Wage Cuts: Not Economically Smart
The main justification espoused by conservatives for blocking a proposed $14 billion bridge loan to General Motors and Chrysler last week was that the United Automobile Workers (UAW) would not agree to “steep cuts in pay and benefits,” to be implemented in 2009.
During an appearance on CNN’s Late Edition yesterday, Center for American Progress Action Fund Senior Fellow Gene Sperling questioned the rationale behind the conservative demands, asking, “Why, in the middle of a recession, would you want to demand, in 2009, these type of brutal wage cuts? It’s not fair. It’s not economically smart.” [...]
Sperling is correct, though, to note that “it’s not economically smart” to cut wages during a downturn. Keeping people working — and spending — is a key component of reversing the downward trail of America’s ailing economy.
But preventing the loan entirely because there was no immediate UAW wage cut could have even more drastic consequences, if any of Detroit’s Big Three should fail. The New York Times reported today that, “With unemployment claims reaching their highest levels in decades, states are running out of money to pay benefits.” The fund in Michigan — the epicenter of America’s auto industry — has already run out.
The Times produced the following chart, showing that the states in danger of exhausting their unemployment funds are overwhelmingly in the auto-producing belt of the midwest:
I have a message for the GOP Senators and their supporters...
You have alienated the millions of Americans who built your homes, your cars, protected your precious homes from fire and your families from crime. [...]
And by the way don't call me again to ask for my vote, my money, my time to promote your corporatist / christianist / fascist agenda. Ever.
In fact, don't call me for anything ever again.
Don't call us when your home catches fire.
Don't call us when your home is burglarized.
Don't call us when your child is struggling in school.
Don't call us when you need your new luxury home built in that private gated community you so cherish.
Don't call us when your Lexus breaks down (yes Lexuses do break down) in some God-forsaken ghetto that you helped create by busting someone's union and driving their wages down.
Don't call us when said Lexus needs extensive and expensive repairs.
Don't call us when you and your famly want to fly to Bali for the weekend when most of your constituents can't afford to fill up their cars.
Don't call us when the first draft of your new anti-union legislation needs to be rushed by UPS to your lobbyist for approval before you send it to committee.
Don't call us when you need a new casino in Vegas to piss away your lobbyist's loot.
Don't call us when your new shoes need to be shipped from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Columbia, or whatever hellhole third world country that pays the lowest wages that week.
Don't call us when your smelly trash needs to be picked up.
Don't call us when the voluminous amounts of waste you produce has clogged your plumbing and you need someone to rod out the fetid mass that is stuck in your drainpipe.
Finally, don't call us for any other dirty job that is beneath your dignity or beyond your skill level.
After all, we union members are just lazy, unproductive, overpaid, complacent leaches on the body of the American economy.
How dare we have the gall to ask for a decent wage, a safe jobsite, and affordable health care for our children.