December 11, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Senate GOP [blocks] auto bailout

The House passed a short-term financial assistance package to the major American automakers yesterday, but Republican leaders in the Senate are refusing to go along, mainly because there are no guarantees that the absurdly generous labor contracts will not be reformed. Some senators on both sides of the aisle talk about negotiating concrete terms along those lines up front, but for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), that violates the whole principle of a free-market economy. See Washington Post.

Granted, the United States is not really a free-market economy today, but if we give up on those principles entirely, then what is to stop us from sliding downhill toward more and more state control of the private business sector? That, of course, is exactly what a large number of Democrats want.

I was surprised that good old Ben Stein (Nixon administration economist, droll comedian, and movie actor) reluctantly approved of the auto industry bailout, on pragmatic grounds. Hat tip to Dan.

UPDATE: (Originally, the title was "Senate GOP resists auto bailout.") Late today, the auto bailout bill died in the Senate by a vote of 52-35, meaning the measure won't be taken up until the new session of Congress convenes in January. That ought to get those auto workers' attention! But don't worry, Detroit won't collapse: The White House says they'll use money from the "Troubled Asset Relief Program," if necessary. (Once again, illustrating the pernicious ultra-wide range of discretion embodied in that banking bailout bill which was passed in early October.) See

Blagojevich update

Today's news about Illinois Governor Blagojevich mainly concerns baseball.