I highly recommend this long but excellent piece, “Wall Street Lays Another Egg,” by Niall Ferguson in Vanity Fair. You’ll be smarter if you read even half.
Hat Tip: Ralph Hancock on the Postmodern Conservative blog @ Culture11
I think this will be the E!! last word on the GM thing: what Jim Manzi says.
And then on NRO, he posts this:
Time was when General Motors alone ranked among the largest employers in the United States.
Today, UPS employs almost four times as many people as the two big U.S. companies, Ford and GM, combined. While the Big Two decline, Toyota USA, Nissan USA, BMW, KIA are all expanding — and not asking for any bailout.
The Big Two remain important employers. Their troubles are felt up and down the manufacturing supply chain. But of course that is true for every industry.
Last week, the stock of Las Vegas Sands Corporation collapsed. Bankruptcy seems a real possibility. Indeed, the whole casino gambling industry in Nevada is facing the worst crisis in at least a generation, maybe ever. Casino gambling directly employs more people than the domestic automobile industry. Add in the supply chain for both industries, and casinos still employ almost half as many people as the automobile sector.
So what about a bailout for the casino industry? Ridiculous! Right? But why right?
Brace yourself and then then read Larry Kudlow’s post on Paulson today, various bailout stuff, and the auto industry.
Setting aside the fact that Paulson has changed the whole bailout game, is Obama’s first policy decision really going to be a GM bailout? Maybe, because apparently a UAW rescue is favored by Pelosi and Reid.
Before you decide what you think, consider this amazing stat:
Total compensation per hour for the big-three carmakers is $73.20. That’s a 52 percent differential from Toyota’s (Detroit South) $48 compensation (wages + health and retirement benefits). In fact, the oversized UAW-driven pay package for Detroit is 132 percent higher than that of the entire manufacturing sector of the U.S., which comes in at $31.59.
At $73 per hour, GM ain’t gonna be competitive no matter what is done. Let them cut their wages to industry norms.
Blood Pressure Threat Level: Extreme
On the heels of the financial and credit market bailout and the approval of federally backed loans for U.S. auto makers, the already heavily subsidized ethanol industry – yes, I said ETHANOL – may soon be receiving a bailout as well.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said the feds are considering payouts of as much as $25M to help ethanol plants. Seems they are struggling since the price of corn has spiked
I agree with NM Congressman J. Flake: Not only should we not give them money, all tax breaks and credits for ethanol producers should be repealed.
Using crops for fuel on any sort of large scale is a bad, BAD idea.
H/T: Iain Murray on The Corner
From a Newt e-blast today:
To give you a sense of how failed the current [financial] strategy has been, consider this: This summer a $300 billion housing bailout was passed with a $500 million a year payment to a radical, anti-free market group called ACORN and other left-wing organizing groups.
ACORN is a left-wing, political extortion racket. It’s currently busy bussing people to vote early in Ohio and elsewhere…these are your tax dollars at work.
You get taxed to send a left-wing group money to use to elect left-wing predatory politicians to raise your taxes to give more money to groups who help them get elected…etc.
It was suicidal for a Republican president to sign that housing bailout bill and any bill that contains funding for groups so radically opposed to the values and interests of the vast majority of Americans.
If you aren’t in the loop on all this, in Ohio and other swing states ACORN has been bussing poor and homeless people to voter registration stations where they sign up, and vote, same day, in some cases without providing proper proof of residency/address. In many cases, it’s being reported that election monitors are not present at these stations.
Will these thousands of same-day registrations/votes be properly examined and rejected if invalid? Who knows?
I’m doing some research here in Nevada, where ACORN is also active, and will report back with any findings.
Just received a press release (statement) from the Titus campaign. Here are some excerpts:
Titus: Bailout Package Is One More Example of How Washington Is Broken
1. Titus fails to mention that the government policies which birthed the Fannie/Freddie financial crisis were enacted in the Carter and Clinton administrations with the approval of both Ds and Rs in Congress, so she’s either uninformed or being deliberately dishonest.
2. Titus says Bush and Porter are to blame for the lack of oversight when nearly everyone including the present Democratic leadership was complicit in looking the other way, so she’s either uninformed or being deliberately partisan.
3. Titus rips Porter for being in favor of the imperfect bailout bill, but then says “with so many critical tax breaks” for Nevada she would have “reluctantly” voted for the inadequate bill also, so she’s either very confused…or being hypocritical.
Porter voted for the bill. Titus bloviates at length – and then says she would have voted for the bill. When all the ranting and raving is done, what in Sam Hill is the difference?!
Neither the guy who’s in, nor the gal who wants to BE in, has the gumption to stand on principle and fight for good policy when there are special tax credits to be had. Of course: how else could they ingratiate themselves to the voters? Just look at all they’ve done for you!!
That’s a REAL example of how Washington is broken – and Nevada, too.