Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell joined other Republican lawmakers in opposition to the White House-backed rescue bill passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
He and other Republicans said wages and benefits for employees of Detroit's Big Three should be renegotiated to bring them in line with those paid by Japanese carmakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan in the United States.
This is a stupid argument, and dishonest. Hourly wages for UAW workers at GM factories are actually less than those paid by Toyota Motor Corp at its older U.S. factories. GM says the average union laborer makes $29.78 per hour, while Toyota says it pays about $30 per hour. But the unionized factories have far higher benefit costs. So the Republicans are asking UAW workers to take wage cuts that put them even further behind. Could this be because they want more workers to migrate south? There are plans for 18 more state subsidized factories to be built in the south, could they be trying to build their pool of workers?
GM 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 Japanese automaker has far fewer retirees and its pension and health care benefits are not as rich as those paid to UAW workers. In fact the only country that Toyota has to pay health care benefits is the United States, so they are working at great advantage over GM. Toyota's plants in the U.S. are so new they have few pensions to deal with.
So when you see those sanctimonious windbags of the right on the cable shows, know they are lying assholes who are threatening the economy of the country to break an ally of the Democratic party.
Here is what Katrina Vanden Heuvel of the Nation Magazine had to say about it on MSNBC's Morning Joe: