December 4, 2008

Republican Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina gives the party line on the virtues of letting the Big Three go bankrupt to MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell:

Sanford: We have examples before where businesses have gone into Chapter 11 and have come out stronger as a result. If you look at United Airlines back in 2002, it went into Chapter 11 and yet people got on planes every day and, quote, risked their lives if they took a United flight. And it worked out -- United is still up and going.

If you look just recently, Circuit City filed Chapter 11, people are still going in during the holiday season and shopping for cameras and videos and all the other things that one shops for. Circ -- I mean, Chapter 11 is simply a way to reorganize a business, and to make decisions that you oftentimes cannot make without those bankruptcy law protections.

So what I would humbly suggest to the Big Three is, given the fact that certain things are clearly not in order with regard to their finances, use that tool as opposed to taxpayers, which is the easier course for them, but the much harder course for the rest of us as taxpayers, as the bailout mechanism.

Notice anything missing? What Sanford conveniently neglects to tell the MSNBC audience is what some of those "decisions you cannot make without those bankruptcy law protections" include, to wit:

-- The company can tear up any existing union contract it likes. Say goodbye, UAW.

-- It can wipe out all its existing pension plans.

Sanford touts the United Airlines example, but neglects to mention that one of the really pernicious effects of that bankruptcy was how it utterly destroyed the company's pension system. There was a huge human toll paid, with 9/11 widows among the victims.

There will be a similarly monstrous human toll paid if we follow Sanford's plan. But then, for Republicans like him, that's a negligible cost to begin with.

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