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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fine Points About Car Company Bankruptcies

M. Romney is in Michigan trying to keep the latest of his Republican competitors who have, one after the other, found more favor with the Republican primary voters, namely that true monster of morality, R. Santorum, from scrambling over his head and placing first in the final accountings. To that end, in the capital of the U.S. auto industry, in an op-ed piece for one of the Detroit newspapers, he attacked President Obama for carrying out the Bush-initiated auto bailout that Clint Eastwood praised so highly just a few days ago, during the football game. Romney said that things would have worked out better had Obama not followed through with the bailout.

But an opinion piece in the L.A. Times shoots down that view in a very convincing and easy to understand way. Here are just a few lines stating the reasons why Romney's statement is so off-kilter:

As Romney surely knows, money-losing companies that go into bankruptcy need a lender's help to stay afloat while their debts are restructured. GM and Chrysler ran out of private sources of credit in 2008, when Wall Street was reeling from the collapse of Lehman Bros. and credit was barely flowing even to healthy companies. That's why they ran to Washington for help. It's hard to believe that the automakers could have lined up multiple billions of dollars in new financing from any private source, whether it be debt or equity.

The reality is that if the feds hadn't put up the loans needed to keep those two companies afloat, they would have gone into liquidation, not reorganization. Chaotic sell-off, not managed bankruptcy. And such a collapse could have taken with it companies that provided critical parts to all U.S. auto factories.

These are fine points that are not too fine and also appear to be self-evident, and the big likelihood is that Romney did indeed know them all too well.. He's been in the business world, and his father ran a well-known auto company back in the day. But all that matters to him right now is that he is in danger of losing the primary in Michigan to the same Santorum bird who just finished besting him in the last three contests, in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado and has been severely postponing Romney's deep desire and expectation that by now he would instead be breezily cruising into being chosen as the Republican candidate for the Presidency. So right now M. Romney is not interested in dealing with the truth of anything. Instead he is appealing to the basest instincts of those prospective voters who are likely to be doubtful about Obama, and the operative part of his argument is his statement that with the bailout Obama made a big and costly mistake, period, end of story. Little else needs to be said.

In short, like all his competitors in the Republican primaries, Romney depends on the ignorance, sloth, and ugly attitudes of those whose votes he seeks, though he is thereby essentially insulting them even as he dissembles, secure in his certainty that they are not interested in such fine points about anything, and, if informed would not understand them anyway.

I know that in all the hurly-burly of an intense and bitter political fight, there's a big temptation just to look for the nearest rock or other potentially damaging object that one can grab up in an instant and hurl willy-nilly at his opponent. But there are limits. You are supposed to be clear-eyed about something every now and then.


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