Lying about Joe Autoworker
If you're a news junkie or someone who simply keeps an ear to media opinion, you've no doubt heard the latest from the right regarding the potential bailout of the big 3 American automakers.
Republicans are now attempting to distort and push their actual agenda by... yep, lying. (God, can't they stage some sort of intervention to get them to stop their addiction to lying to the American public?)
It seems, according to their prominent shills, that the entire economic meltdown the fault of the poor and Democrats due to a program designed to allow those who make less than $100,000 a year or so to actually get into a house.
Of course, that's preposterous, and as it nearly always turns out, utterly false. (The agency in charge of monitoring this program reports that a vast minority of "toxic" home loans originated with banks participating in this program.)
But more recently, we're now hearing from the usual wing-nut suspects that the reason automakers are going belly up is... yep, like a broken record... the fault of unions and assembly line workers.
If you shower before work, you're OK, if you shower after work, it's your fault.
To gin up some righteous anger and jealousy among those "low information" voters which are all they have left, the Republicans are spreading around the idea that the average autoworker pulls down $74 dollars an hour.
Obviously, if that were true, it would tend to make people think that workers were grossly overpaid (as if execs and CEOs aren't.)
But again, they're lying and playing us for rubes.
They arrive at the $74 an hour figure by being dishonest with their numbers (big surprise) That hourly figure represents:
-Salary... a workers hourly wage
The actual average hourly wage is about $26 an hour. Good pay, to be sure, but a damn sight less than the lie that it's $74.
-health benefits... which are good, but not extravagant.
-pension benefits in the future.
Adding these all together and dividing them by hours worked, it comes to a little less than $40 an hour. A good total package allowing a worker to enter the middle class and retire with some measure of security after decades of very hard work.
But that's not $74. How did they concoct that number?
Well, they're not interested in basic honesty, but they are interested in arriving at some figure which sounds absurdly high.
So they also added to the mix EVERY DIME paid to every worker still living, who once worked for GM, their entire cost of health care and pension.
THAT is where the $74 figure came from....
The total of every worker's hourly wage, health care benefits, pension benefits, PLUS the cost of every single retiree's pension and health care, all wrapped up together and then divided by ONLY the number of hourly wage earners CURRENTLY working.
Neat trick, eh? But clearly misleading and purposely dishonest. You can pretty much count on the fact that anything you hear these folks say is utterly false, to a greater or lesser degree, and most likely toward the greater.
So they take the sum total of every dime expended on all autoworkers, both those who are now working PLUS every retiree out there, and then divide this whopping total by only the number of current workers.
Now granted, this isn't to argue that the enormous labor cost of all of the above isn't a huge and fixed cost that's been an enormous burden for the corporations. But the fact is that they still posted gargantuan profits under this very setup for decades on end.
Now that management has been asleep at the switch and spent energy trying to preserve their place at the top of the heap and being allowed to sail along without having to change much in their vision or attitude, continuing to focus on gas-guzzlers and lobbying against milage standards, and doing all they could to eliminate any competition which didn't follow the gas guzzling model, they're aground on the rocks and want us all to haul their shaky ship back out to deeper waters.
In other words, the damn guy and woman showing up to do mind-numbing work on the assembly line aren't the ones who lead the corporations down the tubes! It's the management.
That's like blaming a sales clerk at Foot-Locker if the corporation went broke because he got a decent wage and benefits.
No, clearly the right is doing what they're congenitally programed to do, which is blame the poor, blame the worker, and in doing so, try to angle towards a position where they can further bust unions and break down workers rights to the point where the U.S. can become a banana republic with cheap, exploitable labor just likle China or Guatamala.
That's what all this garbage about blaming U.S. workers for the auto comany's woes is alll about. It's as though they're pissed as U.S. workers because they won't lay down and work as cheaply, with no benefits, in just as sordid and dangerous conditions as their Chinese and Asian competitors do.
Sure, they say that Honda and Toyota manufacture cars in the U.S. (with parts from Asia), and they pay much less per worker. Yeah, and they don't have generations of retirees drawing pensions either.
The argument boils down to expecting the average worker to take the hit and be taken a few more rungs down the social ladder, all so management, who gets paid millions to fail, can compete and keep the dividents coming for investors.
Bottom line? It's all baloney, to put it charitably.
Sure labor has to be a part of any restructuring or long-range plan for essentially bailing out CEOs for their failures. Unions are major stake-holders in all of this, naturally.
But for ONCE in this country, shouldn't those at the top be expected to shoulder a little of the burden and give up a little of their royal lifestyle too?
Or is it as they say, if you take a shower before work, you aren't expected to give up anything, even if you fail, but if you take a shower AFTER work, you're the first to be expected to take a hit in order to help the company?