Can't agree more. Thank you George!
What a load of journalistic hogwash. If evil unions and liberals were to
blame, how is it that automanufactures around the world, particularly in
Germany, which offer greater benefits and retirement packages have not resulted
in the mess Detroit now finds itself in.It wasn't just the
unions who built decades worth of cars that were poorly designed, and
didn't meet the needs of none suv and truck driving America. Management at
all levels of the big three failed to make products that Americans wanted.
Where there is no or low demand, there are no jobs to create product.The population of Detroit dropped because jobs dropped. It really is that
simple. Pretending this is the result of some liberal political ploy ignores
that products were the problem... not politicians.And while I have
only worked one union job in my life, am not a supported of unions, I do think
that if you tell an employee that if they stay loyal for 30 to 40 years, that
they will be taken care of.... breaking that promise is a most serious breach
of ethics. If the deal was bad, so be it. But you honor your commitments.
Huge increases in taxes in order to pay for all the governance and pension funds
forced taxpayers to flee Detroit in droves with their money and guess who were
left? Its only a matter of time for the entire nation to experience the same
fate. Need proof? 47% of Americans pay no federal income taxes today while about
50% get some type of government entitlement, mostly with borrowed money.
Unsustainable, just like Detroit!
Re: "Where there is no or low demand, there are no jobs to create
product."It's not low demand that sunk Detroit automakers,
it was high cost. Foreign automakers continued to prosper, as Detroit sunk lower
and lower.Foreign automakers -- even in Germany -- have been able to
increase worker productivity to the point that labor costs, including the
inevitable goldbricking and featherbedding imposed by unions, doesn't drive
the cost of the product above levels real people will pay.In the US,
federal intervention, labor "mediation," and regulation made that
impossible. So labor costs drove us out of the market.Thanks to Big
Labor, and its stooges in Big Government.
Labor unions priced their workers right out of the market. If they had been
reasonable, they would still be doing well enough, but those poor workers might
have had to work 35 or 40 or 45 years, to age 53 or 58, or heaven forbid 63 like
the rest of us, to get a pension. Their pay would have been decent, but not
double what a school teacher in Utah makes with years of experience and a
college degree.But they behaved like parasites, caring not at all
for the host industry they were sucking dry. They just figured they would find
another host to leach off. The rest of us don't want to volunteer for that,
not in federal aid, and not in trying to take new industry to Detroit, just to
get sucked dry too.Perhaps we can feed some of the enemies of the US
to Detroit corruption, like N. Korea, and Iran.
Mountainman... your right... my 75 year old mom pays no income taxes, worked for
45 years, and now is on social security and receives medicare benefits. She is
unproductive now... we should just cut her off... right? She is now just a
free-loader on society.
@UtahBlueDevil "Management at all levels of the big three failed to make
products that Americans wanted."Most industries deal with a
recession by becoming leaner, smarter, and more focused. They cut waste, and
learn how to compete in tough economic conditions.The U.S. auto
industry didn't learn any of these lessons. They got a bailout.
@ UtahBlueDevil. I think not! S.S. and Medicare are not really entitlements
because we and our employers all paid into a "trust fund" for them. You
can decide for yourself why the "trust funds" have all been raided and
spent and the number of food stamp, housing subsidy and free healthcare
recipients have more than doubled in the last 4 years. Detroit proves that
don't you think?
It is sad George Will seems happy that Detroit is where it is today. Here are
interesting statistics who think Utah is the best run state.Utah's structural debt is just over 23 billion with it's debt to gdp
ratio at 19.1 percent. Michigan, which is considered a blue state, structural
debt is 83.4 billion with a debt to gdp ratio of 18.8 percent. It's debt
per citizen is $7832. Utah's debt per person is 8192.Just
looking at the numbers it appears Michigan is better managed state than Utah,
except the key factor left out it the unemployment rate. Utah is about half of
what Michigan and Detroit is in the mid teens.So Detroit's
demise comes down to unemployment. Which could happen anywhere. What if the
federal government did decide to shut down Hill Air force, Dugway and other
federal facilities? Washington county's Unemployment rate was 11.7 percent
in the height of the recession. It relied and still relies on construction just
like Detroit relies on Auto manufacturing.
