Republican Bad Faith Negotiation, Again

If you need any more proof that the Republican attempt to break the UAW a week ago Thursday was really just a political stunt, read this article. In it, Republican after Republican attacks Bush for providing relief to the auto industry. That includes four of the Republican Senators who–Bob Corker has assured us–would have supported his "compromise" deal from last Thursday:

John McCain:

John McCain is leading the way, saying it is “unacceptable that we would leave the American taxpayer with a tab of tens of billions of dollars while failing to receive any serious concessions from the industry.” 

John Kyl:

“I’m very disappointed,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). “The president justified his action with a false choice: it’s either this plan or abrupt liquidation of the companies. The White House seems to think that the industry didn’t have time to deal with the problem or prepare for an orderly bankruptcy, which is false.”

Judd Gregg:

“These funds were not authorized by Congress for non-financial companies in distress,” Gregg said, “but were to be used to restore liquidity and stability in the overall financial system of the country and to help prevent fundamental systemic risks in the global marketplace.”

Mitch McConnell:

“I have strong objections to the use of Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds for industry specific bailouts. And I do not support this action,” McConnell said. “But since the administration has chosen to use these funds to aid the automakers, it is important that the date-specific requirements on all the stakeholders be enforced.” 

Yet this is virtually the same bill, with one caveat: that the manufacturers, "can deviate from the quantitative targets above, providing that the firm reports the reasons for these deviations and makes the business case to achieve long-term viability in spite of the deviations."

In other words, the Republicans are pissed because the President’s plan allows the auto manufacturers to "deviate" from Bob Corker’s demand that the UAW lower wages below that of Japanese manufacturers’ workers by the end of the year if the manufacturers can make a business case to do so.  

These Republicans are pissed that GM and Chrysler don’t have to cut costs even if there’s a good business reason not to do so!!!

Not surprisingly, these Republicans are not alone in disavowing Bob Corker’s plan. They’re joined by Bob Corker himself:

“The best solution would have been definite terms, within in a finite time period, committed to law, that protected taxpayers,” said Corker. “Instead, we have ended up with an agreement open to interpretation, that eliminates the sense of crisis, where taxpayer dollars are expended and we are left to hope that the next administration has the will to enforce the tough concessions necessary to make these companies viable for the long term. Unfortunately, it is clear that stakeholders are already working to undo those tough concessions.” 

Though note: perhaps to paper over the fact that he’s rejecting his own damn "compromise," Corker has moved the bar by claiming he was demanding even more from the UAW than he had been.

The Corker plan included three major components, which had to be met by a date certain in 2009:


• Two, bring wages immediately in line with companies like Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and BMW. 

I guess cutting UAW wages by the end of 2009–which is what he was demanding a week ago–wasn’t enough for Corker, and he’d like to do so before this Christmas season.

Because that’s just the kind of guy he is. 

42 replies
  1. AlbertFall says:

    Ha ha
    by kos
    Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 10:11:49 PM PST
    Seriously, this earlier post by Kagro encapsulates every frustration I’ve felt over the last eight years.

    1 Republicans ask for the absurd, threaten nuclear/economic armageddon if there’s no action.

    2 Democrats cower in fear.

    3 We try to talk some sense into them.

    4 We get scolded for being unserious, and wanting the terrorists to win/people to lose their jobs.

    5 Democrats promise oversight!

    6 We roll our eyes.

    7 Democrats cave on every single point, but pretend to win anyway.

    8 We wonder what we ever did to deserve this sorry bunch of representatives.

    9 Republicans do whatever the hell they want.

    10 Democrats pretend that no one could’ve ever predicted Republican outrages and express “outrage”. Sometimes, they even write a sternly worded letter!

    11 We make “no one could have foreseen” jokes and wonder what we ever did to deserve this sorry bunch of representatives.

    12 Rinse, lather, repeat.

    So you either tear your hair out and go mad at the rank idiocy of it all, or you laugh. And let me tell you, the number of times we’ve gone through this crap makes laughing about it increasingly difficult.

