Business and Industry

Bailout: Still Not Popular

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After two months of relentless scaremongering by the nation's elite politicians and journalists, how's that whole bailout thing doing at the polls?

Washington Post, Dec. 16:

55 percent of those polled oppose the latest plan that Chrysler, Ford and General Motors executives pitched to Congress last week, on par with public opposition to earlier, pricier efforts. […]

[T]hose who strongly oppose the measure greatly outnumber those who are strongly supportive.

Associated Press, Dec. 12:

Just 39 percent said it would be right to spend billions in loans to keep GM, Ford and Chrysler in business, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Just 45 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans supported the idea.

In a separate Marist College poll, 48 percent said they oppose federal loans for the struggling automakers while 41 percent approved.

Like Dick Cheney, I don't believe in governing by poll. But that won't prevent me from taking heart in the fact that, once again, Americans seem to have more instinctive faith in capitalism and less enthusiasm for government blank checks than their elected representatives.

NEXT: The Lure of Royalty

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  1. Of course its not because we handed out a Trillion free dollars and we are still inteh same boat, yet the banks are still swimming in money!

    jes
    http://www.privacy.es.tc

  2. I honestly think that America’s opposition to bailouts has absolutely nothing to do with any supposed instinctual faith in capitalism. If the bailout instead was a personal check to every taxpayer, practically nobody would complain.

    Most people are complaining simply because they don’t see the benefit for themselves in a bailout, and have a vague notion that it will cost them in the future. People hate paying other people’s bills and debts.

  3. I still think we should sell the rust-belt states to Canada. They must be worth something.

  4. I think Elemenope is right, and add a dash of class warfare for seasoning — giving rich people (including union workers, who are perceived as similarly earning much more for much less work) our money is what pisses most people off.

  5. I don’t know what’s causing the disapproval, but I will bet anyone here that it will go the same way as the financial bailout and we’ll end up with some tremendously unpopular bailout with the reasoning that it’s the “responsible” thing to do as opposed to letting our “ideologies” get in the way.

  6. The disapproval is based on the fact that you can see a crappy car and a UAW member with benefits worthy of an African king, but you can’t see a concept.

  7. If banks are “swimming in money” then they better soon lend it out and earn interest, because the banks around Phila. are raising the interest they pay out in CDs to attract even more money. A bank as “mattress” just isn’t a realistic business model.

  8. A bank as “mattress” just isn’t a realistic business model.

    If banks and auto manufacturers had realistic business models we wouldn’t be handing them buckets of cash, right?

    Of course, Chapter 11 strikes me as pretty realistic and far preferable to the .gov stroking checks.

  9. Well, Americans aren’t completely stupid. They can do basic math. The can correctly ask how $25 billion essentially split 3 ways is going to make a damned bit of difference to a GM that is burning through $1 billion every 15 days.

    Americans can figure out that the bail-out is not about saving “the domestic auto industry.” It is, to the contrary, about trying to save the UAW.

    Which at least is a switch from the usual old standard of trying to justify doing something sneaky in order “to save the children.”

    Or is it?

  10. I think that people wouldn’t have paid much attention to an auto bailout, except they’re paying attention now because the government just gave out $800 billion to the banks. Yeah, $25 billion is chump change compared to that, but people are still smarting from the $800 billion.

  11. Call me a cynic, but I doubt this poll’s result has anything to do with a principled stand against government spending. All this measures is what percentage of American society directly benefits from subsidizing the auto industry and what percentage doesn’t.

  12. Get your eye off the hole and back on the doughnut Matt. The auto bailout has become meaningless, a mere Vicodin in the Opium fields of free money.

    JUNKIE ECONOMY
    We keep chasing the liquidity high. And now the FED and treasury have said they’re committed to injecting as much cash as quickly as possible to make us feel better forever.

    Can you say overdose?

  13. Let’s say you’re doing a little home improvement project. You have a couple of beers at lunchtime, and you get a little careless, and before you know it, the table saw has eaten your hand.

    If you go to the doctor, and he gives you a blood transfusion without bothering to put a touriquet on your arm, what is the likelihood of long term success?

  14. Most people are complaining simply because they don’t see the benefit for themselves in a bailout, and have a vague notion that it will cost them in the future. People hate paying other people’s bills and debts.

    Elemenope, that IS the idea behind capitalism. All that is required is self-interest.

    As for the cut a check for every citizen, I’m very surprised you don’t hear more about that. Heck, the TARP could have been divided up into a $200,000 check for every man, woman, and child in the US with money to spare. I really don’t see how that doesn’t help the foreclosure situation more than filtering it through the banks, but I guess Regent Dictator Paulson knows beter than I.

