Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid canceled plans Wednesday for a vote on a bill to carve $25 billion in new auto industry loans out of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund. The Bush administration and congressional Republicans have rejected Democrats’ plan to dip into that pot of money.

Warning of economic disaster, a bipartisan group of senators from auto industry states are trying to reach a deal on an alternative package. If an agreement can be reached, Reid said the Senate still could vote on it as part of a measure to extend jobless benefits.

But Reid acknowledged that was “not going to be easy.”

With all sides sensing doom for a Big Three automaker rescue, the fingerpointing began. White House press secretary Dana Perino said that if Congress “leaves for a two-month vacation without having addressed this important issue … then the Congress will bear responsibility for anything that happens.”

The lame duck President and the lame ass Congress are playing “Ees not my yob bro!” games with the auto industry, as the prospect of its complete collapse is played out in the mainstream media. All this while the nation issues a collective GASP! at the news that the CEO’s of the Big Three automakers flew into DC to ask for $25 billion in tax payer money in their private jets.

But Congress sent them home packing…in their private jets, but sent home empty-handed nevertheless.

Nancy Pelosi demanded that they bring back with them a plan showing that the $25 billion would make them economically viable again:

“Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif

Here’s the problem:

Even if lawmakers return to vote, they are likely to insist on numerous conditions on any loans. One possibility is to seek a partial ownership of the companies. Another is to limit salaries of top executives. A third is to prohibit use of the funds for any lobbying.

Not one mention of the Unions, and the billions in unfunded liability for their pension plans. THAT’S what’s making US manufacturers uncompetitive in their own home turf.

Here are a few eye-opening figures:

  • Average Labor Cost per U.S. Hourly Worker: GM $73.73, Toyota $48
  • Health Care Costs per Vehicle in 2004: GM $1,525, Toyota $201
  • Profitability per Vehicle (2005): GM losses $2,331 per vehicle, Toyota makes $1,488 per vehicle
  • North American Workforce: GM white collar 36,000-production 106,000-retirees 460,000. Toyota white collar 17,000-production 21,000- retirees 1,600
  • Number of Plants in North America: GM 77 all unionized, Toyota 12, three of them unionized.
  • Net Income in the First 9 Months of 2005: GM $4.15 billion loss from North America operations off-set by profits in Europe and Asia for an overall loss of $3.8 billion. Toyota $7.89 billion in profits.
  • The Democrats want the auto industry to “fix” everything except the real problem, because the real problem in our auto industry is a major Democratic constituency. So I expect that the Big Three will get their money, and the Unions will continue to sink the American auto industry into oblivion.

    The way this whole thing is shaping up, the Detroit Lions may not be the biggest losers in the State of Michigan this year.

    The US auto industry will be it.