"Productive industry owned and run by federal bureaucrats is an impossible fantasy. It will worsen the economy, just as it did in the ‘30s," warns John Andrews about the proposed automaker bailout in the December round of Head On TV debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt says the Detroit rescue is necessary for an "economy stuck on empty." John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Obama's transition and Colorado's economic stimulus options. On the lighter side, they offer winner & sinner awards for 2008 along with a wacky forecast for 2009. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for December: 1. AUTOMAKERS SEEK BAILOUT
Susan: Congressional bailout of Detroit must consider that Ford and GM are public companies while Chrysler and GMAC, GM's finance arm, are owned by Cerberus - one of the world's richest and most secretive private investors. Taxpayers have bailed out enough Wall Streeters, Cerberus should match the feds.
John: The US auto industry was driven to the wall by big-brother government with its burdensome policies on taxes, regulation, labor, and environment. Washington DC now virtually taking over Detroit, complete with a Soviet-style car czar, will only make it worse. The answer is ordinary bankruptcy with givebacks by the greedy UAW.
Susan: Nonsense, with Congress in its pocket Detroit ignored CAFÉ standards, the competition and the market. The UAW is not the problem. Until the nation solves the health care and portable pension issues, our economy is stuck on empty.
John: Productive industry owned and run by federal bureaucrats is an impossible fantasy. It will worsen the economy, just as it did in the ‘30s. Bipartisan arrogance by Hoover and FDR turned a normal recession into the Great Depression. Bush and Obama must not repeat that mistake. No bailout for Detroit.
2. OBAMA SO FAR
John: After Obama won with his message of hope and change, we of the opposition hoped that he would change. As inauguration day approaches, it seems he has. His cabinet looks like a mixture of Clinton’s third term and McCain’s first term. His defense secretary worked for President Bush and Bush’s father.
Susan: Obama is smart, deliberate and believes in the value of responsive government. It's going to take the focus, experience and wisdom of his team to address the global economic meltdown and huge challenges abroad. January 20th can't come soon enough.
John: The 44th President gives evidence of having the right stuff so far, but this is the preseason. When he takes the oath, it’s game on. Then we’ll see if he has backbone behind the charisma. Recession is a reality check. Pakistan is a timebomb. Blagojevich is a nightmare.
Susan: Obama will take office in the midst of a massive mess. He will only be able to accomplish what the times and temperament of the public allows. At best, he must restore confidence in government and governing. Low expectations are the key to a happy life.
3. RECESSION HITS COLORADO
Susan: Even the most conservative economists have become Keynesian at the prospect of a massive recession. Colorado's construction is dead with homebuilding and development at a standstill. The answer is a massive public works program - FasTracks, roads, bridges and civic infrastructure.
John: Two years of anti-business policies and bigger government have earned our governor the nickname of Recession Ritter. Colorado employers need a lighter dose of taxes and regulation to survive this economic slowdown. Stimulating business is best done with the market ideas of Milton Friedman, not the dead hand of Lord Keynes.
Susan: Greenspan's Friedman unfettered market policy got us into this mess. And Colorado already has one of the lowest tax rates in the nation. Colorado's leadership - an oxymoron - local, state, public and private - must step up, take risks and be bold. . . when pigs fly.
John: Colorado leaders are from your party, not mine, but they deserve our respect regardless. Speaker Carroll and Senate President Groff named a special committee on economic recovery. Good. It should reduce taxes and regulation. Gov. Ritter wants to help small business. Good again. He should cool it with labor unions.
4. WINNERS & SINNERS OF 2008
John: Before 2008 is forgotten, here’s our annual salute to Colorado winners and sinners of the old year. Denver hosted a successful DNC and sparkled for its 150th birthday. Coffman and Polis went to Congress after tough primaries. Ritter’s tax increase flopped. Tough times for Rockies baseball and the Rocky Mountain News.
Susan: The biggest winner, now that we are at the end of 2008, is the American public; witnessing the end of the Bush government. Eight years of being lied to while corporate goliaths and hedge fund managers got rich, have taken a huge toll.
John: Enough with the Daily Kos talking points. Give me some hometown humor. How about Mark Udall making “Boulder liberal” into a badge of honor with his 10-point victory. How about Speaker-designate Bernie Buescher becoming election roadkill. How about Golden changing its name to Tincup after the Coors brewery goes away.
Susan: That's a good one and Commerce City sounds like a brand all America would love to adopt! Urbanism is a huge winner. With Obama's election - a true urbanist who thought about being an architect. C I T Y is no longer a 4-letter word!
5. FEARLESS PREDICTIONS FOR 2009
John: It’s time again for Susan and John’s fearless new year predictions. 2009 is gonna be crazy. Harry Reid launches a deodorant brand. Jon Stewart and Joe Biden trade jobs. Bill Ritter gives up the governor gig and heads back to Africa as a missionary. Colorado Public Television acquires the Rocky.
Susan: Republicans drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub. Sarah Palin replaces Shawn Hannity and Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, as the station struggles for viewers. Bill Clinton's handicap falls to the single digits as he's banished to the links for the next four years.
John: The Secretary of State’s husband will still have an ethical handicap in triple digits. So Hillary dumps Bill and marries Henry Kissinger. The Onion acquires the New York Times. Mattel acquires GM. The Mafia acquires Chicago. The Obamas get a pretty little pitbull and name it Sarah.
Susan: Hickenlooper goes to Washington to head the Department of Special Events - the perfect job for a guy who is better at putting on a show than governing a city. With DC becoming the nation's new financial hub, Pennsylvania Avenue changes its name to Wall Street and the bankers morph to street sweepers.