  2. Hmmm says:

    Heaven forfend I should pick nits (…that’s a joke, Son, I say, that’s a Joke…), HOWEVER:

    “These funds were not authorized by Congress for non-financial companies in distress,” Gregg said…

    That’s not correct, is it? (Quelle surprise, I know.) The defined term “Troubled Assets” was the target, and if I recall correctly, the scope and definition of just what and where a Troubled Asset is were left wide, wide open.

  3. joejoejoe says:

    Somebody should ask Corker what kind of wages VW should pay in their new TN plant. I don’t think VW has announced as of yet. Corker is on the record in tears of joy praising all the good paying jobs that VW is bringing to his state. I guess “good paying” means less than average pay in Corkerspeak.

  4. WilliamOckham says:

    I’ll pick a few nits with John “Sarah Palin is the most qualified person in the country to be VP” McCain:

    John McCain is leading the way, saying it is “unacceptable that we would leave the American taxpayer with a tab of tens of billions of dollars while failing to receive any serious concessions from the industry.”

    Bush is committing less than $20 billion for the auto bailout. That’s not “tens of billions”. On the other hand, there was that $700 billion bailout of the banks that certainly didn’t require any “serious concessions from the industry”, so I’m sure John McCain opposed that. Ok, not so much. I guess all that stuff Bmaz keeps saying about McCain must be right. But you knew that already.

    • emptywheel says:

      Funny you should ask that. It has already started, only behind the scenes. I can only assume that bmaz is holding off on taking Trash public because he doesn’t feel up to defending his Cards again the BillBel machine.

      He already made a really plaintive request that Richard Seymour not hurt poor little Kurt Warner. Me, I think it’d be worth it if only to give Cassel the opportunity to show the guy he used to back up his stuff.

      • emptywheel says:

        And apparently bmaz wants to help out his Cards by blackmailing them into being nice.

        Jeebus. The Cards are in the playoffs. If he needs me to make sure little Richard Seymour takes it easy on tough old (and I do mean old) Kurt Warner, then how can he imagine they’ll even be able to beat a wildcard team.

        After all, odds are very slim that the Pats will even MAKE the playoffs.

        • bmaz says:

          1) He ain’t that tough. Granted, he is old.

          2) Who said anything about beating the wildcard team? The Cards are fodder. There is a reason this is the first home playoff game the Cards have had in well over 60 years, and only the second playoff game of any kind in the last 30 years or so.

          3) I sure wouldn’t count the Pats out. The Jets are crashing; Dolphins not likely to do well in the snow their last game.

  5. LabDancer says:

    I think this GOOPer group grope has as much to do what Hank the Bank wanting to get his sweaty mitts on the next 450 Very Large Indeed – and to take the credit for what’s like going to happen regardless, being his getting turned down. It’s the GOOPer version of a win-win-win: first win: take the credit for being the party that’s voting nay on some Bizarro World idea of principle; second win: then when Obama wants it released for his direction go all open mouth breathing in pointing to him as just an Tax and Spend l*****l; third win: when Obama goes for stimulus be able to point to whatever’s been spent before and threaten filibuster … and the wins keep on comin’.

    Obama’s correct in thinking there are so many huge problems bipartisanship is necessary – but he’s naive in thinking the party of Corkhead and Shellfish feel any sense of urgency. Greenland loses 2 trillion tons of icecube cover and Corkhead and Shellfish point to cooler air.

  6. Taechan says:

    Ya’ll think Corker tipped the hand here a bit more obviously than before-

    Instead, we have ended up with an agreement open to interpretation, that eliminates the sense of crisis, where taxpayer dollars are expended

  7. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Yeah, at a time when Paulson can’t save the ‘free market’ because it’s ass-over-Jupiter inflated with gambling hedged debts, Corker and the GOPers are going to lecture the Big 2.5 and the UAW. I realize that the polls are evidently saying that Americans are ’split’ about bailing out the carmakers, but I still think this is going to end up being a death knell for the GOP. For which I remain grateful.

  8. Dismayed says:

    My thinking has become very simplistic of late.

    If the Republicans in congress are unhappy, I’m happy.

    I can’t think of anything in the last eight years that made them unhappy that was bad for the country.

