Meaning, the Republican Scrooges in the Senate who killed the rescue of the auto industry last week, at a time when the recession is expected to last for years...
Lets take a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Present, shall we?
Mr. Scrooge: Bah, humbug! Ill tell you what I think of these short-sighted, fat-cat dinosaurs from Detroit, dragging 400,000 GM retirees in their wake, like the chains of Jacob Marley... (Rattle, rattle) You UAW workers never voted for me in the first place, and its the banks I care about! The banks, the banks! Wheres my change purse? Ah, here, my dears -- a $700 billion contribution to you good bankers. Spend it as you will! No strings attached -- its Christmas, after all! Bless you, my boys.
But for you miserable automakers and your blue collar ilk, only a lump of coal, and not a penny in my purse for you!
Bob Cratchit: But Mr. Scrooge, if the Big 3 go under, it will mean three million people out of work! And 3,000 auto parts suppliers will likely go under as well, with millions more jobs lost.
Mr. Scrooge: Nonsense, my boy -- theyll simply go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and reorganize the companies. Theyll be able to toss those retirement benefits on the rubbish heap.
Did you know that $1,600 of the sale of every GM vehicle goes to pay for retiree health-care benefits alone? Why, GM has 400,000 retirees to support, and Toyota has only 700. Why should I part with a single penny from my purse to support such a reckless scheme?
Ghost of Marley: Look Scrooge, can a poor ghost interject here? Recall that if GM, Chrysler and Ford go bankrupt, their suppliers will be paid back only pennies on the dollar for all they are owed.
Suppose that there are auto parts suppliers in a benighted place, like -- say, Northern Michigan -- and they receive only 10 cents on the dollar for what GM owes them. How will they afford to pay their employees? How will they stay in business?
Scrooge: Bah, humbug! The only solution, in my view, is to let the Big 3 fail and get bought up by Toyota or Hyundai. They‘ll start with a clean slate, with Michigan begging them to come in with wage cuts and tax breaks; and with no benefits or health care bills to pay, no pensions and legacy costs.
(A smile dawns on Mr. Scrooge‘s face at the very thought of it.)
Tiny Tim: But, please, Mr. Scrooge -- how will the people who are out of work pay their bills? How will they live?
Mr. Scrooge: They can live in their cars for starters -- how‘s that for an ‘auto bailout‘? And they can do what every person in need does these days and borrow on their credit cards. At 30 percent interest, it will be good for the banks!
Ghost of Marley: Gee, I‘d forgotten that Congress allowed the banks to raise interest rates on credit cards to insane, usurious levels a few years ago... Back then there was a limit of 19 percent on credit card interest, but Republicans and Democrats alike voted to allow interest rates to go sky-high. What a brilliant solution, Mr. Scrooge: we‘ll all simply borrow more on our credit cards and the 30 percent interest will do wonders for the banks!
Bob Cratchit: But Mr. Scrooge, think of the personal bankruptcies! People cant afford 30 percent interest on their credit cards. They wont be able to pay for their mortgages... They won‘t be able to buy new cars! Even the banks will suffer...
Mr. Scrooge: Stuff it, Cratchit, or I‘ll cut off your kid‘s Medicaid benefits.
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: Lord, Mr. Scrooge, you really need to take a trip to the future to see what you‘ve done. Youre nasty, Mr. Scrooge -- you really need to smell the coffee...
Mr. Scrooge: Bah, humbug! And Marley, stop rattling those chains!
Ghost of Marley: That‘s not me, Mr. Scrooge. That‘s the sound of the stock market crashing -- again...
Tiny Tim: God help us, every one!“