (R-MO)
    Brownback (R-KS)
    Collins (R-ME)
    Dole (R-NC)
    Domenici (R-NM)
    Lugar (R-IN)
    Snowe (R-ME)
    Specter (R-PA)
    Voinovich (R-OH)
    Warner (R-VA)
(all the usual suspects); that 8 Democrats (enough to invoke cloture) either voted nay or did not vote:
    NAYS:
    Baucus (D-MT)
    Lincoln (D-AR)
    Reid (D-NV)
    Tester (D-MT)
    NOT VOTING:
    Biden (D-DE)
    Kennedy (D-MA)
    Kerry (D-MA)
    Wyden (D-OR).
Note the vaunted professionalism, objectivity, research, and multi-layer editorial review that journalists are so proud of made apparent in this article, whose basic premise and material facts are all wrong. The White House apparently delivered the 10 Republican votes they were told was required — it was the Democrats who failed to deliver because they were afraid to require any concessions from the UAW.

Megan McArdle has it exactly right in Just desserts at her blog Asymmetrical Information:

I'm hearing the truly bizarre argument that the UAW didn't scuttle the negotiations; it was the Republicans unreasonable insistence that they cut their wages to levels comparable to that of their competition. After all, the UAW was perfectly willing to negotiate their compensation package -- in 2011, when their current contract expires.

And I think that's perfectly reasonable. We'll just wait until 2011 to give them the money, then.

If you know why that's stupid, then you know why the other argument is stupid, too. GM is losing money now. It needs to cut its labor costs (and its other costs) now, not in 2011.
The real question is whether the union believes the White House will find some emergency stop-gap and they can come back in January and get the money they truly need, or whether they believe they will get "Card-Check" from the new Congress and can force the same type of onerous labor contracts on the profitable auto companies, or some combination of the two.

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