George Bush’s Final Christmas Present

The President’s lifeline to the auto industry includes the provision Senate Republicans were insisting on last week, which scuttled the deal — cuts in UAW wages and benefits to make them comparable with wages and benefits in non-union automakers’ plants (all owned by foreign automakers, all mostly in the South). Last week, Bush lobbied against this provision. Now he’s adopted it, without any legislation at all.

What’s really going on? Bush doesn’t want messy bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, potentially threatening more than a million jobs, to tarnish his last weeks in office. So he’s giving the automakers what they need to tide them over, and kicking the can to the Obama administration. But nor does he want to leave office slapping down Senate Republicans, so he’s giving them what they demanded, too.

How to square the circle? Read the fine print: The automakers don’t really have to bring wages and benefits down in order to get the money. That requirement can be “modified” in negotiations with the UAW. So everyone gets a Christmas present, and W. leaves town before the bill arrives.

Originally published at Robert Reich’s Blog and reproduced here with the author’s permission.

5 Responses to "George Bush’s Final Christmas Present"

  1. Anonymous   December 21, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    As a country, we continue will pay the price of Bush administration incompetency in leadership, risk management, regulation

    • Anonymous   December 21, 2008 at 5:15 pm

      and religion, which he mixed with politics to his benefit.

  2. Anonymous   December 24, 2008 at 2:33 am

    “But nor”? But neither does he…

  3. Anonymous   December 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Fine as far as Christmas analogies go, but such clever moves by President Bush will serve well to keep the Republican party alive, and Bush’s imperialist, extra-Constitutional bailout is less about rubbing tarnish off his own reputation than planned sacrifice for the benefit of his party. For one thing, the Republican party’s noisy opposition to the largely detested bailouts ensures its survival and potential flourishing. Republicans, by vigorously and vocally opposing the massively unpopular bailouts of Wall Street and the Big Three, have pulled off an easy political coup based on core conservative fiscal and free market principles, put vast amounts of political pressure on the opposition, and virtually assured Democratic seat turnover in 2010. Here’s what will happen: You will see the Bush presidency dismissed by Republicans as an mere statistical deviation, an anomaly and little more than regrettable error, and the socialist label (a slur in the American political lexicon) will be applied to Obama rather than Bush and the Republicans. Expect a Republican comeback when the bills start to come in for bailout fever, and they are quickly associated with the Democratic administration. With corporate media assistance, the Democrats will soon be blamed for pressuring Bush into bailing out the auto industry. The electorate “gets” the symptoms and forgets the causes and becomes intellectually impatient with the roots of the problem. Mr. Reich may fume but we have to give the Republicans their due: it is a smart move. N’cest pas?

  4. Andrew Yu-Jen Wang   January 5, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Common sense and history tell us that there is no good end to a president who persecutes racial minorities.Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen WangB.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996Messiah College, Grantham, PALower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993“GEORGE W. BUSH IS THE WORST PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY” BLOG OF ANDREW YU-JEN WANG