Tags: big | three | dems | unions

Democrats and Union Allies Doomed Carmakers: Payne

Monday, 08 Dec 2008 10:29 AM

By Jim Meyers

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The problems plaguing the Big Three U.S. automakers have been compounded by a “hostile” Democratic Party allied with union bosses and environmental extremists, according to an Op-Ed piece in the New York Post.

Henry Payne, writer and editorial cartoonist for The Detroit News, writes in his Post article that Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., on Thursday called on the federal government to take action to aid the automakers.

But last summer, Casey ignored the testimony of economists, automakers and worker representatives and joined his Democratic colleagues in imposing $85 billion in new fuel mandates on the industry — hiking fuel-mileage standards by 40 percent.

Those mandates are a significant problem for the automakers due to their uncompetitive union labor costs — 30 percent higher than non-union workers in Japanese-operated American plants — which have made it unprofitable for the U.S. firms to make small cars.

Executives at General Motors sought to address that problem by negotiating a new contract last fall, but Sen. Barack Obama joined union workers on a picket line in Kansas City to protest the deal, Payne points out.

Obama declared: “I stand with the 73,000 United Automobile Workers who are striking General Motors. The demands the union is fighting for — job security, the health benefits they were promised — are things that all workers should expect and that UAW members deserve.”

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has spearheaded a bipartisan plan to aid the automakers by quickly releasing $25 billion in already-approved loans from the Department of Energy.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com, has said that General Motors, Chrysler and Ford will likely need $75 billion to $125 billion to make it through the next two years.

But other Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Diane Feinstein, both of California, are blocking Levin’s bill, according to Payne.

They demand that some of the bailout money should be earmarked for start-up companies that want to make electric cars.

The Post article declares: “California pols insist on handouts for their carmakers.”

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