Nice to see Eric Peters stop worrying about the effect of government-mandated emission standards on the domestic auto industries and start focusing on the real problem. But readers should have been told it isn’t the “unions” who are the problem, it’s the workers themselves. When I was growing up in Detroit, almost everyone I knew had a relative in the auto industry — most were low-level salaried or hourly workers. The way the auto worker culture functioned was to hate “management,” complain constantly, demand your rights as defined by the contract and anticipate the next strike.
During the “good” times with lots of overtime bucks rolling in, you bought that new car, the cabin on the lake, the snowmobile, the RV, etc. During the good times, you complained about how much management was getting compared to the workers, whined that all the overtime was killing you and told your buddies on the line how unfair the whole system was. When the frustration built up and the contract talks broke down, you geared up for the strike — maybe saved a few extra bucks and sold off the toys you bought during the good times. Of course, everyone else was selling their toys, so you generally got pennies on the dollar, but so what.
Each plant and warehouse location had a few rabble-rousers to constantly remind everyone that management was screwing them. The union reps, goaded by the rabble-rousers, raised the stakes during each new contract negotiation and assured their guys and gals the company could afford the increased demands if management would only give up their outrageous bonuses. And to this day, nothing has changed in auto culture sociology. The workers are willing to go down with the ship as long as management suffers.
When Cerberus bought Chrysler this summer and paid a fraction of the price Daimler had paid a few years before to acquire Chrysler, the Detroit Free Press ran the usual puff pieces on how Chrysler would be turned around with a bright and glorious future. The workers wrote in with half-threatening advice for the new owners regarding how they should treat labor and the unions. The financial implications of the purchase didn’t cause a ripple of concern among the workers, although any competent business person could read between the lines and see a company on life support and slowly dying.p>Detroit created a class of wealthy, unskilled workers by paying them more than skilled and professional workers in other domestic industries and most other countries as well. But it couldn’t create a working class of business people that understood markets or economics — and the inevitable occurred. When our beloved auto industries gasp their last, the workers can finally claim their victory over management. br> — Patrick Skurka br> San Ramon, California /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?