Auto Union-Boss Bailout Not Improving With Age

White House Again Exhorts Taxpayers to Feel Good About Boondoggle

(Source: September 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)

Autoworkers union President Bob King and other union bosses are the chief beneficiaries of the GM/Chrysler bailouts. Credit:

In the summer of 2009, the Obama Administration handed over $49.5 billion in federal taxpayers’ money to the Big Labor-controlled, money-hemorrhaging General Motors Corporation (GM). At the time, bankrupt GM was on the verge of being forced into liquidation. Its assets would then have been sold off.

The White House publicly pitched this costly taxpayer-funded bailout as a bid to save American jobs. However, President Obama and his Administration actually knew full well that the number of Americans employed by GM would continue to shrink rapidly, even after the massive taxpayer bailout.

Taypayer Bailout Hasn’t Stopped Disappearance of Union Boss-Controlled Manufacturing Jobs

In early 2009, GM had 47 production facilities in the U.S. By the end of this year, it will have just 34. The company’s vehicle sales today, when the country’s economy is recovering, albeit weakly, remain far below what they were in 2008, when the economy was in a recession.

More than 80% of U.S. automotive manufacturing jobs are now in union-free firms, and these firms, not bailed-out GM and Chrysler, surely represent the future of domestic automotive manufacturing employment.

Rather than workers, the single greatest beneficiary of the GM bailout was the United Autoworkers (UAW) union hierarchy. Along with sympathetic Obama agents, union officials were effectively left in charge of the company.

Given that the wasteful work rules that UAW bosses, wielding government-granted monopoly-bargaining power over employees, insisted on for decades were largely what drove the company into bankruptcy, they certainly didn’t deserve kid-gloves treatment. Yet that’s what they got.

President Tries to Take Credit For Hiring by Firms He Didn’t Bail Out

The President’s decision to bail out GM and Chrysler and the UAW hierarchy with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars ranks among the most unpopular moves he has made so far.

However, Mr. Obama appears to believe that, if he keeps telling Americans frequently enough that his giveaway to the UAW brass’s “zombie” corporations really was the right thing to do, most citizens will come to agree with him in time.

During a July 30 stop at one of the remaining GM plants, the President even tried to take credit for the fact that overall employment in American auto manufacturing grew by 55,000 from June 2009 to June 2010. He failed to mention that the union-free firms that are now adding net jobs didn’t get a bailout!

“President Obama likes to pretend that, if he, along with President George W. Bush before him, hadn’t funneled a total of over $60 billion to GM and Chrysler, by now hardly any auto manufacturing jobs in the U.S. would remain,” noted National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen.

“That’s preposterous. Even at the bottom of the recent recession, hundreds of thousands of Americans were working together in nonunion factories, mostly located in Right to Work states, to produce cars and trucks that could be sold, mostly to other Americans, at a profit.

“They were able to do it because they weren’t hamstrung by productivity-quashing union work rules. And they would still be able to do it even if the bailouts of UAW-dominated companies had never happened.”

Americans Aren’t So Easily Bamboozled

“Fortunately, the American people are not as easily bamboozled as President Obama and his cohorts in the UAW, GM and Chrysler hierarchies seem to think they are,” Mr. Leen continued.

“The President’s fork-tongued reassurances that all is going well with the bailouts are unlikely to persuade most Americans they were wrong to oppose them in the first place.

“Instead, if Mr. Obama keeps it up, ordinary citizens are likely to get angrier and angrier as time goes on.”