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Republicans vs. the auto union
Why the Detroit bailout appears DOA
 

“Craven” Senate Republicans killed a bipartisan deal to save GM and Chrysler, said John Judis in The New Republic online, because the United Auto Workers, “desperate for the deal,” agreed only to phased-in, not immediate, cuts in wages and benefits, to the level non-union Japanese auto plants pay in key GOP senators’ home states. It’s “despicable” to let Japanese automakers, who pay union wages in Japan, dictate what U.S. firms pay American workers.

“I’m with the Republicans” on this one, said Maura Kelly in Britain’s The Guardian. The Japanese carmakers are just better. Yes, the U.S. will bleed jobs and money if its auto industry collapses, but it’s “silly” to “temporarily bolster” automakers that have been making bad business and environmental decisions, and even worse cars, for so long.

Republicans aren’t blaming the auto executives, though, said Todd Spangler and Justin Hyde in the Detroit Free Press. They’re blaming the UAW, which over the last decade has spent "more than $10 million to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans”—including several GOP senators now “being asked to save the domestic auto industry from ruination before giving up their seats.”

Yes, but the automakers themselves have long supported the GOP over Democrats, “sometimes by more than a 3-to-1 ratio,” said Ken Bensinger in the Los Angeles Times. Now they’ve “discovered just how little loyalty that investment strategy had bought them.”

From “a cynical, purely political” standpoint, the GOP should have supported this bailout, said Dan Riehl in Riehl World View. Because it didn’t, the party is “now known as the only reason the American auto industry went down the tubes”—and “all for a measly $15 billion.” It would have been better to hold fire until January, when GM asks for lots more money and Democrats overreach.

 

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