President Obama’s plan to speed Chrysler through bankruptcy was delayed by the surprise Supreme Court decision yesterday that it will hear objections by a group of creditors in Indiana.

The matter could be resolved by later today but if it is not settled Chrysler will be at risk of going out of business. Fiat, which agreed to purchase most of Chrysler’s assets, is allowed to cancel the deal if it is not sealed by June 15.

The case could also provide the Supreme Court with the opportunity to consider the legality of the broad authority Congress gave the president to deal with the economic crisis.

In their lawsuit, the Indiana state funds went as far as comparing their case with the 1952 Supreme Court ruling that rejected President Truman’s claim that he had the constitutional authority to take over steel mills during the Korean War.

The Administration has said that it wanted a quick bankruptcy to contain resulting damage to both the company and the workers. To that end the bankruptcy has been described as a “controlled” one, with agreements having been reached with key parties before the company filed. The United Automobile Workers was included in the process.

Many creditors objected to the reduced payments they had to accept on their Chrysler debt. Obama blasted them as “speculators” in his speech announcing the Chrysler bankruptcy failing. “They were hoping everyone else would make sacrifices, and they would have to make none. I don’t stand with them,” the president said, at the time.

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), whose district is hard hit by the auto layoffs, is fearful of Chrysler being forced out of business. “By refusing to make the relatively small sacrifices that would avert a calamity, the pension funds will instead create a great catastrophe,” he said in a statement Monday.

The whole matter is seen as possibly impacting what the right-wing has been describing as the President’s “nationalization” of General Motors. Attempting to undercut what he knew would be a torrent of attacks from the right, Obama said his administration’s moves are intended to get GM back on its feet with the government getting out quickly.

Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele quickly jumped all over the president for pulling off “another government grab of a private company and a handout to the union cronies who helped bankroll his presidential campaign.”

The Republican alternative, liquidation of the auto giant, is an outrage in that it implies that both the economic and human needs of the nation are of no real concern to the GOP.

The right is still less concerned that, even under the administration-backed plan for GM, it is the workers who are making the most sacrifices. At least 21,000 GM workers will lose their jobs as the company shuts plants and moves more production to low-wage places overseas.

Workers, therefore, cannot be blamed for saying that the aim of the government’s intervention has little to do with helping them or with helping save jobs in Detroit.

Workers understand, of course, that rather than seeing the makings of a bold new approach to building industry, they are seeing the bailout of an auto company.

The $50 billion taxpayer investment of funds in GM is seen by many as a device to buy some time and that the once powerful company will eventually die, taking the remaining jobs with it.

The loss of a company that once provided more than 500,000 good jobs, coupled with the growing joblessness, across the board, has profound implications for workers across the nation.

The administration estimates that the stimulus will create or save 3.6 million jobs over the next two years. As important as that is, the job creation takes place against a backdrop of more than 28 million who are currently unemployed and a projection that 3 million more will lose their jobs over the next year.

Many fear that by addressing first the profitability needs of companies rather than focusing first on the needs of workers in their communities we could end up with an economic “recovery” that does not restore jobs.

The long-term course to which labor and progressive groups increasingly point is an innovative one that builds on a plan for creation of manufacturing jobs that themselves build a new “green” economy.

Greater fuel efficiency and a transition to green technologies doesn’t mean that smaller cars are made.

The auto industry needs the kind of retooling that will enable Detroit to make city buses, turbines, light rail, trains and solar panels.

This will require abandoning some of the existing commitment to the “free market” economy.

In the 1940’s there would have been a lot of shuttered auto factories were it not for the deals between the UAW and the government to use them to build fighter planes. The result was a successful war effort and a major boost to the effort to pull the country out of the Great Depression.

Similar deals need to be made today to build the implements of a green economy and to pull the country out of its economic slump. Right-wing objections aside, if it could be done in the 1940’s, it can be done now.

It will take a movement, however, to replace the idea that “what’s good for business is good for the people” with the idea that “what is good for the people is good for business.”

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