Skip to comments.Pat Buchanan: The Toyota Republicans
Posted on 12/16/2008 9:41:55 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
"GOP to Detroit: Drop Dead!"
So may have read the headline Friday, had not President Bush stepped in to save GM, Ford and Chrysler, which Senate Republicans had just voted to send to the knacker's yard.
What are Republicans thinking of, pulling the plug, at Christmas, on GM, risking swift death for the greatest manufacturing company in American history, a strategic asset and pillar of the U.S. economy.
The $14 billion loan to the Big Three that Republican senators filibustered to death is just 2 percent of the $700 billion the Senate voted to bail out Wall Street. Having gone along with bailouts of Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie, Freddie and CitiGroup, why refuse a reprieve to an industry upon which millions of the best blue-collar jobs in America depend?
In a good year, Americans buy 17 million cars. A more populous EU probably buys as many. Three billion people in India, Southeast Asia and China, four times as many people as there are in the EU and United States, are moving toward the middle class. They, too, will be wanting cars. And millions of them love American cars.
Is the Republican Party so fanatic in its ideology that, rather than sin against a commandment of Milton Friedman, it is willing to see America written forever out of this fantastic market, let millions of jobs vanish and write off the industrial Midwest?
So it would seem. "Companies fail every day, and others take their place," said Sen. Richard Shelby on "Face the Nation."
Presumably, the companies that will "take their place," when GM, Ford and Chrysler die, are German, Japanese or Korean, like the ones lured into Shelby's state of Alabama, with the bait of subsidies free-market Republicans are supposed to abhor.
In 1993, Alabama put together a $258 million package to bring a Mercedes plant in. In 1999, Honda was offered $158 million to build a plant there. In 2002, Alabama won a Hyundai plant by offering a $252 million subsidy.
"We have a number of profitable automakers in America, and they should not be disadvantaged for making wise business decisions while failure is rewarded," says Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
DeMint is referring to "profitable automakers" like BMW, which sited a plant in Spartanburg, after South Carolina offered the Germans a $150 million subsidy and $80 million to expand.
Be it BMW, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi or Hyundai, the South has become a sanctuary for foreign assembly plants, for which Southern states have been paying subsidies.
Fine. But why this "Let-them-eat-cake!" coldness toward U.S. auto companies? General Motors employs more workers than all these foreign plants combined. And, unlike Mitsubishi, General Motors didn't bomb Pearl Harbor.
Do these Southern senators understand why the foreign automakers suddenly up and decided to build plants in the United States?
It was the economic nationalism of Ronald Reagan.
When an icon of American industry, Harley-Davidson, was being run out of business by cutthroat Japanese dumping of big bikes to kill the "Harley Hog," Reagan slapped 50 percent tariffs on their motorcycles and imposed quotas on imported Japanese cars. Message to Tokyo. If you folks want to keep selling cars here, start building them here.
Fear of Reaganism brought those foreign automakers, lickety-split, to America's shores, not any love of Southern cooking.
Do the Republicans not yet understand how they lost the New Majority coalition that gave them three landslides and five victories in six presidential races from 1968 to 1988? Do they not know why the Reagan Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan are going home?
The Republican Party gave their jobs away!
How? By telling U.S. manufacturers they could shut plants here, get rid of their U.S. workers, build factories in Mexico, Asia or China, and ship their products back, free of charge.
Republican globalists gave U.S. manufacturers every incentive to go abroad and take their jobs with them, the jobs of Middle America.
And, for 30 years, that is what U.S. manufacturers have done, have been forced to do, as their competitors closed down and moved their plants abroad in search of low-wage Third World labor.
It's Herbert Hoover time in here, Vice President Cheney is said to have told the Senate Republicans -- as they prepared to march out onto the floor and turn thumbs down on any reprieve for General Motors.
