Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Aren't There Any Republicans On Star Trek?

"The loan deal requires the companies to quickly reduce their debt by two-thirds, mostly through debt-for-equity swaps, and to reach an agreement with the United Automobile Workers union to cut wages and benefits so they are competitive with those of employees of foreign-based automakers in the United States." (NYTIMES)

As I said earlier, the GOP wasn't going to cooperate with the Democratic majority's bill because it was union friendly. I didn't fully realize that they were also holding out for President Bush to use part of the money already relinquished to him by congress to give the auto industry a mini-bailout, setting the terms of the bailout in conservative, anti-union, pro-business interests. After he leaves office, the mini-bailout will run out, and it will return to Congress on whether or not they should continue to fund the auto-industry the rest of the alloted money.

In other words, Bush just royally screwed us one last time. He has overridden Congress to setup the bailout rules in the interests of big business. One must also wonder, to what extent will we have to cut benefits, safety and pay to stay competitive with foreign automakers that pollute in a wantonness fashion and do not have a unionized or protected workforce? I can hear the executives singing in their meetings "How low can you go!?" and no, it's not some typical bourgeois, homo-erotic office party with limbo.

There won't be much Democrats can do either. Now that Bush has started this devilish process, the Republican party will convince the people through subtle manipulation that, even when the auto-industry is cutting pay and benefits to their workers and still not turning a profit, if Democrats try to deny the auto-industry their money when they fail the terms of the bailout or the terms are ineffective, they will be putting the country at risk. The economy will collapse if the auto-industry companies file for bankruptcy, but feeding them money to artificially sustain them is just delaying the inevitable. Democrats will be obligated to continue to fund the auto-industry even if the money is having no effect; Americans will be convinced to stay the course, and any suggestions otherwise will be deemed reckless by big business and conservatives. We've been forced into a situation where the auto-industry will continue to be funded regardless of whether they meet the terms of the bailout, and the government will continue to bailout the auto-industry until the government deficit breaks newer and newer lows and the economy collapses at a much later date.

Big business has the government by the balls, and thusly, all our balls belong to them. The quasi-Chinese solution to this problem is not going to work; i.e. the government partially controlling and artificially supporting capitalist businesses. Either we go the route of the self-regulation of a free market system and allow the Big 3 auto makers to collapse, leaving room for a new supplier to meet market demands, or we eliminate entirely the executives of the auto-industry that have so poorly run these businesses and have jeopardized our economy and now the sovereignty of our nation. The state should take over this industry, put the leaders of green engineering at the helm, and take the alloted 300 billion and more to use it to completely overhaul all the factories and production towards revolutionary green technology. This would allow total control over this economic sector to artificially induce it into a state of rapid development so we could develop relatively inexpensive, renewable energy vehicles years ahead of other countries -- corner that motherfucking market!

Before you get all hot and bothered in your dungaree overalls, and spit out that piece of hay to yell about "commies!" consider the role NASA has had in our own society and economic system. NASA is not a profitable organization, nor has it ever been. The United States has invested endless amounts of money in the organization to rapidly develop technology that no other country has had; only now, thirty years later, are other countries really catching up and developing the necessary technology to get into space. NASA is an organization that is entirely supported by government funding, and NASA could never exist or come to be in a free market system -- at least fledgling space travel could never be launched by a free market. The demand to go into space does not exist in the general public, just like the demand for green technology does not really exist at a profitable level. You need to artificially create this market by spending billions of dollars on developing the technology to where it's efficient and cheap enough that it can be used by an endless number of people and businesses.

Once NASA develops a way to mine resources cheaply and effectively -- a long way off -- it will no longer need government funding to support itself. Green technology is in the same boat, but it is far more feasible to build a product in the next couple decades that will entirely support itself without government support. The free market cannot effectively bring about green tech demand. A government, preferably our government, needs to invest hundreds of billions, maybe trillions (maybe we could not invade a country for more than a couple decades and save our money?) in developing the technology until the demand is there.

1 comment:

Christine Vyrnon said...

"and no, it's not some typical bourgeois, homo-erotic office party with limbo"

classiest line I've read all day. Seriously.

Yes, the demonizing of the unions REALLY bothers me, and a part of me wants to let detroit live the free-market dream and totally implode. And I agree with your NASA analogy... a lot of good can come out of an industry that is a black hole for government spending.

But then again, sometimes i wonder if NASA's days are numbered by the privatization of space exploration. And there are an awful lot of people who will argue that NASA is a total waste of government spending.

Yes, we could take advantage of the big three's weakness and force it into a green make-over, but I'm betting whatever green make-over it gets is going to be purely superficial.