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From the South and West they came, fearless U.S. senators on a mission: Stop the bailout! At long last, here were some politicians with the stuff it takes to go after the audacious and avaricious Wall Street bankers who pocketed billions while wrecking our economy, right?
No, no, not that bailout. That’s the one for America’s economic elites, the one that has already put us taxpayers on the line for $8 trillion. The senators I’m talking about were all for that one.
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It’s the relatively paltry, $25 billion loan request made by Detroit automakers that caused this gaggle of Republican senators to throw a hissy fit. Why? Because these companies hire skilled union workers who make good middle-class wages, and such senators as Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, and Bob Corker hate unions. So, they demanded that the automakers fire thousands of workers and slash union wages as a price of getting a federal loan.
Contrast their vindictive tight-fistedness toward Motor City with the way they treated Citigroup, the huge financial conglomerate that was a major cause of our nation’s current economic woes. The senators made no demands on this Wall Street fiefdom, simply handing over $25 billion of our money. Yes, this grant to one bank was as large as the total loan being sought by all three of America’s auto companies.
But, wait – Citigroup also got another $20 billion from the Federal Reserve, plus a $249 billion government guarantee to cover losses on the bad investments it made. No congressional hearing was held, no vote taken, no scolding about high paychecks. Indeed, while the senators wail about $29-an-hour wages for auto workers, they said nothing about Citigroup’s CEO, who’ll get $216 million in pay this year – That’s $108,000 an hour.
Now that’s worthy of a hissy fit!