By on December 27, 2008

One of the uncomfortable facts about the automobile industry: its pay rates have been exceptionally high almost from day one. That said, just how much of a factor worker wages (and the cost differences that go with them) have to do with Motown’s meltdown is debatable. One thing’s for sure: the United Auto Workers (UAW) refusal to re-negotiate their current contract– repeated within two hours of the President’s cramdown conditional bailout bonanza– puts it squarely in the firing line for both sides of the “debate.” When trying to understand their seemingly suicidal recalcitrance, history is our guide.

For all of its famous affect on “creating America’s middle class,” it’s important to remember that Henry Ford’s “five-dollar day” (actually a bonus program) was a solution to an intractable problem. Put simply, Crazy Henry had to hire 40k men a year to have 10k working.

There are two things that haven’t changed about auto assembly since those early days: assembly-line work is a grind (imagine doing the same thing, 500 times a day) and auto production requires a steady work force. The initial raise in pay was to give the worker a stake in sticking with a nasty job. Yes, the worker could be replaced. But replacing him slowed the whole process down.

While there have been epic debates, and not a little violence, over unionized automotive workers’ wages and conditions, they generally conform to a worldwide pattern. The type of union– “company” (tame), “trade” (often bribed into submission) or “Industry”– doesn’t have much effect on the outcome. Recent surveys revealed developed world hourly wages for assemblers as more-or-less equal. It’s the “other” stuff– health care and pensions– that makes the biggest difference.

In theory, the USA’s lower corporate taxes should compensate for the advantages enjoyed by automakers operating in countries where employees get their health care and pensions from their government. In practice, Detroit’s sunk by simple math. While The Big 3 have been reducing their total workers. their pool of retired ones has been growing. Ford, GM and Chrysler have more retirees than active workers. Which accounts for much of the “$75 an hour” numbers you hear quoted in the MSM.

Worse, The Big 3 have funded all these benefits on a pay-as-you go basis. Instead of setting aside funds to cover pension and health-care throughout a worker’s career, like a company-level 401K, Ford, Chrysler and GM have been paying their retirees out of current revenues.

This is the same “trick” the U.S. government uses for Social Security. But at least the tax base is growing (and not aging much). The Big Three have shrank and aged themselves into a huge problem.

In theory, the Mother of All Health Care pay-it-forward UAW VEBA fund should finally allow the 3 to put these “legacy” costs behind them (in another two years). Only they still have to fund the fund. Putting company stock in the fund in lieu of cash is going to be about as welcome a blanket smeared in smallpox.

Pay and pension issues can always be laid at the feet of the money-men, who never looked past the next quarter. Health care and pensions can be “finessed.” But union work rules are, apparently, forever. This could be Detroit’s Gordian knot.

Put simply, you can’t. The UAW work in accordance with a series of massive documents directly exactly what every employee is allowed to do, how they should do it and how it’s judged. Having to adhere to a book of rules that practically require a forklift (and designated “operator”) to carry makes anything resembling “management” a major undertaking.

But before we lay the blame completely at the UAW’s feet, let’s consider how management performed when the Union Slacker’s Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything didn’t apply. The California NUMI plant (Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe) doesn’t count. Toyota runs the show there. Saturn is the exception that proves (i.e. tests) the rules.

For GM’s different kind of car company, The General hand-picked workers willing to dump the rules, and then had them build one vehicle for almost a decade. Later on, GM set up the Aztek/Rendezvous plant in Mexico (lower cost AND no restrictions). Bottom line: both ventures failed to sell enough vehicles to make their plants pay. As restrictive as the work-rules are, they seem to conform to standard Big Three thinking as much as management thinking conforms to them.

Perhaps the UAW’s greatest sin, then, is the fact that they’ve been “along for the ride.” More specifically, a seemingly endless supply of money has narcotized the union into suicidal apathy. Worse still, their public persona projects a sense of entitlement that’s toxic to all but their closest political allies.

The UAW’s protests that “we’ve done nothing wrong” is true as far as it goes. But not doing wrong is not the same as doing right. As we shall see.

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110 Comments on “Editorial: The Truth About The UAW’s Legacy Costs...”


  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    The UAW and it’s members allowed themselves to be creditors to the Bigish3. The Bigish3 (with UAW approval) put that debt on the never-never plan to be “paid” sometime in the “future”.

    It’s just plain bad business, because as a creditor you have an interest in the “future”. Were the UAW ever looking at GM annual filings during the 1990s/2000s? The same filings that caused GM debt to be rated ever downward to “junk”? Both sides should have recognized the danger of default and acted accordingly.

    Well, the future has arrived and now the US taxpayer is on the hook, plus the rest of the world gets to suffer another round of US economic mistakes.

  • avatar

    Social Security is running into the same problem, just not as quickly.

    To put the argument here another way: if the automakers had always been efficient, and had not lost so much market share, they wouldn’t have such a burdensome retiree-to-worker ratio.

    I’d love to see everyone who benefitted from these companies’ inflated earnings have to kick their excess returns (dividends, capital gains, bonuses, profit sharing) into VEBA. But that never happens. In finance, getaways are almost always clean.

  • avatar

    fair analysis unlike so many today that simply trash the union. that I don’t mind so much as the organization itself has major issues. what rubs me the wrong way is the unfair portrayal of well earned pensions and health care. these people deserve to be left alone and to enjoy their later years with security.

  • avatar
    enderw88

    @Buickman:
    Deserve? On whose dime?

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    The union work rules may seem ridiculous to a casual observer but if you think about it they are the only thing that keeps the union functioning at all.

    The reason you need union is because each worker by himself/herself means nothing, less important than the dust on the shop floor, only together they have any power. It’s a simple concept but it took centuries to get it established and accepted, it cost countless lives people who tried to make it a reality over this period.

    Once the union is established, the question becomes how it can function. Remember this a group of people with no formal command structure or hierarchy, they are all equal. Though they are brothers they are people and therefore suffer from jealousy, pettiness, laziness, greediness etc. How can all this be overcome? Only by having a rule for everything. Otherwise the union wouldn’t get anything done at all, they would always be at each other’s throats.

    The problem is not with unions per se. In the US the problem is with the relationship between the unions and the companies. This relationship is adversarial and that’s because the management and the union believe that they represent 2 distinct social and economic groups and that have nothing in common other that the fact that they work for the same company. This is a 19th century Marxist model of employment structure. This will not work in 21th century. Compare that to the German model. Germans have one of the strongest unions in the world yet they also have some of the worlds best industrial firms. But in the Germany the union understands that the company cannot and they cannot prosper if they look at the management as their enemy and the management understands that without union they have to company. Or look the Japanese model. The Japanese model doesn’t need unions because the management doesn’t believe they are somehow a different (and better) class of people from the workers, they just happen to have a different role within the company.

    I think this also explains the death of the native British car industry yet survival and prosperity of the non-native industry. The class system just can’t function in a modern industrial company. But if the foreigners come in and organize the plants based on their ideas which are not class-based, the factories can be run very effectively and efficiently, thank you very much. In essence the Germans are better bosses to the English working class because they don’t harbor the delusions of greatness like the English upper classes.

  • avatar

    @ enderw88:

    on the dime of the company they worked for. the old GM Mark of Excellence is meaningless today since the leadership (sic) cannot be trusted, not by retirees, employees, suppliers, dealers, or customers. a deal is a deal and these people deserve what they were promised, period. if I were running GM, the first thing I would do is make it very clear that retirees are untouchable. from there, I’d move on to the other groups and repair the damage and get everyone on the same page. a large part of the problem at GM is that Wagoner and company are liars who fail to accept responsibility.

  • avatar
    yankinwaoz

    I blame the US Congress for this one. They allowed the companies to underfund pensions and medical benefits. They should have been setting funds aside for each employee with a Pay-as-you-go plan instead of just planning to pay from future revenue.

    It is so screwed up that a healthy pension fund is considered a serious liability from Wall Street’s perspective. A healthy fund can actually be used by a corporate raider to take over and loot it of legally allowed “excess funds”.

    This is not unique to the car makers. Lots of large US companies have underfunded their pension funds, because they can, and according to Wall Street, they must. Look at the airline’s pensions. They were underfunded and now us taxpayers are paying them thanks to the the PBGC.

    Actually, the worst abuser of underfunded pensions are your local governments who are on the hook for billions in obligations that have to paid 100% from future tax revenue.

  • avatar
    mcs

    The handwriting is on the wall for the unions. Now that we can put one to two teraflops of computing power (about 240 to 480 cpu cores with the hardware I have) into a package small enough to fit in a robot at a low cost, there are going to be some serious gains in automation capability. That’s enough computing power to have made the Top 500 Supercomputer list in 2006.

    There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done, but we will see some major advances in manufacturing automation coming within the next 10 years. Not only will these advances affect the UAW, but the low cost labor in Asia as well. The bailout may be saving a lot of US jobs for now, but down the road those jobs are going away anyway.

  • avatar
    50merc

    PeteMoran: “The UAW and it’s members allowed themselves to be creditors to the Bigish3. The Bigish3 (with UAW approval) put that debt on the never-never plan to be “paid” sometime in the “future”. … Both sides should have recognized the danger of default and acted accordingly.”

