GM’s Free Ride

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by David Glenn Cox

A free ride on your dime, that is. Let us dispense with all talk of
welfare cheats and lazy, good for nothings that don’t want to work
until we deal with the king of welfare cheats, the king of free rides,
and the king of government handout checks.

Under the terms of
the government sponsored bankruptcy deal, GM has been able to void
worker contracts for wages and benefits, shed itself of the health
insurance concerns, permanently eliminated 21,000 American jobs and
void dealers contracts as capriciously as a jealous teenager. This
gives them the power of life and death over dealerships that once held
binding contracts with GM. But thanks to the bankruptcy GM now has the
ultimate power over its dealers.

But it’s even better than that;
every day is Christmas for GM. The bankruptcy not only allowed GM to
dump its workforce, it was able to dump its toxic waste sites on you,
the American taxpayer. Don’t worry about the bailout, worry about the
cleanup. One site alone is estimated at $200 million and you won’t get
that back, Mr. and Mrs. American taxpayer, that one's all yours; that’s
that great GM feeling.



The President, while discussing the GM
bailout, made it clear. “We are not going to tell GM where or when to
open factories.” The where is in Mexico and in China. And the when?
What the hell does is matter when, if it's going to be in Mexico and
China? GM is having a great year in China, selling more cars than ever
before, but it’s a one way street. No benefit is derived by American
workers or American dealers, or even the long-suffering American
taxpayer now left to clean up GM’s mess. The profits go to GM and the
bills come to you. Isn’t that a great system?

Yet for GM it's
still not enough; they need even more. In 1999 GM spun off their Delphi
electronics division in a move to cut costs. It was done as a cynical
ploy to destroy the union workers. Delphi’s primary customer was GM;
without their support Delphi would go bankrupt and everyone on Wall
Street knew it. But in the bargain GM promised to fulfill its pension
responsibilities to Delphi. But do you know what a GM promise is worth?
Half a Vega and two rusty Chevettes!

Under the terms of the now
illustrious bankruptcy, GM will pass on to you, my dear tax payer, the
invoice to maintain its former, current, and future pension benefits to
Delphi employees. A whistling little tune of $6.2 Billion dollars! GM
promises that they will add an additional $70 million when they find a
buyer for Delphi, but I won’t hold my breath. I wouldn’t believe
anything that GM said if they told me the building was on fire and
already I smelled smoke.

This is corporate graft at its finest.
If they built cars as good as they schmooze government the customers
would be lined up around the block. It makes you wonder what Obama’s
auto task force actually did because GM couldn’t have gotten a better
deal if they had written it themselves. Everything good GM keeps;
everything bad, old, outdated, less profitable or just a plain
liability went straight to the taxpayer.

Let us not forget the
21,000 autoworkers now permanently laid off by GM and the 100,000
dealership employees permanently laid off. GM’s pension deal will turn
those pension liabilities over to the government's Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corporation. The PBGC will play by its rules and not by the
promises made to 70,000 salaried and hourly Delphi workers. The PBGC
will use its formula to decide who gets what and who gets none. As it
stands now, over 400 salaried workers are likely to lose 100% of their
pensions.

Depending on years of service and retirement age, many
workers will have their pensions reduced by 40% to 70%. Workers and
salaried retirees tried picketing GM’s world headquarters, but their
pleas fell of deaf ears. Management couldn’t hear them over their
uncontrolled laughter at their good fortune at the hands of suckers in
Washington and the misfortune of the suckers that once clocked in at GM.

It’s
a free ride, Clyde, whipped cream seat and a cherry headrest on the
banana split boat. A gravy train with biscuit wheels, just sign the
papers and have security remove the old codgers from out in front of
the building. Just another 50,000 pensioners thrown onto the scrap
heap, left to fend for themselves so that corporations can breathe the
free air of Mexico and China.

It's yet another clear example
of our dysfunctional government. If you, as a corporation, get into
financial trouble and cannot pay your debts, the government will help
you. Judges will bang a gavel and renegotiate your debts with your
creditors. They will lend you money and absorb your bad assets. But for
you as an individual? As an unemployed worker what assistance do you
get? Who will help you with your debts? Who will help you to keep your
house?

But as a taxpayer and as a person in need, I feel a
sense of shame and of disgust. The American people have genuinely tried
to help GM and have been abused for our efforts. We went on a blind
date with GM and it turned into date rape.