So, it was the unions that did in Detroit?Strange, but I was under
the impression that auto company owners and executives, who continued to mandate
the production of gas-guzzling cars when the Japanese and others were offering
fuel-efficient cars, might have had a lot to do with it.In fact, my
first three cars were a 1957 Chev, a 1961 Chev and a 1968 Ford Galaxie.
Beginning in 1980, however, almost every car my family has owned has been made
in Japan or Korea. And by the way, I noticed that the pay of auto company
executives soared as sales declined.
I agree with the conservatives on this one. The autoworkers in Detroit should
have long ago dumped the union and demanded wages and hours similar to their
competitors in China and other low-wage countries so that their employers could
remain competitive (and their CEOs could increase their pay). A
couple of years ago this paper ran a story about autoworkers in a Chinese Honda
plant who were "striking" because they were tired of low wages and
12-hour workdays, seven days a week. If we can't accept similar working
conditions and wages, we have no business producing products in America that try
to compete with those produced in Third World countries. We need to just ship
all production jobs off to low-wage countries. Our job is to consume. And if we
can't earn enough from our superfluous service-sector jobs to buy more
stuff, then we need to rack up gobs of consumer debt. Oh, wait. This is exactly
what we've been doing. It's worked out well, don't you think.It has now been 38 years since the U.S. ran a trade surplus. Ever wonder
Mountainman.... I do agree the raiding of the "trust" funds needs to be
stopped, and should not be used to balance the budget... what ever that means.
Its wrong, needs to be stopped.But the programs you mention... the
receiving benefits does not even come close to the 47%...not by a wide margin.
Abuse within those other systems is rampant, and not only by the poor, but also
the rich. The company I work for - not in my division - makes software to
detect fraudulent claims. Many times the offenders are well off Dr. clinics
billing for services that were never performed, on patients they never saw. It
is a huge problem.. robbing money from those who truly are in need.So were not that far apart... but to say 47% of americans are on entitlements,
ones they don't deserve, I think stretches the numbers.
@MountanmanBut the 47% number of people who take entitlements does include
SS and medicare recipients. They ARE part of the 50% that you call freeloaders
for receiving government services. You either consider medicare and SS unearned
entitlements or your numbers are wrong.
UAW (United Auto Workers)Retire at age 38 with a pensionStarting salary more than double that of college grads (equivalent to about
$300,000 salary today)Generous benefits packageAll for
unskilled 18 year olds.Anyone who thinks this was reasonable is
nuts. And it is important to realize that as they lived so high and
mighty, so many others in this country struggled to make ends meet, and had to
pay high prices for those cars so the UAW workers could have those wages.
If it wasn't the unions and liberal policies by Detroit leaders and
Michigan, then can one of you liberals explain why the manufacturers went to
Canada for some product lines, where the labor costs are MORE expensive? See
"Ford seeks to close $15 an hour Canada labor gap with U.S" in AutoNews.
If union and liberal policies did not drive the auto manufacturers out, why it
is that labor in Canada is more attractive than the labor in Detroit?
Detroit died by suicide. Government corruption was one of the "pills".
Unions were other "pills". Greed was a "pill". Drugs were
"pills". The biggest "pill" of all was "something for
nothing". Our parents taught us to work hard for what we want.
God told us that we would eat bread by the sweat of our brow. Unions told the
workers that they didn't have to work; that they were worth twice their
value; that they could retire just when they were starting to become trained;
that if the workers held together that the world would give them whatever they
wanted.It was all just a bunch of lies.Now Detroit is
preparing for its funeral. It killed itself. It has no one to blame but those
who made false promises and those who believed those false promises.
Gee, Mike. You make it sound like Detroit is going to vanish because it declared
bankruptcy. Poof, gone, just like Sodom and Gomorrah. Aren't we being a
little hyperbolic here? Detroit has serious problems, but it's not going
anywhere, and it will survive. It just won't be the center of the universe
it thought it was during its heyday.See Kent's comment above.
Are you seriously suggesting America's auto workers should just keep
accepting lower and lower wages until, well, until they are making what Chinese
workers earn? Also, when did a union ever tell a worker he didn't have to
work? Unions aren't the disease, Mike. They are a symptom of the disease.
Without bad management, unions would never have existed in the first place.
