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Brown: We Need More Than Mouse Clickers

"Our economy can not live on mouse clicks alone," argued Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) during his opening statement before the auto executives. "We have to make real things, and that’s what Detroit does."

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) brought up the history of the Pennsylvania steel industry, noting that the federal government "did not help in a substantial way...What if the federal government acted in a prudent way?" he wondered, suggesting that if Uncle Sam had helped the industry modernize then the massive job losses in Western Pennsylvania -- half of all jobs, claimed Casey -- might not have been lost.

"I don’t think we should make the same mistake," he said.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) spoke about the impact of the auto industry's decline on Newark and said that Congress had no choice but to act. "If the economy was doing well and the credit markets were not frozen, it is possible that they might be right. But as things stand today, bankruptcy court is not the answer," Carper said. "General Motors does not have the money to reorganize, nor is there credit available. That means that we are not talking about a Chapter 11 process, but Chapter 7 -- in other words, liquidation. And that means the loss of more than a million jobs at the worst possible moment. Our economy is too vulnerable. It simply cannot stand the kind of anti-stimulus that a GM liquidation would bring."

Banking Committee chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) also spoke out in favor of action. "Let me say what I have said previously: I support efforts to assist the industry. Not because their leaders necessarily deserve the taxpayers’ help. On the contrary, they deserve no more help than do the leaders of financial companies that created the sub prime mortgage mess that has exploded into a global financial crisis," said Dodd.

"Rather, I support action as a way to minimize the possibility of a destabilizing event in the economy. At a time like this, when our economic future is so tenuous, we must do all we can to ensure stability. None of us wants to look back and ask if we were penny-wise and pound-foolish at a moment of great peril economically."

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