Senator Shelby (Republican-Alabama) has a very negative record when it comes to protecting the economic health of the American nation. He has routinely endorsed every major, so-called "free trade" deal that has been proposed for decades. Shelby has routinely stood in the way of government provided, universal healthcare proposal for decades. Now, Shelby (like most other Republican Senators with similar voting records) is blocking the federal bridge loans to the American auto companies designed to save the American auto industry.
The stakes are huge. A million auto worker retirees have their healthcare and pensions put at risk by Shelby's unpatriotic and reckless actions. The ripple effect of not approving the loans could destroy one out of ten jobs in the American economy.
Political and economic pundits along with most officeholders have refused to link the economic crisis facing the auto industry to government policy. The situation facing the auto industry is more a result of bad government policy than bad management decisions. The attempt by politicians like Shelby to blame labor unions is factually wrong and, in my opinion, intentionally dishonest. Shelby and his Senate allies created this auto industry crisis by adopting economic policies that have crippled the American economy.
All industrialized nations except the United States has government provided, universal healthcare. Only in America, do we place the costs of workers' healthcare and their families' healthcare on the backs of employers. This puts our employers at a huge competitive disadvantage with foreign corporations.
At the same time, foreign governments have helped their auto manufacturing in terms of research and development (R&D) much more than the American government has in recent decades. Senate Republicans have routinely placed the profits of HMO's, drug companies and insurance companies over the health of American manufacturing. Shelby has undermined both the personal health of hundreds of millions of American citizens and our industrial base for decades.
Our nation spends 17% of our total economy on healthcare. We have 47 million uninsured and many more underinsured citizens. Our industrial competitors in Europe, Asia and Canada spend only 8% of their economies on healthcare. They cover all their citizens healthcare needs.
Without government provided, universal healthcare, it is economic death for American manufacturing to open up our borders to so-called "free trade" with nations who provide such healthcare to their citizens. Shelby and his Republican Senate allies are trying to murder American manufacturing.
The auto industry bridge loans are badly needed. Failure to pass these loans would be more than just irresponsible. It would be a threat to our economic and military national security. We cannot remain a major military power without a vibrant industrial base especially in vehicle manufacturing.
We need to address the long-term government policies that created the current crisis after approving the auto industry bridge loans. We must either adopt government provided, universal healthcare by passing legislation like the Medicare For All Bill (HR 676) or ending tariff free imports in manufactured goods. We need to adopt a Re-Industrialization Policy designed to restore our economic health in the world economy. We must end the political dominance of the economic elite in our federal government by replacing politicians like Shelby with economic patriots who actually care about working Americans and national security.
Written by Stephen Crockett (host of Democratic Talk Radio and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Labor.com.