Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Class War Revisited

There's no doubt the execs of the Big Three U.S. automakers have screwed things up. They fought the future by spending money to suppress innovation, and to lobby and sue against mileage regulations they could easily have met with known technology.

But their workers didn't do that. And even if those U.S. companies did, the trouble they're currently in does not make them unique in the world. Canada, England, Italy and other nations have had to bail out their own carmakers, or are trying to figure out how right now.

And another big shoe dropped (or was thrown) on Monday when Toyota announced that for the first time in its history it is losing money. This is one of the companies with plants in the U.S. South paying their workers slightly less than union workers get in Detroit. And that sure isn't saving them. Nor is anybody complaining that they make lousy cars.

Once again, the news is rubbing our noses in the difference between the vilified car companies and the sainted banks, which got tens and hundreds of billions with no strings attached. Sunday we learned that more than one and a half of those billions went directly into the pockets of bank execs. And Monday we learned that the rest of it--well, we have no idea where the rest of it went, and the banks are refusing to say. (If you're having trouble expressing your outrage at this, you can always let Cramer do it for you.)

Paul Krugman's column forecasts "months, perhaps even a year, of economic hell" no matter what Obama does, and his previous column lays the responsibility at the feet of these same rich assholes and their tools who were temporarily in the government, helping them loot the treasury to boot, before they return to getting their considerable payoffs in the "private sector."

What Obama can do, as Krugman says, and what he must do is create the track for the transformation of the American economy, and give it a jump start. Part of that will be the programs and the partnerships, to re-industrialize and make conservation and social service revolutions into professions and employment. But part of it will be intellectual and moral leadership, because as Krugman shows, the spending money to fuel a basically insane consumer economy just won't be there. Nor will the world's environmental and economic health permit it.

The change is gonna come. And bringing to a close the super rich and ruling class warfare on everybody else will be part of it, beginning immediately.

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