Friday, November 28, 2008

Trickery, the unconscious power

We had some interesting political discussions around the old Thanksgiving table. One long-time friend, a thoughtful conservative, said he wondered if Obama/Clinton, had enough real world foreign policy experience to be President/Sec. of State.

I offer this in reply:

Another person bemoaned the Big 3 auto manufacturers plight, having to pay all those fabulous pensions to those selfish and lazy retirees.

To him, I offer this:
DETROIT, Sept 28, 2007; Kevin Krolicki and David Bailey writing for Reuters reported that General Motors Corp. agreed to keep 16 union-operated plants through 2011 in exchange for a cost-saving deal on health care and other concessions, according to the terms of the top U.S. automaker's tentative labor contract with the United Auto Workers union.

Under the deal, GM would shift a retiree health care obligation, estimated at over $50 billion, to a new trust in exchange for initial payments of $30 billion, a step analysts have said could save the automaker some $3 billion per year.

In another cost-cutting move, GM will offer more buyouts to UAW workers, creating room for new hires at reduced wages and benefits.

And the myth of UAW workers making over $70 per hour was raised. Read this:
Question: Is the press just being sloppy on this issue of supposedly pampered autoworkers, or are there other elements in play? Because honestly, I've had trouble escaping the not-very-subtle elitist, get-a-load-of-this tone that has run through the media's misinformation on the topic; i.e., "These autoworkers get paid that?!"

Answer: No, they don't, so please stop reporting it. (And why has the press been so reticent to note that Big Three autoworkers recently made significant concessions to management?)

And it's funny, because I don't remember hearing much coverage in the press about AIG workers' six- and seven-figure salaries when the U.S. government announced it was bailing out the insurance giant. And I haven't seen or heard a single press reference to the annual salaries pocketed by Citigroup employees, even though the government has moved in quickly to bail the banking giant out of a hole its executives dug.

Happy post-Turkey day!

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