The scene last week of the leaders of the Big Three U.S. auto firms begging Congress for a financial handout has to be a low point in America’s economic history.
There sat the titans of American capitalism — the quintessential silk-stocking CEOs, the essence of American industrial power — shaking a tin cup on Capital Hill.
The public may not understand all the complex debt “instruments” that led to the recent failures of Wall Street financial firms — it’s doubtful if Wall Street even understood those toxic mortgages packages — but everyone identifies with cars and the symbolism they carry of American industrial might. Perhaps no other industry is so closely identified with Corporate America as are the Big Three American auto firms of GM, Ford and Chrysler.
Yet there they sat, the Big Three from Detroit, groveling before Congress for taxpayer dollars to “rescue” their jobs. It was a humiliating moment in American corporate history.
Whatever these firms’ importance to the economy, it’s difficult for other business leaders to feel sorry for them. For decades, Detroit has been captive to union labor where workers made far more than many other Americans.
Now, the high cost of those union jobs has virtually bankrupted the Big Three automakers. The bailout being begged for is not a rescue of the automotive industry — there are plenty of other automakers around who are manufacturing better cars — it is for the unions to maintain their stranglehold on the industry in Detroit.
Congress’ answer should be a resounding “No.” Let the Big Three swim in their own inflated pension funds.
Isn’t that what capitalism is all about, the survival of the strongest and best prepared?
Or has this nation moved so far away from its economic roots that Congress would willingly slip tax dollars into the pockets of those begging Captains of Capitalism?
I also agree. But what America has moved away from (more than "its economic roots") is requiring personal responsibility from all citizens!! America's segue from "capitalism" to "socialism" is well underway. It will only get worse under Mr. Obama, our "messiah".