Obama’s (Un)American Auto Bailout – Michelle Malkin – Townhall.com

 

Obama’s (Un)American Auto Bailout – Michelle Malkin – Townhall.com.

Obama's (Un)American Auto Bailout - Michelle Malkin - [page]

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cue “Fanfare for the Common Man” and rev up the Government Motors engines. Wednesday is Great American Auto Bailout Day at the Democratic National Convention. Party propagandists have prepared a prime-time-ready film touting the “rescue’s” benefits for American workers. UAW President Bob King will sing the savior-in-chief’s praises.

But like all of the economic success stories manufactured by the White House, the $85 billion government handout is a big fat farce.

“I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” Obama bragged on the campaign trail. Here’s the inconvenient story they won’t tell you:

GM is once again flirting with bankruptcy despite massive government purchases propping up its sales figures. GM stock is rock-bottom. Losses continue to be revised in the wrong direction. According to The Detroit News, “The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.”

The claims that GM paid back its taxpayer-funded loans “in full” — a story peddled in campaign ads narrated by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks — were debunked by the Treasury Department’s TARP watchdog this summer. GM still owes nearly $30 billion of the $50 billion it received, and its lending arm still owes nearly $15 billion of the more than $17 billion it received. Bailout watchdog Mark Modica of the National Legal and Policy Center adds: “In addition to U.S. taxpayers anteing up, Canada put in over $10 billion, and GM was relieved of about $28 billion of bondholder obligations as UAW claims were protected. That’s an improvement of almost $90 billion to the balance sheet, and the company still lags the competition.”

While the Obama administration wraps the auto bailout in red, white and blue, it’s foreign workers and overseas plants that are reaping redistributive rewards.

GM has increased its manufacturing capacity in China by an estimated 55 percent after the bailout, according to industry watchers. GM’s Dan Akerson crowed at the Beijing auto show earlier this year: “One of our aims is to help grow a new generation of automotive engineers, designers and leaders right here in China.” The U.S. auto giant’s ventures with the Communist regime include Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co., Ltd.; GM China Advanced Technical Center; FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle Co., Ltd., in Harbin, Heilongjiang; FAW-GM’s Changchun plant in Changchun, Jilin; FAW-GM Hongta Yunnan Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd., in Qujing, Yunnan; and Shanghai Chengxin Used Car Operation and Management Co., Ltd.

In Europe, the UAW’s appointee to the Government Motors Board of Directors, Steve Girsky, recklessly pushed the feds to hold onto GM’s failing German-based Opel AG. The Great American Auto Bailout has been subsidizing this hemorrhaging enterprise while Obama failed to deliver on his 2008 campaign promise to salvage plants like the one in GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. According to Forbes magazine, “GM Europe, comprised mostly of Opel and its sister brand, Vauxhall, lost $617 million in the first half of 2012, on top of a $747 million loss in 2011 and a $1.8 billion loss in 2010. In all, GM has lost almost $17 billion in Europe since 1999.”

While Team Obama lambastes GOP rival Mitt Romney for outsourcing, Government Motors is now planning to invest $1 billion over the next five years — not in America, but in Russia. That’s on top of $7 billion total in China, close to $1 billion in Mexico, and $600 million for a shirt sponsorship deal with Manchester United, the British soccer club.

The DNC will put a rank-and-file U.S. autoworker on stage to back up Big Labor’s cheerleading of the deal. Rest assured, this human shield will not tell viewers how Obama and the union bosses colluded to pervert bankruptcy law and shaft some 20,000 nonunion Delphi auto parts workers. The forgotten victims saw their pensions erode by up to 70 percent; their health benefits disappeared. The first lady is radio silent. Obama consigliere Valerie Jarrett ducked questions about the Delphi injustice from The Washington Times here in Charlotte.

Only in a fantasyland where America has 57 states, “JOBS” is a three-letter word and bailouts are “achievements” does Obama’s rescue math add up. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry,” Obama vows. God help the American worker.

 

Government Motors is What Obama Wants to Do to ‘Every Industry’ – Tea Party Nation

 

Government Motors is What Obama Wants to Do to ‘Every Industry’ – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Seton Motley

Note: This first appeared in Breitbart.com’s Big Government.

