A postscript to "Senate GOP to UAW: Drop dead":
The growth of income inequality between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the rest of the citizens of the United States has been one of the defining characteristics of the last few decades. We have been witnessing, for the last 18 months, what the rich ended up doing with their money. While touting the mantra that free, unregulated markets know best, they succeeded in screwing up the entire global economy. Millions and millions of workers all over the world will lose their jobs as a result.
So where did the auto-bailout negotiations break down? Over the demand by anti-union Southern Republican senators that domestic automaker workers be forced to accept immediate wage cuts, and the loss of benefits. I'm with Barney Frank on this one: No one asked the rank-and-file employees of Citigroup or AIG or Morgan-Stanley to cut their salaries in exchange for government handouts. Assembly-line workers at G.M. and Chrysler, on the other hand, must tighten their belts.
The economies of Michigan and Ohio are already in the dumpster. Darker times are ahead. And yet, at this critical, perilous juncture, Senate Republicans have decided to pick a fight with the working class. My guess it will be a long, long time before either state ever votes for a Republican for president again.
UPDATE: No sooner did I publish this, than the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bush administration is considering using TARP funds to bail out Detroit. We'll see if that news reverses the early plunge in the stock market: 10 minutes after the opening bell, the Dow was down 150.
LATER UPDATE: James Surowiecki has an excellent summary of the fiasco.