Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bailout, Round Two: Buy American?

Considering that the shows Lost and Prison Break have titles that are no longer appropriate (one is now Get Back [and Forth] and the other is now Four More Episodes that Have Nothing to Do with Breaking Out of Prison or Fleeing Like a Fugitive Anymore), we'll have to see if this second series of "Federal Bailouts" is any relevant. The bailout from the last administration was apparently squandered by executives taking bonuses, if the legislative tongue-lashing yesterday was any indication. We'll see what happens with the new administration's bailout. If anything, this "bailout" has so far been a FAIL, but not an EPIC FAIL (i.e., Iceland).

The other day, I was waiting in a hallway and overheard the beginnings of underdog Republican humor. I think the joke went like this:

Q: Why aren't the Democrats in Congress interested in the tax break aspects of the new bailout?
A: 'Cause they don't pay taxes in the first place!

It's a good start, Republicans. It's current, due to the tax dodgy streak of a couple of former Obama Cabinet nominees. Like most humor, it falls apart when you pick apart the "truthfulness" of the joke. Unfortunately, it's still a bit bully-like, when underdogs need to be self-effacing to be sympathetic and genuinely funny. It's still a good try, GOP! Just purge the Rush and Anne from your system, and inject some...I don't know...Drew Carey? Then again, Drew is apparently a Libertarian-Conservative, not a Police State/Big Brother Conservative like what has happened to the other side of the aisle these past eight years.

Okay, back to the bailout. If I recall correctly, there might be a condition in the final bill for some sort of "Buy American" sentiment, specifically for the endangered automakers of this country. On the Amazon.com Gold Box Forums, there's a poster who allegedly was flipped off by a sign-carrying commuter (the sign read Buy American) because the poster was driving a Japanese-brand automobile.

What constititutes "Buy American"? Is it the history of the company and its country of establishment? Is it the nationality of the majority shareholders, directors, and upper management? Is it the nationality of the employees? Is it the origin of the parts? The Big Three American automakers have some models built by Canadian and Mexican labor, but their American executives get big bonuses. By the same token, some Japanese automakers build their cars on American soil, with American auto workers; salaries affect the American economy but profits go to the corporate headquarters in Japan. What about American-brand cars made of parts not made in the USA? Your opinion might have fall on some sort of class bias, and that in and of itself is the beginnings of class warfare.

Some will take a nuanced approach when it comes to identifying what "Buy American" means, while others will have a Big Three mentality, akin to "Drill, baby, drill!" I am compelled to remind the reader that I have biases like you, and while ideological differences cause debate, the goal of prosperity for my fellow Americans remains.

All I have to say is that a company, foreign or domestic, deserves American-gotten profits as long as it employs my fellow Americans, and only if the company pays them fair wages. That said, I hope "Bailout, Round Two" helps. I want to go to the bank and take out several sizeable loans that aren't microloans. I too would like to do my part to fix this economy. More on that later!

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