President Barack Obama on Thursday uttered the following utterly absurd thing:

“I want to (bailout) manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.”

Even before President Obama dramatically bumped up the auto bailout to $82 billion, we were saying that this government-funded Crony Socialism model is what he has in mind for the entire once-private sector economy.  He’s just now openly asserting it.

 

So let’s take a look at the auto bailout nightmare mess – and marvel at what President Obama wishes to multiplicatively replicate.

 

(If some of the following sounds recently familiar, you must listen to gracious radio host-exemplar Mark Levin.)

 

  • During the bankruptcy process, President Obama illegally paid off the UAW first and in full – before secured bondholders who should have been made whole before anyone else got a dime.  Which was incredibly disruptive and destructive of the entire bond market.  Economic uncertainty, anyone?
  • Meanwhile, President Obama cut the pensions of non-union GM-subsidiary Delphi’s employees by up to 70%.
  • President Obama illegally carried forward through the bankruptcy the ridiculously exorbitant UAW contracts.  Which were a hay-yuge contributing factor to GM going under in the first place – and are again, predictably, helping to wreck the bottom line.
  • Why has the stock tanked so precipitously?  Because GM is no longer a for-profit car company – it is a Leftist ideological entity.  To wit:
  • We the Taxpayers pay $7,500 per Volt sold in bribe money – I mean incentive.  And in President Obama’s latest unanimously rejected budget he wanted to up that to $10,000 per.

 And so on, and so on, and….

 All of this slow-motion train wreck-litany – is President Obama’s vision for how we should from now on do all things economy.

 Because for this President, “success” doesn’t mean greater free market achievement – it means greater government control.

 

Buying Obama: How the UAW Got the Best Investment Returns in History – John Ransom – Townhall Finance Conservative Columnists and Financial Commentary

Buying Obama: How the UAW Got the Best Investment Returns in History – John Ransom – Townhall Finance.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent expose by Sharon Terlep about how Obama’s economic policies end up as bad investments- for the rest of us.

You know? The 99 percent non-bailout people.

OK, it’s really not about that.

It’s about how even the worst union workers and plants under the UAW bailout got bailed out, while great workers at productive plants got the shaft- because they weren’t UAW shops.

Reports Terlep:

In the end, “we had to take care of our own members,” says Cal Rapson, the former UAW vice president leading negotiations with GM. “It was unfortunate what happened to the others. But there wasn’t enough to go around.”

There never is enough when you’re a union boss and you are getting an $80 billion bailout.



That’s supposedly why we elect a president of the United States.

The president is supposed to be the president of ALL of us. But as Obama has made increasingly clear, he’s only the president of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Fluke and Eric Holder, and the half the Keystone pipeline that he himself squashed as well as Bob King, titular president of the UAW. 

Because the truth is, as president of the United States, Obama has made a real fine UAW president.

I don’t think there is a special interest, a lobby or a donor who Obama wouldn’t screw over in order to take care of the 1 percent of workers who represent the UAW:

Despite being one of GM’s most productive and cooperative factories, Moraine was closed following the company’s 2007 labor pact with the United Auto Workers union. Under a deal struck by the UAW during GM’s bankruptcy two years later, Moraine’s 2,500 laid-off workers were barred from transferring to other plants, locking them out of the industry’s rebound.

Oh, yes. The Moraine plant was a union shop, just not UAW. Instead the folks at the Moraine were represented by the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers.

Right: Who?

That’s what Obama thought too.

Since 1990, the UAW has given $27,371,075 to Democrat candidates and $184,500 to Republicans according to the database Opensecrets.org.

In other words, while GM and Chrysler shareholders and bondholders got the shaft, the UAW realized a 292,200 percent return on their investment from the money that they have invested in Democrat politicians.   

The International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers? They got no return at all. Perhaps because they aren’t listed as a donor for any candidates.

But that’s far better than the negative return that taxpayers are seeing from the bailout;

bailouts that tended to favor Obama’s biggest donors in 2008- financial services and unions.

