Video: Bailout money doesn’t belong to us

posted at 8:50 am on November 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Why are you worried about bailouts, anyway? Don’t you know it’s not your money, but that it belongs to Congress? If I asked which party produced the Congressman who gave that assessment, you might be surprised (via Michelle):

Rep. Joe Knollenberg is a Republican — from Michigan, naturally enough for the auto bailout — who believes that tax money doesn’t come from taxpayers.  “It’s not your money,” he tells Neil Cavuto.  It belongs to Congress, and they’ll do whatever they want with it.  And what they want to do is take it from taxpayers to “prop up” failing businesses instead of forcing them to become competitive.

This is nothing more or less than Republican redistributionism.  We criticized Barack Obama for this during the campaign, but we see here the GOP version of the same kind of flabby, European-style Social Democrat policies of government intervention in markets.  The only difference is the beneficiaries.  Obama wants to take money from those who succeed and give it to those who don’t on a class basis, while Knollenberg and his ilk want to take money from everyone and subsidize corporate failure.

Small wonder that voters chose Obama’s version of redistributionism over Knollenberg’s in the last election.

The first rule of smaller government is that the money does not belong to Congress.  It belongs to the people who earned it, and should be treated that way.  The money should be treated as such and used with great care on only those essential government functions, and only to the extent necessary.  If one is ever tempted to declare that tax monies do not belong to the American people, that person has ceased being conservative at all, and has begun being imperial instead.


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It’s really a sad day when the labor unions so thoroughly control several states in this country that a Republican is forced to demand a $75BN redistribution of wealth from taxpayers to those ridiculous car companies. I live in Northern Ohio and it’s the same crap here. In fairness, Michigan, Ohio, and large swaths of Indiana will all basically be totally dead once the car industry dies.

However, I don’t think there is anything we can do about it. The car industry in this country is moribund. Transferring wealth only prolongs the inevitable, and takes that capital away from people and companies that are actually creating wealth. Terrible, terrible idea.

Outlander on November 19, 2008 at 8:53 AM

We’re screwed.

I see this guy is from Michigan. So is Thad McCotter – if he balks, I’ll cry. The Detroit press is going nuts and demanding a bailout.

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 8:57 AM

The US government has no money. They never have, they (hopefully) never will. It is The People’s money.

This is a critical message that Regean could communicate. (Also, Palin did a good job too… Opium, O.P.M. Other People’s Money.) We need more people that can explain this to the public.

Abby Adams on November 19, 2008 at 8:59 AM

This is your Republican Party. How long do you stick with it before you abondon it and try something else? It is quite obvious that the Republican Party will not learn from its beatings from the last two elections and return to any sort of conservatism beyond rhetorical appeals for your votes. How much will it take for you to go somewhere else or start something else?

King of the Britons on November 19, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Ed should have mentioned that this senator from Michigan will not be returning in January — he lost his re-election bid.

BigD on November 19, 2008 at 9:05 AM

RINO TOOL

Star20 on November 19, 2008 at 9:08 AM

I think our system has been going downhill since we stopped the political tradition of tar a feathering.

If ever there was a candidate to bring back some of that old time religion…

Saltysam on November 19, 2008 at 9:08 AM

Oh well I was thinking about waiting for the new H2 Cadillac. Guess I’ll go ahead and buy a Jag or Bently and get it converted to Hydrogen.

The only PRESSURE industry responds to is entrepreneurial competition. Throw $25 billion into conversions for cars, and let’s see what happens.

Agrippa2k on November 19, 2008 at 9:09 AM

money represents goods and work value govt dosent have thier own money they have ours all they have is printing presses and we own them too if they keep printing more and more the value of goods and workers pay go down with inflation

rico101 on November 19, 2008 at 9:11 AM

I will only buy domestic non union vehicles from here on out. I am only hearing these tools talk about making making smaller greener more efficient vehicles that will bring the auto industry back from near death. How much smaller and lighter are they gonna be? Will they cost less?

gringo69 on November 19, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Somebody step on that putz and NO BAILOUT!

