Robert Reich is Right

I’ve been following Robert Reich’s blog in recent days. He’s the incredibly short but friendly and articulate guy who once was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor. You can see him every so often as a political commentator on various TV pundit shows.

Bob’s post for today, Friday, December 5, 2008, is captioned Shall We Call it a Depression Now? Here’s the final paragraph from that post:

Two things are needed: First, the massive Treasury bailout of the financial industry must be redirected toward Main Street — loans to small businesses, distressed homeowners, and individuals who are still good credit risks. Second, a stimulus package must be enacted right away. It needs to be more than $600 billion — which is 4 percent of the national product. It should be focused on job creation in the United States — infrastructure projects as well as services. Construction jobs are critical but so are elder care, hospital, child care, welfare, and countless other services that are getting clobbered. Service businesses accounted for two-thirds of the job cuts in November, meaning that the weakness in labor markets has shifted from the goods-producing sector of the economy to the far larger services sector.

I’d say he is right on with that. Reich is right! Not politically to the right, but simply right. The over half a million jobs lost in November should be enough to wake up even the most far right wing nut in the U.S. Congress.

But will it? There are still obstructionists in the Republican party. They’d rather have the whole country go down the tubes in order to embarrass Obama and have a chance for some votes come next elections.

Barney Frank is right too. Do we want an unmitigated disaster on our hands by not bailing out the auto companies? No. We’re forced to bail them out at this point, or the country really really goes over a cliff.

Hey, just my opinion. Of course I could be wrong. Any other opinions or alternatives out there?

UPDATE: Here’s an interesting little blogginheads debate between two guys, Mickey Kaus and Robert Wright. One is for the bailout of the big three autos, Kaus, while Wright is against it.

FURTHER UPDATE: Missy has a great post on The Myth of the Overpaid Union Auto Worker. Great cartoon and great comparison of the auto companies treatment with that of the banks. Check it out!

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  1. Minds Erased’s avatar

    Unmitigated disaster? Them’s some pretty strong words, friend. Do you really honestly believe the Big 3 when they say that they are that desperate for cash? Are they really looking out for the poor innocent slobs who build their cars for them? Perhaps, but I’ll believe that when I see it. And do you really believe that such disaster would befall us all if they were allowed to go bankrupt? Who, exactly, are these workers who would no longer be working? The ones everyone keeps clamoring about. The “indirect” employees. Are you talking about gas station attendants? The waitress at the diner where the factory workers go on their dinner break? Everyone keeps saying “the sky is falling” but they’re not providing any real examples.

    Can you tell I’m against the auto bailout?

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Well, autos require lots of parts. These are made by businesses that employ people. There lots of car dealerships. OK, maybe Barney Frank is full of it and that awful Richard Shelby is right, but I believe the people who say that to let the auto companies all go bankrupt would cause a lot of pain to innocent people. Maybe the auto industry will fold anyway and the taxpayers money would be wasted? Well, I still say we have to take that chance.

    We’re in a crisis mode now. Adding to the unemployment roles by a minimum one million more people would be pretty bad. See the Detroit Free Press.

  3. Minds Erased’s avatar

    People are still going to need cars. They just may not be nice shiny new ones. People are still going to need parts for their cars – perhaps even more so, since people will now be driving older cars longer for lack of any way to afford a new car note.

    I agree that there is potential to harm a lot of innocent people, but I also think stealing money from the poor working stiffs to bail out the rich ain’t what Robin Hood had in mind.

  4. Mardé’s avatar

    Except that the poor working stiffs would have no jobs. Maybe they would have saved in taxes, but what good is that if they have no job and have to get retrained, etc., etc,.

  5. 2e’s avatar

    I can’t believe the automaker saga is dragging out this long. Wall St. got it’s cash almost overnight. If we’re bailing people out, let’s get it over with and get back to fixing this mess. Oh, and where is the line for the checks?

  6. Mardé’s avatar

    Well, 2e, the public hasn’t liked any of these bailouts, and neither has my friend, Minds Erased. The Republicans are taking advantage of this, perhaps, by putting up roadblocks in Congress. But I still believe these bailouts are necessary. However, strings must be attached, conditions met, and in the case of the auto industry, big changes demanded. That’s what the Democrats, led by Frank in the House and Dodd in the Senate are trying to do. Obama agrees. Now it looks like a deal has been worked out between the House (Nancy Pelosi) and Bush to provide enough funding ($15 billion) to last until the new administration comes in.

    Yes, I wouldn’t mind a few billion myself. hahaha

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