In today's world, America faces nationalistic trade rivals who manipulate currencies, employ nontariff barriers, subsidize their manufacturers, rebate value-added taxes on exports to us and impose value-added taxes on imports from us, all to capture our markets and kill our great companies. And we have a Republican Party blissfully ignorant that we live in a world of us or them. It doesn't even know who "us" is.
We need a new team on the field and a new coach who believes with Vince Lombardi that "winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."
I don’t want GM, Ford, and Chrysler to drop dead. I want the UAW to drop dead. Until the UAW is broken, the big three will constantly operate on the very edge of disaster.
Pat Buchanan can go.... well, I can’t SAY what he can go do or I’ll get Banned from FR!
The 1950’s weren’t so bad, my friend.
When will he just go away...
When will Pat just go away?
Because at some point it just becomes throwing good money at bad. 14 billion here, 14 billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money Pat.
Having been born in 1960, I will have to take your word for it (missed them by 35 days!) However, it’s not the 1950’s anymore.
At almost the same time, we were typing almost the same sentence. That’s pretty neat.
And just who allowed the UAW to get as big as they are? A pox on both their houses.
I actually agree with him. I mostly just feel that the UAW needs to be broken.
I would reluctantly tolerate a big three bailout in the interests of national security, so that we have companies that have the capability of manufacturing weapons should we get involved in a conventional conflict. However, the UAW has hamstrung the auto makers to the point that they can’t fulfill this function anyway. With that in mind, I see no reason to bailout the people who got this crap started to begin with.
I don’t read the article as saying “Break the UAW”; I read it as “shovel more money at them”.
Correct me if I am wrong but did Chrysler not repay their lon from the 80’s?
Depends on what color your skin was.
With this statement, Pat proves he is still stuck in the 1940's. Idiotic, but his observation about Reagan's pro-American stance is spot on. Reagan understood the difference between free trade as an ideology and Kool-Aid drinking free trade as carried to the extreme we have today-- a class of privileged plutocrats like the politicians, the U.A.W. and their servant-enablers who suckle from the government teat, and the rest of us who are expected to pay the freight.
And the funny thing about Reagan's philosophy, is that he is still loved and respected by the Japanese-- they understand a leader who will look out for the interests of our own (American) middle class is also looking out for the interest of Japan's middle class. The reason is simple: If America is transformed from a society of rulers and the ruled, Japan may not be that far behind. How badly we need another Reagan! And maybe he or she is out there, possibly running a state like Alaska or Louisiana.
Pat doesn’t get the basic premise.
We don’t want GM out of business.
We want the union out of GM.
And that isn’t going to happen with $50 billion in taxpayer money funneled straight into UAW pockets.
I hear ya, Pat. And I agree with you regarding the damage Washington has wrought on American manufacturing over the years.
But nostalgia doesn’t get the job done, my friend. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and these bailouts are wrongs.
Enough of bigwig con-men and union extortionists holding our country hostage. Enough of paying the ransoms they demand. Enough of the extortion.
They wanna drive this country off the cliff with Washington at the wheel? Fine, let’s go. Right now, instead of waiting until they’re dead and buried, having lived a life of luxury paid for by my sweat.
The party is dead, anyway. Rebuilding has got to start somewhere - and smashing the UAW/Democrat money machine is a good beginning.
Pat's problem is that he thinks Republicans can actually get back into the game with a little populist tweaking...not this time. If they want to play again they are going to have to step back for a few years, let Obama fail in Carter-like fashion, then attempt a return as vigorous advocates of small government. It may not work, but the current corrupt and bloated Republican Party heirarchy is not sustainable.
Pat is an idiot!
I watched the Senate ‘debate’.
The Republicans ‘fell’ into the Dem cesspool of ‘debate’ again. They’re like Charlie Brown to the Dems Lucy. They fall for it and look bad every time. (Of course it doesn’t help for the MSM and folks like Pat to denegrade their points every time.)
I just want to know where will the jobs come from when businesses refuse to hire workers? And I do mean REFUSE!
