Yesterday, as word got around about the CEOs of the Big 2.5 automakers hopping on their private jets to go begging before Congress, I found myself thinking about Ronald Reagan, wondering what he would do in this situation. And I find it remarkably easy:
He’d tell them no.
First up, a lot of people say that offering bailout loans to the automakers would keep them out of bankruptcy, which would most likely bust the United Auto Workers — or, at the very least, diminish their power tremendously. Well, Reagan’s stance on abusive union power is very clear: he’s against it. When the air traffic controllers went on strike, in direct contravention of federal law and their contract, he gave them 48 hours to return to work. Barely 10% of them did return; the rest were fired and banned from any government employment for three years.
Next, Reagan was a man who loved stories — even those who were apocryphal — that reinforced his beliefs. One of his favorite stories was of the woman driving up in a Cadillac to pick up her welfare check.
While that story was never documented, it is very easy to see the parallels between that and the heads of the domestic automakers hopping on their corporate luxury jets and flying down to Washington, DC to beg for a handout. The idiots didn’t have the common sense to fly commercial, or even “jet pool” down — they each took their own.
When someone begs for help and pleads poverty, it helps if they look poor. Fat beggars claiming starvation don’t get many handouts.
Ray Stevens, in his song “Would Jesus Wear A Rolex,” summed it up perfectly:
Woke up this mornin’, turned on the t.v. set.
there in livin’ color, was somethin’ I can’t forget.
This man was preachin’ at me, yeah, layin’ on the charm
askin’ me for twenty, with ten-thousand on his arm.
He wore designer clothes, and a big smile on his face
tellin’ me salvation while they sang Amazin’ Grace.
Askin’ me for money, when he had all the signs of wealth.
I almost wrote a check out, yeah, then I asked myself
Would He wear a pinky ring, would He drive a fancy car?
Would His wife wear furs and diamonds, would His dressin’ room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow, well there’s somethin’ I’d like to know
Could ya tell me, Would Jesus wear a Rolex on His television show?
And if that isn’t enough to convince you that the Big 2.5 don’t deserve handouts, then I give you the timeless wisdom of Reagan’s widow:
“Just Say No.”