California Congressman Mike Thompson voted Yes on H.R. 7321 [Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act], a $14 billion bailout for the American automobile industry. The bill mainly passed along partisan lines, with the Democrats for and the Republicans against, but supposedly President George W. Bush has said he will support the bill. It also needs to pass the U.S. Senate before it can become law.
This is a tough one because whether it should be passed depends on what might happen in the future if it is not passed. If failure to pass it means a Great Depresssion, then sure, it needs to pass.
For a century the U.S. auto industry, including stockholders, management, unions, and car dealers, did their best to enrich themselves at the expense of other Americans. They often made lousy cars, too. They deserve to fail. If allowed to go into bankruptcy, GM and Chrysler would probably be broken into parts and more efficient American manufacturers would emerge. Despite tying up this bailout package with some token reforms, it just selects a particular industry for taxpayer subsidization.
And, by the by, what happened to Thompson the Blue Dog Democrat, who does not like to waste taxpayer money? Then again, better to waste taxpayer money than have a Great Depression.
As far as I know there are no auto industry jobs in our district except for local dealerships. Here's an idea: lets stop making and importing cars all altogether, and just keep fixing up the ones that already exist. That would be good for the environment and would shift automotive dollars to the local economy, out of centers like Detroit.
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Mike Thompson is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.