  15. I would wager that the majority of those who voted against the bailout have bought a GM or Chrysler vehicle in the last 20 years.

    Says it all, folks.

  16. I’m just waiting for Wolf Blitzer to go on a Lee Elia tirade in The Situation Room if the public continues not to get that the bailout will save us.

  17. I think some of it is cynicism about government. If people actually beleived that the bailouts would do any good, they would support it. People are willing to make sacrifices if they see those sacrifices doing any good. Most people who oppose the bailouts probably feel that we will spend all of this money and still get a wicked recession and the big three will still go under so why bother?

  18. Elemenope, that IS the idea behind capitalism. All that is required is self-interest.

    Capitalism is *a little more than that*. If self-interest were the sufficient condition, kings and raubritters and slavers and warmongers would all be engaging in “capitalism”. To my understanding, capitalism has several other necessary conditions (right to own and dispose of property and a system for definitively recording property ownership, right to contract and a system for adjudicating contracts, rule of law and a system to execute that law, and a few others.)

    It is not through any of those necessary conditions that people are objecting to the bailout. It’s just a more simplistic case of self-interest, one that would likely stand with or without capitalist ideology.

    As for the cut a check for every citizen, I’m very surprised you don’t hear more about that. Heck, the TARP could have been divided up into a $200,000 check for every man, woman, and child in the US with money to spare. I really don’t see how that doesn’t help the foreclosure situation more than filtering it through the banks, but I guess Regent Dictator Paulson knows better than I.

    Yeah, I made that point a few months ago. That amount of cash injected directly demand-side would have all but guaranteed the stability of mortgage instruments for a good amount of time. Of course, it is just a wee bit COMMIE-smelling. As much as I don’t like to quote Chomsky, he said it best where we have socialism for the rich (and connected), and capitalism for everyone else.

  19. Are all you folks planning to pay for the bailouts, or move to another country?

    Some good possibilities are Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

  20. ed,

    Don’t sell the Rust Belt States to Canada, just let the Canadians have Minnesota and Michigan. Is there a real difference? Detroit, however, could be a sticking point on that deal. Sell the others to Mexico while we can, because the USD is going to turn into the US peso once the printing presses fire up. Too bad the people in the other states are bitter, gun-clinging, Bible-thumping xenophobes. Then again, given the US drug war’s effects on Mexico’s crime, such a population could be a win-win.

  21. P Brooks:

    Nationalization of the Detroit 3’s union burden (pension, healthcare, 401k), then a bailout. That’ll fix the problem 😛

  22. I still think we should sell the rust-belt states to Canada. They must be worth something.

    Laff it up, sun belters. Enjoy the time you have left to be blissfully unaware why there have never been gigantic megalopolises in the middle of a desert before. We’ll remember when you guys run out of water in a few years.

  23. I honestly think that America’s opposition to bailouts has absolutely nothing to do with any supposed instinctual faith in capitalism. If the bailout instead was a personal check to every taxpayer, practically nobody would complain.

    I dunno ’bout that. In 1972 George McGovern proposed sending a $1000.00 check to everyone in the country. My high school educated blue collar relatives thought it was a loony idea than would only raise prices.

  24. “a $200,000 check for every man, woman, and child”

    A lot of people seem to have trouble with big number arithmetic. 300 million goes into 700 billion 2400 times or so.

  25. just let the Canadians have Minnesota and Michigan

    Let them have them? No way. The Canucks must pay. And my three states are Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. Minnesota and New York can stay, as Great Lakes bookends.

    Anybody have any idea what the land and property of those three states might be worth? And the value of the slaves? (Yes, I said slaves. It’s a deal sweetener. They can tend the cornfields.) Would it be enough to retire part of the national debt? I’m serious.

  26. Zeb, good catch. Doesn’t look as appealing now…

  27. “I dunno ’bout that. In 1972 George McGovern proposed sending a $1000.00 check to everyone in the country. My high school educated blue collar relatives thought it was a loony idea than would only raise prices.”

    Sadly, I think your high school educated relatives back then had a better education and more common sense than many college educated people today. We are not the same country we were then and that has a lot to do with the problems we are having.

  28. Don’t sell the Rust Belt States to Canada, just let the Canadians have Minnesota and Michigan. Is there a real difference?

    No way. That means they get H?sker D? and the Replacements. OTOH, it does mean they get the Nugent and Prince, but we’re still stuck with Alan Thicke and Celine Dion.

  29. I would only give the Canadians Michigan and Minnisota on the condition we get Alberta and BC in trade. I wouldn’t sell the Mexicans anything. There credit is no good and they would just fuck up whatever they go anyway.

  30. (Yes, I said slaves. It’s a deal sweetener. They can tend the cornfields.)

    In the winter, they can shovel the sidewalks.