    Exactly. The UAW, like management, was placing a long-shot bet. And neither should be permitted the excuse “I had no idea things would turn out bad.” It is astounding that the UAW didn’t yell bloody murder a couple of years ago that a member who bought GM or Ford stock might as well have used lottery tickets for their long term savings.

    re_pro: “management and the union believe that they represent 2 distinct social and economic groups and that have nothing in common other that the fact that they work for the same company. This is a 19th century Marxist model of employment structure.”

    Yes, if you mean it’s the management/labor roles in the 19th century world that Marx thought would inevitably be supplanted by communism.

    Buickman: “a deal is a deal and [retirees] deserve what they were promised, period. if I were running GM, the first thing I would do is make it very clear that retirees are untouchable.”

    Retirees would certainly like that. But the company’s promise cannot be fulfilled. “Bankrupt” comes from the Italian for rotten or broken bench. In ancient times an exchange member who could not deliver on his promises (pay his debts) literally had his seat (bench) broken to signify the loss of his trusted position. GM has been de facto bankrupt for quite a while. There is no way it can regain viability without breaking many promises, to shareholders, bondholders, trade suppliers, workers and retirees. The PBGC will partially cover pensions. But otherwise, retirees are going to learn what it means to have future benefits that are not fully funded. See Pete Moran’s comment.

  • avatar
    50merc

    From the PBGC’s website:

    “PBGC receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed by insurance premiums set by Congress and paid by sponsors of defined benefit plans, investment income, assets from pension plans trusteed by PBGC, and recoveries from the companies formerly responsible for the plans.”

    Re: unfunded pension liability — to be fair, we should note that one reason pension funds are allowed to be less than 100% funded is to allow benefits to be paid in the meantime. Social Security provides an example: the first recipient had paid in FICA tax for only a brief time, but received benefits for decades. However, defined benefit plans are required to be funded yearly in accordance with a schedule meant to provide full funding on reasonable investment yield projections and actuarial assumptions.

  • avatar

    still contend the retirees should be untouchable. they are the reason we have what we have today. a line needs to be drawn somewhere in this mess and it should be around those deserving of protection and least able to rebound. the hundreds of thousands of dependents in this group have the potential to be our greatest ambassadors and there are ways of utilizing their numbers to the company’s advantage. that will never happen if they feel abandoned. this is an area in which we can learn from the Chinese who place the utmost importance on society’s elders.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Andrew Dederer: “Bottom line: both ventures failed to sell enough vehicles to make their plants pay.”

    One might argue that in the end the problem comes down to product. However, it also isn’t surprising that these experiments in minimalist work rules have only occurred around the margins of the American industry — and were relatively quickly dispensed. I think that ra_po is correct that this reflects a powerful class system in the US that isn’t as present in the likes of Germany of Japan.

    ra_pro: “The class system just can’t function in a modern industrial company.”

    That’s an interesting argument. I’d agree to a point, but factories are more linear operations than, say, software development. I also wouldn’t glorify German labor-management quite as much as you do. For example, VW has struggled with some inefficiency issues that have been perpetuated by the strength of the unions.

    The power of German unions is ultimately grounded in national laws that give them an unusually substantive say in corporate governance. In contrast, the basic deal struck with US labor (largely in the 1930s and 40s) was that unions would stay out of corporate governance if they could aggressively advocate for wages, benefits and working conditions.

    I don’t think it is now fair to blame US unions for “going along with the ride.” They HAVE been following the rules. Can you see Big Three management allowing a more substantive role for unions? Fact is, it has only happened when they were forced to do so. Recall that as part of the Chrysler bailout a union rep was added to its board. Look how fast that position was removed after Chrysler got back on its feet financially.

  • avatar

    My simple analysis
    Toyota Corolla Toyota Tacoma are best sellers at or near the top in their segment and profitably made in the US by UAW

    Chevy Aveo no union involvement bottom of the class in virtually every review.

    The problem is management. Good management equals good cars bad management equals bad cars. The UAW may make it more difficult but they’re not the problem.

    GM could have no union and their management would still produce the same cars although they might be a little cheaper but then their problem is not their price but rather the cars themselves.

    Yet some people will blindly insist that the UAW is at fault.

  • avatar
    AG

    The idea that unions and management need to realize they need each other and should stop trying to destroy each other is not compatible with America’s competitive spirit. In this country, it doesn’t matter if you screw your opponent because you can always tell yourself “you worked harder for it, you deserve it.” Its like Americans are Ferengi!

  • avatar
    Luther

    70 years of putting a government’s guns (Laws) to your employers head in order to violently extract unearned property is “doing nothing wrong”. I see.

  • avatar
    ronin

    >>”…The reason you need union is because each worker by himself/herself means nothing, less important than the dust on the shop floor, only together they have any power….”

    That may be the reason we DID need unions. Doesn’t mean we need them now, since 85% of private sector jobs in the US do not have them, and yet these dusty citizens live.

    And of course, if workers are treated badly they can organize all over again.

    Unions should be a temporary expedient used only when necessary. A tool that everyone prefers not to use.

    Because when things are going well, unions are worse than useless. They are parasites whose only job seems to be to make noise and to convince their hosts that the parasite is somehow mandatory to their host’s existence. Rather than the other way around.

  • avatar
    ronin

    >>>”…still contend the retirees should be untouchable. they are the reason we have what we have today. a line needs to be drawn somewhere in this mess and it should be around those deserving of protection…”

    Yet the overwhelming majority of Americans are not retirees in the sense that they have pensions. Are not they equally sacred?

    I hope the retirees are protected. They should be protected by their employer, as guaranteed in their contract. If the employer fails, the union should then guarantee their pensions, as in the contract. But it stops there. A private contract defined and guaranteed pension benefits. Not a public contract involving taxpayers.

    Certainly not to the extent that the 80% of taxpayers who will never see a pension and paid healthcare, who will never get a paycheck far above comparable work, should somehow be compelled to pay for UAW pensioners. That’s just un-American.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    This is not politics, unions, retirees, this is a game of economic survival. If GM et al cannot market cars at a profit after all of these bailouts, then the game has not changed one iota. Can GM for instance (ford too) catch an ever foreward moving target (foreign auto builders) here in the American market? If the answer is no, we might as well cut checks for these stranded employees and pensioners and be done with it. To do what children do “play house” in the car manufacturing business is sure to have a British end. Notice I said a moving target, these Detroit icons will say Oh now I get it the 2008 toyota, we can do that. But when the chevy-ota comes out in 2010 almost as good, the real deal toyota has their 2010 updated and a new generation already cooking in the oven for say 2012. GM will still be touting their 2008 design as proof that they get it. Does this sound like what’s happening?

  • avatar
    mxhi5

    A unionized company is a microcosm of socialism. It’s work force will use it’s collective bargaining power to enrich itself until the inevitable collapse of the company occurs. It is just human nature. So let them die or the beasts will begin to feed on whatever it can find, like tax payers.

  • avatar
    Blobinski

    I don’t agree that the Union is the only way to protect employees from their employer. How in the world do the rest of us poor souls working in an ‘at-will’ employment situation survive?

    I live here in the Pacific Northwest where Boeing tries to build aircraft with a Union workforce. I get so tired of the UAW and these other unions talking about how their employers screw them and make their life horrible. It sure is horrible that you, you wife, your brother, your children and grandchildren have been gainfully employed for the last 60 years by this company that continually screws you. The brand new Ford F250, snowmobiles, and hunting rifles every year must be horrible as well. The huge pensions and continuing paychecks when your plant closes are just a bummer for the UAW workforce I am sure.

    It is a harsh time but a time to also wake up.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    It’s amusing to see how some fling the term socialism as if it were utterly and completely evil. You’d think the cold war was still raging.

    Why can’t we move beyond the booga-booga label slapping (which is a subtle form of McCarthyism) and debate the specifics of the situation? If some type of “collective action” effectively solves a problem without undue negative impacts, then it is a worthy experiment. If not, try something else.

    In the case of unions, to me a key question is whether there are effective checks and balances of power in an industry or company. Unions can act as a check on excessive managerial power. The flip side is true as well. Clearly the Collapsed Three suffer from a dysfunctional system of governance that didn’t get the checks and balances right. Japan and Germany may offer useful ideas for fixing the problem . . . if we are willing to look beyond ideology.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    The Toyota NUMMI plant has a different much smaller contract than the UAW has with the rest off the GM plants. Good starting point right there. The contract is already written.

    Social Security has the same problem as the auto plants. Social security is the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme. The Big 3 are just the canary in the coal mine.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “It’s amusing to see how some fling the term socialism as if it were utterly and completely evil”

    Socialism is a sugar-coated word for “theft”…It is evil…It can be nothing else.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Luther, Ýou are kidding, right?

    If you want to see theft on a large scale, look no further than the Detroit Bailout. The Bailout is only a sugar-coated word for “extortion and blackmail”. It is evil.

    Does that mean that capitalism by itself is evil in its nature? Perhaps, but not all the time. The point being, those retirees has earned their pensions by dedicating most of their life to the industry. Do you want to take their pensions away? they have worked for it, they have earned it.

