WashPost Four Weeks Late in Scathing Editorial on Bailout
Dean Baker points to a disgusting editorial by the Washington Post that is incredulous about a $25 billion bailout loan to the Big Three automakers.
What got the Post in such a tizzy? Why, because some of the money would help autoworkers who make the whopping sum of $56,000 per year. But remember: the Post was a vocal supporter of the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street.
Dean Baker explains:
There are serious issues that should be asked about any bailout of Detroit, but it is a bit obscene to see a paper that in both its editorial and news pages was an active supporter of handing tens of billions of dollars to rich Wall Street bankers suddenly turn around and get hysterical about the idea of helping workers making $57,000 a year. And remember, none of these autoworkers are responsible for wrecking the economy.
The class bias at the Post is so thick that most people should know to treat this one as a leftover from the comics section. But it is still pretty disgusting to see people who make six figure salaries and who anxiously promote policies to help people who make seven and eight figure salaries, get outraged over a policy designed to help people earning $57,000 a year.
If you did a Find-Replace search on this editorial, substituting Wall Street for Detroit, fuel effeciency standards for banking regulations, etc., you’d get an editorial that would’ve been welcome in late September that looks something like this, roughly:
The downfall of the American banking industry is indeed a tragedy. But the banks and their CEOs have only themselves to blame for much of it. For years, they pursued unfettered, unregulated trading of bad debts. The banks say that they need $700 billion from Congress to offset the additional costs of tough new economic realities. Perhaps they wouldn’t be in that situation if they had accepted such standards a long time ago and retooled to meet them, rather than persisting in the more familiar, and profitable, business of making obscene profits from unregulated, irresponsible leveraged debts.
Not bad for the WaPo. Unfortunately, you get the WaPo blaming the industry AND the union workers for needing a $25 billion LOAN, not a $700 billion handout, and it looks like this instead:
The downfall of the American auto industry is indeed a tragedy. But the automakers and the United Auto Workers have only themselves to blame for much of it. For years, they pursued protectionism against foreign competitors rather than tackle them head-on. The automakers say that they need $25 billion from Congress to offset the additional costs of tough new fuel-efficiency standards. Perhaps they wouldn’t be in that situation if they had accepted such standards a long time ago and retooled to meet them, rather than persisting in the more familiar, and profitable, business of making gas guzzlers.
This is really disgusting. The Washington Post has it completely wrong, in that it looks out first for the wealthy CEOs, and then scoffs when the few workers who actually make a decent wage happen to need some help, too.