  31. As I believe Naga has stated before, this is the US. We don’t give up territory, we take it. Historically, in times of money troubles, powerful empires would expand.

    Clearly, annexing Canada and Mexico is the next step. How are they going to stop us?

  32. Jesus fucking Christ people.

    $200,000 * 300,000,000 is 60 trillion dollars.

  33. “Clearly, annexing Canada and Mexico is the next step. How are they going to stop us?”

    They couldn’t. But then what would we do with the places? Ghengis Kahn once said, anyone can conquer a city from the sadle. The problems begin once you get off your horse. I might take the Western areas of Canada, but no way would I want any part of Mexico.

  34. Well, Americans aren’t completely stupid. They can do basic math.

    I am a math professor, and you, sir, are incorrect. Not to further harp on an honest mistake but, as evidence, I put forth:

    “a $200,000 check for every man, woman, and child”

  35. When Ohio gets cut loose I’m declaring independance for the Republic of Citizen Nothing, which, I might note, has nearly one-fifth as much acreage as Vatican City and more water than entire counties in Nevada. You’re all invited to apply for citizenship. Be sure to include a check (U.S. federal reserve notes ok) with the application.)

  36. Math is like all hard and stuff, just give me my bailout.

  37. I still think we should sell the rust-belt states to Canada. They must be worth something.

    The feds think so. Your assignment today is list the “rust belt” states in the top half of this listing.

    Sometimes I think I’d be happy to be living in “South Ontario”.

  38. Clearly, annexing Canada and Mexico is the next step. How are they going to stop us?

    When I post something like this, people think I’m a troll. But, historically, that’s what we do.

    It should be obvious that the solution to illegal immigration is to annex Mexico, then work our way down to Panama. We need to get that canal back 😉

  39. HEY Don’t give the Great Lake States away. I love west Michigan and I’m fond of Wisconsin too. I don’t give a damn about Ohio though.

  40. No no no. The rust belt must go! We don’t need it. It’s cold and the people are fat and stupid. This is a selling point for the Canadians! And did I mention the slaves?

  41. Fuck it, let’s annex the world! What’s the point of having all this power if we don’t use it?

  42. Fuck it, let’s annex the world! What’s the point of having all this power if we don’t use it?

    One step at at time Epi 😉

  43. nuke the whales!

  44. “Gotta nuke somethin'”

  45. You don’t really believe that, do you?

  46. Epi–Whatever happened to our grand plan to annex Canada? I’m totally on board now with the idea of being Dominar of Quebec Orion Slave Girl Land. ::rubs hands together vigorously::

  47. Right, I was supposed to be King of Vancouver, if I recall correctly?

  48. We don’t give up territory, we take it.

    Fuck Yeah !

  49. What’s the point of having all this power if we don’t use it?

    Free Darfur !

  50. You don’t really believe that, do you?

    Said by Nelson Muntz to Lisa Simpson during their brief dating period. Also the episode containing the golden line: [Nelson motioning to a rusted out car full of bullet holes] “That’s our shootin’ car. Only three more payments and it’s all ours.” And, of course, “Seymour! What’s that odor?”

  51. High Regent of New Shatner? Yes. I think we threw in Dagney as your consort to sweeten the deal.

    Shall we commence with the bloody onslaught and occupation? The 48th parallel offers no real opposition and beckons our righteous might. Our forces shall sweep through the plains and smash their pitiful armies into subjugation.

    We could use Matthew McConaughey TechnoViking though. He looks handy in a dance fight.

  52. I think we threw in Dagney as your consort to sweeten the deal.

    Yes indeed. Be my guest, proceed with the invasion.

    (waves hand dismissively)

    I have harem and drug stash planning to do.

  53. I love west Michigan and I’m fond of Wisconsin too. I don’t give a damn about Ohio though.

    I’m from Ohio, and a drinking song informed me that we don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan. So there.

  54. Our forces shall sweep through the plains and smash their pitiful armies into subjugation.

    That’s what I said.

  55. Yes indeed. Be my guest, proceed with the invasion.

    I believe you promised your crack legions as part of the deal. Are you now withholding the support you guaranteed us!?

    Your mewling cries for help will fall on deaf ears when hordes of angry Maniobians coming swarming down from the Rockies and sweep onto your lands. You wont like them when they’re angry.

  56. I believe you promised your crack legions as part of the deal. Are you now withholding the support you guaranteed us!?

    I have promised you five legions of my Sardaukar terror troops. Isn’t that sufficient?

  57. Further adventures in BailOutLand:

    The Higher Education Investment Act, as the university chiefs call their proposed bailout, would allow them to make an end run around parsimonious state lawmakers: “The dollars should not be subject to appropriation by state legislatures. Federal funds should be conditional on states’ agreement not to use these federal funds as an excuse to reduce budgetary commitments to state universities.”