  • avatar
    menno

    Luther is right. When the threat of jail is used against the general public to either do as they are told by overlords (aka politicians – themselves in a class of people above the law most of the time) in order to take away hard earned money from the productive, to be given to the non-productive – that is not only blatant theft, but also extortion with menaces.

    Well what about the poor, handicapped, widows or orphans, yells the man in the back of the room?

    The poor, orphans, widows, crippled, and insane will always be with us. We can collectively assist them, using the government as a proxy for us; but this mode of operation is not the end all and be all. In fact, over 6000 years of human civilization, it has NOT been the case for 5850 years.

    I help at a food pantry run by a church, and we do just fine without “help” from Uncle Sam’s teat. It can be this way again, and there are advantages to it. One massive advantage is that the people we assist are left with their dignity (we don’t intrude into their lives to test whether they are “worthy” of receiving help), we actually work person to person with them – you cannot have a relationship with a proxy/government agency except that of “supplicant/slave/peon”.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    All the bailouts are socialism and the country will not recover from these bailouts for years if ever.

    The UAW took real rich compensation up front and then setup a ponzi scheme to pay off the retirees. Seems very mean that the retirees would lose their pensions and benefits but who is supposed to pay for them? The people that lived their lives frugually?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “still contend the retirees should be untouchable”

    If the Detroit 3 go under and the retirees are touched it will be a rip off. Of course, The working union members will be ripped off, the bond holders will be ripped off, the stockholders will be ripped off, the dealers will be ripped off (at least they gave as good as they got), the customers will be ripped off, the taxpayers will be ripped off … The list could go on for quite a while.

    They are all victims. So?

    They Detroit 3 have failed. Comprehensively, epically, and with extreme prejudice.

    The only question is what do with the bodies, and with their old stuff.

    There is no way that that garbage is worth what they paid for it, and it won’t be near enough to pay everybody who got ripped-off back what they got ripped-off for.

    Not only that, but if we went and dug up everyone who ever wore a suit, and cleaned them, their heirs and their pet monkeys out for every cent they ever got from the Detroit 3, it wouldn’t add a half cent to the pot.

    So. Here is the deal: we will sell everything to the highest bidder, no matter how funny he looks, talks, or smells. And, we will pass the proceeds (after fees and expenses, rent the hall, pay the auctioneer, etc.) to all of the folks that got ripped-off pro-rata to the amount they got ripped -off for.

    The line for claims, forms on the left. Please pick up a claim form and fill it out neatly, in ballpoint, so the triplicate can be read, and give it to the form to lovely Mrs. Pennington at the head of the line. She will stamp copy number 3 the pink carbon with your receipt number. Please keep the copy and the number so we can resolve any future questions or difficulties.

    And, one more thing. Please stop whining. Mrs. Pennington, and I, have heard it all before, we know you have a sad story and the Detroit 3 ripped you off, but taking time to listen to your stories is just going to delay our work and slow down your payment.

  • avatar
    Acd

    GM is paying for the retirees when they had 40 plus percent market share out of revenues of 23% market share–they just don’t have enough revenue coming in with the number of vehicles they are selling to pay for the obligations of the retirees. Add the restrictive work rules that mandate that they employ more people than necessary to do the work–especially when they had 40% plus market share– and it adds up to an unsustainable business model.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    For GM’s different kind of car company, The General hand-picked workers willing to dump the rules, and then had them build one vehicle for almost a decade. Later on, GM set up the Aztek/Rendezvous plant in Mexico (lower cost AND no restrictions). Bottom line: both ventures failed to sell enough vehicles to make their plants pay. As restrictive as the work-rules are, they seem to conform to standard Big Three thinking as much as management thinking conforms to them.

    +1. It’s easier to manage a union force, especially if that’s all you know. Everything’s codified down to who screws the last bolt with what tool.

    That certain efficiencies are not allowed in 9/10th of your plants makes it that much easier to not implement them in the 1/10th where they are allowed.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    So we’re back to bankruptcy. Unless the government wants to print up some more money to fund the retirement plans the way they are going to fix social security.

  • avatar
    JoeEgo

    It’s amusing to see how some fling the term socialism as if it were utterly and completely evil.

    Evil is too strong a word, but from the original founding of the auto (and probably all other in the U.S.) unions the most descriptive word is “socialism”. The ideology argument earlier is compelling. From the start the UAW has been collectivist and combative, fostering and even occasionally celebrating a classist attitude. The UAW’s protests that “we’ve done nothing wrong” is an obvious pander this late in the game.

    Blame the management for the products and blame the management for signing the contracts, but do not for a minute think the UAW is innocent in killing the companies they work for.

    If the Big3 were like any other group of non-unionized companies they would be fading relatively quietly from the horrible quality of their products. They’d probably have a better chance at turning things around because they could “right size” themselves a lot easier without being shackled by the silliness of jobs banks and benefits to rival a public school teacher’s.

    The country, the workers, and the consumers would all benefit a lot more from a smaller GM cutting jobs outright and staying in business rather than today’s dinosaur dying to enforced commitments or latching onto a federal teat.

  • avatar
    JoeEgo

    Ingvar :
    Luther, Ýou are kidding, right?

    If you want to see theft on a large scale, look no further than the Detroit Bailout. The Bailout is only a sugar-coated word for “extortion and blackmail”. It is evil.

    Does that mean that capitalism by itself is evil in its nature?

    Obviously not: the Detroit Bailout (or any of the bailouts) are not capitalism. Capitalism, on principle, would let the private sector sort things out. The only role for the government is to set the rules and enforce them. Unfortunately, too many people believe “setting the rules” includes playing Santa Claus with taxpayer money.

  • avatar
    wemixed

    Good point on the German unions. Organizing per se is not the issue it’s the relationship between labor and “management”. In my experience, the Japanese have union plants in Japan and in England where they maintain manufacturing operations. The reason they shy away from Unions here is because of the poor relationship and their general “stick it to the man” attitude they have against their employers. How does that make sense? The union should be doing all they can to persuade the population and government that they can be conscientious business partners that add value and efficiency to the industry. They should demonstrate how things are made better, faster and more cost effective. Instead they are arguing an expense. I heard a quote somewhere: Price it what you pay, value is what you get. Where is the value proposition?

  • avatar
    50merc

    ihatetrees: “It’s easier to manage a union force, especially if that’s all you know. Everything’s codified down to who screws the last bolt with what tool.”

    Right, you don’t have to make decisions, just check the 22 pound, 2,215 page contract to see what it requires:

    http://www.1800blogger.com/2008/12/14/22-pounds-of-uaw-work-rules-and-regulations/

  • avatar
    jcalvert

    You are mistaken concerning the US Corporate tax rates. Currently the US has the second highest corporate tax rates in the developed world.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/22917.html

    Jeff

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    All I have to say is that yes, socialism is evil. It doesn’t just steal from one man to give the spoils to another. It’s far worse than that.

    Socialism has resulted in the deaths of millions. If that’s not evil, then there must be no evil.

  • avatar

    it’s not up to anyone but GM to cover retiree costs and real leadership at the company would let these people know that as long as there is a General Motors their pensions and health cars will be taken care of as promised. then again, GM? real leadership? oh well…

  • avatar
    Morea

    jcalvert : You are mistaken concerning the US Corporate tax rates.

    Be suspicious of tax rates. It is hard to compare from locale to locale without knowing what precisely is being taxed. Various write offs change dramatically the effective tax rate.

  • avatar
    tharakozhi

    Let the capitalism fail by its mistake and blame the mistake on socialism (as thief)!

    In an unequal global economy, like water, it will flow towards downstream until it levels out. Even if you build dams, pump water upstream, the nature will lay its course.

    Its bad time for America for being costly labor, healthcare, retirement, and bailout, eventually the market will find its way towards Asia or where ever the total cost is cheaper until it comes to a level playing ground.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Buickman, other bailout supporters,

    If I buy an annuity from someone who doesn’t pay it back, am I entitled to be paid in full from the government? Or, does the government merely owe me the standard social security and medicare?

    I just want to know, because the next step is for me and a few thousand of my closest friends to start a company, bankrupt it, and then collect our checks from the government. Failing that, we could just sell annuities to each other.

    Remember TINSTAAFL. You will never identify all the costs of your so called “free lunch.”

  • avatar
    cpmanx

    People here are using “socialism” to mean so many things (mostly as a catch-all insult referring to excessive government intervention or union power) that it’s helpful to recall what the word actually means:

    1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
    2b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    Taxation is not socialism, and unionism is not socialism. They could be tools of socialism. Partial government ownership of the nation’s banks, mortgage issuers, insurance companies, and now automakers…yes, I’d call that a form of socialism. Amazing that it came from a Republican administration, but then again Nixon was the one who experimented with wage and price controls. Ideology is a slippery thing.

    As for the flip side, how exactly should pure capitalism work? One suggestion above:

    The only role for the government is to set the rules and enforce them.

    Sounds great…but whose rules? Enforce them how? FDIC support for banks certainly infringes on private property. Progressive tax code, yep. R&D tax credit, yep. Farm subsidies, yep. Safety standards for children’s toys, yep. Any taxation at all inherently infringes on private property.

