Friday, December 19, 2008

Bush orders emergency bailout of the auto industry

The AP just reported: “Citing imminent danger to the national economy, President Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry Friday, offering $17.4 billion in rescue loans and demanding tough concessions from the deeply troubled carmakers and their workers.”

It looks like President Bush has determined to take one more dictatorial action before he leaves office and again give the Constitution the middle finger. I would like to throw a shoe at him.

The auto bailout failed. Congress has spoken. We live in a Democracy with an elected legislature and when Congress voted against the bailout that was supposed to end it. The Troubled Asset Relief Program was not passed to become the President’s private slush fund. Congress did not give Bush a blank check to spend that money however he wanted. The TARP was clearly appropriated to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions and restore liquidity to the market. It is illegal to take money specifically appropriated for one purpose and spend it on something else. If Congress appropriates money for children’s health care, is it OK if a president takes it and uses it to fund a military campaign? There is no difference. I more upset by the abuse of power than I am that the auto industry will get the bailout. If this is the way we are going to do business, we might as well abolish Congress and vest all power in a single individual.

Since the majority of the Democrats desire to bail out the auto industry, they won’t challenge Bush on this decision. Republicans, most of whom do not want the bailout, won’t mount a challenge a President of their own party who is on his way out the door. Bush will get by with this abuse of power.

For Democrats, I am convinced that what is achieved is much more important than how it is achieved and for Republicans, I am convinced that party is more important than principle. No one gives a damn about the separation of powers and the Constitution.

I am glad the Bush era is over, but with an acquiescent Congress and a public that doesn’t give a damn, I don’t expect any restraint on Obama or any future Presidents who may decide to rule dictatorially. I don’t expect Obama to govern with any greater respect for the Constitution than Bush; Obama has praised Bush’s decision.

I don’t expect it, but I hope someone in Congress has the balls to challenge the legality of the Presidents decision to commit this abuse of power.

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