Yup. I think the Repubs want the UAW to bring their costs in line with the transplants. GM, Ford and Chrysler can never survive unless they do that. the global economy has too many cars and too many car companies. China will only make it worse. Any economic slowdown just kills all the car companies except the most profitable ones.
People think we wll go back to where we were a few years ago and that a short-term cash injection will fix these companies. Obama is a disaster and more regulation and socialism will only make things worse.
Reagan was close to Japan, while the Bushes were close to China. There’s your difference. The Japanese are not the problem.
Republicans “told” US manufacturers to to build factories in China did we?
Is that why Europeans firms, Japanese firms, and firms from practically every advanced country on the planet, have built huge factories in China and have been making goods there for decades?
Has Pat Buchanan ever heard of the low wages in China , backed by very hard working Chinese workers who are very good at making consumer electronics products like cell phones, TV sets, laptops etc?
There are 1000s of American manufacturing companies that make weapons, etc., I work for one of them. Having the big three go away today wouldn't change nor effect that one bit. Heck the union at my shop is UAW too.
Pat makes a lot of sense...
Of course, there are too many liberal Free Traders here with that “F—k America” attitude...have no problem with subsidizing foreign companies at the expense of American companies
At least Reagan was smart....not afraid to use tarriffs to save American companies...no wonder why the liberal Free Traders in the GOP did not like him
Bet that those criticizing Buchanan for this writing are the same ones who claim McCain and Bush are conservatives. Yeah Right
I am no fan of the UAW...but the US auto industry needs to be saved. I would rather have Americans I disagree with making my war materiel than relying on foreigners to do it...if we ever get into another major military conflict
Our manufacturing base was debased by the globalists in the pocket of the international bankers both in the Republican and Democratic parties.
Yep we were sold down the river by them. But lets keep voting for the moderate globalists in our party and ruin the country.
Pat is absolutely on target, partcilarly in the final two paragraphs, which bear repeating:
>>>>>>>>>>>In today’s world, America faces nationalistic trade rivals who manipulate currencies, employ nontariff barriers, subsidize their manufacturers, rebate value-added taxes on exports to us and impose value-added taxes on imports from us, all to capture our markets and kill our great companies. And we have a Republican Party blissfully ignorant that we live in a world of us or them. It doesn’t even know who “us” is.
>>>>>>>>>We need a new team on the field and a new coach who believes with Vince Lombardi that “winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
And Pat can still turn a phrase. “Toyota Republicans”—what a great line.
“The 1950s werent so bad, my friend.”
You bet. I’m sure glad to have lived then. What fun and personal growth.
I’m no Buchanan fan, but how is he wrong in this piece?
“What are Republicans thinking of, pulling the plug, at Christmas, on GM, risking swift death for the greatest manufacturing company in American history, a strategic asset and pillar of the U.S. economy.”
They’re thinking, “Hey, why don’t I try sticking to my principles for once?”
We want GM to have a sound business model to follow. If that means the Unions has to ‘concede’, so be it!
Don’t allow the Unions to talk about the ‘fall of the American worker’ when the parking lot at Walmart is full of cars with bumper stickers.
Consumers have ‘voted’ with their wallets as to the ‘landscape’ of the economy. They HAD the chance to support American companies once and now they’re gone unless you want the Fed Govt to dictate to you.
"They took arrr jerbs!"
It is not the Republican Parties responsibility to prop up a failed business. It is not the demoratic parties responsibility to prop up failed businesses.
OK, my understanding is that GM is nearly 60 billion in debt. They owe the Union 29 billion. If they were to sell the company, they would only get around 3 to 4 billion. Now, we are supposed to borrow our children’s money to give to a failed business that didn't give a red rats keyster what the consumers wanted over the years? We wanted carburetors and fuel injection that could get us 100 miles to the gallon. We had this technology in the 70s, but the car manufacturers allowed OPEC to by those pattens. Did they have my interest in mind?