    My point is not that these words are meaningless. My point is that the real world has many shades of gray, and it will be a lot more enlightening if we discuss specific issues and policies rather than tossing around broad terms whose actual meanings, in this conversation, are ambiguous at best, misleading and hurtful at worst.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    cpmanx,

    Under your narrow definition, there are no socialist governments in Europe. I don’t think your source has kept up with the usage.

    Somewhere along the way you slip from capitalism into socialism when the state has the power to take away private property too easily. I can’t tell you how gray you have to get. In order to keep this power, the powerful inevitably infringe on free speech as well. As Marx wrote, this then leads to Communism (only it doesn’t look like he dreamed).

    People who hate to hear about “socialism” generally draw the line farther down the left side than those who use the term to describe something undesirable. IOW, if one doesn’t want his pet idea to be labeled as socialist, it’s because he realizes that socialism is not desired by Americans, but thinks if only HIS great fix were implemented, all would be rosy in the emerald city.

    The slippery slope towards socialism is exactly that, and it usually takes a lot of blood to get back rights once given away. Strangely, I don’t think the bailouts are all that far down the slope, but they certainly lead that way. What’s worse is the insane progressiveness of all our taxes and the many other interventions into the private sector that aren’t all honey and free money.

  • avatar

    My parents were UAW workers. My Dad (now deceased) used to say the union was a good idea but went too far.

    He told stories of workers deliberately goofing off, sabotaging equipment, etc. and when management tried to stop it, they’d holler for the union, who would threaten a work stoppage and management would have to drop it.

    That seems pretty ridiculous to me.

    On the other hand, yes, my Dad lived 25 years after he retired, but his pension wasn’t much. Great health care though.

    John

  • avatar
    Pch101

    My point is that the real world has many shades of gray

    OK, now you’ve done it. If you’re going to claim that we shouldn’t play the socialism card at the drop of a hat, even when it’s totally out of context, then what are we going to bicker about then?

    I’ve decided that I’m just going to call anyone with whom I disagree a Nazi. After all, the Nazis liked German cars and expressways, and beer, and sausage, so if you like any of those things, then you must be a Nazi, too.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Dr Lemming: In the case of unions, to me a key question is whether there are effective checks and balances of power in an industry or company. Unions can act as a check on excessive managerial power. The flip side is true as well. Clearly the Collapsed Three suffer from a dysfunctional system of governance that didn’t get the checks and balances right.

    The real problem is that the UAW became a “junior partner” with the Big Three during the 1950s and 1960s. Management readily gave in to union demands for several reasons. During the lush postwar years, the checks and balances went right out the window.

    Why?

    One, it was easier. Just as parents find it easier to say “yes” to their children, management found it easier to give the union what it wanted. And, just as parents discover that their indulged offspring develop into bratty monsters with a strong sense of both entitlement and resentment, management discovered that the same thing happened with the UAW.

    Managing plants effectively takes time and effort. Giving the union what it wants, and then whining about the union, is easier. The finance-dominated management of GM, Ford and Chrysler just wasn’t interested in what went on in the plants. The world of the plants – where the product was actually made – was treated with disdain by GM, Ford and Chrysler management.

    Two, management wanted the UAW to receive more pay and benefits, because then THEIR pay and benefits were increased as well.

    And, three, this was all possible because the Big Three were an oligopoly during the 1950 and 1960s, with no real competition. They could simply pass on higher labor costs to customers. Generous labor contracts also put considerable pressure on the independents, who had to match the wages but spread them over a much smaller production base.

    Remember when the debate each fall wasn’t whether new-car prices would rise, but how MUCH they would rise?

    Dr Lemming: Japan and Germany may offer useful ideas for fixing the problem . . . if we are willing to look beyond ideology.

    It’s always good to look at other countries and companies to see what they are doing. But I note that the German and Japanese automakers are moving a considerable amount of production AWAY from their respective home countries, to places like Mexico, Brazil and the U.S.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    geeber,
    Well put.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    “I’ve decided that I’m just going to call anyone with whom I disagree a Nazi. After all, the Nazis liked German cars and expressways, and beer, and sausage, so if you like any of those things, then you must be a Nazi, too.”

    The Nazi’s were actually the German National Socialist Party. Hitler was a great believer in both unions and socialism.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Hitler was a great believer in both unions and socialism.

    Using your logic, Hitler also liked high speed roads without tolls, so free roads must be a tool of the left. Conservatives should demand that tollbooths be erected on every corner as a stand against the left, for we all know that Hitler didn’t use them.

    Using the same logic, you must support the American Civil Liberties Union, because they obviously like civil liberties so much that they included them in the name.

    (Or maybe you could drop the pretense, and admit that Hitler was a fascist who worked with the churches and the industrialists and the labor unions because he sought to dominate all of them in his quest for power. The Nazis worked with private industry and kept it private, a strong indication that they were not socialists.)

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    PCH,
    You know very well that under fascism, the state reserves the right to take private enterprises over, or force their hands, whenever they want. Fascism is a form of socialism with the primary difference being that one ostensibly has private property, but it can be yanked at any time.

    What made the Nazi’s, and most fascist of that era different was their CULTURAL conservatism and respect for tradition. That is NOT a requirement of fascism, but is an element of nazism.

    Economically, they are hand in hand with most of the socialists, except the communists, who are kind of opposite because they wanted to destroy the existing culture and traditions while ostensibly ending all private property. Only thing was, people can’t stop thinking of things as their own, and when they do, they usually start starving quickly.

    Lot’s of American educators, willingly or unknowingly, went along with a tremendous soviet propaganda campaign professing that fascism was right wing. It never was, it only did not necessitate a left wing take over of the culture as communism did. In all other respects, it is a leftist, socialist dogma.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Fascism is a form of socialism with the primary difference being that one ostensibly has private property, but it can be yanked at any time.

    Honestly, I don’t know where some of you guys get this stuff. To be blunt, I am getting a bit tired of people rewriting history, science, and economic and political theory just to suit their whims. If you want an honest argument, then please stick with the standard definitions, instead of rewriting them for your convenience.

    The origins of right-left come from the French legislature. The monarchists sat on the right, the (small “d”) democrats on the left. Kings happily seized property and led without elections, but they were totalitarians on the right, not socialists on the left.

    A socialist is one who wishes to centralize the ownership of production. The Nazis not only didn’t do that, but they also worked actively with private industry to advance their agenda. Their actions indicate that they were not socialists. They were no more socialists than the Soviets were a republic, even though they included “republic” in the name.

    Fascism and Nazism were right-wing movements, but what was most wrong with them was not that they were right-wing, but that they were dictatorial, imperialistic and, in the case of Nazism, racist.

    You can find examples of reasonable governance and totalitarianism on both right and left. Dictatorships are extremist movements that have come from both sides. Not all conservatives are fascists, and not all liberals are communists (or for that matter, even socialists), and these discussions would be far better than they are if people would take the trouble to remember that.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Buickman said:
    this is an area in which we can learn from the Chinese who place the utmost importance on society’s elders.

    Are you kidding? May I ask how many years have you ever lived in China? I lived there for the first 17 years of my life.

    State owned factories threw out old worker like trash. No benefit, no nothing. Private sectors phase out workers when they are about 40, so we never know how they treat old people.

    Chinese only respect their own parents, and even that is very superficial. Since China has been a highly hierarchical nation for a long time, elderly tend to possess the real estate, wealth, etc. That’s why young people have to depend on their folks.

    People do what they can do and behave what they have to behave. Everywhere.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Time to update, PCH. Monarchy isn’t really on the spectrum anymore. The new left right spectrum is all about private property and other rights. The right is all about freedoms, and the left about egalitarianism. It’s no longer about left being for change and right for no change. If you are in a socialist country, and you want more freedoms, then you would otherwise be a leftist. There is also no point in classifying people by their cultural and traditional viewpoints because in a socialist country, they really are no longer entitled to their own opinion on those matters.

    The nazi’s called themselves socialists for a reason, they were. Fascism IS a form of socialism. It is not I, but the soviets who rewrote history on that part. They spent a LOT of money around the world, and in the US to rewrite this fact.

    Why don’t you try to think about how your definition might actually work. Let’s say you have some private property in prewar Germany, and you are Jewish. Or, how about you own a factory and make a good living exporting clothes. I suppose if you don’t want to be in the uniform business that’s okay? You can’t have such a strong centralized government control and really have private property. The difference is primarily whether or not the guy running the factory has a deed on it or not. The deed is just a piece of paper under fascism.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The new left right spectrum is all about private property and other rights.

    No, it’s about ownership of production. Maybe you have rewritten it to suit your purposes, but that is not a common definition.

    In any case, right wingers also seize property when it suits them. I know that in our new revisionist blogger universe, left is bad and right is good, but that is the sort of tripe that is spewed on right-wing blogs, not a conclusion reached among those who actually study politics.

  • avatar
    wsn

    I am not an expert on left-right politics. But I do feel violated when governments use my tax money to pay UAW $70/hour. I don’t even make that much, and as a matter of fact plenty of people are willing to take those auto jobs at $30/hour.

    Why do I, as a software engineer, have to compete with everyone and get paid at market rate, and at the same time the UAW get paid more than their market worth with me paying the difference? This is robbery, isn’t it?

