Higher costs and legacy costs for retirees were transferred to consumers. An unbelievable $1,500 of the cost of each domestic vehicle paid for UAW health insurance. That’s more than was spent on the steel. As a result, Americans shop elsewhere: U.S. automakers produce less than 50% of the vehicles Americans now buy.
The white-collar leadership of these companies can share in the blame. They failed to innovate. While foreign competitors were sending cars to America with lower price tags, earning praise for being “sleek” and fuel-efficient, in some instances American companies were cranking out cars with the same square plastic push buttons used in the early 1980s. They also failed to battle the UAW. Here’s former Reagan Deputy Secretary of Labor Dennis Whitfield, now executive vice president of the American Conservative Union: ” [I]t appears these companies bought peace from the cannibals just to eat them last.”
The impact has been staggering. This week, the CEO of Zipcar — which does hourly car rentals — claimed that, among his customers, literally no one wanted Chrysler or GM products. “We have never had a request for a GM product. Out of 300,000 users that we survey every six months, I have never had a request.”
Americans had already rejected the Big Three. But you own their cars now, purchased with your taxes — and the UAW labor bosses who live off member dues will benefit.
This latest bailout is happening at a time when the federal government has already saddled each American family with more than $50,000 in debt, simply as a result of government spending in the past year. But it doesn’t seem to matter to Obama, who is going to add this new GM bailout to our $11,397,900,000,000 total.
As you ponder your stake in GM, consider this. The UAW carries $1.2 billion in member investments, money pulled from workers’ paychecks, from which the UAW draws funds to cover the costs of the Black Lake Golf Club — which the UAW owns and claims is “one of the finest anywhere in the nation.”
You foot the bill for that, too.
Maybe we can at least hope for a UAW membership card. Or a free round of golf. It is the most we can hope for from what Obama has called our “investments” in the companies the UAW helped sink.