Big Three Ad Campaign Fails to Win Over Congress

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It could be irrelevant after today’s action in the Senate, but this viral Big Three ad parody is no less amusing.

Come to think of it, it’s not really that far off the mark.

  • It’s a funny poke at the Big 3, but I find it interesting how the photo is of a Ford vehicle when Ford is the only one of the three not requesting emergency money from the government.

  • Rhywun

    It’s even more amusing that everyone’s ignoring the real reason they’re going bankrupt: union pensions.

  • Rhywun

    Maybe if they made cars worth owning, they would be able to pay their retirees. Maybe.

  • Rhywun

    I don’t know if they’re “worth owning” or not, but if their pension obligations weren’t crippling their finances, the cars would undoubtedly be cheaper.

    The same problem is bankrupting most local governments now, too.

  • God forbid Americans should be able to look forward to a stable retirement like workers can in every other Western Nation!

    I’m getting pretty sick and tired of hearing everyone blame the unions for this. Only thing they are guilty of in most cases is maintaining a quality of life for their workers that all workers once enjoyed a generation ago.

    I come from a union family. My father work for “Ma’ Bell”. He was honest and worked hard for 35 years. I can honestly tell you that the company really got their “$45k a year” worth out of my dad when he retired in 1992. Upon retirement he would receive $45k between SS, pension and his 401k for the rest of his life.

    Not a whole lot of money 16 years later. Sad part is that skilled laborers in our area don’t make much more today!

    Yet treasonous bankers are handed over $700 billion with almost no questions asked. How much has their pay and retirement packages increased since 1992?

    I’m no fan of the Big Three but everybody is out there blaming rank and file union workers and not the overpaid executives who continued to steer the companies into oblivion and insisting on building crappy cars and pedestrian and environment killing SUVs.

  • MisterBadExample

    I’m with Andy B. If unionized men and women hadn’t fought for (and received) generous pensions and gold-plated health plans from the auto companies, my white-collar parents wouldn’t have gotten them either. In the fifties and all the way through the Reagan era, the UAW set the standard for the American working class. And (not coincidentally) with the decline of the UAW and the other pace-setting unions, pensions and health insurance have gotten increasingly scarce.

    Now the pace setter seems to be Wal Mart–poverty-level wages, no pension for anyone except the executives, and health insurance out of reach for everyone but management.

    And (by the way), ALL auto companies are struggling right now. The foreign producers are struggling less because in their home countries they don’t have to subsidize health care and pensions. If GM were paying for health insurance through a flat payroll tax, they’d be in a lot less trouble.

  • Ian Turner

    MBE,

    GM is actually supporting 4 retirees for every working employee. That’s not generous or fair, it’s extreme and unsustainable. Auto workers make three times the national average when benefits are included; why should the public spend money to support the well-off few?

    I think you and Andy B look at the UAW as a golden goal, and want to support them on that basis, but if you want to improve the lot of wal-mart workers, well, perhaps you should focus on the ones who don’t have a ridiculously generous pension.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/images/wm2162_table1.gif
    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm2162.cfm

  • john the bicyclist

    If this helps by reducing the number of cars out there, I’m all for it. Wake up people!

  • Wow. In the end, everyone always wants to blame the blue collar folks for trying to get a chunk of the action, when it is the suits and ties who make the policies that have ruined our manufacturing potential and put jobs and futures at risk. The Big Three are in far more trouble because of their own catastrophic management decisions like killing the electric car and continuing to invest in the internal combustion engine (and keep the dance going with the oil companies) than anything labor has put on the table. Maybe Exxon Mobile can kick in a few billion to help out their oh-so-agreeable pals in Detroit.

  • Thanks for speaking out AndyB and MrBadExample. The information I have seen is that the real wages for current workers in the UAW is on par with those of foreign automakers working in this country. Personally, I think the whole problem lies with the corruption of the “American Dream”. In recent decades it has been converted to a get rich and to-hell-with-everyone-else lottery mentality. But just like a lottery, the actual winners are very, very few. In fact there is less social mobility in the US then in most other industrial countries. The real American Dream is that a person who works hard and plays by the rules can live a decent, respectable life, and not worry about dying from lack of healthcare or ending up on the street because executives raided his pension funds. The rich live well, and have always lived well, in every country. The dream is that we can all live well. For all those who are still drinking the trickle-down-kool-aid I would point out that this philosophy is not new and not untested.

    If you are rich (not some upper middle class, making a decent salary, conspicuous consumption, want-to-be rich, but actually living off capital investments) and want to live in a trickle down economy, with low taxes, low entitlements, and no pesky worker rights and regulations, these kind of economies can be found in Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti, etcetera. you can live lavishly in a guarded enclave. If you need a kidney, you can buy one from one of the teaming masses. But you better have a body guard to protect you from all the unworthy when you go out. Kidnapping for ransom is a huge industry in these countries.

