GM’s Free Ride

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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.