Quote of the day

One conservative blogger asks what the Republican Senators who killed the auto bailout could be thinking.

Published December 12, 2008 9:30PM (EST)

Considering all the cheering on the right about the death of the auto bailout on Thursday night, I thought this post, from Allahpundit of the conservative blog Hot Air, was worth reading. He takes a step back from the ideological positions of his colleagues and looks at the situation from a more practical perspective:

Is anyone in the GOP leadership weighing the costs of action versus the costs of inaction or are we running on pure dogma here? I keep thinking about Mitch McConnell saying yesterday that he’ll oppose the bailout even though it’s “impossible to know” what the consequences of bankruptcy would be. Hey, Mitch? Not good enough. No one’s asking for absolute certainty on the outcome, which really is impossible; what I want is a good-faith attempt at assessing costs, benefits, and probabilities of all courses of action. If they’re convinced that economic catastrophe is inevitable and don’t want to burn any more taxpayer money trying to deflect the asteroid, that’s fine. If, on the flip side, they think the consequences of letting the Big Three fail and losing a million jobs in this economic climate won’t be that bad, that’s fine too. Both are good reasons to oppose a bailout. But make the case. Explain to me why, in the middle of a global economic crisis, propping up a failing industry to save jobs at least until the crisis is over is a worse option than pulling the plug now. The prospect of being taxed to support a $100 billion rescue of the auto industry is awful, but not nearly as awful as the cascade effect of consumer purchasing power drying up and me losing my job as part of a $500 billion hit to the economy. Is that what we’re looking at here or is it something less, or more? My sense is that both sides are uninterested in exploring the question, and that our side is content to repose religious faith in the divine market to arrive at the least painful solution. Can I at least see some numbers before I take communion? If not, then this really is much a crisis of political leadership as it is a financial one.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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