Ann Arbor, Mich. – At a press conference here on Monday, Pres. Barack Obama announced a $500 million federal bailout for Borders Group Inc., the Ann Arbor–based national superstore book chain, on fears that bankruptcy could destroy American reading and leave millions of children illiterate.
“If Republicans allow this American icon to go out of business,” warned Obama, “American literacy will plummet and our children will not be able to compete internationally for the jobs of tomorrow.”
“Surely Borders was safe, right?” wrote best-selling author Mitch Albom on Sunday in the Detroit Free Press. “Didn’t we have a soft spot for them? Anyone who ever lost track of the hours while cooing at the sheer enormity of the written word, would insist, absolutely and without hesitation, that Borders, like mankind, would somehow survive.”
And survive it will, vowed the president, who said he was determined to save the written word from Tea Party Republicans who think books should be sacrificed to Wall Street’s bottom line.
Obama conceded that Borders — which operates nearly 700 stores worldwide — had failed to modernize against competition from green eBook sellers like Amazon.com, and he pledged federal Energy Deptartment loans so that the bookmaker could develop the battery-powered books of the future.
The president was joined at the press conference by “Book Czar” Steve Rattner, head of the White House Books Task Force, who said that a “quick-rinse” bankruptcy under an unusual interpretation of Chapter 363 of the bankruptcy code wouldn’t last more than a month. The president attacked Wall Street bondholders for wanting to liquidate the company to benefit the wealthy — and vowed to give 50 percent of the company to Borders’ 10,700 employees, who. . . .
Aw, we’re just pulling your leg.
There was no news conference. President Obama has no comment. Those 10,700 employees don’t belong to the UAW. They aren’t even unionized. They didn’t give a collective dime to the Democratic Party last election cycle.