At least on the auto bailout, there is some talk from the Democrats that the failed corporate leaders must be fired as a condition of salvaging their corporate entities -- and stock options. Both parties are tougher on the auto bailout than they have been on the Wall Street rescue, but what do you expect when leadership on this issue is coming from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson? Like Clinton's first treasury secretary and now Obama confident Robert Rubin, Paulson came to government service immediately after heading up Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse at the epicenter of the banking meltdown.
For the key practitioners of America's brave new game of corporate socialism, failure has its own lush reward.
It's enough to drive one back to the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Personally, I would rather we took our chances these days with letting the corporations sink or swim on their own without government interference. If tough love were good enough for troubled families cut off the public dole by Clinton's welfare reform, which summarily ended the federal poverty program, why have a poverty program for troubled corporations?
Forget saving the auto companies -- let them become Japanese- or South Korean-owned, but sweeten the deal with U.S. government guarantees of extended unemployment insurance, health care, retirement plan protection and job retraining for laid-off autoworkers. Be generous on the worker end, and figure out ways to reclaim the big bucks from the banking and auto moguls who ripped off the American dream. The only reason the moguls are not going to jail for their shenanigans is that they got their supplicants in Congress from both parties to rewrite the laws making activities perfectly legal that should have been judged as crimes.
If we are to have an expansion of government on this scale, we should start with extending health coverage to all Americans rather than with government bureaucrats micromanaging auto companies. Government-insured health care works. All the doctors I see want me to be on Medicare, and not one of them is eager to deal with the medical insurance provided to me as a retiree after 30 years of employment by the Los Angeles Times, and even that is now threatened by my once-proud capitalist employer seeking bankruptcy protection -- a protection, incidentally, that a bipartisan congressional majority made much more difficult for individuals to use when we get in personal financial trouble.
With the exception of my years as an undergraduate, when I sorted mail late into the night at the post office near Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal, I have never been on the public payroll. Thanks to the Reagan Revolution, and its endgame of socialism for the rich, we all may end up on the public dole, scrambling for droppings from a too heavily laden nationalized table. Socialism for the rich is not the way to go.
© Creators Syndicate
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Albion Monitor December
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