    • pdaly says:

      My thinking has become very simplistic of late.

      If the Republicans in congress are unhappy, I’m happy.

      I can’t think of anything in the last eight years that made them unhappy that was bad for the country.

      I agree. Nevertheless, I am sure we could create a pleasure island for them where they could be happy.
      What is the minimum number of Potemkin villages and villagers necessary to fool these fools into thinking they are in charge and lording over others?

      The island could come with all the thrills including warrantless wiretapping ability, island banks that lose your neighbors’ money, neocon News nonstop, and concern trolls at every street corner.

      Two things on the island would be absent however: liberals and an airport.
      If any liberal is born into a family on this island (I guess ‘born into a family’ is redundant, because no out-of-wedlock anything will be occurring on this fantasy island), then provisions could be made to secretly rescue him or her. He or she would have to pass several Herculean tests of character and knowledge, of course, in order to weed out the pretenders.

      For example:
      Give shelter to a ‘homeless’ person (a mainlander undercover will play this roll)
      Name 3 mistakes G.W. Bush made during his presidency
      Answer correctly “No” to the trick question:
      “As an American, do you swear allegiance to the President of the United States over the Constitution of the
      United States?”
      Work at least one full 40-hour work week–at a job.
      Define the word “liar” and use it correctly in a sentence, preferably while watching Fox News alone in a room.

  9. jdmckay says:

    I’ve said elsewhere I’m ambivalent about Detroit bailout & I remain so. I am sympathetic to argument that given TARP funds poured into WS uncritically, little rinky dink bridge loan GM needs is peanuts.

    Ya, it sucks. Also an apt metaphor just how fucked up US gov is, despite “gains” in last election.

    In that vein, FT has an article up Today:
    Hedge funds gain access to $200bn Fed aid

    An excerpt:

    Hedge funds will be allowed to borrow from the Federal Reserve for the first time under a landmark $200bn programme intended to support consumer credit.

    The Fed said on Friday it would offer low-cost three-year funding to any US company investing in securitised consumer loans under the Term Asset-backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). This includes hedge funds, which have never been able to borrow from the US central bank before, although the Fed may not permit hedge funds to use offshore vehicles to conduct the transactions.


    The TALF is a key plank of the unorthodox strategy set out by the Fed last week as it cut interest rates virtually to zero. Washington insiders expect the programme will be dramatically expanded next year with further capital support from Treasury once the Obama administration takes office.

    A senior official in the outgoing Bush administration told the Financial Times it could also be broadened to include new commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities.


    Making the scheme open to all US companies is a radical departure for the Fed, which normally supports financial market liquidity indirectly by ensuring banks have adequate liquidity to make loans to other investors.

    However, the liquidity the Fed is providing to banks is not flowing through to financial markets, because banks are balance-sheet constrained and risk-averse. So it is channelling funds directly to investors.


    Since the credit crisis erupted, hedge funds have complained that they cannot get the leverage they need to arbitrage away excessive spreads and meet high hurdle rates of return.

    “Demand is there for leverage but not supply,” said Sylvan Chackman, head of global equity financing at Merrill Lynch.

    In effect, the Fed will now take on the role of prime broker – the lead bank that lends to a hedge fund – for specific assets.

    I find this unbelievable. Dumping more funny money into our entirely broken financial system, no discussion even of systemic fixes (cutting out diseased parts), yet still people in Fed/Treasury somehow thinking more cash to the brokers (what an apt title for those guys) can jump start a broken economy. And if that’s not enough, expect good results by creating more “securities” (how ’bout start calling ‘em by their real name: insercurities) derived from recalibrated value of decimated mortgage market.

    What are these people thinking? Where’s Obama on this?

    Seems to me it’s like expecting a car w/blown valves to be resurrected by filling it’s tank w/higher octane fuel.

    • jdmckay says:

      I’ve said elsewhere I’m ambivalent about Detroit bailout & I remain so.


      I find this unbelievable. Dumping more funny money into our entirely broken financial system, no discussion even of systemic fixes (cutting out diseased parts), yet still people in Fed/Treasury somehow thinking more cash to the brokers (what an apt title for those guys) can jump start a broken economy.