Not without sacking all boards of directors, major union givebacks and ending all strangulating regulations like CAFE standards.

J.J. Sefton on November 19, 2008 at 9:16 AM

This is a perfect example of a politician catering to his local constituents with not only stupidity, (who’s money?), but with contempt. Cavuto’s right—–enough is enough!

Rovin on November 19, 2008 at 9:17 AM

In fairness, Michigan, Ohio, and large swaths of Indiana will all basically be totally dead once the car industry dies.

In fairness, yes. No bailout? Fine. Enjoy your soup kitchens, Ohio.

Grow Fins on November 19, 2008 at 9:17 AM

With Republicans like that, who needs Democrats?

morganfrost on November 19, 2008 at 9:18 AM

I realize it’s fairly early , but let me see if I’ve got this right. We’re supposed to bail out an industry where they’ve had a problem with SOME employees working on the line stoned or drunk, where the Union overturns or lessens most disciplinary actions by the company, where the Union now wants to do away with secret ballots, and where, as a result of all these issues, quality of product has been suffering.

And now we have a representative of OUR government that is so arrogant he believes that he and his cronies can do anything with OUR tax money that he wants to. And it is not OUR money anyway. It belongs to Congress. What? Did it magically appear?

Beltway Elitism and a sense of entitlement is killing this country.

God help us all.

Pass me the Tylenol.

kingsjester on November 19, 2008 at 9:20 AM

It is truly sad when the people that are elected to serve the nation are as stoooopid as this moron. This 1D10T has managed to pass himself off as a representative of the people, but he has clearly demonstrated why the republicans have lost sight of their charter. This guy should have been let go in the last election cycle, although he does represent the mindset of most members of the DemCong.

Off with their heads!

belad on November 19, 2008 at 9:22 AM

is = are
Bad Grammar. Early morning.
Oops.

kingsjester on November 19, 2008 at 9:23 AM

All future BAILOUTS should be preceded by a chapter 13 bankruptcy/re-organization so each company can show how they plan on recovering. This “blank-check” mentality has to stop now.

Rovin on November 19, 2008 at 9:24 AM

politically, it’d be suicide to be a congressman or Senator from that area and be oppossed to the bailout. Just the way it is.

jp on November 19, 2008 at 9:24 AM

I am only hearing these tools talk about making making smaller greener more efficient vehicles that will bring the auto industry back from near death. How much smaller and lighter are they gonna be? Will they cost less?

[gringo69 on November 19, 2008 at 9:12 AM]

Cost less or more is irrelevant. The question should be will anything they build cost less to produce than they can sell it for.

All three companies make decent cars and their share of the market is reasonably good. The problem is that they can’t make anything that brings in more money than goes out.

Dusty on November 19, 2008 at 9:26 AM

I hear the UAW bankrolled the DNC to the tune of 400million

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 9:28 AM

politically, it’d be suicide to be a congressman or Senator from that area and be oppossed to the bailout. Just the way it is.

jp on November 19, 2008 at 9:24 AM

He already lost.

ConservativeLawStudent on November 19, 2008 at 9:32 AM

This is another of the many reasons I am glad I chose not to support “Hezbollah” Joe Knollenberg. While I did not vote for his tax and spend liberal foe Nov 4, I am certainly glad Mr Knollenberg has been shown the door.

lodge – you mention Thad McCotter – I hope Conservative Michiganders can find a way to clone him – we really need more like him.
I have not heard him speak about the Auto bailout yet, but he was VERY vocal in his opposition to the original bailout. I think he was on the local radio station everyday for at least a week voicing his strong opposition.

brianjt0308 on November 19, 2008 at 9:32 AM

This Knollenberg is an arrogant SOB, obviously hanging by his fingernails to his place in line at the pork barrel buffet. This is the kind of incumbent legislator who’s been in the job too long. You know that happens, when he thinks the taxpayers’ money belongs to him.

