Monday, December 08, 2008

Saving the Republic

The situation at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago is bad. Anytime workers are told on a Wednesday they won't have jobs on Friday it's a sign of chickencrud management. No surprise the employees are outraged and fighting for their rights. Most would do the same.

But check out some of the comments in this Yahoo write up of the event...
"These workers deserve their wages, deserve fair notice, deserve health security," Jackson said. "This may be the beginning of long struggle of worker resistance finally."
The first two items are no-brainers but the last one, "deserve health security", is clearly code talk for socialism. Or social justice. Call it by whatever name you choose.
One of the factory's workers, Silvia Mazon, said in Spanish that she needs the money owed to her for an $1,800 monthly house payment. The 40-year-old from Cicero said she has enough money saved to survive for one month. "We're making history," she said.
Why are they making history? The laws are already on the books to provide certain compensations, but if the company couldn't get a line of credit how are they supposed to pay? Best for last:
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, called it the start of a movement. "This story has resonated around the world," she said.
Really? Are people in Chinese sweat shops ready to rise up against their bosses now? And exactly what kind of "movement" do these outside observers expect to hatch from a case of ill-treated workers due to a pulling of business credit? Is it something Bill Ayers would be proud of, perhaps?

Obviously the bugaboo here is the bailout. In times past Jesse would have spoken, the unions would have screamed, then everything would have eventually been worked out in some extended fashion. But under the current credit crunch businesses who depend on short-term loans to get them through payrolls have almost no choice but suspend operations if their line is pulled and they have no cash on hand.

Enter the politicians. With precedent set by giving a blank check to Wall St bankers they will now demand control over the spending of this bailout if it suits their polling data. Whether Republic was credit worthy anymore becomes a secondary point--populist conventional wisdom will say the Joe Sixpacks of Republic deserve a bailout more than the rich suits on Wall St, and they've got most of the moral authority.

But not all. The businesses themselves can play the game by abruptly laying off their staffs to draw publicity, hoping that the bank and politicians will save them. In this case, the governor of Illinois is punishing Bank of America for a business decision that in the past would have been without much question. That's a slippery slope if there ever was one.

Bush seems to be realizing this but it may be too late. The Dems are now in great position to use this leverage to turn America as far left as they've always dreamed. Right now their only obstacle is 2 votes in the Senate.

But in reality the American people will have the final say. If we as a country have collectively lost the ability to deal with the ups and downs of our free-market economy as did previous generations then neither Congress nor the president will have any effective control over the runaway train, even if they're riding in the engine. A pivotal moment seems near.

MORE 12/08/08

Here's an insightful piece about the GM/Chrysler bailout, coming perhaps on Tuesday. Key points--GM is in such horrible shape they could be forced into liquidation within a month without a massive cash infusion. The writer suggests the current Senate, with a prostrate Clinton, Obama and Biden, could be persuaded to put the hammer on the UAW to agree to take some of the pain as a condition of any bailout.

Would Gettelfinger have the balls to try some kind of a sit-in as they're doing in Chicago right now with GM (and America) in the balance? Or will the Repubs cave as usual, fearful of the typical reaction from the Che Guevara press?

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