      What are these people thinking? Where’s Obama on this?

      FWIW, reason I’m ambivalent: US economy is and has been on such a fast, downward systemic decline that whatever happens w/Detroit is not gon’a matter a whole hell’uva lot given…
      a) current US economic “constitution”: it’s broken, it’s broke, & there’s no help on the way.
      b) near saturating US citizen ignorance of the situation, not to mention deer-in-the-headlights helplessness of the same.
      c) literal vacum of inertia & public ideas about what it’s going to take to get things going in right direction, Obama’s WS generated Treasury guys not-outside-the-box brain farts not withstanding.

      The masses here, are in very real sense, asleep… about to get smacked upside the head with 3rd world economic conditions, and entirely unprepared in any meaningful sense.

      Biden said Saturday economy is in “much worse shape” than they thought. I wonder where he/they have been getting their briefings, ’cause this trajectory’s been clear since (at least) Feb ‘08. With a little digging, writing was on the wall as far back as ‘03. I took Obama’s econ advisers during campaign as indication he’d been keeping well appraised of things these last 2 years. Everything I see from his team to date suggest to me that wasn’t the case.

      IRA comments on this here:

      Since the last issue of The IRA was published, AIG (NYSE:AIG) discovered another $9 billion or so in unfunded liabilities, apparently linked to credit default swaps. (…)

      We’d like to tell you that the US political system has reached a new low, but really we’re reverting back to the pre-WWI norm of chaos and political corruption. For over a century Americans have convinced themselves that economic and political stability are givens no matter how stupid we as a nation act when it comes to matters of money.

      That’s why we believe that the new President needs to reconsider the composition of his economic team before the ravages of deflation do even more damage to the economy and public confidence. The future of the US economy stands on the edge of a knife. If the Obama inside circle does not start putting some new, competent faces in positions of authority in the economic team, the global economy could be locked into years of stagflation and US government could be in serious trouble next year, unable to fund itself.

      We have to laugh at the thought of those fine public servants at the Fed board in Washington thinking that the reserve banks could issue debt near Treasury yields when other GSEs cannot. How does NY Fed 1s of ‘09 at plus 180bp to the one year sound?

      Go read it, ’cause they got it about right. One doesn’t have to have a phd in econ to understand this, nor to see macro data for the year backing up this eventuality. But who’s explaining this to US public?

      George Will thinks 94% of Americans working, so things are OK. Jonah Goldberg’s big concern is nationalizing of banking. Victor Hansen thinks we’re smartest country on earth, things going to be just fine. WSJ OpED contributors seem to think requiring school uniforms, issuing more foriegn workers permits, and privatizing schools is what’s needed. On & on it goes…

      All I’m seeing in MSM is applause for BO’s “preparation”, appointees and their “experience”, etc. etc. And not much more from BO’s own messaging team, rather just meanignless generalities. I lament the near horror that this insular messaging so resembles Bush’s after 2k election was finalized: “The president believes this”, “The president believes that”, while CATO was staffing every decision/policy making postion w/the Monica Goodlings of the world. Roy Lahood? Oh c’mon (pounds forehead on wall).

      Funny, this is same MSM who’ve provided nuth’n but rear view mirror, after the fact knashing of teeth for Enron, mortgage collapse, econ slump, Wall Street fraud of nearly every imaginable flavor, not to mention everything to do w/Iraq, systemic DOJ foibles, RNC WH coordination politicizing US policy while destroying records of same… and of course mis-reporting nearly every major international event relevant to global stability during Bush years. Progressive community… God bless ‘em, in same bucket. KOS is unconcerned w/Obama’s abandonment of “change”, says “let’s wait and see what his policy looks like”. I mean, what the hell… KOS is prospering, right? EARTH TO KOS: BO’s econ policy is pretty Keynesianly clear dude.

      Titanic to deck chairs: YOU’RE PART OF THIS BOAT!!! And just in case it’s not clear, every US citizen is on the boat. Yep, you’re onboard folks. There’s no exit, and your ticket is paid for & validated.