    P.S. my definition of “market worth”:
    Fire the person and replace with a lowest cost but equally capable person, that cost is the market worth of the job.

    Or, from the perspective of the employee: being fired and then finding a new job, the new pay is the market worth.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    But I do feel violated when governments use my tax money to pay UAW $70/hour.

    The workers don’t earn wages of $70/hour, and they are going to lose many of their benefits as part of the bailout.

    Once GM’s line workers get their huge benefits cut and this has gone on for awhile, you’re going to find that GM still won’t be profitable. It will be interesting to see who or what GM management blames next, but whatever that is, I’m sure that they won’t include themselves.

  • avatar
    wsn

    They do. Pension and medical care are other forms of wages.

    When I say $x/hr, I meant everything combined. There will be plenty of Americans willing to take those jobs for $30/hr combined. If that happens, America as a whole loses no jobs and GM is viable again.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Pension and medical care are other forms of wages.

    No, they are benefits. Wages are defined as cash compensation.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Well, I am not fond of playing with terminologies. But as you wish, I hereby change all my previous use of “wage” to “total wage and benefits and everything paid or to be paid that has a value.”

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I am not fond of playing with terminologies.

    It isn’t just a matter of semantics.

    Much of the increased cost of the benefits is not going into the pockets of the workers, but into the coffers of insurance companies providing them with their health insurance.

    If your employer gets stuck with a premium increase for your health insurance, I doubt that you’d appreciate it if he started calling you names or belittling your work just because Blue Cross is taking more of his money. The worker didn’t ask the insurer to increase the premium, the work hasn’t changed, and the worker certainly isn’t getting another penny from the increase.

    As for jobs banks, it wouldn’t be an issue if the companies made cars that people want to buy. Jobs bank was a sort of insurance policy for the workers to ensure that they didn’t pay the price for the companies’ failure to move product. Since we’ve seen the product, we all know whose fault it is that they couldn’t sell it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Now the insurance company is at fault? Please do not shift the focus of this argument.

    For myself, if my boss fires me, I will be able to find another job paying roughly the same. If I choose to quit, my boss is able to find someone for about the same amount of pay.

    This is true for most North Americans.

    However, for the UAW workers, if they are fired, they won’t be able to find any job that pays $70 everything included. If GM indeed fired them and rehires, the company will be able to find enough qualified applicants at $30/hour everything included.

    Now the UAW is bullying us to pay the $40 gap.

    I have no issue with job banks. I have no issue with anything that they do, as long as they are not using my money.

    I always thought the American dream was being rewarded for your work’s worth, not for begging and bullying.

  • avatar
    wsn

    As a final note: GM’s market share is about 22% in the U.S. The total auto sales is about 20%~30% down in 2008. Don’t you see a perfect fit?

    If GM files Chapter 7, the auto industry is back to normal immediately. By any standard, a 22% shrink is not disastrous in any industry.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Now the insurance company is at fault?

    For me, it’s not a matter of fault. I’m simply making a factual statement about who is getting the money.

    In contrast, you are eager to fault the worker for something that the worker didn’t do and doesn’t benefit the worker. I’m simply following the money, and showing that it doesn’t lead to the places where you claim that it is going.

    I suspect that you feel that blue collar workers who earn decent wages are an affront to your position. I am also a white collar professional, but I don’t feel demeaned or threatened by people on assembly lines who make a decent living for doing nasty work that I wouldn’t want to do myself.

    Jealousy is not a good place to ground your arguments. If you are so envious of the auto workers’ benefits, then go apply for an assembly line job and see whether you could put up with it.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 said:
    In contrast, you are eager to fault the worker for something that the worker didn’t do and doesn’t benefit the worker.

    If the workers do not benefit from those “benefit packages”, why not just let GM file bankruptcy, fire everyone and rehire and thus screwing the big bad insurance companies?

    I am not affronted by any blue collar worker who can keep his job at a viable business or who can find another job at whatever pay. I am merely affronted by any blue (or any other color) collar worker whose unreasonable total pay depends on my tax money.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If the workers do not benefit from the “benefit” package, why not just let GM file bankruptcy, fire everyone and rehire and thus screwing the big bad insurance companies?

    That misses the point, but you probably knew that.

    The workers traditionally had a good health care plan, and the old timers still have it. The cost of that plan went up. Those cost increases didn’t go to the worker, but to the insurer. The workers are getting what they agreed to.

    The automakers cut a deal with the workers to provide that coverage. Obviously, the automakers implicitly agreed to cover whatever cost increases that the coverage might entail. They obviously missed the mark.

    If the cost of health insurance had gone down, you can bet that GM wouldn’t have started cutting checks to the workforce to share the savings. It cuts both ways, and it just so happens that this one isn’t going their way.

    Again, I’m sorry that you wish that you had those benefits. If you want them that badly, go apply for a job there. I don’t have those benefits, either, but I don’t get envious, I just budget accordingly and hope that my health holds out enough that I won’t need them.

    I am merely affronted by any blue (or any other color) collar worker whose unreasonable total pay depends on my tax money.

    A lot of those benefits are going to be cut as part of the bailout. This should make you happy, shouldn’t it?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 said:

    Again, I’m sorry that you wish that you had those benefits. If you want them that badly, go apply for a job there. I don’t have those benefits, either, but I don’t get envious, I just budget accordingly and hope that my health holds out enough that I won’t need them.

    Yes, I do want more benefits. But I am not that low to ask for other people’s tax money to pay for my benefits.

    It’s not envy. If it’s their money, and I want it, it’s envy. Now it’s my money that they took. It’s not envy, it’s wanting my money back. As long as they don’t ask for a cent of my tax money, they can pay UAW $100000/hr and I won’t be envious.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I am not that low to ask for other people’s tax money to pay for my benefits.

    Once again, a lot of those benefits will no longer exist once this thing is finalized. The point is moot.

    It’s going to be interesting to see who we blame next for the failure of the automakers. We’re running out of scapegoats and conspiracy theories, which gives me hope that maybe one day, we’ll getting around to blaming the management that was responsible all along.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 said:

    Once again, a lot of those benefits will no longer exist once this thing is finalized. The point is moot.

    Really? GM just got about $10B of tax money. Is that $10B just moot? Are you sure not a cent from the $10B went to pay the inflated total pay of UAW workers?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Are you sure not a cent from the $10B went to pay the inflated total pay of UAW workers?

    Follow the news, and it’s clear that the forthcoming “turnaround” plans will invariably includes cuts to job banks and the VEBA, the latter of which isn’t even being funded as required as is. There will also be job cuts and wage reductions. The question is not whether there will be cuts, but what they will look like.

    It should be pretty clear that labor is going to pay a price for this. The real beneficiaries here are the bondholders.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 said:

    It’s going to be interesting to see who we blame next for the failure of the automakers. We’re running out of scapegoats and conspiracy theories, which gives me hope that maybe one day, we’ll getting around to blaming the management that was responsible all along.

    Please refrain from using the word “we”, since you and me are likely to blame different people.

    For me, I blame all those who bully to get my tax money, including the banker and the UAW. As long as they are not using my tax money, they can get paid whatever amount they want and I won’t rant.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 said:

    A lot of those benefits are going to be cut as part of the bailout. This should make you happy, shouldn’t it?

    You still don’t get what I meant. I never said UAW should or shouldn’t have all those benefits, because it’s not my business.

    I only mind my own business and that is the the amount of my money paid to UAW/GM as a whole. To make me happy, please stop wasting my tax money! If they don’t use my money and they pay $100000/hr to idle workers, I will be happy for them.

    And by the looks of it, they are going to ask for more of my tax money. $10B can only lasts GM for another 6 months. I am not happy.

  • avatar

    For what its worth the Nazi’s outlawed unions and replaced them with the German Labor Front. I read somewhere that they had compulsory binding arbitration to settle disputes. So the Nazi’s did not favor unions.

    As someone whose family fled true property confiscation at the point of a gun from true Marxists I am more than a little put off by everyone that somehow equates anything more left wing than their viewpoint as somehow Marxist Socialist.

    Trust me my relatives are rich Democratic liberals and they are most definitely not Marxists.

    I myself have voted for Reagan twice, George H Bush twice, Dole, George W Bush twice and yes I did vote for Obama but he is the first democrat that I have ever voted for in any election ever not counting a local county commissioner named Jan Platt. I have always voted Republican in every off year election as well going back to the early 80′s. I own multiple paid for houses that I rent out. I am always in favor of lower taxes. I generally am a traditionalist on social issues and yes I am a union member (who drives a Scion) yet if I were to be a little more to the left on some issues I guess that would qualify me for Communist status for some.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    US government support of unions stems from the industrial era and exploitation of markets. Trusts and market power. Regulation was for the mutual benefit of corporations and the public sector. Labor exploitation led to Federal support when labor was weak compared to corporations. No longer the case. There is only UAW support for the proposition that $70 per hour burdened compared to the wages the majority of blue collar workers receive. Socialism is state ownership of economic means. Soviets the extreme example. EU, France and GB for example, had state ownership of economic means after WWII. All three failed. The EU has Democratic Socialism where the economic sector is controlled by rules, regulations and taxes. Markets are state controlled but not owned. Democratic Socialism is the object of the Democratic Party. A managed market place is to be replaced by the EU model. A piece of the EU model is labor and government control of corporation board of directors. VW threatned to leave Germany over labor costs and rules. Concessions were made but likely not enough in a competitive world. The EU model won’t work here as the East is rising while the West is in decline. These colors do retreat.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Landcrusher : Nazis = socialism

    Do you realize how richly ironic that is considering who they fought (and pushed massive amounts of propaganda against) in that war they perpetrated?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    I only mind my own business and that is the the amount of my money paid to UAW/GM as a whole. To make me happy, please stop wasting my tax money! If they don’t use my money and they pay $100000/hr to idle workers, I will be happy for them.

