Is the GOP Risking the Economy to Win a War Against Unions?
Even as the auto industry teeters on collapse, union-bashing continues as the mainstay of a GOP propaganda war against organized labor. With three million jobs at stake, potentially costing taxpayers $150 billion in unemployment insurance, Medicaid, other aid and lost tax revenues, unions remain the primary targets of the GOP blame game for the troubled auto industry and the failed bailout deal. The Bush Administration, while dithering over the scope of any bailout with federal funds, has faced mounting pressure from Republicans to impose the same sort of union-wrecking conditions that scuttled a deal in the Senate last week.
The hostile response to a bailout, even though some form of rescue package is still likely this week, is doubtless fueled by recent polls confirming that a majority of the public is opposed to an auto industry bailout and doesn't believe that its collapse would significantly hurt the economy.
So far, it's right-wing demagoguery 1, progressives zero in the battle over the bailout. Public support was further harmed, of course, by the plutocratic PR blunders of the auto industry executives' initial jet-setting appeal to Congress. In fact, the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals, the conservative propaganda campaign against an auto bailout has even hoodwinked some union members: "Union households are no more apt than those without a union member to favor the plan, 44 percent compared with 42 percent. However, the union householders who support the plan are more likely to be strongly behind the bailout, " the Washington Post reports.