      I pounded the streets hard for Obama… took a lot of time off to do so. I bought into promise of image he put out there, trusted him… his character, intellect and all the rest. And w/each LaHood like appointment, the worthlessness of my efforts on his behalf is increasingly fortified. A waste of time it was, I think. Utterly.

      We’re still stuck in arguing and lamenting situational irrelevancies while continuing to get the shit kicked out of us by ideological & unprincipled rethugs (as in this GM deal) who really don’t give a rip about anything that matters. “Got to protect the taxpayers” they say. Yeah, sure, after xxx years of feeding ‘em arsenic?

      Man does not live by Freedom Fries alone.

      And just like Enron, just like Iraq failure, just like mortgage collapse and everything else… drip drip drip, public always informed after the fact, and always after every last $$ is gone. Drip drip drip fucking drip.

      That all this could occur after the “age of enlightenment”… there’s not enough sand to pound.

      In last couple weeks, I haven’t seen a single article in our local “paper of record” on Mitchell Wade/Felipe Sixto/Safavian convictions… all part of same tapestry of cronyism & corruption, on massive scale, that’s landed us in this mess. So how did Safavian get appointed… who in Bush admin made that decision? What were his ties to Abramhoff? How did this direct and consume federal $$ to chosen donors?

      Is anyone in visible positions of authority asking any of these questions, much less explaining they may have a eensie-weensie-little affect on how we got to this point? I mean, W’ admin cronies in every single policy position in WH for 8 years. Norquist was up to his ass in Abramoff Indian ripoffs, yet he’s all over Sunday talk saying the same shit he always has… and 99.9% of that audience has no idea he’s involved in all this muck. What’s up with that? Does Obama not want to offend these people maybe…///??? bring us all together?

      Message for Barack: I don’t want to be together w/those fuckers. Strip ‘em down to their skivies, take away their media card, & send ‘em up to Denver and let Dobson and his boys lay hands on them or something. Whatever.

      And torture: W’s parading around networks explaining it all away… DC politics just didn’t understand him, poor guy. Oh yea, too bad about those intelligence failures that put his folk’s “good reputations” at risk. And Dick thinks “incoming administration” will have to deal w/our little econ burp, but gosh darn it they’ve done all they can.

      Biden says of a little legal introspection: “we’ll leave it to incoming AG… let’s go forward!!!”

      These guys laying a pile of shit in Obama’s lap w/weight of a led balloon, and he doesn’t want to comment because he only wants to “be part of the solution”?

      Sheesh… we’ve got ‘winger pundocracy lamenting emerging “socialism” and resurrecting “liberal media” canard, and Obama sees no reason to explain mechanics of biggest crime spree in the history of civilization?

      Everyone knows about Blogo though… “awful”, “disgusting”, blah blah blah. “Yep, that’s what’s wrong with America!!!” And what about that Kennedy woman… she wants Hillary’s seat? Does she deserve it? Will she head us back to another socialistic liberal disaster? Yep, good to see pivotal issues getting the discussion they deserve all right… hashing out everything we need to know. Yah, that Kennedy woman… she really scares me I’ll tell ‘ya.

      Of course I’m sympathetic to all your GOP proposed abdication of GM’s retirement funding, to “bring ‘em in line” w/subsidized US Jap auto production. But they’ve already done this w/entire US economy… H1-B in tech, almost entire blue collar trades now non-union, with quality of their work down the toilet as consequence. UAW’s is just final dagger.

      US retirement funds going up in smoke… hearing a new one almost every week. Largest in country, CALPERS, announced 25% losses for the year this past week: they’re considering premium increase of employee base, not mentioning base is shrinking as fast as national debt is increasing. Talk about a squeeze… and just how can anyone expect these (and 100’s of other similar) obligations to be met w/DOW giving up dividends almost entirely, not to mention Bernacky’s -0-% interest rates?

      Not a whole lot of returns going to be coming out of this deep fried rustbucket of an economy, I’ll tell you that folks. MAD MAX/Thunderdome & “free markets” is kind’a melding into a synonymous concept in my mind.