Throw the bums out.

manwithblackhat on November 19, 2008 at 9:38 AM

The whole notion that dealerships can’t sell cars because of the mythical credit crunch is BULL.

matd on November 19, 2008 at 9:39 AM

All three companies make decent cars and their share of the market is reasonably good. The problem is that they can’t make anything that brings in more money than goes out.

Dusty on November 19, 2008 at 9:26 AM

Good point. I was in charge of cost reductions for the respective groups I was working in at two of the big three. Any idea we came up with that would improve efficiency to the point of taking a person off the line was shot down immediately by the plant. They either had to keep him there on the line, or find him another job. So many great ideas from the engineering teams get shot down by the plant and the union that would make these guys competitive again, it would make your head spin.
Not that that is the whole story. All management over there cares about is keeping their cell in the spreadsheet green for the six months they’re in that group before they get rotated out. They dont care that seven months down the road, the band aid they just threw on some issue is gonna end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars later because they are going to be in another group and completely unaware of it.

Hence, the reason I’m back in school, doing something else.

ConservativeLawStudent on November 19, 2008 at 9:40 AM

He sounded like he was reading a script for an auto-maker commercial.

whitetop on November 19, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Ok folks, THIS is the reason the RINO’s have to go. If the Republican party is ever going to move forward, we voters have to kick these types to the curb.

jcheney on November 19, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Weird I tried to post a comment and it disappeared.

This is one of the many reasons I am glad I chose not to support “Hezbollah” Joe Knollenberg on Nov 4. While I could not bring myself to vote for his tax and spend opponenet, I am glad he has been shown the door.

brianjt0308 on November 19, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Clearly he needs to spend some time alone and do some deep thinking. Congress doesn’t do a damn thing to generate revenue. They just take it from citizens. And much of the money they take from us is really stealing, inasmuch as the the Federal government is supposed to be really limited in what they can spend money on.

One of the rules of OPM (Other People’s Money) – after you’ve spent OPM long enough, you start to believe that it’s your own.

hawksruleva on November 19, 2008 at 9:47 AM

To put a fine point on it, Ed, it is not your money once you have paid your portion of tax to fund it. In the same vein nor is the national debt, your debt. Has anybody come around to your house asking for a signature on a promissory note?

That does not mean I support Knollenberg’s view. His first duty after defense of the realm is the defense of the taxpayer by having to only pay the minimal amount of tax. And yes Knollenberg should be defeated the next time he is up for reelection. He has the wrong view. He thinks we are subjects, not citizens.

Dr. Dog on November 19, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Screw him.

If Detroit really goes down, there are far more Democrats to take the hit.

drjohn on November 19, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Thank God this assclown Knollenberg is out of office!

What a boneheaded frigging stooge this idiot is!

It IS our money, you moron!

pilamaye on November 19, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Plus ca change, plus ce le meme chose (the more things change, the more they stay the same). The identical comments about who owns taxpayer dollars were made by democrats when Reagan put forward his tax cuts in the early 80s. I remember hearing it on a new show called ‘Crossfire’ on a new network called CNN.

We repeat the late 70′s…..

Vashta.Nerada on November 19, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Maybe if the “Big 3″ built cars people wanted to buy, things might be different…

Dawnsblood on November 19, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Gud Gawd! Just say NO! to Corporate Welfare.

ronsfi on November 19, 2008 at 9:57 AM

It damn sure is our money! Congressmen like this need a wake-up call from the people!

CP on November 19, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Congressmen like this need a wake-up call from the people!

CP on November 19, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Ah, I see that he was just defeated for re-election. A Democrat won, but at least we won’t have him in the caucus next year.

