Thursday, December 04, 2008

Rescue Auto Workers, Not Auto Companies

The buzz is all about a rescue plan for the big three American auto companies. If they fail, the reasoning goes, lots of people will lose their jobs.

Let's assume that Congress passes (and the Buffoon-in-Chief signs) a bailout for the automakers. Forgive the Ivory Madonna for being cynical, but she doubts that any of that money would actually reach the workers whose jobs are in danger. Instead, the money would go to the managers, the stockholders, the CEOs.

Look at the most current proposals for a rescue: Allow the companies to enter structured bankruptcy so they can shut down unprofitable divisions, merge the Big Three into the Big Two or even the Big One, reduce the number of all that won't cause lots of people to lose their jobs. And this is the best-case scenario.

(But at least the CEOs and upper management would survive, and even profit. At least the stockholders would be left with smaller companies that would, in a few years, increase their stock prices and start paying substantial dividends again.

Feh! The Ivory Madonna says, let the auto companies die. Rescue the workers, not the companies.

How? Extend unemployment benefits to last the next few years, at least. Extend Medicare/Medicaid coverage to everyone on unemployment. If someone loses a job because of the demise of the auto industry, make sure they don't suffer from it. (And those out-of-work CEOs who will leave in their private jets with multimillion-dollar severance packages? Hell, let them collect unemployment as well. At minimum wage.)


The Ivory Madonna's story is told in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers.
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