Bad News and Worse News  

Last night I watched Countdown with Keith Olberman, he was on vacation, so I listened and watched this brilliant woman say this:

It's 51 seconds in when this brilliant woman starts talking about the CEO's of the
financial sector and their jets (yeah, multiple, 9 at Bank of America alone) and salaries and bonuses. And then she hits the nail on the head, here, let me transcribe:

What this says about the Bush Administration Bailout, priceless. Mr. Bush is not forcing any of them to give up their planes, but his auto bailout would force union workers make no more than those at non union shops like Toyota, arguing that high union wages hurt the car makers. Well yesterday we learned that Toyota has had it's first operating loss ever despite the fact that Toyota pays its workers exactly what it already does.

It's not a surprise that Bush and his Senate cronies hate working men and women and LOVE (with a big sweaty heart) the big money folks at Bank of America, Citi, AIG, etc... The goal for these amoral pinheads is to drive wages down, but how does this help communities? It doesn't.

So, I wanted to know what happened in 1980 with Lee Iacocca and the Chrysler bailout. That's when I found an interesting piece on the World Socialist Web Site referencing the Chrysler merger with Daimler

But why have the auto moguls allowed such conditions to develop? Any why should the workers suffer the consequences?

There are other questions that demand answers. What about the billions in company assets that have been squandered to pay Chrysler's top executives and boost the price of Chrysler shares for the benefit of wealthy investors on Wall Street? No small aspect of the current crisis is the fact that Chrysler's 30 top executives milked the company for $395.8 million in cash and stocks when the merger with Daimler Benz was completed. Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton alone received a pay-out of $69.9 million, plus the option to cash in his 2.3 million shares of DaimlerChrysler stock.

The same executives negotiated, as a condition of the merger, $96.9 million in severance packages in the event they were fired or otherwise removed. Several of the executives took advantage of these “golden parachutes” and bolted from the company before the current crisis hit.

Moreover, in the first six months of 1997, the same year Chrysler workers were forced to wage a bitter 27-day strike for job security at the Mound Round Engine plant in Detroit—a facility now slated for closure—company officials were spending $997 million to buy back stock, under pressure from big stockholders such as billionaire speculator Kirk Kerkorian, who demanded that company assets be used to drive up the value of their personal portfolios. Vast sums of money which could have been reinvested for product development, improved health and safety, or other productive purposes were instead used to satisfy the greed of rich investors.

It was a bit eerie how they called it. Eerie.

That would be the moment that I got to read the Washington Post piece on the UAW push back on the Bush Administration Auto Bride Loan package (you know, the one where he micromanages UNION WORKER WAGES):

In agreeing to provide federal assistance to General Motors and Chrysler, the White House demanded the firms cut worker compensation to the levels paid at the U.S. divisions of Toyota, Nissan and Honda. But Ron Gettelfinger, president of the United Auto Workers, said earlier this week that he would seek to remove the wage-reduction provision of the loan, calling it "an undue tax on the workers" who have already made "major" sacrifices for the benefit of the auto industry.

Gettelfinger said that what is being asked of the autoworkers -- who agreed to concessions in 2003, 2005 and 2007 -- is "unrealistic." He has said he wants to work with President-elect Barack Obama to remove the wage provision.

UAW workers have been making sacrifices for years to keep the automakers successful. And they have been. What is happening right now, has nothing to do with what unionized workers make. It has to do with the financial crisis brought to us by an administration that doesn't want to regulate and hasn't regulated finance companies. If there's been real enforcement, real regulation, real investigations, perhaps we wouldn't be where we are now. And what's more, we wouldn't be hearing about Madoff and investors who are no killing themselves.

So, I have to ask now, with Adults back in charge of our government, can we finally help the middle class? Can we enforce regulations, and monitor the financial sector? Can we rebuild our country from the inside out? I'm really just tired of all the bad news. Really, just too tired of all the bad news.

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