Mitt Advocates Taking Healthcare from Retirees to Give Money to Bailed Out Banks

Someone gave Mitt Romney a shovel just in time to dig shit snow in MI for the next two weeks. There’s a lot that is fact-impaired in this op-ed doubling down on the “let GM go bankrupt” (starting with the lack of funding for a bankruptcy, meaning a managed bankruptcy was impossible).

By the spring of 2009, instead of the free market doing what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style.

Thus, the outcome of the managed bankruptcy proceedings was dictated by the terms of the bailout. Chrysler’s “secured creditors,” who in the normal course of affairs should have been first in line for compensation, were given short shrift, while at the same time, the UAWs’ union-boss-controlled trust fund received a 55 percent stake in the firm.

He’s complaining, of course, that VEBA (the trust fund run by professionals that allowed the auto companies to spin off contractual obligations–retiree healthcare–to the unions) got a stake in Chrysler while Chrysler’s secured creditors took a haircut.

So, in part, he’s basically complaining that the bailout preserved the healthcare a bunch of 55+ year old blue collar workers were promised. He’s pissed they got to keep their healthcare.

He’s also complaining that banks took a haircut, as would happen in any managed bankruptcy.

But it’s more than that. He’s complaining that a bunch of banks that themselves had been bailed out had to take a haircut. He’s complaining, for example, that JP Morgan Chase, Chrysler’s largest creditor at the time and the recipient, itself, of $68.6B in bailout loans, had to take a haircut on $2B in loans to Chrysler.

Mitt’s op-ed makes him sound a lot like Jimmy Lee, Chase’s top negotiator on the auto bailout, who,

demanded to know why, if the government thought banks important enough to give them tens of billions in TARP money, it wanted to squeeze them on [the Chrysler] deal.

I guess Mitt, too, thinks the banks are so important they should take precedence over retiree healthcare, too.

But as the kind of bankster who, at Bain, relied on government subsidies to fund his “restructurings” that ended up taking people’s jobs and healthcare, that’s not all that surprising.

Still, the UAW retirees who still have healthcare today instead of Jamie Dimon having another yacht probably don’t feel the same way as Mitt does.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

11 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    From der Mitt’s Op-Ed today:

    “…The dream of the Motor City is and always has been one of ideas, innovation, enterprise, and opportunity. It started with Henry Ford and continued with visionaries like William Durant, Walter Chrysler, and the Dodge Brothers. These giants never envisioned a role for government in their business, but relied on the hard work and commitment of private individuals…”

    From der Mitt’s Op-Ed in the NYT in November 2008 that he mentions today, but then conveniently forgets what he said then:

    “…It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition. I believe the federal government should invest substantially more in basic research — on new energy sources, fuel-economy technology, materials science and the like — that will ultimately benefit the automotive industry, along with many others. I believe Washington should raise energy research spending to $20 billion a year, from the $4 billion that is spent today. The research could be done at universities, at research labs and even through public-private collaboration. The federal government should also rectify the imbedded tax penalties that favor foreign carmakers…”

    And again, today:

    “…Thus, the outcome of the managed bankruptcy proceedings was dictated by the terms of the bailout. Chrysler’s “secured creditors,” who in the normal course of affairs should have been first in line for compensation, were given short shrift, while at the same time, the UAWs’ union-boss-controlled trust fund received a 55 percent stake in the firm…”

    And back in 2008:

    “…But don’t ask Washington to give shareholders and bondholders a free pass — they bet on management and they lost…”

    The man is apparently congenitally unable to remember what he said in the past, even as little as 10 minutes ago, as he proceeds to tell one contradictory whopper after another.

  2. Brian Silver says:

    Your comment is so exactly right on that all I can add, while gasping at Mitt’s chutzpah, is a huge Facebook LIKE.

  3. Phil Perspective says:

    So Mittens is going to double down on the stupid, when he’s now getting the snot kicked out of him in Michigan? If Mittens finally is the nominee, didn’t anyone tell him he’ll need the Rustbelt to win? Hasn’t Turdblossom sent an emissary to get Mittens to shut up?

  4. Kathleen says:

    “I guess Mitt, too, thinks the banks are so important they should take precedence over retiree healthcare, too.”

    Compassionate conservatism for banks…hmm.

    “Still, the UAW retirees who still have healthcare today instead of Jamie Dimon having another yacht probably don’t feel the same way as Mitt does.”

    Bingo

    I am spending a great deal of time with a pack of older gents who are all WWII vets as well as former GM workers, teamsters, steal workers etc in a nursing home that my dad is in in Dayton Ohio. They were all union members They repeat over and over again that American workers and fair wages were sold down the pike starting 40 years ago. They look at corporate heads who made decisions to move first to the southern US and then to Mexico, China etc as “traitors” AS TRAITORS to the US.

    These gents say things like “money became these corporate heads and stake holders religion…their god”

    So what if US corporate taxes are higher. When will the banksters, corporate heads making millions, billions off of extremely cheap labor start looking at paying US taxes as a patriotic duty the way these old WWII Vets and former members of unions looked at paying their taxes?

    When these old folks were paying mightily into the system they had no idea if they would live long lives or not. While I have opinions about where there is immense amount of waste and overcharging in our health care system from what I have seen over the last four years helping take care of elderly and ailing parents…many of these folks paid into the system in huge ways

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Funny, I assumed that like other narcissists and sociopaths, the Mittster is incapable of empathizing with anyone but his image in the mirror.

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