"Auto industry executives, who often were invertebrate mediocrities,
continually bought labor peace by mortgaging their companies' futures in
surrenders to union demands."--------------The
scariest part of this whole farce is the fact that, because of the same
short-sightedness in Washington and the national electorate (Obama's 2nd
term being ample evidence), we, as a nation, are far down the path to the same
fate as Detroit.In fact, were it not for the fact that we, as a
nation, are able to essentially manufacture money, we probably would have had to
declare bankruptcy already.Dishonesty is bad business.
You can deny that Union greed and 50 years of Democrat control of Detroit had
nothing to do with their downfall... but you have to admit that Democrats
couldn't find a way to save Detroit. So why expect them to turn the US
around?Republicans don't do any better (neccessarily). But at
least we now KNOW that the policies of Democrats won't work.Maybe we should quit trusting BOTH of them, and try something new (like
libertarians or independents). When was the last time we had an administration
that was nether Democrat OR Republican? Maybe it's time has come.I know... I was just joking. Libertarians have many good ideas, but
they can't be organized worth beans. They have no dogma (they are
independent thinkers). No platform. No base. No party rhetoric to beat the
drum to every election. It's been said that organizing Libertarians is
like hearding cats. It's imposible becasue they all want to go their own
way.So I guess we're stuck with the groups that are good at
organizing minions under their party banners. The groups that got us where we
Lew ScannonDetroit is already gone. What remains is not Detroit.
It's something, but it's not Detroit (at least the new Detroit is not
the old Detroit). Let's hope it's reinvented as something that can
be sustained. With a government for the PEOPLE (not government for the Unions
and the businesses and the politicians).Bankruptcy is just a
process. But the population loss is real. The city is the people. And most
of the people are not there anymore. They live somewhere else now.
Let's hope they don't do what they did to Detroit to whatever city
they have relocated too.And lets hope the people who stayed are
rewarded for sticking around (with prosperity and a sustainable fiscal policy)
Conservatives won't be satisfied until America is a Plutocarcy, and
American workers are making wages comparible to Communist China.Meanwhile -- Germany and Japan are UNION workers, living in
SOCIALIST countries.But go ahead, blame it on Unions, and not
Re: "It has now been 38 years since the U.S. ran a trade surplus. Ever
wonder why?"No need to wonder -- it's liberals in Big
Government and Big Labor. Those that so loudly demand that American workers be
paid more than the market can possibly bear, then demand bailouts to
"protect" jobs in the industry.Other high-labor-cost
industries adapted by making workers more productive, primarily by reducing
costs -- and the number of jobs -- through automation and modernization.The hidebound, union/government-controlled American auto industry was
not permitted to make those changes or investments, however, until foreign
automakers set up non-union or reasonable-union shops outside the rust belt, in
states not controlled by Big Labor.By then, it was too late for
Detroit.There were similar short-sighted labor/government
spoliations of the railroad, steelmaking, mining/smelting, lumber, garment,
electronics, and many other manufacturing industries.Result? The
entirely foreseeable -- and foreseen -- trade imbalances we've seen over
the past several decades.And, if liberals have their way, it'll
continue into the future.
@UtahBlueDevil:"The population of Detroit dropped because jobs
dropped."And why did jobs drop? Because the main industry,
vehicles, dropped. And why did that happen? Because of the greed of unions.
Toyota manufactures vehicles in Alabama, has no unions and is doing quit
well.To exacerbate the problem, Detroit employee unions got in on
the largess with obscene pay and benefits.The fear now is the
federal government will bail this city out... using taxpayer money. Taxpayers
who had no seat or say at the wage/benefits bargaining table. And if Detroit is
bailed, how many other states (i.e., California) will seek federal help when
they go belly up? States should bail themselves and leave the fed out of it.@UtahBlueDevil:Mountainman.... I do agree the raiding of the
'trust' funds needs to be stopped, and should not be used to balance
the budget..."Trust funds were not raided... They were invested
in 'special' government bonds held in the trust. What else would you
suggest the government do with excess trust funds? Stuff them into a desk
drawer at Treasury? Invest them in the stock market? Think about it.
The Detroit "Big Three" automakers have been bailed out. The big banks
(who created this recession BTW) have been bailed out. But when it comes to
employee pensions - well they are not going to be bailed out. This hardly seems
fair (it isn't), but why are things done this way? Because American
capitalism requires that the top be saved first, and if there's anything
left, such will "trickle down" to the plebes. If you think
this stinks you may be interested in inching toward a new socialism where such
inequities are not allowed. The pensioners, who do not have lavish
pensions for the most part, should be saved.
