I was more than a little surprised to run into a post on the Progressive Bloggers front page cheering Republican senators on for blocking the bridge loan package for the American automotive industry.
Including spin-offs, it's been estimated that the Big 3 (or Big 2.5 according to some) employ some 3 million Americans. And it's been noted in a number of places that simply expecting their competitors like Honda and Toyota to pick up the slack if the domestic manufacturers go under is unrealistic. The international automotive companies rely on suppliers who, in turn, also rely on business from the Big 3 to stay afloat. If those suppliers go under, then Honda and Toyota have problems of their own.
Everyone agrees that the Big 3 management have been short-sighted and have made mistakes. But the GOP senators who have tried to block any aid package have done so because they claim they can't get appropriate concessions from the line workers who, as it happens, are unionized. And who, as it happens, already made serious concessions when they negotiated their last contract. And those senators have demagogued the issue by touting a phony figure of $73 per hour in total compensation for those workers. The figure was arrived at by totaling wages and benefits for all workers past and present. It's a bogus figure that can't be used for comparisons with Toyota's employees working in American plants.
The American government managed to find hundreds of billions of dollars for the banking industry and we're still seeing stories of banking executives who are getting six and seven figure retention bonuses. But they can't find $15 billion to keep the Big 3 from going into bankruptcy? Oh, right. The banking executives aren't unionized.
I hope everyone is still cheering when this recession becomes a full-blown depression. That'll sure show those unions.