GOP debaters take the way of the wimp

I was struck during Monday’s so-called debate among the current GOP presidential candidates by the rather cowardly way they took stands based on ideological purity.

They’re all trying real hard to be tough-minded fiscal conservatives, as best exemplified by Mitt Romney’s denunciation of the bail-out of two large auto companies, a move highly controversial at the time but that is generally acknowledged to have saved hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Mitt made it clear he’d have let GM and Chrysler just go under and take their chances with a forced bankruptcy. Ford got through on its own, as we all know.

One can argue it was GM’s and Chrysler’s fault they weren’t in as good a shape as Ford, but that’s gumflapping now. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were at stake because of the goof-ups of the corporate executives, it was one of those situations where society — government — had to step in and avert a worse disaster. The later bankruptcies of the companies were much more well-managed and seem to have worked.

Now, here’s my problem with all this: Right after the panelists all agreed Obama was wrong to save the auto industries — which is a very safe stance to take since they have already been saved – the moderator asked the panel about the housing crisis and all those underwater and defaulted mortgages.

The correct answer from Mitt and the others should have been: Tough noogies, let them fail. Capitalism will fix it all.

But no, they got all nuanced on us, with Ron Paul going on his standard anti-Fed rant, and the others saying the economy needs to be fixed, blah blah blah.

Did any one of them say “Householders who can’t pay their mortgages should be allowed to fail.”

Not that I heard. Going public saying millions of people should lose their homes with no help from the government is bad for votes, so you will never hear them say that, althugh they are happy to pursue policies that will pretty much guarantee that those people do lose their homes.

Which will harm the economy even more, which they will then blame on Obama.

ON ANOTHER TACK : The Washington Post has done its usual good job of debunking some of the outright BS from the debate. Here’s a link (click). I like, especially, how they feel a strong need to blame Obama for the “continuing” recession even though, from a technical standpoint, the recession ended a year or more ago. Claiming the medical care reform act will “slash” 800,000 jobs is another exercise in pure bull cookies, as the link carefully explains.

The recovery, no question, could be better, but we’ve still got a huge load of mortgage debt from the Bush-era housing bubble to eat through before we ever see any hope of something resembling prosperity.

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7 Responses to GOP debaters take the way of the wimp

  1. Owain says:

    “…a move highly controversial at the time but that is generally acknowledged to have saved hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

    OK, time for some math. I know Charles, it was your understanding there would BE no math involved, but sometimes, math is useful.

    Since you think it’s generally acknowledged (which I dispute) that hundreds of thousands of jobs were saved by the auto bail outs, it should be easy for you to nail that figure down for us. Hundreds of thousands is a bit vague. Is that 200,000? 900,000? What? Something that is “generally acknowledged” to be true should be easy to document, don’t you think? Give it a try. Show your work.

    Next, what did the auto bail out cost the tax payer? According to the Wall Street Journal, it will cost the taxpayer $14 Billion that will probably never be recovered.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303745304576359530678869402.html

    Once you’ve documented an accurate number of jobs saved by the auto bailout, if you can, divide that number into $14 Billion. Let us know what you come up with. I doubt that it will have been worth it.

    If Mitt came down hard on the auto bailouts, good for him. That’s a good start. I hope he keeps it up.

  2. BlueSmoke says:

    So Owain, you would also ask that Mitt come out and say let the Home Owners fail? Also, if the auto industry were allowed to collapse under a Mitt run White House, I guess we could be calling for his head after loosing all those jobs? Correct?

  3. Aaron says:

    I’m surprised to see someone worried about the possible loss of $14 of taxpayer money in the auto bailouts. Hell, Bush lost that much in Iraq and nobody has any idea where it went. Did any Utah senator or representative ask for oversight of this?

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      It’s only bad if it’s something they can blame Obama for. If it was under Bush’s watch, then it is one of those ‘Oh quit trying to blame everything on Bush” things.

      $14 billion for an auto bailout that saved thousand of american jobs is bad, apparently, but a $1 trillion over 10 years for two failed wars that will achieve nothing is “defending democracy,” and so that’s ok.

  4. Jay Hartwell says:

    Charles,
    It’s a good thing Bush isn’t in office now, he’d have the CIA after you.

  5. neal cassidy says:

    I guess trying to prove your conservative purity is the 21st century equivalent of discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

  6. JJ Wilson says:

    According to the Wall St Journal, Nov 17, 2010, the auto bailouts saved 1.14 million jobs in 2009 and another 314,400 jobs in 2010. Both GM and Chrysler paid the loans back $7.6 bil and $8.1 bil, not sure how they actually ‘found’ the money to make the payback, but, …

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