The latest inspector general report says total bailout losses so far equal about $133 billion, with about 19 percent of that loss coming from the automotive industry

Over time, some of that money may be recouped, but total losses are expected to be from $50 billion to $75 billion, and they could be higher.

The total bailout cost for automakers to taxpayers is expected to be about $25 billion. 

Thanks Obama.

That plan is really working out for some of you.

Liberal Nostalgiacs Don’t Understand Jobs of the Future – Michael Barone – Townhall Conservative Columnists

United Auto Workers

United Auto Workers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liberal Nostalgiacs Don’t Understand Jobs of the Future – Michael Barone – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen liberal commentators look back with nostalgia to the days when a young man fresh out of high school or military service could get a well-paying job on an assembly line at a unionized auto factory that could carry him through to a comfortable retirement.

As it happens, I grew up in Detroit and for a time lived next door to factory workers. And I know something that has eluded the liberal nostalgiacs. Which is that people hated those jobs.

The assembly-line work was boring and repetitive. That’s because management imbibed Frederick W. Taylor‘s theories that workers were stupid and could not be trusted with any initiative.

It was also because the thousands of pages of work rules in United Auto Workers contract, which forbade assembly-line speedups, also barred any initiative or flexible response.

That’s why the UAW in 1970 staged a long strike against General Motors to give workers the option of early retirement, 30-and-out. All those guys who had gotten assembly line jobs at 18 or 21 could quit at 48 or 51.

The only problem was that when they retired they lost their health insurance. So the UAW got the Detroit Three auto companies to pay for generous retiree health benefits that covered elective medical and dental procedures with little or no co-payments.

It was those retiree health benefits more than anything else that eventually drove General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy and into ownership by the government and the UAW.

The liberal nostalgiacs would like to see an economy that gives low-skill high school graduates similar opportunities. That’s what Barack Obama seems to be envisioning when he talks about hundreds of thousands of “green jobs.”

But those “green jobs” have not come into existence despite massive government subsidies and crony capitalism. It’s become apparent that the old Detroit model was unsustainable and cannot be revived even by the most gifted community organizer and adjunct law professor.

For one thing, in a rapidly changing and technologically advanced economy, the lifetime job seems to be a thing of the past. Particularly “lifetime” jobs where you work only 30 years and then get supported for the next 30 or so years of your life.

Today’s young people can’t expect to join large organizations and in effect ride escalators for the rest of their careers. The new companies emerging as winners in high tech — think Apple or Google — just don’t employ that many people, at least in the United States.

Similarly, today’s manufacturing firms produce about as large a share of the gross national product as they used to with a much smaller percentage of the labor force.

Moreover, there’s evidence that recent growth in some of the professions — the law, higher education — has been a bubble, and is about to burst.

The bad news for the Millennial generation that is entering its work years is that the economy of the future won’t look like the economy we’ve grown accustomed to. The “hope and change” that Barack Obama promised hasn’t produced much more than college loans that will be hard to pay off and a health care law that lets them stay on Mommy and Daddy’s health insurance till they’re 26.

The good news is that information technology provides the iPod/Facebook generation with the means to find work and create careers that build on their own personal talents and interests.

As Walter Russell Mead writes in his brilliant the-american-interest.com blog, “The career paths that (young people) have been trained for are narrowing, and they are going to have to launch out in directions they and their teachers didn’t expect. They were bred and groomed to live as house pets; they are going to have to learn to thrive in the wild.”

But, as Mead continues, “The future is filled with enterprises not yet born, jobs that don’t yet exist, wealth that hasn’t been created, wonderful products and life-altering service not yet given form.”

As Jim Manzi argues in his new book “Uncontrolled,” we can’t predict what this new work world will look like. It will be invented through trial and error.

What we can be sure of is that creating your own career will produce a stronger sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Young people who do so won’t hate their work the way those autoworkers hated those assembly line jobs.

The Autoworkers Obama Left Behind – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative Columnists

United Auto Workers

Image via Wikipedia

The Autoworkers Obama Left Behind – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

The White House fairy tale about the Happily Ever After Auto Bailout is missing a crucial, bloody page. While President Obama bragged about “standing by American workers” at a rowdy United Auto Workers meeting Tuesday, he failed to acknowledge how the Chicago-style deal threw tens of thousands of nonunion autoworkers under the bus.