    PCH made a good point (that most of the benefit will be to the bondholders). So maybe that vitriol can be better directed.

    At this point, the goal of a bailout should be to soften the landing for the people (and that includes a lot of workers) supported by the domestic auto industry. Unfortunately, it seems that the financiers get the money, and laborers get the blame, and the management get to live another day.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    agentx,
    Kind of ironic, but kind of not. Fights among family members are always the worst. Besides that, those two have been going it at for a while. Ask the Poles for more info.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Are you denying that the Nazis fought socialism/communism? Sound familiar?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Let’s make a deal. You stop trying to provoke me, and I will stop ignoring you.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    On public forums the deal works like this: don’t post poor arguments and you don’t get replies pointing them out.

  • avatar
    wsn

    agenthex said:

    PCH made a good point (that most of the benefit will be to the bondholders). So maybe that vitriol can be better directed.

    At this point, the goal of a bailout should be to soften the landing for the people (and that includes a lot of workers) supported by the domestic auto industry. Unfortunately, it seems that the financiers get the money, and laborers get the blame, and the management get to live another day.

    1) My wording was “UAW/GM as a whole.” GM stakeholders are a part of GM, as a bailout package is concerned.

    2) If the laborers got nothing but blame out of the 10B package (and people do expect much more later on), then why do they support the deal? Why not just turn it down and dodge the blame?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    1. If we’re just giving away handouts here, let’s minimize what’s unnecessary, and at least give them to the most needy, relatively speaking.

    2. So between taking blame and going broke, you’d take going broke?

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Hitler was very pro union. Read Mein Kampf where he extolls the virtues of unions. Of course once the National Socialist Workers Party was in power they took over all the unions. The National Socialists wanted unions but they were going to control them. Hitler makes it quite clear that he is a socialist and that his form of National Socialism is a different form of socialism than that of the hated Bolsheviks. Mussolini was also life long socialist.

    Interesting that the CCF party of Canada which continues in Canada to this day as the NDP party had very similar economic views as Hitler.

    The main tenant of both was the end of capitalism. Something they seem to share with the Democrat Party in the USA.(and George Bush)

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Hitler makes it quite clear that he is a socialist and that his form of National Socialism is a different form of socialism than that of the hated Bolsheviks. Mussolini was also life long socialist.

    Yes, his form of Socialism was fascism. He just called it socialism. And people who don’t know what the words mean were easily fooled.

  • avatar
    wsn

    agenthex said:

    1. If we’re just giving away handouts here, let’s minimize what’s unnecessary, and at least give them to the most needy, relatively speaking.

    2. So between taking blame and going broke, you’d take going broke?

    1. Relatively speaking, UAW are not the most needy. They make $70/hr everything combined (= $112k/year for 200 days * 8 hours). With every $1M invested, about 9 jobs can be saved for 1 year. But if we try to save jobs that pay $10/hr everything combined (yes, many hard-working Americans do earn that much), we can save 56 jobs for one year, with the same kind of investment.

    2. So now you do admit that it’s tax payers money that keep the laborers from going broke? They did benefit from my money. Then your previous claim that the laborers got nothing but blame was a lie then?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So now you do admit that it’s tax payers money that keep the laborers from going broke?

    Money is fungible. The infusions are going to service the entire expense load.

    Blue-collar labor is a relatively small component of the cost of car manufacturing. To the extent that their benefit costs are above the norm, the additional benefits costs are a fraction of that labor cost.

    Perhaps in the scheme of things, these costs that you are complaining about absorbed 1-2% of the cash. You are experiencing a forest-trees problem here, focusing on minutiae while missing the big picture.

    Plus, this figure is only going to go down, because the next round of funds will be tied to changes in the UAW agreement. Job and benefit cuts are a certainty, it’s now just a matter of what they entail.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    They make $70/hr everything combined (= $112k/year for 200 days * 8 hours).

    This is a common misconception you should correct.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Pch101 and agenthex:

    Since both of you claim that the laborer’s salary is not exceedingly high, do you agree with my proposal:

    Let GM hit chapter 11, fire every employee including Rick Wagoner. GM must hire the equal number of laborers as before bankruptcy. But GM can choose qualified applicants who are willing to work for the least amount of money (everything included).

    Is that a good deal? Since according to you, the laborers didn’t make unjustified amount of pay and didn’t benefit much from “benefit”, then they will be likely all hired back (more experience) and won’t lose anything. Plus all jobs are preserved.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Disclaimer:

    I am not a UAW/CAW member. To the best of my knowledge, I am not related to any UAW/CAW member; none of my friends is a UAW/CAW member.

    How about you, Pch101 and agenthex?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    GM must hire the equal number of laborers as before bankruptcy. But GM can choose qualified applicants who are willing to work for the least amount of money (everything included).

    It’s a moot point. Replacing one rivet pounder with another, different pay or not, won’t change the outcome of this story.

    You obviously have a thing about the union. I am personally indifferent to the union.

    But I know a scapegoat when I see one, and I see that GM management is using labor as one of its multitude of excuses for its failure to build cars that people want. You haven’t addressed this at all, and any plan that doesn’t focus on what consumers want is going to fail, no matter how high or how low the expenses may be.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Is that a good deal?

    If you read and understood the posts above yours, it would be obvious why that’s an irrelevant idea. It would either put people out of work or reduced money in circulation, and the reduction is not significant enough to matter much anyway (w/resp to your tax dollars).

    You haven’t addressed this at all, and any plan that doesn’t focus on what consumers want is going to fail, no matter how high or how low the expenses may be.

    This isn’t true in the strict sense. Anything will sell at a price. But it’s poignant in this case because even completely gutting labor costs (which are only going to be what, a couple hundred over transplants after the cuts) won’t save enough to make their cars move off lots.

  • avatar
    OctaVentiConPanna

    The $70/hr. wage is a myth perpetrated to stir up envy among the general public and shift public opinion against unions. The $70/hr is derived from adding the retired workers benefits into the current workers’ total hours which results in a “labor cost” to the company. Labor cost is not the wage the worker receives. The wages of a UAW worker is simply a matter of public record which you can find on the UAW website. It’s $28/ hour for top pay. New hires nowadays start off at $14/hr.

    Also, on the UAW website, you’ll find out that the total labor costs account for 8% of the cost of the MSRP of the car. Even if the workers were to work for free, I doubt GM’s financial situation would be much different.

    The fact is, the UAW have been making huge concessions. They are willing to get rid of the jobs bank, they are willing to take on the legacy costs of their retirees, they have already negotiated lower wages for new hires. All these huge concessions put them on par with non-union Japanese plants; yet, the rhetoric still paints the UAW as overpaid and scapegoats the worker as the cause for the downfall of GM.

    If anyone thinks the Nazis’ “National Socialism” is actually socialism, you’re right if you mean that it’s “socialism for corporate entities”. Mussolini was the one who coined the word “fascism”. When reporters asked him what was “fascism”, he simply called it “the corporate state”. Fascism is where the government and corporate entities are one in the same. Corporations have all the rights and human beings are subservient to the interests of the corporation which is part of the larger corporate state. The Nazis rejected communism as well as anything remotely socialist. The Nazis are far right-wing and are polar opposites from what we think of as communist and socialist.

    Facism in Nazi Germany was a upper class political response to economic depression and anything they felt that threatened their profits.

    As we all know from the Income Statement:
    Revenue
    Less Costs
    Equals Profits

    Labor is a cost. When there is economic turmoil, the first ones to be scapegoated were “trade unionists” as the higher wages they negotiated reduces profits. The first group attacked and eliminated by the Nazis were trade unions. The first people put in concentration camps were not Jews, but political opponents, such as outspoken union reps.

    So maybe one should step back and think about what happened in Nazi Germany during those tough economic times and how it relates to what’s happening today with the outright lies about UAW workers.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Octa,

    What exactly do you think is the difference between the state taking over all the corporations, and the corporations taking over the state? (As if that was what happened, it was not). In the end, you still have the state in control of everything. The difference is merely a nuance, which is why they are so closely related and should both be considered forms of socialism (which they are by many).
    Instead of thinking about Nazi’s, how about we think about the UAW. Here we have a group who spends a lot of money trying to take the power from the stock holders by creating an all powerful state. When has that ever been a good result for the workers? Everytime its tried, they simply trade the capitalist masters for political ones and end up worse for their efforts.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    What exactly do you think is the difference between the state taking over all the corporations, and the corporations taking over the state?

    That’s not the dichotomy discussed.

