Toxic Anger 3: Auto Bailouts and What To Do About Them

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For a moment, a tiny little moment, I actually had some hope for our entire system of government when I heard that the Congress had listened to the big 3 automakers and had rejected their plea for more of my money. But that was short lived. Apparently, the big 3 looters have until December 2, 2008 to come up with some sort of report of what they need the money for and how they are going to use it. Despite the fact that they were already hauled in front of Congress to answer these very questions and failed mightily, they are now being given a second chance to answer the questions better. You can be sure that someone will write a better essay than these executives delivered and that Congress will hand them $25 billion; that is 25,000 million dollars of your money and mine. Here is the letter that two of the top democrats sent to the automakers. Nice of them to set out exactly what they want the essays to say: Hard to fail that test.

What I find so disturbing, is that in all the reports about this issue, no one ever asks IF this money should be stolen from the American people. They all assume that the answer is: of course. But will someone show me where in any documentation we have regarding our government, where it says that Congress can steal our money to hand to struggling companies?

And please, please, please, don’t even begin to lie to me about how the taxpayer will get money back under some plan or another. That is an all out fib. You and I will never receive a dividend check. We will never receive a check paying us back for all the money they stole from us. If, and that is a big if, the U.S. Government ever does get any money back on some sort of stock deal or something, it will be the U.S. Government that keeps the money, not you and I. We will never see anything, but a loss of our money.

It really doesn’t matter if those companies are important to our economy. If we give them money then we take it away from companies that are successful. There will be layoffs; you just won’t know they were directly connected to this theft. Good companies will be crushed by the weight and a person here and another there will lose their jobs. It will add up, but it will be spread out so that no one will see how this theft put all those people on the street. If these companies cannot make money, then they should go out of business. That is how things work. That is how they used to work. If the union contracts are too burdensome then perhaps someone should sit down with them and tell them that either these contracts go or you all lose your jobs?

Nice jobs they have too. According to Mark J. Perry, professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, the big three pay out an average hourly compensation of $73.20 per hour. I went to undergrad and law school and worked in a large firm and I never made that much money. Do you make that much? No wonder these companies are drowning. They don’t need a hand out, they need a wake-up call and they won’t get it if they get saved. They will continue with business as usual until that money is used up and then come back and ask for more.

They need to learn that spending too much money is bad for running a profitable business. Of course it will hurt a lot of people, but so will supporting these giant failures and that pain is not so easily seen. That pain is spread out, but does it make it any less worth avoiding? No, you and I deserve our money.

However, this time we have a chance to do something about this. The deadline for this newest money-thieving atrocity is not until December 2, 2008. That means that you have time to email every person you know and beg them to call their Congressmen and tell them to vote against the bailout. You have time to make several calls a day yourself. You have time to send out emails and letters and faxes and make calls and organize others to do the same. Remember, however, that this is a short week with Thanksgiving coming up so do it quickly.

It is time that our representatives represent us. It is time our voices are heard. It is time that we start to count in this system of government. It is time to SHOUT "no more giving my money away! Shouldn’t the Congress be embarrassed enough as it is right now? After all, they voted for a $700 billion, TARP (Toxic Asset Relief Program) that turned out to be nothing but an early Christmas bonus for a few of the Secretary of the Treasury’s closest friends. As soon as was fashionable, Mr. Paulson announced that actually buying those toxic assets was not to his liking and abandoned the plan. Now the money goes straight to the bankers to do whatever they like with it. I wonder why they still keep using the initials TARP; perhaps GIFT would fit more accurately.

So, until this representative system of government is officially dead, make those calls, make those emails, send those faxes and tell all you know to do it too. Flood their lines. Let them know that in the America you know, we all pay for our mistakes and don’t go get some government thugs to steal the money to pay us back. We learned in kindergarten that stealing is wrong. How long will it take those in Congress to learn it? Since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid seem to be heading this little brainchild, don’t forget to include a nice note to each of them. Stop stealing my money! Or at least let me go down to their lots and pick out which car now belongs to me. If I am going to pay for a new car, then shouldn’t I get one? It seems we are getting a very raw deal.

Here is a speech by Ron Paul back in 1979 when he opposed bailing out Chrysler the first time. It is just as applicable today as it was back then. It seems that truth is truth. I urge anyone who is for these handouts to read that speech. I urge those that are against it to read it too. Ron Paul spells out the economic reasons why bailouts/handouts are so bad for the economy. As he writes: "A vote for the Chrysler bailout is, simply put, a vote for further inflation." Regarding this current bailout he so brilliantly states: "An essential element of a healthy free market, is that both success and failure must be permitted to happen when they are earned,” Mr. Paul said. “But instead with a bailout, rewards are reversed — the proceeds from successful entities are given to failing ones. How this is supposed to be good for our economy is beyond me.”

It is beyond me too.

Sandra Hamilton [send her mail] is a retired attorney.

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