Millions of blue collar jobs and the entire future of making things and building things in America, and right after the Republicans—starting with the President of the United States, the Lamest of the Lame Ducks—and the Republicans would like to take this opportunity to play yet another game of brinkmanship by trying to kill the unions.
Yes, it’s the unions’ fault that the auto makers are on the verge of going away for ever.
Yes, that was sarcasm.
“Oh, but they’re getting $70+ dollars an hour in wages and benefits!”
Yeah, and there’s clean coal technology.
Oh, but Toyota and the foreign automakers are making money!
No, they’re not.
Oh, but American car makers aren’t making the kinds of cars that people want!
Yes, they are. Look around, people. There are SUVs everywhere. That’s what Americans have wanted. Until suddenly they didn’t. They believed that gas was plentiful and cheap. Until it wasn’t. Republicans were out there scaring people—especially older, whiter, richer people with spectres of Smartcars and VW Golfs and yes, Corollas, for years. The threats? That if “environmentalists got their way…”
Well, look at the world now. It’s all real. Like the rest of us knew it was. Cheaper cars are winning.
The Republicans who are leading the charge to gut the autoworkers unions? Southern-state Senators who have foreign-owned car makers’ manufacturing in their home states. Conflict of interest? Well, you decide. How many degrees of separation from Blago-world? You decide.
These Republican senators are ideologues. They hate unions and always have. But step back a bit and look at what’s actually going on: US government officials—conservative ones—are stepping in on behalf of giant companies to attempt to reduce the wages of American workers.
Where were these guys when the $750B—not in loans, but in bailouts—were handed out to banks? They freely handed it over with very little oversight. This is $14B. And in loans. That’s less than 2% of what they just handed over. Less than 2%. To be paid back.
American autoworkers are paid $28/hour. Toyota plant workers are paid $25/hour.
People aren’t buying cars because there’s no credit available. But there’s supposed to be. That’s what the $750B was for, in large part. The US government is giving out hundreds of billions of dollars with very little restriction, largely so that credit can flow again, largely so that people can buy things like cars. Cars. So that car companies can sell cars again. So that car companies can survive.
But the banks aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do with the government handout, so the car companies aren’t surviving, so the car companies are begging for loans. And the Republicans won’t give it to them because they’re in the pockets of foreign car companies.
But you might ask, aren’t there American jobs there in foreign car manufactories?
Well, yes, but the profits go overseas.
American companies would build the parts that go into the American cars, and the profits at each step of the way go into American pockets, where, say (this is an example), Honda would use Japanese steel and Japanese companies to manufacture that fuel pump and all that money stays out of America. Then Honda Japan sells that pump to Honda America for a huge amount of money, again banking the profit. Honda America only assembles the car and then sells it, making very little of the overall profit to be had on that end product.
The Republicans know that, but then Honda, Toyota, Nissan are their constituents, and unlike Obama, who got almost all of his campaign contributions from a bazillion individual small contributors instead of relatively few large corporate contributors, he’s not beholden to any oligarchs.
Not like those Republican senators who are willing to risk those millions of blue collar jobs and the very future of American manufacturing.
Imagine: after all those Republicans have lost, they stand there in full view of the world arguing that American workers are making too much money.
Shameless. And soon gone.