Thursday, December 11, 2008

The American Economy Customized By Congressional Crash Over Cash And Unionism

Customized By Crash:  The American Economy…As The  $14 Billion Auto Bailout Plan Collapses In Senate I Think It Is About Time That America Get Its Collective Head On Straight And Demand That Detroit Executives Be Replaced, That A Bailout Be Conditioned On Retooling And The Production Of A Fuel Less, Emission Free, Unplugged Full Fledged Green American Car Ond Not Conditioned Upon Breaking The UAW.  

I Am Prepared To Support The UAW And Teamsters In The Streets Of Detroit If That Is What It Is Going To Take To Wake Up This Nation And Kick Congressional Asses Into Constructive Bipartisan Meaningful Address Of The Problem.


The time to stop Bitching about the past is now and the time to fashion the future is at hand before we surrender the American Automotive Industry to Japan, China, India and German On our way down the toilet of The Second Great Depression!


A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was ``terribly disappointed'' about the demise of an emerging bipartisan deal to rescue Detroit's Big Three.


He spoke shortly after Republicans left a closed-door meeting where they balked at giving the automakers federal aid unless their powerful union agreed to slash wages next year to bring them into line with those of Japanese carmakers.


Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio, a strong bailout supporter, said the UAW was willing to make the cuts - but not until 2011.


Republican and Democratic senators had struggled into the night Thursday to resolve what was described as one remaining major dispute blocking an emergency $14 billion bailout for U.S. automakers.


The details of the emerging agreement weren't immediately known.


But Republican senators huddled with their chief negotiator on the progress made in wringing new concessions from the companies and their union, the United Auto Workers, and Reid had held out hopes for a vote later in the night.


The talks centered on wage and benefit concessions from the UAW as well as debt-restructuring by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, and officials from the union and companies were participating in the talks at one point or another.


Republican senators revolted against a $14 billion rescue the Bush White House negotiated with congressional Democrats and the House passed on Wednesday.


Leaders stressed that the deal wasn't final.


"All issues are still on the table," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, as he emerged from the talks.


But it was clear lawmakers had made substantial progress toward getting the auto industry aid back on track, and members of both parties were in search of an accord.


"We've got some issues still to resolve but we all want to resolve them," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who led the closed-door talks for his party.


Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman, who was his party's point man, said staff aides were working on legislative language of a still-emerging deal.


"While we've reached some agreement on a lot already, there are issues that are still outstanding," Dodd said.


Progress in the negotiations were the latest development in a long-running debate over bailing out the beleaguered auto industry. The issue gained urgency last week when the government reported the economy had lost more than a half-million jobs in November, the most in any month for more than 30 years.


"There's a lot of hardship out there. People are losing their jobs, losing their homes, losing their cars and losing their patience," said Reid. "We don't need to pile on."


It was unclear how far the participants were willing to go to seal the federal aid that General Motors and Chrysler said was essential to keep them from bankruptcy. Ford is in better financial shape than its rivals, although its survival is not assured, either.


The developments unfolded after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky joined other GOP lawmakers in announcing his opposition to the White House-backed rescue bill passed by the House on Wednesday.


He and other Republicans said wages and benefits for employees of Detroit's Big Three should be renegotiated to bring them in line with those paid by Japanese carmakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan in the United States.


Hourly wages for UAW workers at GM factories are about equal to those paid by Toyota Motor Corp. at its older U.S. factories, according to the companies. GM says the average UAW laborer makes $29.78 per hour, while Toyota says it pays about $30 per hour. But the unionized factories have far higher benefit costs.


GM says its total hourly labor costs are now $69, including wages, pensions and health care for active workers, plus the pension and health care costs of more than 432,000 retirees and spouses. Toyota says its total costs are around $48. The Japanese automaker has far fewer retirees and its pension and health care benefits are not as rich as those paid to UAW workers.


Republicans also bitterly opposed tougher environmental rules carmakers would have to meet as part of the House-passed version of the rescue package and the Senate dropped it from its package.


The negotiations marked the latest development in a long-running debate over bailing out the beleaguered auto industry. The issue gained urgency last week when the government reported the economy had lost more than a half-million jobs in November, the most in any month for more than 30 years.


The White House monitored the talks but was not directly participating. Administration officials had been deeply involved in recent days in drafting a compromise with House and Senate Democrats — the measure that McConnell and other Senate Republicans promptly repudiated.


Some Senate Democrats joined Republicans in turning against the House-passed bill — despite increasingly urgent expressions of support from the White House and President-elect Barack Obama for quick action to spare the economy the added pain of a potential automaker collapse.


The White House said President George W. Bush was calling Republican lawmakers, while Obama told reporters at a news conference in Chicago an industry shutdown would have a "devastating ripple effect" on the already ragged economy."


The House-passed bill would create a Bush-appointed overseer to dole out the money. At the same time, carmakers would be compelled to return the aid if the "car czar" decided the carmakers hadn't done enough to restructure by spring.


McConnell said that measure "isn't nearly tough enough."


Pushing to convert skeptics in both parties, Democrats agreed to drop at least one unrelated provision that threatened to sink the measure, a congressional official said. They were eliminating a pay raise for federal judges after Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who represents an automobile manufacturing state, announced she would oppose the carmaker aid unless that provision was removed.


Supporters had an uphill battle pressing the rescue package on a bailout-fatigued Congress — particularly a measure designed to span the administrations of a lame-duck president and his successor. Before the late-day negotiations, patience had begun wearing thin at the Capitol as lawmakers looked ahead to adjourning for the holidays.


Reid at one point called for swift separate votes Thursday on compromise legislation backed by Democrats and the White House as well as the GOP proposal. "We have danced this tune long enough," he declared.


But with Republicans staunchly opposed to the rescue and some Democrats ill or absent from the emergency, postelection congressional session, bailout supporters acknowledged that getting the needed 60 votes to pass either would be very difficult.


The House approved its plan late Wednesday on a vote of 237-170. Supporters cited dire warnings from GM and Chrysler executives, who have said they could run out of cash within weeks.


A pair of polls released Thursday indicated that the public is dubious about the rescue plan.


Just 39 percent said it would be right to spend billions in loans to keep GM, Ford and Chrysler in business, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Just 45 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans supported the idea.


In a separate Marist College poll, 48 percent said they oppose federal loans for the struggling automakers while 41 percent approved.

1 comment:

  1. Insurance is changing as we know it due to the economy and bailouts. Since then the rates have drastically changed. All leading companies have changed lots of policies. When was the last time you researched insurance rates? You'd be surprised what recently changed!!!



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