This week’s podcast is in the usual place.
One of the basic laws of politics, which even the kid running for class president should know, is if you’re going to bash your opponent on an issue, you’d better have your ducks in a row on that issue or it is you who will come out looking idiotic.
Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the chairwoman of the DNC, recently tore into the GOP presidential contenders who were opposed to the bailouts for GM and Chrysler.
"If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes," she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor.
As you’ve probably already guessed Wasserman Shultz doesn’t drive an American car, and certainly not a GM or Chrysler model. Nope – she drives an Infinity. It’s up to the little people, apparently, to “buy American”.
There are several ways Wasserman Shultz could have approached this issue without inserting “foreign cars” into the mix. But she didn’t. Apparently she didn’t think about her words at all before she spoke out. She comes from the “blurt and backpedal” school of politics which makes for great blogging fodder for those of us out here in the blogosphere.
Of course, the fact is the federal government shouldn’t have been involved in the bailouts and had the two car companies gone into bankruptcy, they’d have most likely emerged by now, leaner, meaner and more fiscally sound. As it stands now, we simply don’t know if they have the long range fiscal soundness they need to compete and make a consistent profit because, that process was interrupted and we ended up subsidizing failure and discouraged future investors with the way the previous investors were treated (compensated) and how ownership was then divided.
"They can try to distract from the issue if they want," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan. "But if Republican opposition researchers are snooping around garages, they should know that if Republicans — who said that we should let the U.S. auto industry go bankrupt — had their way, they wouldn’t find a single American made car anywhere."
Uh, hello in there – Ford?
So far my favorite (yes I’m being sarcastic here) government program to date has been the “clunkers for dollars” scam. We’re suffering from overspending and over-extended credit and the government puts together a program in which it tries to entice people with old, but probably paid off cars to go into debt for a new one by giving them $4,500 dollars of your money to buy a more fuel efficient model.
But I have to say, this one is also a great (sarcasm again) program as well:
It can be difficult to keep straight all the billions going to auto companies. But today the Department of Energy is reportedly set to announce that it will begin doling out sums from a $25 billion loan program for the development of fuel-efficient cars. The money comes from a bill passed last September and signed by President Bush and is totally separate from the TARP.
Among the first recipients are Ford, Nissan and Tesla, the small electric car company. The amounts will be announced today, but Ford has requested $5 billion. Nissan is getting the money to build a battery-electric car in its Tennessee plant.
A few points – one, does anyone hear the public clamoring for electric cars out there? They may be, but I’ve sure missed it. Why in the world is my money going to these companies to build something I’m not asking for and really don’t want – especially given the stage the technology is in right now. Yup, its government picking winners and losers again and we know how that seems to always turn out.
Two – although I’m completely against this, it is obvious it is going to happen, so I have to ask, why are we subsidizing a foreign auto maker with my money?
Three – and I know this is a completely silly question, but would some Constitutional scholar out there point me to the part of said document that makes this all kosher?