Congress Passes $25 Billion in Loan Guarantees to Automakers

If you were distracted in the past week with the financial crisis, the political campaign, the debate, the baseball playoff picture, NFL football, your job or whatever and if you happened to blink for a moment, you might have missed it!

Like a magician using slight of hand while you were distracted by his lovely assistant, the United States Senate passed a bill authorizing yet another $25 billion in bailout money.  This one for loan guarantees to the automobile industry.

The bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives last Wednesday and which the President has indicated that he will sign, are the first loan guarantees to the automakers since Congress passed a similar $675 million measure to Chrysler Corporation in 1980.

The loan guarantees were tucked away inside a continuing resolution that included funding for the U.S. government and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That’s exactly where I would look, as an interested citizen, if I wanted to know about such legislation…NOT!

While I’m not surprised about the bailout (indeed I expected one), nor am I opposed to a bailout of the auto industry, I am appalled by how it is done.   I would have preferred that it be debated a bit more and reported by the media a lot more.

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