Saturday, May 23, 2009

Congress Doesn't Act, Then Whines

This story shows up one of the deep flaws of our current situation.
Dozens of lawmakers are challenging the authority of President Obama's auto task force, saying its swift restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler is unjust to investors, dealers and others.


"We are asking President Obama to call 'time out' on his automobile task force," said Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio).

LaTourette was one of 36 lawmakers, mostly Republican, who reminded Obama in a letter a day earlier that Chrysler's bailout in 1979 was executed by Congress, not the White House. The lawmakers called for the return of Congress's "legislative prerogatives before it further disrupts the lives of people who work at Chrysler or live in communities that depend on it."


The Obama administration inherited the auto crisis from former president George W. Bush after Congress last December failed to enact legislation to aid the automakers. Some of the lawmakers now crying foul have opposed government intervention from the very beginning.(emphasis added)

They have no ideas, no plan, nothing. The President does, and is acting to balance all sorts of interests - including the national interest - and these do-nothing dodos are complaining about it.

They should have sucked it up and acted. There may be nothing that states the President has the power to act as he has done. Yet, there is nothing that denies him the authority, either. Furthermore, there is plenty of precedent - that whole Great Depression thing - for the Executive Branch to act in the vacuum created by legislative immobility.

I work in a Chrysler town. The plant in Belvidere just laid off 1,000 workers and is down to one shift - an expensive proposition for a huge manufacturing plant, allowing all that machinery to sit idle for sixteen hours a day. Yet, it hangs on still. Any plan, no matter how much it offends the sensibilities of these mediocrities in Congress, that keeps those doors open and paying people, is fine by me.

I have no idea whether or not the auto industry will, or should, survive. My initial thoughts, last fall, were the whole thing should crumble and maybe, just maybe, if we had a chance to rebuild from the wreckage, our auto industry might end up better managed, more profitable, and more creative in its approach to designing and building cars (Aztec, anyone?). Part of the reason for restructuring is to allow this to happen by regulatory fiat; the inertia of the auto companies is famous, and part of the reason for the dismal failure. As stakeholders in the ultimate success of GM and Chrysler, the Executive has the duty to insist changes be made that make the companies not just survive, but become profitable entities again. For members of Congress who sat around whining, "What can we do? The market is in charge?", last fall to puff up their pigeon-chests now and insist that President Obama do nothing that might actually help these companies is not just political hypocrisy. It's short-sighted, stupid, and small-minded.

I do so hope President Obama tells them, in the politest political lingo, to STFU unless they have actual ideas.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More