Bailouts Back on the Agenda
By Ben Pershing
A spirited game of chicken over the fates of some of the biggest companies in America will continue today, as Congress and the Bush administration resume grappling over whether and how to bail out the auto industry. The latest development on that front is a new effort by Chris Dodd to win support for a plan to divert some $25 billion already earmarked to improve fuel efficiency toward helping the Big Three avert a cash crunch.
(And as was the case during the debate over the mortgage "rescue package," the head of the United Auto Workers would like it known that this would be a loan, not a "bailout." So stop using that nasty word.)
As for the other bailout(s)/rescue plan(s), the awkward presidential interregnum continues to sow uncertainty, as the Bush administration wants Obama to weigh in with more specific details of how he would like Treasury to spend the rest of the $700 billion. The "presumptive president-elect" has resisted so far, even as he keeps making extensive public comments on the economy. The latest came during his announcement Wednesday that Bill Richardson would be his Commerce Secretary.
Yes, that's the same Richardson whom James Carville compared to "Judas" not so long ago for his betrayal of the Clintons. The "Team of Rivals" atmosphere is now so thick that the Commerce nominee himself even mentioned it Wednesday. But with the addition of Judas to the team of the man mocked by critics as "The One," perhaps the comparisons to Lincoln's Cabinet should give way to Last Supper analogies.
Posted at 8:10 AM ET on Dec 4, 2008
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