Republican Senators Richard Shelby (Ala.), Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.) are ardent opponents of the $14B auto bailout bill approved by the House. They need to recuse themselves from the Senate vote. Or at the very least, call in sick for the tally.
Shelby has branded the bailout a travesty, while DeMint has warned of riots in the streets if Detroit’s Three get a lifeline while other hurting companies don’t. The only travesty here is having the deeply conflicted Shelby, Corker and DeMint vote “no” or filibuster the car rescue plan.
Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Hyundai have manufacturing plants in Alabama. The “Heart of Dixie” also is the heart of foreign car investment in the U.S., raking in more than 10 percent of their overall outlays. That’s pretty impressive for a state with only 4.6M people.
Tennessee is the North American home of Nissan’s manufacturing operations. The Japanese automaker moved its white collar staff from Gardena, Calif. to the Nashville area in `06. The ever-hospitable (or desperate for jobs) “Volunteer State” shelled out about $200M to finance Nissan’s move from the coast. Half of the Californians employed by Nissan refused to move to Franklin, Tenn.
BMW has been making cars in Spartanburg, S.C. since `94. A University of South Carolina reported that the Germans have an $8.8B economic impact in `97. Each worker at BMW supports 4.3 other jobs in the “Palmetto State.”
These states offer a big supply of potential non-union workers. The foreign car companies are linchpins of their economies. It’s no wonder that the Republican trio are advocates of foreign car makers. But there comes a time when Senators need to look beyond the needs of their constituents and cast a vote for the good of the country. That time has come. An end of the year bankruptcy by either General Motors or Chrysler would without a doubt be a godsend for their foreign competitors. It would also destroy millions of jobs in the U.S., and further drive the U.S. economy into the toilet.
Is that what Shelby, Corker and DeMint want to be remembered for?