    The significant difference has already been explained to you several times. What’s sort of funny is that you already subliminally understand the concept as exemplified by your last sentence:

    Everytime its tried, they simply trade the capitalist masters for political ones and end up worse for their efforts.

    Except many people don’t realize the US via regulation has already moved from a strict capitalist controlled state, just maybe not as far as our neighbors across the pond and certain what marx envisioned.

    And good riddance, for your children don’t work as wage slaves and you’re not diseased and dying at your age. You’ll note those benefits don’t come from “freedom” (from regulation that bind them) as your capitalist mental masters want you to believe. It’s in their interest to define these parts that weaken their control as part of the “state” to simplify what is good and bad for their followers.

    I recall this conversation with you before, so at this point we can chalk this up to willful ignorance.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Let me make this really simple since labor discussion get confusing to wannabe capitalists.

    Everybody like democracy and republics in general, right? So does it ever bother you that corporate structure practices the exact opposite of this, dictatorial rule of the moneyed? The large goal of democratic socialism is just to extend this representative governance to work, that more than significant part of our lives.

    Everything else you’re led to believe is done to occlude this truth and protect the last bastion of the privileged class.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    agentnex,

    You put it very logically and reading that sentence everybody can understand that democratic socialism is not a bogey man that it is made out to be by MSM propaganda and taught at school in the US.

    But there is a little problem with that idea and it’s this; it’s been proven in real life (70 years of socialism in the former Soviet Union, 40 years in the satellite countries) that economic system where there is collective ownership doesn’t work very well in most of the economic activity. It seems that people only work efficiently when they do so for their own personal benefit. This has worked for a long time in most of the world but now it’s starting to break down in many business activities including the US automotive industry where neither the management nor workers work as hard and as effectively as they must to effectively compete or at least survive. Even though the workers don’t work as well as they need to I don’t think they contributed much to the disaster that is the US auto industry. I blame squarely the management, the same management that destroyed the once mighty industry and which now blames unions for their own incompetence while still believing that they are entitled to their extravagant pay packages and bonuses. This is where the breakdown is occurring in the system, the people responsible for the complete decimation of their firms are being rewarded. The boards are handing bonuses instead of pink slips. Since the capitalist model seems no longer to be working in Detroit perhaps it’s time to try some form of socialist or state ownership at least to manage the gradual dismantling of the industry if nothing else while trying t lessen the impact on the working people as much as possible.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    (Management) responsible for the complete decimation of their firms are being rewarded

    Absolutely spot on. Plus they’re rewarded for taking risks, not for the RESULTS of the risk. That has to change.

    Incidentally, the pro- and anti- union arguments are pretty moot. Uncaring management invites militant unionism, while strong unionism attempts to exist poisoning their own employ.

    The common feature of those relationships is that the employees and employers do not understand their enterprises’ purpose. You must take the time to empower employees to participate in a shared future.

    For example; I was present for the opening of the new VW plant in South Africa a few years ago. The employees were the ones showing partners and massive shareholders around one on one. They really really really LOVE that plant. I was escorted by what seemed a boy, half my age at least, who just overflowed with enthusiasm about the product and what they were doing as an enterprise. Now it’s one of VW’s best performing plants.

    Fedex are a recent example. Have they not just retained many staff by reducing wages, but communicating it back to employees and getting their agreement? I admire Fedex for working with their people.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Agent,
    Most companies don’t work on that principle where I live. If you work for such a company, get out. It’s a loser. That of course, is the difference. You choose to join a company. You can choose to leave. We can’t all so easily swap countries everytime we don’t like a change in policy or management. Your employer cannot arrest you, steal from you, or all sorts of other things that governments routinely do to their citizens.

    ra_pro,
    What makes you think that agenthex put something logically? I would like a cut and paste on that one. When I read his post, I can barely understand it.
    How do you think the board members are doing what they are doing now and getting away with it? It’s precisely because of government involvement. If you throw them out, and let in government decision makers, you will simply change the players in the same game. You may pay less, but that won’t essentially change the problem.
    Too many tax breaks and regulations favor the large corporation in our country. This used to be different. The small business has a hard time competing when they effectively pay 30 plus percent taxes, and the large companies pay 12% effective rates. Add to that the huge difference that regulatory compliance has on a small company compared to a large one, and it’s amazing we have small businesses left at all.
    Want to try a fun experiment? See if you can invest your 401k, or similar plan, in a privately held small business. Just try it. Yet another advantage for big business who gets all the tax free capital investments.
    Lastly, you simply cannot unwind the relationship between management and the union, and government in the auto industry. Sorry, but it’s not that simple. The very situation is enough to prevent companies like GM from attracting the best talent to begin with.

    Pete,
    You are correct that modern management is not paid correctly, and it’s exactly correct that they are shielded from downsides, while paid in full for upsides. That ain’t a working formula. Add to that, the corporate ladder generally weeds out good risk takers and you don’t have good risk management at the top anymore. Perfect Storm. Of course, you are wrong if you think that government can fix it. The market can, and will correct this problem if the government stops meddling.

    As for good companies, I worked for a company that boldly proclaimed to be for the employees first, and the customers second. They believed that the employees would take care of the customers, so management only had to take care of them. The CEO wouldn’t think of calling one of my customers without calling me first! It worked brilliantly until a downturn scared all the managers into job protection mode. I don’t think you can blame the policy for the resulting failure, there were many other things more likely responsible for the outcome.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Most companies don’t work on that principle where I live.

    That’s how corporate structure works by default. Employee evaluation and pay are dictated from above unless they unionize. Just because you have experience with a benevolent dictator doesn’t change the fundamental structure.

    If you can’t comprehend the basics, no wonder you have trouble understanding me or the various other posters here who have discussed the labor issue at large.

    Look, I know you’re obsessed with the big bad “government”, but at least see that your wonderful capitalists have not the slightest qualm sleeping in bed with them for the money. It’s only when that relationship becomes unprofitable that corps need their indoctrinated tools to help “keep the gov off their backs” and protect the wealth of the few.
    .
    Too many tax breaks and regulations favor the large corporation in our country. This used to be different. The small business …

    The main difference between a small and large business is that one has not realized its main goal. Also, you seem to forget why large corps became public. I can’t imagine the abuses if they don’t even have that level of accountability.
    .

    rapro:
    But there is a little problem with that idea and it’s this; it’s been proven in real life (70 years of socialism in the former Soviet Union, 40 years in the satellite countries) that economic system where there is collective ownership doesn’t work very well in most of the economic activity. It seems that people only work efficiently when they do so for their own personal benefit.

    The problem they had is that their leadership was still authoritarian and often incompetent at economic planning. That’s why modern terminology refers to democratic socialism, because the revolutionaries were clearly a bunch of frauds when it came down to governance.

    And while greed can be an excellent motivator, it can also justify the worst of means. Thus the need for a system that maintains incentives while minimizing abuse, by increasing transparency and oversight.

  • avatar
    geeber

    agenthex: Yes, his form of Socialism was fascism. He just called it socialism. And people who don’t know what the words mean were easily fooled.

    The arguments about “socialism” and who was or wasn’t is a distraction.

    The real problem is that people today say that Hitler was a right-winger, when he was anything but. Many of his ECONOMIC programs would fit comfortably within virtually every modern western European country.

    And, no, that does not mean that today’s European governments are fascist.

    agenthex: Everybody like democracy and republics in general, right? So does it ever bother you that corporate structure practices the exact opposite of this, dictatorial rule of the moneyed?

    Corporations and governments are two entirely different entities, and our relationship to them should be completely different.

    I don’t particularly care how GM is governed. I don’t care how GM governs its employees. That is GM’s business.

    If I don’t like the way GM is run – or more likely, I don’t like its products, which usually reflect how it is being run – I can buy my vehicle from another automobile manufacturer. Or, I can refrain from buying a vehicle, move to the city and walk.

    Contrary to your assertion, GM does not “rule” over me – unless people, usually from the left side of the political spectrum, in cahoots with the UAW and management, want to give it taxpayer dollars because it is “too big to fail” or “we can’t afford to lose the jobs,” etc., etc.

    agenthex: Look, I know you’re obsessed with the big bad “government”, but at least see that your wonderful capitalists have not the slightest qualm sleeping in bed with them for the money. It’s only when that relationship becomes unprofitable that corps need their indoctrinated tools to help “keep the gov off their backs” and protect the wealth of the few.

    No, what I see are left-leaning politicians, in concert with the UAW and management, trying to give my money to GM, when I’ve chosen not to by not buying one of its products.

    Pay attention to just WHO is against the bailout (and don’t limit that to politicians). It’s largely the free-market conservatives and libertarians who are against it. Sorry, but they are not the hypocrites here.

    And if you think that the heads of GM, Ford and Chrysler are true conservatives – let alone libertarians – you haven’t been paying attention for the past 30 or so years.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Pay attention to just WHO is against the bailout (and don’t limit that to politicians). It’s largely the free-market conservatives and libertarians who are against it. Sorry, but they are not the hypocrites here.

    Not really the case. There is a lot of support in the business and finance community for a bailout.

    It’s easy for politicians to rail against something, when they know that the outcome will occur, regardless. They can grandstand and say what their constituents want to hear, knowing that they won’t change the outcome. We should judge the government by what it does, not by what it says.