CP on November 19, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Maybe if the “Big 3″ built cars people wanted to buy, things might be different…

Dawnsblood on November 19, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Apparently , they get your money anyway..

the_nile on November 19, 2008 at 10:02 AM

The whole notion that dealerships can’t sell cars because of the mythical credit crunch is BULL.

matd on November 19, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Not too sure about that. I’ve been looking into buying a new Cadillac CTS and the best financing I can get through GM is 8.99% and that’s with an 800 FICO. Meanwhile, most of the Japanese automakers have 0% right now.
Doesn’t seem like they’re trying that hard to sell anything.

AZ_Mike on November 19, 2008 at 10:06 AM

AZ_Mike – Is the problem that you are getting financed through GM? What about a local bank? I know people around here are having no trouble getting bank financing for cars at attractive rates. The problem probably has to do more with GM woes about not getting financing than anything else.

matd on November 19, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Why don’t the auto makers go to the Unions and ask for the 25M. It would be an easy sell. Either you give us the 25M or in 3 Months you don’t exist.

PappaMac on November 19, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Fire him.

29Victor on November 19, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Actually, I’ve changed my mind. It isn’t our money since Bernanke is just going to print it for us.

lodge on November 19, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Beining in Knollenberg’s district I was sorry to see him defeated. I worked to keep him in office. Now we have GAry Peters a far left wing typical Democrat. This comment by Joe is not the conservative pro-life Congressman I know. He did vote for ENDA and he took a lot of heat here at home. I don’t know why he would say what he did. I think it must be his frustration to keep GM from going under. I don’t believe he really believes what he said. He has not been a RINO.
Speaking of GM, my husband is a SALARIED GM retiree who will loss his health care in Jan. We are torn becasue we don’t like the bailouts but his pension is on the line. So are we selfish to want to see GM helped??

Bullhead on November 19, 2008 at 10:19 AM

[ConservativeLawStudent on November 19, 2008 at 9:40 AM]

Yeah, that sounds akin to something similar to my ex-brother-in-law told me about twenty five years ago and thanks for the segue for telling this little story.

We’d just pulled in their driveway, late at night, for a weekend visit. Getting our luggage out of the trunk, I off-handedly complained to him, “I paid $15K for this car and you guys can’t even put a trunk light in as standard equipment!”

He said, “That would cost you another $1,000.” “WTF???”, I yell back, “It’s 5 cents of wire, a screw, a plug, a bulb and a pressure switch for 50 cents and maybe that much again for installing it.”

“Yeah”, he said, “at least a k. If the electronics group wanted to put it in, it would cost a buck for design and a buck to produce, but the carburetor group would then want $2 to improve the injection system and the engine mount group would want $2 to reduce vibration, and the upholstery group would want $2 to improve materials to reduce wear, and we’d need to give $2 to the foam group, too … yeah, by the time we were done it would be at least a grand to put a light in the trunk.

We spent a couple hours the next morning in his garage putting a light with a toggle switch in my trunk.

Dusty on November 19, 2008 at 10:24 AM

The UAW has been bleeding these companies to death and they won’t stop until all the money is drained. This is NOT the taxpayers’ (our) problem. The UAW caused it. THEY should deal with what they caused: Go to work for Toyota at a normal wage.

perroviejo on November 19, 2008 at 10:26 AM

This is the only silver lining I can find after the last election. Let’s purge Washington of these socialists-in-sheeps-clothing. In 2010 we’ll rebuild with true conservatives who actually believe we are endowed with rights by our Creator, not by the largesse of Congress.

Just like the auto industry — force them to reform or die.

patriette on November 19, 2008 at 10:30 AM

A bail out is not needed. The Union needs to be crunched! Only one way to be able to do that. Let the Car Companies fend for themselves. Some don’t realize how much Unions suck out of companies. Get this thuggery out! A lot of people have lost their savings. Not just from the Auto Industry. Some can’t do anything about it. The Unions are not for US. They are for themselves.

sheebe on November 19, 2008 at 10:31 AM

In fairness, Michigan, Ohio, and large swaths of Indiana will all basically be totally dead once the car industry dies.
In fairness, yes. No bailout? Fine. Enjoy your soup kitchens, Ohio.