In a campaign pep rally/sermon billed as a “policy speech,” Obama nearly broke his arm patting himself on the back for placing his “bets” (read: our money) on the $85 billion federal auto industry rescue. “Three years later,” he crowed, “that bet is paying off for America.” Big Labor brass cheered Obama’s citation of GM’s “highest profits in its 100-year history” as the room filled with militant UAW chants of “union made.”

“Union made” — but who paid? Scoffing at the criticism that his bailout was a massive union payoff, Obama countered that all workers sacrificed to save the auto industry. “Retirees saw a reduction in the health care benefits they had earned,” Obama told the congregation, er, crowd. “Many of you saw hours reduced,” he sympathized, “or pay and wages scaled back.”

Let’s clear the fumes (again), shall we? The bailout pain was not distributed equally. It was redistributed politically.

Bondholders standing up for their property and contractual rights got shortchanged and demonized personally by the president. Dealers and suppliers faced closures based on political connections and lobbying clout, rather than neutral efficiency evaluations. And as I first reported in September 2010, in the rush to nationalize the auto industry and avoid contested court termination proceedings, the White House auto team schemed with Big Labor bosses to preserve UAW members’ costly pension funds by shafting their nonunion counterparts.

These forgotten nonunion pensioners (who worked for the Delphi/GM auto parts company) lost all of their health and life insurance benefits. Hailing from the economically devastated Rust Belt — northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states — the Delphi workers had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees. Some have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish. They’ve banded together to seek justice in court and on Capitol Hill under the banner of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association.

Through two costly years of litigation and investigation, the Delphi workers have exposed how the stacked White House Auto Task Force schemed with union bosses to “cherry pick” (one Obama official’s own words) which financial obligations the new Government Motors company would assume and which they would abandon based on their political expedience. Obama’s own former auto czar Steve Rattner admitted in his recent memoir that “attacking the union’s sacred cow” could “jeopardize” the auto bailout deal.

Ohio Republican Rep. Michael Turner last month called attention to the glaring conflicts of interest that entangled Obama moneyman Tim Geithner‘s multiple meddling roles in screwing over the Delphi workers. Geithner served simultaneously as co-chair of the Auto Task Force, board member of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the federal agency overseeing pension payments to bankrupt companies) and Treasury Secretary. The General Accounting Office raised eyebrows at Geithner’s “multiple roles” in the deal-making.

Thanks to a separate Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, we already know that Geithner’s department and General Motors closely coordinated their PR strategy and collaborated on making fraudulent claims about GM repaying all of its government loans. The cash-strapped Delphi retirees are suing the transparency-ducking PBGC in federal court to unearth documents that may yield key details of the improper Obama administration influence over Delphi’s bankruptcy organization.

As ebullient UAW officials hooted and hollered on Tuesday, Obama smugly attacked Republicans for “anti-worker policies” and their “same old you’re-on-your-own philosophy.” The Delphi workers know better: One union’s government-subsidized, government-manipulated “success story” is the rest of the workforce’s nightmare.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

UAW, Occupy and Obama Hang Themselves Together – John Ransom – Townhall Finance

 

English: Members of the Democratic Socialists ...

Image via Wikipedia

UAW, Occupy and Obama Hang Themselves Together – John Ransom – Townhall Finance.

I’m going to skip the nonsensical projections regarding what the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. would think about today’s topical issues like Occupy Wall Street, so-called income inequality and Tim Tebow.

I can afford to do this because another man named King has already instructed me on his views.

Bob King, head of the United Auto Worker’s Union, got together with 500 of his fellow travelers over the weekend in a vanity-channeling of Dr. King by praising Occupy Wall Street and the UAW’s largest shareholder, Barrack Obama

In this, King (Bob) seems to be operating out of a liberal playbook that looks to associate Occupy with King (Martin Luther).

It’s called “Occupy the Dream.”

I’m not sure if the irony is intentional or just accidental.

“So much of what he says is the same today, is about the world today,” said King on King “We’re at very difficult times in the United States of America right now. We’re at a time of great injustice and growing injustices. Thank God for the occupy movement and the young kids that are out there.”