    But lets say you are a common citizen and likely to stay one, like 97-99% of us all. Then you might like to live in a country that has high entitlements, public health care, and lots of protections for workers, that has low crime, great education, great public transportation, and more effective health care, but also has slightly higher taxes. Sounds like a republic nightmare scenario, doesn’t it. Systems like this can be found in England, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Germany.

    Hmmm, live like Haitians or live like the French. Which model should America move toward? Where would you choose to live?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “It’s even more amusing that everyone’s ignoring the real reason they’re going bankrupt: union pensions.”

    Actually, I hear huge supplemental pensions for executives are an even bigger problem. Those pension costs are usually hidden.

    But retiree health care is the biggest problem of all, which if we had basic, federally-financed health insurance for all Americans wouldn’t be a problem AT ALL. If it doesn’t happen, not only the big three but also state and local governments will go bust.

    And yet the unions whose ex-workers receive those pensions are likely to oppose, because there is no way the health care provided to all, including the Wal-Mart workers, could be as extravagant as what they get now.

    Then there is the problem of over-capacity. There are just too many cars. The Big 3 have been under-charging to pump up volume, because they need the volume to pay for the retirees, but in so doing they have stolen demand from the future.

  • Ian Turner

    Mr. Sears,

    Do you think that the proper response to “the policies that have ruined our manufacturing potential and put jobs and futures at risk” is to hand over ever larger dollops of cash to waste?

  • Max Rockatansky

    I think the govt should approve the loans with the stipulation that management leaves, turning the Big 3 into worker’s cooperatives.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Ian,

    Heritage Foundation statistics?!?! I won’t even justify a response to those claims.

    Actually, yes I will. They are distortions! $78/hr is only because they tack on healthcare cost (wouldn’t need those if we had a national program) and retiree costs (something the other foreign car companies must bear as well and do!).

    I heard the real average salary at a UAW plant is $28hr and the non-union foreign maker plants in the US is $25. Not a big disparity is reality.

    I do hear you on questioning if it is worth the risk but AGAIN we did it without question for the banks and their long history of predatory tactics. 15 Billion is pocket change but we are willing to throw away a whole industry and around 3 million dollars on some “I told you so” principle!

  • Andy B from Jersey

    “Not a big disparity AT ALL.” and “around 3 million JOBS”

    Sorry, I was rushed!

  • Ian Turner

    Andy,

    The $78/hr figure does not include retiree costs, but does include healthcare costs. But that’s not the important figure. The important one is that there are 1-3 retirees for every worker. That ratio is unsustainable, unreasonable, and unfair, and there is no reason that the public should support it.

    Also, saying that we should bail out the car companies because we bailed out the financial companies doesn’t make much sense. If somebody stole your TV, would you throw your clock radio after them as well? One can and should be against more bailouts than the auto bailout, but any presumption that existing policy is sane will only lead to madness.

  • Michael

    Hilarious adbusting! This is exactly what is happening in Sweden right now. Volvo and Saab have produced inefficient cars for decades and now they get a $3.5 billion bailout from the government…

    Unionized Volvo workers have an alternative: dismantle car production and use existing technology and knowledge to produce trams, trains and buses! Turn production from a means of destruction to a means of increasing sustainability!

  • John

    OK. Let’s get our facts straight.

    From the New York Times, December 10th, 2008 (source for their data: FORD)

    – Current Legacy Costs (Health Care & Pensions Costs to RETIREES): $16
    – Benefits (Healthcare, Training, Taxes for current employees): $12
    – Wage Related (Vacations, Holidays, Overtime, Night and Weekend Pay): $14
    – Wages (Base Wage plus cost of living adjustments): $29
    FORD CURRENT TOTAL LABOR COSTS (per hour average of factory workers): $71

    “A 2007 deal with the UAW cut wages for new hires and created a retiree health care fund that would transfer that responsibility to the UAW in 2010”

    FORD 2010 TOTAL LABOR COSTS (with health care fund and reduced new hire wages): $51

    To compare:

    CURRENT JAPANESE AUTO MAKER LABOR COSTS (per hour average of USA factory workers): $49

    Hmmm. A four dollar spread between Ford and Japanese auto makers. Doesn’t sound so awful to me.

    Long story short: quit whining about union costs being the problem. While certainly an issue to be dealt with, it is but one of many. As seen here, the unions have demonstrated that they will step up to the plate. The bigger problem, as the mock ad states above, are shitty cars with shitty mileage produced by a tier of management groups that would rather feed the masses with SUV crack than actual look towards the future and innovate.

    SOURCE URL: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/12/10/business/20081210_LEONHARDT_GRAPHIC.html

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