HEY, YOU SENATORS: THANKS FOR NOTHING

A few parting words for the senators who squashed the auto rescue:

Do you want to watch us drown? Is that it? Do want to see the last gurgle of economic air spit from our lips? If so, senators, know this: You’ll go down with us. America isn’t America without an auto industry. You can argue whether $14 billion would have saved it, but you surely tried to kill it.

We have grease on our hands.

You have blood.

Kill the car, kill the country. History will show that when America was on its knees, a handful of lawmakers tried to cut off its feet. And blame the workers. How suddenly did the workers – a small percentage of a car’s cost – become justification for crushing an industry?

And when did Detroit become the symbol of economic dysfunction? Are you kidding? Have you looked in the mirror lately, Washington?

In a world where banks hemorrhaged trillions in a high-priced gamble called credit derivative swaps that YOU failed to regulate, how on earth do WE need to be punished? In a bailout era where you shoveled billions, with no demands, to banks and financial firms, why do WE need to be schooled on how to run a business?

Who is more dysfunctional in business than YOU? Who blows more money? Who wastes more trillions on favors, payback and pork?

At least in the auto industry, if folks don’t like what you make, they don’t have to buy it. In government, even your worst mistakes, we have to live with.

And now Detroit should die with this?

In bed with the foreign automakers

Kill the car, kill the country. Sen. Richard Shelby, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Mitch McConnell, your names will not be forgotten. It’s amazing how you pretend to speak for America when you are only watching out for your political party, which would love to cripple unions, and your states, which house foreign auto plants.

Corker, you’ve got Nissan there and Volkswagen coming. Shelby, you’ve got Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and – like McConnell – Toyota. Oh, don’t kid yourself. They didn’t come because you earned their business, a subject on which you enjoy lecturing the Detroit Three. No, they came because you threw billions in state tax breaks to lure them.

And now you want those foreign companies, which you lured, and which get help from their governments, to dictate to American workers how much they should be paid? Tell you what. You’re so fond of the foreign model, why don’t you do what Japanese ministers do when they screw up the country’s finances?

They cut their salaries.

Or they resign in shame.

When was the last time a U.S. senator resigned over a failed policy?

Yet you want to fire Rick Wagoner?

Who are you people?

More money for the lords of Wall Street

There ought to be a law – against the hypocrisy our government has demonstrated. The speed with which wheelbarrows of money were dumped on Wall Street versus the slow noose hung on the auto companies’ necks is reprehensible. Some of those same banks we bailed out are now saying they won’t extend credit to auto dealers. Wasn’t that why we gave them the money? To loosen credit?

Where’s your tight grip on those funds, senators? Where’s your micromanaging of the wages in banking? Or do you just enjoy having your hands around blue-collared throats?

No matter what the president does, history will not forget this: At our nation’s most uncertain hour, you senators stood ready to plunge hundreds of thousands of American families into oblivion. Leave them unemployed, with no health care, on public assistance. And you were willing to put our nation’s security at risk – by squashing the manufacturing base we must have in times of war.

And why? So you could stand on some phony principle? Crush a union? Play to your base? How is our nation better off today now that you kept $14 billion in the treasury? Are you going to balance the budget with that?

Don’t make us laugh.

Kill the car, kill the country. You tried to slam a stake into our chest; you don’t realize how close you are the nation’s heart. Shame on your pettiness. Shame on your hypocrisy. This is how lawmakers behave two weeks before Christmas? Honestly. What has become of this country?

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com.

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