What's an Auto Industry Bailout Opponent to Do? Boycott!
There is little doubt that the majority of voters oppose the bailouts and the seemingly endless cascade of calls for more that have been raining down since early October. That's when Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson panicked and blackmailed Congress and the president into passing what I have been calling the giant SUCKUP -- the Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson.
Now, in a development that anyone with an IQ above room temperature could have predicted, the Paulson gang "has now spent or committed more money than Congress has allocated to its financial rescue program, effectively making more promises than it can afford to keep. ... Congress gave Treasury $350 billion; Treasury has allocated $354.4 billion." The same guy who (figuratively) put a gun to the heads of bankers to force them to take Uncle Sam's bailout money -- whether they thought they needed it or not -- is now putting a gun to the heads of taxpayers.
Most taxpayers probably believe that Congress has to proactively approve the release of the second half of last fall's $700 billion bailout package. Wrong: "Once Treasury submits a formal request, the money will be allocated by default unless Congress votes to prevent it."
Now that the spigots have been opened, the bailout requests just keep on coming.
After the banks came General Motors and Chrysler. California's Governor Schwarzenegger, the Terminator turned Begginator, who years ago abandoned the heavy lifting involved in reforming his state's dysfunctional political culture, "has ramped up his requests for a federal bailout." I would suggest that California really owes the rest of us a bundle, not only because the formerly Golden State has been overspending on traditional welfare, i.e., direct aid to individuals and families to the tune of over $2 billion a year during Schwarzenegger's entire term in office, but also because the state refuses to create oil-drilling and related jobs that could help turn its, and the nation's, economy around.
Cities like Philadelphia, Detroit (it alone wants $10 billion), and Atlanta are lining up. Now we have a group of states, "led" by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, asking for $1 trillion of their very own.
This only scratches the surface. I can't pretend that the following is comprehensive, but others in the bailout line include auto industry suppliers, General Motors Acceptance Corporation ($5 billion, separate from the bailout money granted to the auto company), retailers, commercial property developers, and two local newspapers in Connecticut.
How bad is it? It's so bad that when blogger Warner Todd Huston invented a story about how a mythical accountants' consortium named BANAL (the Bureau of Accountancy and the National Accountants League) had requested a government bailout, Business Week believed it.