WRZ.... no.... the federal government has been borrowing money from the these
funds year after year... to fund general operations. I find it odd that anyone
would a huge debtor best use of funds if to borrow from itself. To have the
left hand take on more debt because the right hand has some extra makes no
sense.... and seeing how they keep raising the retirement age, now the
republicans want to move it to 70, I do have a real problem with that.On the Toyota comment.... one plant does not make a company. Have you
actually looked at what the human cost of building a car is? In today's
factories, it is one of the least of the cost. What used to take an army of
thousands, now takes a few hundred. The big three's problems were not
"human capital" cost problems. No one lets a $200 - $500 cost
differential decide what car they buy.,, at at best that is what we are talking
about in union versus non union cost.But it sounds good....better
than blaming the guys on the top floor, or the designers for the problems.
Everything has a value. That value is not set by the union, but by the
customer. I can value my time at $200 per hour, but that doesn't mean that
my customers will pay me $200 per hour. (They won't.) The fear tactics that
so many liberals use when they say that auto workers will get Chinese labor pay,
is insulting to all of us. Properly run automakers, world wide, pay their
workers well. Those workers earn enough to live comfortably. Those workers are
trained. Those workers use technology properly. Those workers don't
insult the customer by building inferior products. Those workers are paid the
value of their work. Those workers know that the customer sets the
"value", not the labor union. Ask yourself why you buy $20 shirts when
you could by a "union label" shirt for $100.When Detroit
learns that unions and public officals don't set value, then Detroit might
have a chance to work its way out of bankruptcy. But, I doubt the those
officials and those labor unions care about value. They care only about their
own job security no matter what it does to Detroit.
Re: ". . . you may be interested in inching toward a new socialism . . .
."Oh, we are. Although it's more of a headlong rush than an
inching.But, it should be said -- there's no such thing as
"new socialism." It's just the same old, drab, gray, thoroughly
discredited soviet-style oppression.Liberals keep painting new
lipstick on this tired old pig, but it can't change its essential its
To "LDS Liberal" once again, you are wrong.Conservatives
want to restrore our freedoms, and let the free market work.If we
had a free market working, the wealthy would not have any more power than the
poor because 1 vote is still 1 vote.Under this current
administration it is more of a Plutocracy than it could ever be if the
conservatives got their way.You seem to forget that during
Obama's first term, the wealthy could get a personal meeting with Obama for
a mere $500,000. How about all of the wealthy Obama donors that received
political appointments. It seems like the Plutocracy you fear is being
implemented by your Progressive leaders.
LDS Liberal,Love the way you try to speak for Conservatives, and any group
you want to vilify.It's probably true Conservatives only want a
Plutocarcy. Heck, that's all I've ever wanted!And
it's probably true I want everybody in America to have wages comparible to
Communist China. I push for that all the time!But then I remember
my Free Market principles. Which are... that I can only prosper if EVERYBODY
prospers. I can make all the widgets I want, but if nobody can afford them, I
fail!So in truth... most Conservatives want everybody to succeed...
so they can buy more stuff, so I will need to open more stores (which employes
more people), and order more supplies (which employes more people) so new
factories are needed (employing more people), who can now afford to go out to
dinner, so people open more resturants, providing even more jobs, so even more
people have money to buy my stuff. So more people working and the more they
earn, the better for me...You may be right that Conservatives just
want people to fail, but I think it's highly likely you are wrong.
Robocop might be the most accurate futuristic movie of all time. It got
Detroit's future setting down to the detail.
Why are working people who are public employees so demonized in Washington,
States and Cities? The people who beat constantly on them have only one issue I
can see: when choosing a career, they chose poorly.What I do see is a
total lack of integrity in the elected officials today: promise them anything
but give them the boot or the rod when politician and executive excesses drive
the Governments to the brink. NY State employees were not given pay raises for
years in exchange for better retirement benefits. A lie, they are now being
reduced because "we can't afford it". Politicians won't end
the Bush "buy your vote" tax cut because their new masters of commerce
will be upset and their under the table income will dry up. Shame.If you
think austerity is the answer, look at Europe.