01/15/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Thom Hartmann Defends the Auto Workers on Countdown

Appearing on Countdown (yesterday with David Shuster), Thom Hartmann defended the unions and the workers, calling Republican refusal to help the auto industry an attempt to break the unions and calling our current economic crisis the direct result of Reaganomics.

A key exchange came at the end...

Shuster: How do we return to a country that's based on actually making things [what I call "wealth-creating jobs"]? I mean, what does President-Elect Obama need to do when he gets in office to wean our economy off of these made up financial games and get back to real manufacturing?

Hartmann: David, what he needs to do immediately is read Alexander Hamilton's 1791 report to Congress on manufacturers. Hamilton laid out this six-step plan to build an industrial economy in the United States. And, we followed it. Congress actually put it into place in 1792 and it stood until Ronald Reagan came along and started deconstructing this, followed by George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush, now, and the legislatures, mostly pushed by the Republicans, taking this thing apart. I mean, you could argue that some it started with Taft-Hartley. But, basically, the Founders laid this thing out; they had it figured out. And, it worked. We built the biggest industrial infrastructure, industrial economy in the world. We have gone -- when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufacturing goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And, the largest creditor--more people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now, just 28 years later, we're the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods; the largest exporter of raw materials--which is kind of the definition of a third-world nation -- and we're the most in-debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.