Disenchanted

I’ve been actively trying to avoid politics. I’ve overdosed on it and it’s really starting to depress me. I figure I’ve got enough on my plate and seeing the same regurgitated outrage over and over again just doesn’t help any of that. So I’ve found other things to keep me entertained.

But two days ago the Obama administration announced that they would help the Big Three automakers with a “bailout” only after more concessions were made. One of those concessions was that GM CEO Rick Wagoner step down. I don’t give a flying fuck about Wagoner, because he sucks and he’s going to be taken care of no matter what happens. What I care about is that one of the other concessions was that all of the autoworkers were going to be expected to make sacrifices. Specifically I’m talking about this:

It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. […]

And so I’d like to speak directly to all those men and women who work in the auto industry or live in the countless communities that depend on it. Many of you have been going through tough times for longer than you’d care to remember. And I will not pretend the tough times are over. I cannot promise you there isn’t more pain to come.[…]

There are jobs that cannot be saved. There are plants that will not reopen. And there is little I can say that can subdue the anger or ease the frustration of all whose livelihoods hang in the balance because of failures that weren’t theirs.[…]

That is why today, I am designating a new Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers to cut through red tape and ensure that the full resources of our federal government are leveraged to assist the workers, communities, and regions that rely on our auto industry.

But don’t worry:

if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warrantee will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee [sic].[..]

Third, the IRS is today launching a campaign to alert consumers of a new tax benefit for auto purchases made between February 16th and the end of this year – if you buy a car anytime this year, you may be able to deduct the cost of any sales and excise taxes. This provision could save families hundreds of dollars and lead to as many as 100,000 new car sales.

You warranty is safe, but the people that built that car are fucked two ways from Sunday. And the people that earned their retirement money, pensions and health care in their old age? Fuck them, too. You see, the contracts are only legally binding if it’s the AIG execs who are getting the millions of dollars in bonuses from their bailout money. They’re the “smart ones” and the brains and blah blah blah. Their contracts matter. The union guys and gals who signed contracts and were due their retirement benefits? They don’t matter.

I was sick over this the other day. Disen-fucking-chanted, even. My blood boiled. There are more concessions due from the workers on the plant floor and too bad-so sad if they have contracts. They’re blue collar working class folk. They don’t have high flautin’ degrees and high-priced tiny assed condos. They work hard doing physical labor and therefore their homes, families and health don’t matter. At least that’s the message I’ve been seeing.

Don’t worry, though. They’ll finally qualify for food stamps and they can get Medicare for their kids. Thank the gods SCHIP passed, huh?

The hypocrisy here is unbelievable. Yes, I know the auto industry needed to revamp a long time ago. Blah fucking blah. I’m talking about the fact that officially nothing can be done about AIG bonus pay outs, but the retired autoworker in Florida– who lives off his pension– is going to find himself without that fucking pension, because everyone has to make concessions. Lazy bastards should have gone to school and insisted that they’re employers go green so long ago. And why the hell didn’t the dumb motherfuckers vote Democratic all these years?

These are some of the messages I’ve been seeing from the “Progressive” community. Instead of wondering why the low-man on the totem pole is getting the shaft1 and why those people have to make more concessions2 they are blaming these people for staying in these jobs, for not being smart enough to get a higher education and, OMG! getting paid a decent wage when other people– who are way smarter — aren’t making that kind of money.

This is just one example of “Progressive” empathy for the screwing the blue collar workers have to endure:

Not going along with this (1+ / 1-)

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I’m all for Unions, but 30-40 per hour in the midwest with just a high school diploma is a joke.

The average teacher in NY with 6 years of college education starts at a 50K/year salary and wont dream of owning a home until 10+ years into their career if they’re lucky (or if they have supplemental income).

The average UAW worker is making about 40 dollars an hour with no further education and pulling down around 70-80k a year.

It’s no wonder our education system is a joke, meanwhile we have to listen to the boohooing about the unions conceding oh so much. Spare me.

by PooNani on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 11:27:28 AM EDT

Now, I’ll go on to say that most of the other comments in that thread are telling this particular person to shut the fuck up. But there are plenty of other comments that say something similar (though probably not so heavy handed and no, I’m not going to copy them all). What pissed me off is that so many “Progressives” are blaming the workers for this shit. They’re telling them to “buck up” and deal. To “retrain”. How the fuck does a 45 year-old person, who’s worked in the same plant for 20 years, retrain? And what happens to their homes and families in the meantime?

SACRIFICE!! But not if you’re working on Wall Street. Get used to a lower quality of life! But not if you’re uber-smart with numbers and can make yourself a millionaire at someone else’s expense.

These folks– and, indeed, the people that are in their sphere of influence who will also “feel the pain”– have probably lost their life savings3 and have given up many of their benefits that people who aren’t in unions seem so jealous of. They’ve taken voluntary pay cuts. They haven’t stopped working just as hard as they were working before.

And let me tell you something: Working in a fucking factory is hard goddamned work. It’s not standing around with a fucking broom waiting for someone to give you specific instructions on how to sweep it. That’s rightwing propaganda and I’m not hearing that shit. 10-12 hour days of back breaking fucking work is worth what these folks were getting. They were the lucky ones. They got decent pay for the crap they put up with, because they were union. And they deserve their benefits, their retirement and the homes they bought with their hard-earned savings. They don’t deserve to lose it while their execs– and AIG execs — get to walk away with their nice houses and pretty savings portfolios. Hypocrisy.

In Ohio we value the hard work the guys on the floor do. Maybe we should push harder for a fancy-schmancy college education4 but many people in this area (and in Michigan) are content to work with their hands and in these positions. There is nothing wrong with that. But “progressive” wisdom is that they brought this on themselves because they chose that work5 and because they just aren’t that smart. Fuck them and their contracts.

I’m not even sure if I would have been as god-awful pissed as I was (and am again) if I hadn’t seen Progressives standing behind Obama to such an extent as to tell their fellow Progressives6 to buck up and shut up. Quit whining when you’re watching your world fall out from under you? Fuck that noise.

When these folks lose their livelihood, it’s not going to just be the plants that are affected. It’s going to be the neighborhood stores and restaurants, the tax base, the entire. That unemployment and poverty is going to stretch further than just 42,000 people (or so). The few remaining local businesses are going to see a drastic decline in revenue, the cities are going to lose tax money, homes are going to go into foreclosure and that many more people are going to become dependent on government assistance. There will be no other jobs to find when this happens.

But, hey! Those of us living here in the Rust Belt will just buck up and become innovative. After we lose our incomes, our homes and our healthcare. No, we have no reason to be whining and gnashing our teeth. We have no reason to be angry. We were prosperous while stupid, dontcha know. Our potholes aren’t getting filled, our food pantries aren’t getting filled and our cost of living is going through the roof. But hey! We brought it on ourselves. Right?78

FUCK that noise.

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Sphere: Related Content

  1. Wagoner is leaving with a lovely severance package– part of his contract []
  2. Why didn’t Wagoner have to leave without his goddamned bonus? []
  3. If they did the “smart” thing and invested []
  4. Full disclosure: I’m a computer programmer in training at the local university. []
  5. As if there was ever a lot of choices inside of our states. []
  6. Those of us who live in the Rust Belt and who will be directly affected by these “concessions” []
  7. My family is lucky for now. I have no idea what our situation will be in a few months. We’re not union. But we empathize with those that are immediately affected. []
  8. Who cares about the working class as long as we can still get cheap shit from China, anyway? []

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