Look Pat, we could take the 25 billion down to a Southern State and build new plants. The good people of the South will be happy to go to work for a lot less money then the Union workers in the North.
Another thing, Wall Street investors wanted a quick return on their money. A lot of businesses, not just the car companies started thinking in the short term. From quarter to quarter. Nobody wanted to look at the long term, because investors were not looking long term. Well, if these companies would have adhered to a 5, 10, 20, and 50 year plan, they wouldn't be in this position. Where are all your investors now? Oh, I know! They are the taxpayers. Again, I must ask, why are we going to invest our children's money into a failed, short sited business?
I think PB makes some good points on the Nationalistic Trade Policies that US Mfr. do face as well as the offshoring of jobs due to both political crime syndicates!
Pat just doesnt seem to bipartison in his castigations.
Pat's also laboring under the neo-communist delusion that car companies are all the same ... and that their products are interchangeable.
Unfortunately, Mr. Buchanan fails to notice that the free market is at work here, and the market clearly does not treat all car companies as being equal.
The Big 3 are being kicked to the curb by consumers who choose to buy from other manufacturers. There are a lot of reasons for this, of which two are by far the most important:
1. There is a very strong (and fairly earned) perception that American cars are unreliable, especially as compared to Japanese cars.
2. American cars are seen as being overpriced, both in terms of the initial purchase price, and also in the cost of repairs (which, from 1, above, are expected to occur more frequently).
Mr. Buchanan ignores these factors ... and thus, as usual, misses the point.
“Fine. But why this “Let-them-eat-cake!” coldness toward U.S. auto companies?”
The auto companies gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the democrats. They gave their companies over to the unions, and destroyed themselves. GM sold the same amount of cars as Toyota, yet lost $10s of billions while Toyota made billions.
If we bail them out, they will produce more cars and lose more money.
They must rework their labor and debt contracts without government help.
I’ve long thought that businesses end up with exactly the type of union it deserves. As you said, a pox on both of them.
“Reagan understood the difference between free trade as an ideology and Kool-Aid drinking free trade as carried to the extreme we have today— a class of privileged plutocrats like the politicians, the U.A.W. and their servant-enablers who suckle from the government teat, and the rest of us who are expected to pay the freight”
I don’t understand this sentence at all.
Would you borrow money to invest in a business that is nearly 60 billion in debt and has a value of 3 to 4 billion?
The UAW will outlast the big three by at least a generation, maybe longer. It will become our second Social Security Administration and will be protected in Al Gore's Iron-Clad Lock Box. Their time as auto workers will soon be over, but then they can move on to being served by the tax payer.
You miss the point, Pat.
Throwing money at the Big Three is about as useful as throwing money at a heroin addict. Unless the underlying behaviors that caused the mess in the first place are dealt with, all the government bailout money in the world isn’t going to solve the problems that plague them.
He makes NO mention of the UAW and other unions which made it unprofitable for U.S. corporations to continue to have manufacturing operations in the U.S.
THEY certainly aren’t the “fault’ of Republicans.
AND, the foreign manufacturers located their plants in the south to AVOID Unions, NOT because of some “economic Nationalism of Reagan”.
And it was Volkswagen that gassed all those Jews at Auschwitz.
Social issues aside, Pat is stuck in the 1950's, economically. The economic conditions that existed post WWII that allowed someone with a high school education to get a job at an auto plant that would support their family and take them to retirement are gone. The world changed and we can't undo the changes by passing a few laws.
“Im no Buchanan fan, but how is he wrong in this piece?”
He is wrong in two major respects: 1) free trade is good, and 2) corporatism is bad. When it comes to economic matters, Buchanan is purely and simply a statist.
Are there any workers still at Mitsubishi that built the Vals and Zeros that attacked Pearl Harbor? That was 67 years ago! While we’re at it, let’s quit buying Range Rovers because the Brit’s sicced the Hessians on us...