Diary

In a state that often makes zero sense, Senator Hansen Clarke (D) makes even less

Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.

Today is the big day for the Big 3.  They’ll be back in Washington, DC, hat in hand and corporate jets temporarily mothballed in the hanger back in Detroit.  At least one of the CEO’s will drive a brand new car to the hearings while the others are mum on their modes of transportation, but however they get there, they’ll make sure they’ve got their tin cup in hand.  Because that worked so well last time.

The top execs are all expected to talk, in depth, about major restructurings and even personal pay cuts, surrendering to the anti-corporate frenzy (and probably rightly so, in this instance) after the way the Democrats in Congress scolded them before ignoring their plight this time last month.  Ron Gettelfinger and the United Auto Workers feel no need to curtsey other than to offer generalized statements about a willingness to deal if and only if their guy calls the shots.  The Ivory Tower:

…The UAW told Congress that it’s prepared to make major alterations in its deals with the automakers to help get loans approved, but only as part of broad restructurings that will require oversight by the Obama administration.

The UAW “will make it clear we could be facing the collapse of GM by the end of the year, and Chrysler soon after,” said UAW Legislative Director Alan Reuther. “We continue to believe bankruptcy is not a viable option.”

Of course bankruptcy doesn’t work for the UAW.  Bankruptcy would mean their lavish $73.20 an hour (average) contracts could be opened by the courts and things like the jobs bank, where folks get paid to watch paint peel, might be eliminated.  And speaking of the death of the jobs bank, could that be a part of the plan the Big 3 present to Congress today?  Has the UAW agreed to let that dinosaur go extinct?

The jobs bank, which pays workers for up to two years after a plant closes, has drawn criticism from lawmakers, even as the UAW contends it has been scaled back. A UAW spokesman was not available for comment Monday.

And its behavior like that that gives Michigan a black eye not just in DC but across the industrialized world.  An unwillingness to even discuss the elimination of a program that will give folks an average of $73.20 an hour, full-time for two years that demands zero work is sheer, unadulterated economic lunacy.  And the UAW won’t even comment?  They’ve scaled it back?  Wha?

That baby’s going to be some kind of scaled back after Big Labor and the Democrats in Congress are through scuttling any hopes of a bailout, that’s for sure.  And all just in time for the holidays.  Break out the freaking eggnog.  And heap a little more insult on top of injury.  The Detroit News reports this morning on the growing foreclosure crisis affecting Michigan like few other states and you’re going to love Senate Democrats’ idea for getting out of it:

Nearly 2 percent of all households — a total of 87,210 — were in foreclosure last year, ranking Michigan third in the nation.

The state’s foreclosure rate — the percentage of all loans in foreclosure — has doubled since mid-2006 to 3.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association survey, well above the U.S. rate of 2.75 percent.

So what do Michigan Democrats want to do about the problem?  Senate Democrat Hansen Clarke is calling for legislation that will make foreclosures illegal for two years.  Free room and board for everyone in the state for 730 days.  Because that won’t have any sort of effect on the banks and credit lines and the rest of the economy.  

I mean, seriously people, these are your ideas?  Which Senate Democrat is going to introduce the companion legislation making rainbows mandatory, giving every Michigan child a free pony and demanding all business transactions be performed with gum drops, not dollars?

Its all enough to drive a guy crazy.  Which is happening in spades anyway, apparently, in Flint.  The Flint Journal caught up with psychotherapist Dianne Dailey who is demanding Congress bail out F-town because without their help she’ll have to start working Saturdays.

“Those who still have insurance or a bit of cash are coming to my practice with more panic attacks, depression, fear, confusion and hopelessness than I have ever seen in our area,” said Dailey, who has done family and marital counseling in the Flint area since 1970…

Dailey has launched a personal campaign to get the word to Washington on how crucial the auto industry crisis is to the Flint area. She’s timing it to Tuesday’s due date for Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. to deliver plans to Congress on how they’d use the federal aid to restructure the industry.

But that’s not the best part… the quote of the day… “It is also affecting couples who are fighting more than ever over money. This in turn affects the children.”

Ah, the children.  Should have known this was all about the children.  

I appreciate what Dianne’s doing.  Its got to be tough work being a psychotherawhatsit in Flint, Michigan, getting all of those tough union guys to open up about their childhoods and their repressed anger issues.  Seriously.  Hats off to her.  But a suggestion… if she really wants to help the kids she should spend less time writing letters to the Democrats in Congress who are obviously hostile to her home town and a little more time writing to the Democrats in Lansing.  Kids love free ponies.