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Ron Wyden: Let's Throw Good Money After Bad!

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden was unavailable to vote on whether to bring the Detroit automotive corporation bailout to a vote in the Senate. Without him there, the vote on cloture failed, and Detroit didn’t get the billions of dollars it wanted.

That’s fine by me – and besides that, it looks like George W. Bush is planning to dole out some corporate welfare to Detroit on his own through previously approved money. Still, the day after the vote, Senator Wyden felt obligated to explain his absence, and to express his strong, strong allegiance to the agenda of the Detroit CEOs.

The loops in Wyden’s justification of an automotive corporate bailout left me feeling whiplashed. Wyden explained, “While I continue to have concerns about ensuring that taxpayers are protected if this loan is to occur, I believe that if the President can unwisely provide $700 billion of taxpayer money for the investment banks that took horribly unacceptable risks and helped trigger an economic collapse, we certainly have a duty to attempt to preserve a cornerstone domestic industry and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of working people whose personal actions are in no way responsible for the current economic crisis.”

Wyden’s argument:

1. I am concerned that taxpayers would not be protected from the negative consequences of sending billions of dollars that may never be paid back to Detroit’s car corporations.
2. However, I believe that the government has a duty to fund private businesses as big as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler…
3. …because George W. Bush was unwise to give hundreds of billions of dollars to other risky, irresponsible big corporations.

Wyden’s logic suggests that he believes that a wasteful, risky corporate welfare scheme for Detroit is justified by the face that there has been a previous risky, wasteful corporate welfare scheme. In other words, once our government makes one bad mistake, it’s important to make some more, similar mistakes.

This kind of sloppy thinking on the part of a United States Senator frightens me even more than the prospect of granting billions of dollars to an industry that has proved that it’s not skilled at anything but losing money.

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