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December 12th, 2008
08:07 PM ET

Craven senators kill the auto deal

A proposal to bail out the U.S. auto industry failed in the Senate on Thursday night.

A proposal to bail out the U.S. auto industry failed in the Senate on Thursday night.

John B. Judis
The New Republic

OK, let me get this straight. Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker, backed up by Alabama Senator Richard Shelby and South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, made it a condition of the auto companies receiving help that the United Auto Workers agree to a reduction of wages and benefits to the level of those paid by the Japanese companies that have plants in those senators’ states. Desperate for the deal, the UAW and the Democrats agreed to a phased-in reduction, but the Republicans insisted on an immediate cut. The deal broke down, and Republicans–aided by a few Red State Democrats (e.g. Baucus, Lincoln, Tester)–used a filibuster to kill the bill, which would have passed on a majority vote.

Here’s what bothers me. Japanese companies, which for years have benefited from one-way deal by which they could sell cars in the U.S. while U.S. companies were stymied in selling cars and trucks in Japan, set up non-union plants in low-wage, low-education, right-to-work states where they can pay less wages and benefits to their workers. Of course, in Japan, these same companies recognize and work with unions, but not here, where they have a chance to undercut American firms that work with unions. Corker and these other great patriots want to allow these Japanese companies to dictate the wages and benefits that American companies pay their workers. It’s despicable. Imagine, for a moment, American companies being allow to operate in this manner in Japan or South Korea. It would not happen.

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Filed under: Bailout Turmoil
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Leena, Cambridge, MA

    Great points! The thing that makes me choke though, is that these same guys who said that a precondition on the bailout is a salary reduction on the Union workers – lets face it, these would not be the executive types – balked at the idea of Congress imposing limits on executive compensations OR requiring transparency saying that government shouldn't get into the workings of industry because government doesn't know what its doing. Well, alright, the last part is true enough but shucks really?! CEOs and executive pay shouldn't be played with but it is imperative that the lowest man on the food chain in this industry should see a pay cut?!

    Yikes, these people make the Unions look like your sainted great aunt.

    Clearly, these people are the Blagojeviches in the Federal government. Wow! May we see some potatoes being thrown at these crooks? This has to be quid pro quo of the worst kind – but who exactly do they think they are helping? Certainly not their own state citizens.

    December 12, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  2. Annie Kate

    I still cannot believe that the Senate voted this bill down. It sounds like the GOP from the beginning in the Senate drew a line in the sand that they knew would never be met. Instead of being so dogmatic they need to be working with the rest of the Congress to help get the economy out of this slump; its evident that they don't care about the people of the country as much as they care about their precious political dogma. Its disgusting.

    Annie Kate

    December 12, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  3. Michelle

    The memo circulating about the opportunity for the GOP to
    try and crush the UAW bothers me. It is one thing to be opposed
    on principle but this had nothing to do with that. It will come back
    to hurt Repubs in a big way . The GOP can not be a deep south
    party,

    December 12, 2008 at 8:40 pm |