If you have "no place to go," come here!

First, they came for the union retirees....

Well, actually, they did that already, several times. But they're doing it again. Online WSJ:

Blame Is Put on Management, but More Pain Looms for Hourly Workers, Retirees
President Barack Obama's recovery plan for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC appears to take aim at union retirees, a usually reliable Democratic constituency.

Especially since the state of Michigan went for Obama in the primaries. Oh, wait...

The three Detroit auto makers provide health care for more than one million Americans, including union retirees and their dependents. In 2007, the union agreed to allow GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. to pay billions of dollars into a trust fund, known as a VEBA, or voluntary employee beneficiary association, that the union would manage and use to cover the cost of retiree health care.

Under the terms of the bailout loans GM and Chrysler have accepted from the federal government, they are supposed to renegotiate [loot] the VEBA agreements so they can put a combination of cash and stock into the funds or equity.

Isn't that great?

Of course, if Big Auto backed single payer, problem solved. Too bad that's off the table, despite the lip service Obama and the administration give to an open process with all options given fair consideration.

Clem Wittman, 68 years old, spent three decades working the assembly line for GM, building Monte Carlos and Skylarks in Kansas City, Mo. On Monday, he watched as Mr. Obama outlined his plans for steering the future of GM and Chrysler without explicit mention of the retirees. "It was scary because he never mentioned the retirees and legacy costs," Mr. Wittman said. "What 85-year-old can go out and get another job?"

He takes 11 medications, including some which cost more than $100 a month, all covered by GM health-care programs. Mr. Wittman said that for 30 years he paid for those benefits and shouldn't be asked to give them back.

"Shared sacrifice" is totally fine with me. As long as it's clear that Clem Wittman and those like him have already done all the sacrificing they're going to do.

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Submitted by jawbone on

will be the right name for those protests. The current tent city denizens are not there due to what Obama has done. GM retirees?

Will Obama have his own Gen. MacArthur go charge in and tear them down?

And, BO, the union employees paid for those benefits by bargaining away higher pay. In order to have security in their retirements. Contracts, of course, can always be broken in one way or another. But, do you want to be the leverage for something done so publicly?

Now, maybe BO is looking to the Big Bankster Boiz for his comfortable retirement (part of which he will get from the taxpayers) and, more importantly, post-presidency income, and that's what makes him so supportive of Big Money. But, jeez, get a grip, Mr. President--keep this up and you may well be a one termer and the nation will be cursed with some rightwad Repub.

Alas, alack.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Wagoner, who was just ousted from GM, never took sides on single payer, meaning that he never ruled it out if the government would have led on it. He also wondered aloud why the government wasn't be more pro-active on solving our health care crisis. And, Gettlefinger (UAW head) has always been for single payer, I believe. Talk about burning bridges of a friend and for Wagoner, at least find someone who may be amiable to single payer. Jeeze.

BTW, GM is the largest he largest private-sector purchaser of health insurance in the United States, often described as a health care provider that just happens to make cars. They'd love to unload this if the government took the first step. Wagoner was long derided by conservatives for being too generous with health benefits. Even the VEBA didn't satiate these trolls. Yes, damn GM and the UAW for wanting to take care of the health of its workers and not turn into, WalMart whose whole culture is built around dehumanizing its workers.

Submitted by jawbone on

being supported by the current Democratic president. Some very good links in the comments.

In Obama Puts a Gun to UAW's Head, she notes that Obama is pursuing St. Ronnie's smash and crash the unions strategy. Or, as I commented somewhere, Obama is doing a Nixon goes to China thing, accomplishing what no Repub president would be allowed to do by a Democratic Congress.

Commenter sam notes Dodd seems surprised by Team Obama's actions. Wonder if he'll be as accommodating as Hoyer:

“ - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told on Tuesday that he does not know where President Barack Obama gained legal authority to oversee a restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler. But if authority is a question, he said, then Congress will grant it to the administration.


Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D.-Conn.), meanwhile, he was somewhat surprised that the administration did not consult with him at all about its auto industry plan despite his key committee chairmanship and that he had “been reading about it in the papers basically.”” (My emphasis)

Oooh, another diss to the Dodd.