Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Damned Liberals

To bad we don't let the people make some of the decisions in this country. It would seem to me that they would make the survival of their job a top priority.

From the Washington Post

In 1949, a pamphlet was published that argued that the American auto industry should pursue a different direction. Titled "A Small Car Named Desire," the pamphlet suggested that Detroit not put all its bets on bigness, that a substantial share of American consumers would welcome smaller cars that cost less and burned fuel more efficiently. The pamphlet's author was the research department of the United Auto Workers.
By the standards of the postwar UAW, there was nothing exceptional about "A Small Car Named Desire." In its glory days, under the leadership of Walter Reuther, the UAW was the most farsighted institution -- not just the most farsighted union -- in America. ....

Reuther, then head of the union's General Motors division, came up with a detailed plan for converting auto plants to defense factories more quickly than the industry's leaders did. At the end of the war, he led a strike at GM with a set of demands that included putting union and public representatives on GM's board......

That proved to be a bridge too far. Instead, by the early 1950s, the UAW had secured a number of contractual innovations -- annual cost-of-living adjustments, for instance -- that set a pattern for the rest of American industry and created the broadly shared prosperity enjoyed by the nation in the 30 years after World War II......

it was the UAW that funded the great 1963 March on Washington and provided the first serious financial backing for César Chávez's fledgling farm workers union. The union took a lively interest in the birth of a student movement in the early '60s, providing its conference center in Port Huron, Mich., to a group called Students for a Democratic Society when the group wanted to draft and debate its manifesto. Later that decade, the union provided resources to help the National Organization for Women get off the ground and helped fund the first Earth Day. And for decades after Reuther's death in a 1970 plane crash, the UAW was among the foremost advocates of national health care -- a policy that, had it been enacted, would have saved the Big Three tens of billions of dollars in health insurance expenses, but which the Big Three themselves were until recently too ideologically hidebound to support.

Narrow? Parochial? The UAW not only built the American middle class but helped engender every movement at the center of American liberalism today -- which is one reason that conservatives have always held the union in particular disdain.......

Over the past several weeks, it has become clear that the Republican right hates the UAW so much that it would prefer to plunge the nation into a depression rather than craft a bridge loan that doesn't single out the auto industry's unionized workers for punishment. (As manufacturing consultant Michael Wessel pointed out, no Republican demanded that Big Three executives have their pay permanently reduced to the relatively spartan levels of Japanese auto executives' pay.)........Republicans complain that labor costs at the Big Three are out of line with those at the non-union transplant factories in the South, factories that Southern governors have subsidized with billions of taxpayer dollars. But the UAW has already agreed to concessions bringing its members' wages to near-Southern levels, and labor costs already comprise less than 10 percent of the cost of a new car. (On Wall Street, employee compensation at the seven largest financial firms in 2007 constituted 60 percent of the firms' expenses, yet reducing overall employee compensation wasn't an issue in the financial bailout.)

Funny how under liberals we the people got more. Now under conservatives the rich get more and we get less. Guess that's why I like the liberals better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is of course continued class warfare and any attempt to correct it or even address it is met with the false accusation of "class warfare". Sadly, too many of "we the people" are numb-numbs who find it preferable to have an "other" to dump on rather than have the character and courage to stand for what is right.

Larry in New Mexico

8:00 PM, December 17, 2008  
Blogger Ron said...

Class warfare it is and we are losing. I think we ought to frankly acknowledge the class war and start fighting it. I've been pushing for it for a very long time. That's a war I'm ready to fight.

6:15 PM, December 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Connell the Republican IT guru with connections to "missing" White House emails, questionable election practices and who had already testified under oath on same, met his demise Friday evening in a single occupant plane crash. Possibly convenient for some. Also, possibly convenient that the incident occurred after the Friday cut-off for most news reporting and on the weekend before Christmas.

Larry in New Mexico

10:38 PM, December 20, 2008  

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