The conservatives in Congress, these days exclusively Republicans, are trying to destroy the American economy. I don't know why, and I would love to be wrong, but I think that the dogged opposition to bailing out the auto industry is tantamount to wanting to remove the US from the big recession we are in and drop us into a huge depression. Now it is not enough to prevent Congress from bailing out the carmakers, the conservative republicans have recently sent two letters urging the president (the old one) against using TARP funds for any bailout.
Its not that I want to bail out the auto industry. Its not that I liked the plan proposed in Congress last week, which, in my opinion, did not go far enough to force restructuring that would emphasize greener, more efficient cars and potentially other vehicles, among other things. In fact, I think the House/Senate Dems, particularly the leadership, are doing a remarkably ineffective and weak job pushing the democratic agenda, particularly seeing the giant mandate the country gave them on November 4th. But right now, with the economy the way it is, I don't see how it is a good idea to put 3 million more people out of work. The direct costs to welfare, unemployment and emergency room/other emergency health care measures would be immense, plus it would completely tank a number of related businesses. And that is not even taking into account what would happen to the industries, primarily retail, that depend on those folks to buy things are this time of year.
It is worth noting that other countries all over the world are bailing out their key industries, from the French bailing out their auto industry to the Taiwanese, Germans and South Koreans bailing out their DRAM producers (although apparently this problem is not just because of the financial crisis but also because of the spectacular failure of Windows Vista .. the Mac lover in me is smiling). Its not that we should necessarily follow the world trend, but the path we are on now has not treated us very well and even the white house (that bastion of logical and non-partisan solutions) is saying that we need to bailout Detroit.
Now pundits have proposed lots of reasons why these senators and congressmen and women oppose the bailout, from obeisance to the desires of foreign automakers to union-busting to actual ideological beliefs (although no one really seems to buy that last one). But whatever the reason, it has become clear that the one thing these congresspeople are not doing is actually acting in the best interests of our country. Now maybe its because I am relatively new to the whole paying attention to politics thing, so I am not used to the cynical, ridiculous-ness that goes on in Washington, but from where I sit, this is one of the more heinous displays of self-serving political idiocy that I can remember. And frankly, to think that these are the people that we elected to protect and serve our interests ... it terrifies me.