Grow Fins on November 19, 2008 at 9:17 AM

I disagree. i think it has been the car industry, and the union jobs those industries that represent that have kept OHIO, MI and IN down. why go to college? why gamble and start your own business, why work as a teenager, why study the market, etc if you are going to be taken care of from high school to death by GM? I mean the money is great, the benefits top of the line, hours are good, job security, can even get high on the line. Etc. So why try harder and better yourself?

No the best thing that could happen for OH, IN and MI is if GM, F and chrysler go away.

sure it will cause short term pain but in the long term OH, Mi, in will return to the industrial powerhouses they were.

unseen on November 19, 2008 at 10:39 AM

Weeellll, maybe he meant the bailout money IS from Congress.

Everybody working on the Capitol Hill will have to open up THEIR wallets.

/I heard quite a few of them are PRETTY wealthy

Sir Napsalot on November 19, 2008 at 10:43 AM

I must be too simpleminded to understand this bailout BS. If the automakers need to be “propped up” for a while, why don’t they do what any other responsible individual would do– liquidate inventory.
If for some reason I couldn’t pay my bills, I’d sell my possessions for whatever I could get for them. In other words, convert my inventory to cash so I could survive. Automakers should do the same; sell their existing inventories for whatever they can get, at a loss if necessary.

dinobalz on November 19, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Why complain on HotAir? Let Ol’ Joe know where that money comes from.

Rogue Traveler on November 19, 2008 at 10:52 AM

There’s word on the street in Ohio. Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Colorado is that Obama money trees are sprouting behind the Oval Office just for the gifted folk in these States. “He is the One and he is going to take care of my house payment, car loan, car factory and all the illegal aliens that voted for him *cough* to push him over the top in NM and CO. Senior McCain promised us the same thing but he was a white dude.

Bulldogger on November 19, 2008 at 11:08 AM

In fairness, Michigan, Ohio, and large swaths of Indiana will all basically be totally dead once the car industry dies

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy will not kill the industry — it gives GM and CO. time to restructure and reorganize…this bailout thing is nothing more that rewarding laziness and failure.

People are going to find out that Unions do not help their constituents — they slowly destroy their job potential.

Richard Romano on November 19, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Well, technically, the physical money actually belongs to the Federal Reserve, a closely held Corporate Bank. We’re allowed to hold it for as long as we want, or until they recall it, but if we were to alter or destroy the money it would be destruction of Federal Reserve property. Which, oddly enough, is a federal offense and enforced by the Secret Service.

Our monetary system is seriously f-ed up. But that’s another rant. Somebody should send Knollenberg a Fundamentals of Business text book where the concept of a “Going Concern” is described. Let’s be clear: This is NOT a bailout of the auto manufacturers. This is a bailout of the UAW.

wtaft on November 19, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Ah, one more example of why the Republicans lost.

When you can’t see daylight between the two parties, what would you base you vote on other than who’s the prettier talker?

Way to go shunning conservatives, Johnny. Them sunsabitches like Thompson and Hunter and Tancredo learned not to mess with your border policies and global warming ideas and campaign finance speech infringements, eh?

MadisonConservative on November 19, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Neil is gonna have a stroke pretty soon if he has to keep interviewing these idiots.

Jim-Rose on November 19, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Why vote for a Republican who sounds like a democrat and wants to redistribute the wealth to failing companies, when you can vote for a real Democrat who wants to redistirbute the wealth to those who are not producing. A lot more votes from those who do not pay taxes, than the Sr Management of AIG, Golman-Sachs, Fannie/Freddie, GE, GM, Ford etc.

jerseyman on November 19, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Michigan is INSANE

Kini on November 19, 2008 at 11:26 AM

This is BS.
Did the airlines stop flying when they declared Chpt 11?
No.

They have to reorganize to remain viable. Right now, they are organ donors. Mo money is just stop gap at this point.

