Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Influence-Peddling Elephant In The Room

Here's another thing that kills me about Mickey's bailout blogging:

Detroit's major plan for continued viability, as best as anyone could discern one, was to shovel money at Congress to protect their only profitable line of business (selling heavy trucks and SUVs) by maintaining environmentally destructive and energy inefficient mileage/emissions standards, and hoping that the cost of fueling these vehicles never went up. This kind of action -- substituting government special-pleading for a competent business strategy -- is the kind of thing Public Choice Theory-lite neoliberals like Mickey live for.

Look at what it's got: (1) the "why liberals should be upset" hook (for most of Mickey's anti-union or -immigrant rants, this hook is "impact on low-income workers"; in this case, it would be "damage to the environment"), (2) a solid government-is-hopelessly-broken angle, and (3) some Democratic complicity in the problem (setting up the classic Kaus-ish "electing progressives leads to less progress" denouement).

Put them together and you've got the tried-and-true neoliberal slogan:

"If you really were a liberal, you'd hate liberalism and hate Democrats."

But Mickey needs more people buying into the false choice between productivity and unionization or else something like card check might actually pass the Senate. Also, Mickey basically considers unions the Death Star of contemporary liberalism's Empire (with the UAW manning the giant laser or something), and the enemy of your enemy is your friend, and so on.

But still. Watching Mickey pass up a perfectly good opportunity like this just so he doesn't have to temper his anti-union blogging is just so ... refreshing.