America Gets It in the End, Again
This has a sadly familiar feel for conservatives, who’ve again and again been vexed by a president mislabeled as one of us:
Last week’s deal was supposed to hold both the managers’ and unions’ feet to the fire. In handing out the taxpayer money, the White House insisted the auto union cut worker pay roughly to the levels of their successful competitors, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
For $17 billion in emergency bailout cash and possibly much more later, it was a reasonable request. As President Bush said, “The time to make the hard decisions to become viable is now — or the only option will be bankruptcy.” He added that a deadline of March 31 for the industry to prove its “viability” and other limits “send a clear signal to everyone involved.”
Well, if so, the United Auto Workers didn’t get it.
Just days before Christmas, the UAW let it be known it’ll fight any concessions on wages and benefits. “An undue tax on the workers” is how union boss Ron Gettelfinger described it as the UAW reneged on the deal almost before the ink was dry.
This will go down as one of the most cynical acts of political manipulation ever. The UAW agreed to one thing with President Bush, knowing full well President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats were big recipients of union largesse and would let them slide. They read the situation correctly.
Democratic Rep. Barney Frank this week called union concessions an “unfair assault on working men and women” — a not-accidental echo of Gettelfinger’s comments.
Something tells me that the sinking feeling of America’s being had will only worsen over the next four years, and Chrysler’s use of our own money to pay for a $100,000 ad to thank us for allowing our representatives to fleece us is probably not the greatest insult we’ll see during that time.