Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said yesterday on NPR that, in regards to an auto loan, “we’re not going to do it with the barnacles of unionism wrapped around their necks.”
First, it is worth pointing out that the UAW has already agreed to suspend the Jobs Bank, and delay automaker payments to a retiree health care fund. Furthermore, the union has implemented a plan to permanently shift retiree health costs into a UAW trust fund in 2010. Therefore, the second and third “concessions” that conservatives are demanding have, for all intents and purposes, already happened.
GM’s vice-president for labor relations had a compensation package worth almost 3 million dollars in 2006 and over 5 million in 2007. Auto workers wages for the Big 3 are already in line with American workers that work at Japanese and German plants. Maybe Demint and other Senate Republicans mean they want U.S. workers to make the same as some Toyota workers in Japan – some of whom barely make a living wage. Republicans would not compromise on waiting to cut wages until 2011 instead of 2009. Considering our current economic situation that hardly makes sense. Those workers are going to spend that money on goods and services – which would help the economy. These would be the same Republicans that oppose letting Bush’s tax cuts for the upper ten percent expire based on the belief that retaining tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans stimulates the economy. How spoon feeding the richest Americans and punishing working class Americans adds up is that magic Republican math. It doesn’t make sense, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) are clearly more intent on union busting then doing what is right for working families. In a way that’s OK. The bailout package could have been better and Republicans decided to be smart asses. They refused to engage in any constructive contribution to negotiations about the bailout with the White House or Democrats – that two page piece of trash was hardly made in good faith; the deal killer wasn’t lack of concessions from the UAW, or Democrats or automaker bond holders – it was union busting and small change for people that actually work for a living – something Jim DeMint certainly knows nothing about.
Refrigerators consume a lot of energy; all alone, they account for almost fifteen per cent of the average home’s electricity use. In the mid nineteen-seventies, California—the state Chu now lives in—set about establishing the country’s first refrigerator-efficiency standards. Refrigerator manufacturers, of course, fought them. The standards couldn’t be met, they said, at anything like a price consumers could afford. California imposed the standards anyway, and then what happened, as Chu observed, is that “the manufacturers had to assign the job to the engineers, instead of to the lobbyists.” The following decade, standards were imposed for refrigerators nationwide. Since then, the size of the average American refrigerator has increased by more than ten per cent, while the price, in inflation-adjusted dollars, has been cut in half. Meanwhile, energy use has dropped by two-thirds.
The Real Obama – A Centrist? No. A Transformer By Charles Krauthammer
Obama the centrist? I’m not so sure. Take the foreign policy team: Hillary Clinton, James Jones and Bush holdover Robert Gates. As centrist as you can get. But the choice was far less ideological than practical. Obama has no intention of being a foreign policy president. Unlike, say, Nixon or Reagan, he does not have aspirations abroad. He simply wants quiet on his eastern and western fronts so that he can proceed with what he really cares about — his domestic agenda.
At Chuck’s house they bring out the chicken, then the peas and then the mashed potatoes because he can’t handle all those things on his plate at the same time. Having lived in such a bubble for so long he doesn’t think anyone else can handle a full plate either. Chuck’s column was mostly substance-less tripe that was handed in this week to fulfill his contractual obligations, nothing to get really pissed off about, but still, Why People Hate Columnists Posted by Joe Klein
Actually, my sense was that, prior to the financial crisis, Obama seemed far more interested–personally interested–in foreign policy, in rectifying the massive overseas failures of the Bush Administration, than he was in things like health insurance. Krauthammer–one of those one-idea-at-a-time ideologues–does some mad extrapolation here: because Obama will be a domestic activist, he won’t be a foreign policy activist. Bolshoi. After all, Obama has already said that he’ll give a major speech in an Islamic capital in his first 100 days–a speech that may, or may not, be as important as Reagan’s “Evil Empire” or Bush’s “Axis of Evil”
Chuck’s column wasn’t meaningless. He got to push the St. Ronnie nonsense and toss in come foreign policy voodoo history where Republicans are the gurus and the rest merely peasants. There isn’t enough kool-aid and twenty-five year Scotch in the world to make a realists believe that crap.
“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat” ~ anonymous