      And just what is emerging US economic sector again…??? I forgot. Or maybe we just have to wait a bit for the free market to get it going for us? Roads? We’ve got by far most accumulated, mature hi-tech knowledge base in history, and we’re going to jumpstart this thing w/roads?

      TARP… what’s that again? Oh yea, Troubled Asset something or other I think. I really like the spontaneously illuminating vernacular of our $$ supply managers: troubled asset. Maybe if we got those things a little therapy or something, they wouldn’t be so troubled

      Then there’s the RP part, call it the caboose. RP… Relief Program. Does that mean they’re relieving us of our troubles? Or of our assets?

      But if the asset has already be relieved of any value, isn’t it beyond troubled???… like dead, comatose… toes up? Wirds, so much fun… and just what do they mean anyway?

      Instead of taking Hawaii vacation and planning inauguration gala ushering in whatever the hell he’s got in mind, he ought’a be declaring a state on national emergency… rolling up the sleeves, preparing to dissect and cut away all the broken parts, and get some new blood into reconstruction planning ’cause his current guys… every single one of ‘em, is from the system that got us here while advocating most of the mechanisms that made it possible.

      Manhattan projects… we need something on that order. FAST!!! Really-fucking-fast.

      Progressives (IMO) would do well to abandon their pet issues and start sounding alarms… making deeply principled demands, ’cause we’re the ones who got this guy in there. Devoting some of progressives considerable intellectual heft to considering systemic upheaval and reconstitution in big way might not be a bad idea, ’cause I got news for you: without it, you’re all going to be economically fucked. Bernacky/Paulen pouring every last lb of air into an economic tire w/a hole big enough to drive a HUMMER through.

      And speaking of HUMMERs, nice to see GM advertising those things again now that we’ve got cheap gas again (it’s forever, right?). Yep, I’m really inspired seeing those damn things riding up my rear bumper again.

  10. wavpeac says:

    I don’t think many people understand what is happening. Before long, the behavior of homecomings financial will infiltrate all loans, well, let me change that…they already have the U.S economy by the balls. We are had. It’s economic terrorism. Very smart, very complicated and very effective.

  11. skdadl says:

    EW, you may already have seen this column, but just in case:

    … an internal Toyota report, leaked to the Detroit Free Press last year, reveals that the company wants to slash $300 million out of its rising labor costs by 2011. The report indicated that Toyota no longer wants to “tie [itself] so closely to the U.S. auto industry.” Instead, the company intends to benchmark the prevailing manufacturing wage in the state in which a plant is located. The Free Press reported that in Kentucky, where the company is headquartered, this wage is $12.64 an hour, according to federal labor statistics, less than half Toyota’s $30-an-hour wage.

    If the companies, with the support of their senators, can wipe out or greatly weaken the UAW, they will be free to implement their plan.

    Via my boss.

  12. foothillsmike says:

    Got to love these congresscritters bitchin about the UAW as the prepare to give themselves a $4700 raise in their part time jobs.

    • perris says:

      if the american public doesn’t go balistic they are getting themselves a raise through this depresion then we deserve everything we get from them

  13. perris says:

    John McCain is leading the way, saying it is “unacceptable that we would leave the American taxpayer with a tab of tens of billions of dollars while failing to receive any serious concessions from the industry.”

    isn’t this a loan backed by assets?

    and what concessions did these people get from the banking industry for their 700 billion bailout which was not backed by anything?

  14. hackworth1 says:

    IBM has been profitable lately. It has many big customers. It has its own finance division to finance its products and services. The Big Three are customers. AT&T is a customer. WalMart is a huge IBM customer. WalMart insisted that IBM move from Little Rock to Bentonville so it did.

    Now IBM is worried. It is pulling in its horns. It fears that it cannot sell more products. Worse, it fears that it may not get paid for existing contracts. Millions of dollars hang in the balance.

  15. ally says:

    John McCain: “We were only supposed to bailout the corrupt bankers, you know those like my friend Keating.”

    Judd Gregg: “These funds were not authorized by Congress for non-financial companies – except those now disguised like banks – AIG and Goldman Sachs and Hartford Insurance.” Yeah sure – Mr. Hypocrite Gregg

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