Posted by MataHarley on 13 July, 2009 at 3:15 pm. 21 comments already!


It was just yesterday I posted on the liberal economic policies coming to a head in Montana. Democrats have historically been big on lavishing heavy regulations and taxes on the mining and steel industries, rendering them ineffective as competitors in the world market place. Dems have also enjoyed unmitigated union support, who also played a more than sufficient role in bankrupting two of the big three US auto manufacturers.

Now, with the unrealistic financial demands on industries, combined with risking the taxpayers’ cash on the future of GM, the Dems find themselves between a “palladium” and a hard place with their economic policies.

They can opt to protect the US taxpayers investment in GM (aka Government Motors) by continuing to refuse to honor a GM contract with Stillwater to purchase their metals for catalytic converters at (oft times) higher than market prices.

Or they can shop on the free market, purchasing their metals cheaper from Russia or South Africa, and let the US PGM’s mining business cascade into the financial hole, and leave thousands of American workers jobless.

Democrat Governor Brian Schweitzer has picked which liberal economic approach he’s on… the side of his Montana miners. It is a vote for subsidies…. none of which would have to exist if the government didn’t create an environment for the lopsided playing field with their legislation.

The Montana citizens themselves get screwed either way. If they lose their mining jobs, the repercussions echo not only thru the Big Sky State, but potentially rumble all the way to NJ and CA where the metals are refined. But even if their jobs are saved, they… along with the nation’s taxpayers… lose because the new government owned GM cannot purchase the metals from foreign nations… not burdened with the US regulations, taxes and union contracts… at a better price.

What was that about chickens and roosting again?

As I pointed out, Gov. Schweitzer was demanding intervention from the O’admin. Schweitzer is looking for a bud in the WH for his miners, and today he’s just been handed a huge gift….Steve Rattner has resigned as the Obama top dog of auto czars, and passed the blow torch to Ron Bloom. And Bloom is fresh off his last gig of 13 years as the assistant to the President of the United Steelworkers union…. coincidently the same union who represents the Stillwater Mining Company’s workers.

[Ron Bloom was] employed by the Pittsburgh-based United Steelworkers union, which has 1.2 million working and retired members. Bloom has worked as a special assistant to the USW president since 1996 and his duties include helping the union affect corporate business restructuring, investments, bankruptcies and mergers. He is particularly known for working on deals related to recent steel industry bankruptcies. In many of these deals, the USW made considerable concessions in order to help steel companies stay afloat.

Needless to say, the USW will be demanding the ear of one who was formerly their own to step in to the situation, coming to the aid of their mine union workers. This, of course, would reverse what Rattner himself helped construct as he spent his entire five months tenure overseeing both the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings.

GM emerged from bankruptcy last week after removing tens of billions of dollars in debt. Chrysler emerged earlier from its own bankruptcy proceeding.

Both car companies are undergoing dramatic restructuring plans that will see them drop several brands and lay off tens of thousands of factory workers in states across the country. House and Senate lawmakers will see thousands of constituents lose jobs in the process as the industry tries to regain its footing.

“With GM’s restructuring complete, Steven Rattner, whose leadership and vision were invaluable to the auto task force’s efforts, has decided to transition back to private life and his family in New York City,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement on Monday.

Ron Bloom, who has had a leading role on the task force, will take over.


“With day-to-day management of these companies in the hands of the private sector, the American taxpayers have a better chance of recouping their investment in these companies,” Geithner said.

With any intervention from Bloom on behalf of the USW and Stillwater, we can safely say Geithner’s comment about GM being “…in the hands of the private sector” couldn’t be any further from the truth. Plus, this is an administration who has demonstrated they place union interests above secured investors and pensioners.

At this point, there is no way Bloom can turn that doesn’t shaft one party (the taxpayers, including Montana residents), or the other (Montana, and possibly CA and MJ jobs… as well as damaging the American PGM industry). Small wonder Rattner is beating feet…

Keep your popcorn handy.

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