    Yet American higher education might benefit from more parsimony. Economist Richard Vedder has shown that large government subsidies already contribute to making universities “relatively inefficient institutions partly sheltered from the discipline of the market — a discipline that provides incentives for cost reductions, product improvement, and innovation.” The more subsidies rise, the higher tuitions seem to go. If taxpayers are going to shovel out more money to these schools, the academic executives should at least allow outsiders to perform a cost “restructuring.”

    WSJ

  58. P Brooks,

    I don’t know what became of it. But when I was living in Virginia, the UVA people wanted to make the state university system independent of the legislature with the ability to raise tuition without legislative approval. They were so arrogant they thought they were entitled to the state tax dollar but the state’s elected representatives should have no control over how the money was spent and how much they charged tax paying students. I remember listening to the President of UVA on the local NPR station trying to defend it to angry callers. It was too much even for Charlottesville liberals to take. I am not surprised that the same people would demand the feds give them money with not strings or controls attached.

  59. I have promised you five legions of my Sardaukar terror troops. Isn’t that sufficient?

    Very well. But make sure they watch this film we made for them. The Draken Death Squads complained about them last time.

  60. John, you’re misinformed. There’s a perpetual privatization movement at UVA which pops up every few years but hasn’t gained any traction. The school only receives about 8% of its money from the state, and would benefit greatly if it were able to act in its own interest rather than what Richmond decrees. The “charter university” push that you’re referring to was widely seen as a step towards replacing dwindling state funding with market-based tuition revenue, while increasing the administration’s autonomy and boosting selectivity (it’s significantly more difficult to get into UVA as an out-of-state applicant).

    Of course, the main argument against this is that UVA is providing a “social good” to poor people in Virginia who otherwise would not be able to attend. This ignores currently available financial aid and scholarships for well-qualified students and is at its heart an argument against merit-based admissions. You and the Charlottesville liberals certainly make strange bedfellows on this issue.

  61. “Of course, the main argument against this is that UVA is providing a “social good” to poor people in Virginia who otherwise would not be able to attend. This ignores currently available financial aid and scholarships for well-qualified students and is at its heart an argument against merit-based admissions. You and the Charlottesville liberals certainly make strange bedfellows on this issue.”

    Actually we do make strange bedfellows on this one. I agree that state universities ought to be affordable for all citizens. If UVA wants to be a private school, it shouldn’t take even one dollar of tax money. As long as it does, it can answer to Richmond. Further, the administrators at UVA’s interests may be at odds with the people of Virginia’s interests. The amdinistrators given a choice would take a gold plated expensive university because that makes their jobs more pretigous. The people of Virginia may prefer a bronze plated affordable university to a gold plated unaffordable one. Since the tax payers built the place and still fund at least some of its costs, they ought to be the ones who make the decision not the UVA regents.

  62. Wahoo,

    The trusteess at UVA would like to turn the place into Harvard on the Blue Ridge and tell the tax payers of Virginia to pound sand. I think that sucks. I beleive in state funded universities and think the people of Virginia or any state deserve schools that will accept them and that they can afford. The only reason for making UVA a charter school is to benefit profs and administrators by making the place more exlusive. I don’t see any benefit of doing so to the tax payer and thus agree with the C’Ville Liberals on this one.

  63. A good op-ed on the status of the Big 2.5 here.

    I don’t always agree with him, but George Will is one of the best at the game.

  64. Like it or not, John, UVA has thrived on its own merits and private funding. For the state to claim that its 8% stake in operating budget amounts to a controlling interest is laughable. If the purpose for UVA’s existence is to provide a social good for Virginians, then the General Assembly should put its money where its mouth is, rather than playing games with other people’s money.

  65. In addition, Jefferson’s original intent was to create a world-class university which happened to be based in Virginia, rather than a bronze-plated affordable state college. To say that taxpayers built the place while ignoring Jefferson’s influence and intent is to be willfully ignorant.

  66. Whoa! What have I started? I talk about turning warlord come the apocalypse and you guys up above are going to fuck it up and jump the gun!

    In chronological order:

    1. Collapse of civilization
    2. Turn warlord and begin organizing lands
    3. Proclaim self “Lord Protector”

  67. From Elemenope: “I honestly think that America’s opposition to bailouts has absolutely nothing to do with any supposed instinctual faith in capitalism.”

    I completely agree. This article is just complete garbage, and does nothing to address why the bailout is unpopular. It’s not so much a matter of whether or not the people being polled are pro-capitalist or not. It’s important to pay attention to what the people are being asked.

    Also, I suggest reading this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/dec/18/republican-senators-auto-bail-out

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