Sunday, December 14, 2008

Detroit Unions, CEO’s and Illinois Politics

Right off the bat, I want to go on record and admit I am not an accountant and I most certainly am not a lawyer, so I have no experience, training, management school book-learning or desire to run our government or be the CEO of a large company. To put it bluntly, I don’t know squat about highfalutin management of other peoples lives and I am amazed at how other people feel self-righteous enough to do just that and do it wrong. However, I do have common sense enough to know a stinker when I see one.

Greedy Union leaders, CEO’s and politicians not only do it wrong, but flaunt what they do and then expect the tax-paying and hard-working public to accept their actions and post bail when they get their tail in the wringer. Now if anyone is unsure what getting your appendage in a wringer is, or means, I’ll break it down for you with something from my own past.

When I was in about the fifth grade I made the decision to run a wet towel through my mother’s wringer washing machine. A wringer washing machine had an open tub with two opposing wooden rollers above it. After the clothes were washed, the adult operator (read Mother) fed the clothes between the two moving rollers and it squeezed the water out and back into the tub. She then hung the clothes on a clothesline to finish drying them.

If you were fortunate enough to own an electric wringer that is. Otherwise, you hand cranked the rollers with one hand and fed the wringer with the other. With the technology upgrade of the electric rollers, came the safety device of popping the rollers open if the adult operator accidentally held the clothes item too long and fed their fingers, hand and arm through the ringer – you get the picture.

Well, in my direct disobedience, I decided I knew enough about all this to do it anyway dang the advice to the contrary and sure enough, my grubby little fingers and hand fed right through the wringers. Just about one nanosecond later, I was up to my armpit, totally helpless and about this time, the wringer safety device activated and popped open releasing me. I got what I deserved. In fact, if I would have really got what I deserved, I would have been fed right on through to the other side of the tub.

I was guilty on a couple of levels in this scenario. First, I thought I knew what I was doing, but didn’t. Second, I knew I shouldn’t be doing it, but did it anyway. Third, I was going to do what I wanted regardless. Fourth, I thought I could get away with it.

This past week our country has been embroiled in the quandary about the Detroit automaker bail-out and now the governor of Illinois has caught his hand in the wringer also. The list of wrong decision making and wrong doing just keeps growing and I find one to be stupid and the other criminal. I’m not for excusing either one though. Both parties are guilty and should face the consequences.

Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has been arrested by the FBI and charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as solicitation of bribery. One news commentator stated that if there is a state government more corrupt than Illinois’, he wasn’t aware of it. What? Didn’t we just elect a President from that state? Isn’t Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff also from Illinois? This particular governor is so out-spoken and arrogant that he has been labeled America’s least popular governor and now he has been arraigned. What’s going on here folks? How is this possible in the year 2008?

Greedy Detroit fatcat moguls act like this economic disaster in their industry snuck up on them. What? Are they serious? According to, General Motors “says its total hourly labor costs are now $69, including wages, pensions and health care for active workers, plus the pension and health care costs of more than 432,000 retirees and spouses. Toyota says its total costs are around $48”. The United Auto Workers Union will not agree to a cut in wages for four more years to allow the stimulus package to go through to boot. If this wasn’t so sad of a situation, I would fall down on the ground and laugh until my brogans flew off.

Michigan residents are facing the bleakest American dream we here on the golden Gulf Coast can’t comprehend and I have relatives living there, but as I’ve stated many times before, this is not something that developed overnight. In fact, Detroit decision makers have had over thirty years to hedge against this day. They have beaten that horse to death. Sixty-nine dollars an hour? Pa-leeese!

The bottom line on the automobile industry debacle is to hold fatcat CEO’s and the outdated and money bloated UAW accountable for thirty years of greed-induced decisions. If you or I open a business and it fails, we sink with it and they should figure out how to survive without our tax dollars.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I couldn't agree more, Bert. However, I do have mixed feelings. The UAW and what it has done to the auto industry...NOT right. It does bother me though, in these days, to think this country could be without plants and workers with the skills to produce mechanized machinery...know what I mean?

It saddens me a GREAT deal to see the road to Nationalization we seem to be traveling. Our forefathers HAVE to be turning over in their graves.

It can only happen while shopping!

As the big man is my witness, every word of this is unquestionable and void of hyperbolic incredibility. With that taken into consid...