    It is true that there are liberals who are supporting the bailout for the sake of jobs and organized labor. But a lot of the drive to support GM in particular has come from those who participate in the stock and bond markets.

    The markets view GM’s fate as a bellwether for the ability of the government to rescue the economy. In addition, there have been fears of what could happen to the corporate bond and credit default swap markets if GM had tanked, leaving billions in defaults.

    Rightly or wrongly, Bush has been trying to avoid a repeat of the Lehman collapse. The blowback from that was much worse than what most free marketeers expected, and it is widely believed that things would not be as bad as they are now had Lehman been bailed out. It’s not ideological, so much as it is pragmatic.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    agenthex,
    I understand what you are saying, but you aren’t understanding me. Of course, in the end, it goes the employers way, so yes, it could be a benevolent dictator analogy. Fine, that doesn’t change the fact that you can change employers, and they can’t throw you in jail or take your property. That is not a small difference. You also have the opportunity to start your own company. Try starting your own country.
    As for the “capitalists” sucking at the teet, it doesn’t change a thing. The problem is still the government. Of course people will go to the government if they think they can get money. That is the WHOLE REASON capitalism works. People want money! It if you don’t get THAT, then it is you having a problem with basics.
    PS. Thanks for once again being insulting and condescending after I made a perfectly reasonable and nice reply to your post.

    PCH101,
    Buddy, you should know by now that not everyone in finance and business is pro market. In fact, this little brouhaha has been great for getting a look at who is who. I understand your position, and most of your post is correct, but you should leave that premise out. There are plenty of people who are playing capitalist who would much rather play in a less free market arena. It’s a huge myth that successful business people are all about free markets.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s a huge myth that successful business people are all about free markets.

    That’s part of my point. In the real world, it’s about pragmatism, not ideology. Ideology is something left for the proletarians to argue about, something to keep the worker bees distracted from observing what is really going on. The more that we fixate on ideology, the more that reality is going to pass us by.

    It’s hard for the feds to tell the public that much of the support for GM is to keep the credit default swap market from blowing up. Nobody has any clue what will happen if those bonds default and the counterparties become liable to pay up. That could have nuclear proportions, and no one is particularly eager to find out how ugly it could get.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Pch101: Not really the case. There is a lot of support in the business and finance community for a bailout.

    There are very few people in the business and financial community that are true free-market conservatives, let alone libertarians. They are quite comfortable sucking off the government teat when it suits them, and don’t like facing the uncertainty of the free market.

    I would expect them to belly up to the goverment bar when it suits them.

    I would not expect them to be against these bailouts, because they are not libertarians or true believers in the free market.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    PCH,
    You say pragmatism, I say perceived self interest. We all know that being good at what you do may be enough for most people to do well, but most businesses are not meritocracies. Moving up the ladder is often complicated with other issues. It’s not that the cream doesn’t usually rise to the top, but for the those in the middle, the pecking order is rarely objectively based. And on top of that, there is often some turds floating up there as well.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    You say pragmatism, I say perceived self interest.

    Same difference. The point remains that ideology is entertainment for the masses, not something deeply held by most politicians or business people.

    You can talk about it all day long. Meanwhile, the pragmatists are trying to keep the market from blowing up, something that won’t do anyone, including the ideologues, any good.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    The arguments about “socialism” and who was or wasn’t is a distraction.

    But you do care about “free market”. See the irony there?
    .

    Corporations and governments are two entirely different entities, and our relationship to them should be completely different.

    I don’t particularly care how GM is governed. I don’t care how GM governs its employees. That is GM’s business.

    GM’s employees care how they are governed, and you care about your workplace. Try to keep up.
    .

    There are very few people in the business and financial community that are true free-market conservatives, let alone libertarians. They are quite comfortable sucking off the government teat when it suits them, and don’t like facing the uncertainty of the free market.

    “True conservatives”. LOL again. Free markets don’t exist because they create social imbalances which are in very few people’s interest. So why create a society against so many people’s interests? Because you say so?

    In the real world, it’s about pragmatism, not ideology. Ideology is something left for the proletarians to argue about

    This is only partially true. Practical solutions are often quite open ended, where they come to rest depends on what compromises are consistent with the overall goals. For example, the model with one factory owner, a few armed lackeys, and a swarm of wage slaves is not impractical, but civilized people find it undesirable.

    Just looking at the many models used around the would makes it obvious. Ideas matter. Big ideas especially so.


    Fine, that doesn’t change the fact that you can change employers, and they can’t throw you in jail or take your property. That is not a small difference.

    Oh yes, the free marketeer’s false choice. The freedom to choose from equally crummy choices.

    And that difference is in your head. Ever heard of debtor’s prison? Who’s protecting people from that kind of predatory capitalism? Oh that’s right, the government.

    I predict your next move to be to frame this as an abuse of the rule of law, in which case we should just abolish the rule of law, which is what libertarians want anyway. They’ll just never admit to it because none of them ever bother to check for logical consistency of whatever they make up.

    PS. Thanks for once again being insulting and condescending after I made a perfectly reasonable and nice reply to your post.

    As predicted, you don’t make the smallest attempt to understand your numerous errors. But at least now you admit to it.

  • avatar
    njdave

    The UAW is killing it’s golden goose. Disclosure, I am not in a union and never will be. I refuse to pay dues to a bunch of self-important dullards just so I can get the same raise as everyone else no matter how much better the work I do is. The UAW reminds me of the New York Longshoreman. New York Harbor used to be the busiest port on the east coast, and the Longshoreman were the most powerful union in the country. More powerful than the UAW. They just kept raising the labor costs, and increasing work rules and featherbedding until the shipping companies said “enough” and moved elsewhere. Now, all the Longshoreman are unemployed. The same will happen to the UAW. This hairsplitting about calling part of the labor cost “Legacy costs” and insisting it is different than labor cost is ridiculous. It is still all a cost of labor, and the companies can’t afford it. They have 2 bad choices to make – 1) raise the price of their product, or 2) cut cost somewhere else which always means materials. The problem is the consumer reaction to either one. If the consumer sees a really nice big3 car, it is expensive and the consumer says “hey I can get a Lexus or Acura that is just as nice and save a couple of thousand” Or, if the companies keep the cost down to the same level as the imports, the customer says “Hey for forty large, I want real leather and soft plastics and matching panels. For this price, a Lexus or Acura is much nicer.” Either way, Detroit loses. The only way Detroit can compete is if their labor cost is lower. The UAW has to face the fact that a job that can be done by pretty much anyone off the street with minimal training is only worth so much. Everyone in America likes to pretend that everyone is upper middle class. Not every job is worth the pay to be upper middle class. Not everyone is going to able to afford that 50 inch Plasma TV. We have to face this as a nation, or our entire industrial base is going to collapse.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Agent,

    Yes, the government protects us from predatory capitalists. They also are supposed to protect us from other types of predators. That is what they are supposed to do. If government didn’t perform those functions, then we really would not need them would we? The point is to keep government from BECOMING the predator. That is why we limit government. The difference isn’t just in my head. It’s not a false choice, at all. Everyday, people leave jobs by choice. Everyday businesses are formed that offer workers better choices. And, everyday, people strike out on their own. I am sorry if this hasn’t worked well for you. It hasn’t been easy for me either. However, I have succeeded enough to know it can be done.
    What choice do you think we will have if the government takes over the businesses? That will be when there are no real choices.

    Lastly, let me quote the last bit of your post. I wrote: PS. Thanks for once again being insulting and condescending after I made a perfectly reasonable and nice reply to your post.
    You responded: As predicted, you don’t make the smallest attempt to understand your numerous errors. But at least now you admit to it.

    Quite frankly, I see no connection between my statement, and yours other than you repeating the same malicious and vitriolic spewing that I was commenting about as tactfully as accuracy would allow. Your only evidence that I made these numerous errors is that you say I am wrong. Well, given your behavior, I think most people with good judgement would discount your veracity without second thought. Also, I see absolutely no admission in this remark, so I can only assume you were speaking about something else. The problem then arises about where I admitted that I would make no attempt to understand my own numerous errors. Perhaps you should have quoted that instead? I suppose I need to go back to ignoring you since your posts communicate your nothing but an unwillingness to either act as an adult or communicate your own thoughts in a comprehensible way. Maybe you should get someone to help you.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Well, editing isn’t working again. My apologees for the bad writing, but I can’t fix it.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Yes, the government protects us from predatory capitalists. They also are supposed to protect us from other types of predators.

    See, you’re finally coming around. If you can abstract this and apply to other policies, maybe you can understand the posts above.
    .
    Everyday, people leave jobs by choice. Everyday businesses are formed that offer workers better choices.

    So what is this microecon statement supposed to mean? As a prerequisite to spewing opinions about labor and such, people should study what happens in developing countries without strong protection of the law for workers. Permanent underclasses are formed.

    It’s ironic when people spite the very institutions that has helped create the basis of shared wealth upon which they stand.
    .
    The problem then arises about where I admitted that I would make no attempt to understand my own numerous errors. Perhaps you should have quoted that instead?

    I think it was abundantly clear all you’re offering are libertarian talking points, you were not interested in learning anything and just wanted to bitch about how mean I can seem.


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