Roland THTG on November 19, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Email congress

http://www.conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm

reshas1 on November 19, 2008 at 11:39 AM

“TANSTAAFL”

It irks me that all of the financial problems of the past year seem to be pointing us towards finding a NEW solution:Socialism.
Meaning that when the Government owns the private sector, it owns YOU.
Gee, can you think of anybody around who would implement Socialism? Anyone? Bueller?

Doug on November 19, 2008 at 11:45 AM

I called the congressman’s office and since I wasn’t from his district, they weren’t interested in talking to me.

Stegall Tx on November 19, 2008 at 11:50 AM

The UAW has been bleeding these companies to death and they won’t stop until all the money is drained. This is NOT the taxpayers’ (our) problem. The UAW caused it. THEY should deal with what they caused: Go to work for Toyota at a normal wage.

perroviejo on November 19, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Amen!

Glynn on November 19, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Didn’t he just get booted out this election cycle?

Wonder why….

It's Vintage, Duh on November 19, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Republican puke from Michigan needs to go.

la.rt.wngr on November 19, 2008 at 12:19 PM

There are Republicans in Michigan??

TugboatPhil on November 19, 2008 at 12:38 PM

It is not our money because the government is already spending more of that than it collects.

It is not the government’s money because the government has no money.

It is our children and grandchildren’s money because they are the ones who will inherit the debt and the wvwe expanding unfunded entitlements. They are the ones who will decide whether to pay or not to pay these burdens that they never got to vote on.

If the have any sense, they will default…

Laurence on November 19, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Knollenberg lost his seat to Gary Peters on Election Day. If you think he’s bad, wait till Peters takes office.

cheeflo on November 19, 2008 at 1:06 PM

This is your Republican Party. How long do you stick with it before you abondon it and try something else? It is quite obvious that the Republican Party will not learn from its beatings from the last two elections and return to any sort of conservatism beyond rhetorical appeals for your votes. How much will it take for you to go somewhere else or start something else?

King of the Britons on November 19, 2008 at 9:03 AM

Exactly! Republicans had my support until for the first time in my lifetime had control of the Presidency and the Congress. And they blew it big time! They abandoned their principles and abandoned conservatives. It’s time to abandon the Republicans and start a Conservative Party! It will take many years, but assuming we have that long, it will be worth it!

Christian Conservative on November 19, 2008 at 1:11 PM

It belongs to Congress, and they’ll do whatever they want with it.

Did I miss something big? Has there been a coup against the U.S. Constitution?

MB4 on November 19, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Here is Joe Knollenberg’s email contact page:

http://www.knollenberg.house.gov/Contact/write.htm

INC on November 19, 2008 at 2:55 PM

I’m a Michigan Republican and I can say, “Thank God this guy is gone!” It’s those like him who are the reason this state is in such dismal shape.

cybervixen49 on November 19, 2008 at 3:39 PM

Sometimes I wish Government worked like the Private Sector. This guy ought to be fired.

iamse7en on November 19, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Ok folks, THIS is the reason the RINO’s have to go. If the Republican party is ever going to move forward, we voters have to kick these types to the curb.

The reality is, in states like Michigan, Vermont, Oregon, etc, these type of Republicans are the only ones who have a shot at winning. The RINOs that have to go are the ones in red, Conservative states.

I’m a Michigan Republican and I can say, “Thank God this guy is gone!” It’s those like him who are the reason this state is in such dismal shape.

cybervixen49

And yet they replaced him with someone even more left than he is, lol. Go figure….

xblade on November 19, 2008 at 6:40 PM

The big fear is that GM etal. will actually scrap the labor contracts and pension money pits that are killing them. Hey, it’s the Democrats problem now…. pass the pop corn I think it’s a Three Stooges marathon.

Buzzy on November 20, 2008 at 2:15 AM

Lets give Michigan and California to the mexicans.

ctmom on November 20, 2008 at 7:51 AM