Monday, December 8, 2008

Listen up auto industry, Congress has been learning

Lest you think that our government hasn't learned anything over the financial sector bailouts, they've come with a brilliant new plan for the auto bailout: Congress is insisting on oversight. Now I know what you're all saying: "Didn't they insist on oversight for the Wall Street bailouts?" Yes, yes they did, and then they acted surprised when none happened and haven't lifted a finger to make sure it's enacted. But things are totally different this time.
Congressional Democrats on Sunday were weighing options for tight government control of the crippled American auto industry, including the possible creation of an oversight board made up of five cabinet secretaries and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and led by an independent chairman or "car czar."

While the form of oversight was still being negotiated by Congressional Democrats and the White House late Sunday, the talks made clear the extent to which the auto companies would have to submit to substantial government supervision in order to receive a taxpayer-financed bailout.
Oh, negotiating with the White House. That means Bush will have to enact these oversights. Which means they aren't going to be enacted. Actually, does Bush or Paulson have any buddies in Detroit? No? Strike that, it might get done. In addition to the nebulous oversight that they are serious about this time, they're going to pretend like collecting heads is fixing problems.
As part of that restructuring, General Motors, Chrysler and Ford could be asked to jettison their top executives, one of the chief architects of the plan, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), said yesterday. Stating bluntly that "GM is in the worst shape" of the three auto giants, Dodd said that GM chairman G. Richard Wagoner Jr., the company's chief since 2000, "has to move on."
Good. Get a few scalps and replace the fired executives with their equally failing subordinates and have them all overseen by a wizened council of Washington hack elders. Which really means that car companies are going to do what they were going to do before, except the car czar (with scepter and crown) and the car board are going to be sitting around watching going "Uhhh, I guess that's ok. I don't really know the car industry. Just say hybrid or green and we'll rubber stamp it." Pretending to do something, it's the new doing something.

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