Post Only Supports Bailouts for Robert Rubin, Not Autoworkers

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Dean Baker
TPMCafé (Talking Points Memo), October 27, 2008

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We all know how hard it is to get by on tens of millions of dollars a year. That is why the Washington Post was near hysterical in its support of the Wall Street bailout earlier this month. They argued that if we didn't give $700 billion to the banks right away that all hell would break loose.

Those who wanted to put conditions that ensured that the money didn't go into the pockets of shareholders or top executives, or even that the bailout was done the right way through direct injections of capital (as it eventually was) were denounced as reactionary Neanderthals. So, the bailout went through and the Wall Street executives are now getting tens of millions in compensation, courtesy of average taxpayers.

Now the occasion comes to bailout the auto industry and the Post goes ballistic the other way.

After all, the average autoworker makes $56,650 a year. That's almost as much as Robert Rubin makes in a day. Who do these autoworkers think they are?

There are serious issues that should be asked about any bailout of Detroit, but it is a bit obscene to see a paper that in both its editorial and news pages was an active supporter of handing tens of billions of dollars to rich Wall Street bankers suddenly turn around and get hysterical about the idea of helping workers making $57,000 a year. And remember, none of these autoworkers are responsible for wrecking the economy.

The class bias at the Post is so thick that most people should know to treat this one as a leftover from the comics section. But it is still pretty disgusting to see people who make six figure salaries and who anxiously promote policies to help people who make seven and eight figure salaries, get outraged over a policy designed to help people earning $57,000 a year.


Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. He also has a blog on the American Prospect, "Beat the Press," where he discusses the media's coverage of economic issues.