Bob King has seen the past and tells us that the past is our future.

Our future is one where inequality is everywhere more relentless; where progress on issues, like racial equality is just a chimera, even as an African American sits in the White House.

He has to tell us that, this King named Bob does.

Even more, he needs for us to believe it, because without that belief, he’s a man without a job, as even he admits.

King (V.2.0) has placed a big bet that Americans not as familiar with him as the people he represents have bought into his rhetoric about inequality, especially as it pertains to income. His organization, the UAW, has been losing members, dollars and assets for decades as workers and consumers have repeatedly rejected the union label.

According to Reuters, the UAW has already had to “sell assets and dip into its strike fund to pay for its activities.”

In fact King (Bob) thinks that if he can’t win converts soon, there is no future for his union. “I have said that repeatedly, and I believe it.”

It’s a measure of the UAW’s desperation that King has pinned his hopes on Occupy and Obama, two movements that, like the UAW, seem to be tracking in the wrong direction from Main Street American thought.

“While Occupy Wall Street isn’t necessarily affiliated with a particular party, its anti-big business message may not be resonating with majorities in any party,” wrote Gallup’s Elizabeth Mendes as reported in the Washington Post. “Republicans, independents, and now close to half of Democrats are more concerned about the threat of big government than that coming from big business.”

According to Gallup 64 percent think big government is a bigger threat, and 26 percent think the bigger threat comes from big business.

And why shouldn’t they? Occupy Wall Street is mostly an extension of the extra-legal Big-Government-knows-best philosophy that ignores individual rights, private property rights and redistributes according to its own ideas of who is a have and who is a have-not.

From the New York Post:

Occupy Wall Street protesters announced with great fanfare last month that they moved a homeless family into a “foreclosed” Brooklyn home — even though they knew the house belonged to a struggling single father desperately trying to renegotiate his mortgage, The Post has learned.

Even though the single father is still the rightful owner, that didn’t stop the Occupiers from placing one of their own people into the house: 

Meanwhile, the family that OWS claimed to be putting into the vacant house has not yet permanently moved in. And it turns out the family is not a random victim of the foreclosure crisis, but cast for the part, thanks to their connection to the OWS movement.

OWS last week said it has spent $9,500 breaking into the house and setting it up for the homeless Carrasquillo family. A photo of the smiling family covers a window, under the slogan, “A place to call home.”

The head of the family, Alfredo Carrasquillo, 28, is an organizer for VOCAL- NY, a group that works with OWS. His Facebook page shows him in a “99 Percent” T-shirt at an OWS protest in November.

Like King’s UAW, which hasn’t been able to force folks to give them what they aren’t entitled to legally, Occupy is a last-gasp movement that has failed to convince us of either the justice or logic of their cause.     

Into this two-ringed circus now steps Ringmaster Obama, who has promised us all a campaign that will pit the UAW and Occupy have-nots against the rest of the country. Presumably, just as he’s done with the UAW, the domestic auto industry, student loans and green company investments, Obama will campaign that government eventually gets to pick the winners and the losers with a kind of group bailout for unions, Occupiers, Democrats and donors.

That’s how the GOP will campaign too. 

And if I were a Democrat, here’s where I’d be concerned:

If Obama doesn’t hang you all separately with this strategy he most certainly will hang you all together.

And if Democrats don’t win this campaign, they might never win another.

I say it and I believe it.

ObamaCare’s Billions In Hidden Pork For Unions – Latest Headlines – Investors.com

ObamaCare’s Billions In Hidden Pork For Unions – Latest Headlines – Investors.com.

Health Reform: How do you funnel billions of dollars to your union pals at a time when the government is running record deficits? Easy, you just tuck the money into ObamaCare.

According to a new Government Accountability Office report, the federal government has so far handed out $2.7 billion out of a $5 billion program squirreled away in ObamaCare.

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program is advertized as a way to “stabilize the availability of employer-sponsored coverage for early retirees,” according to a Health and Human Services memo.

The argument goes that companies are increasingly dropping retiree health benefits, leaving those who retire before becoming eligible for Medicare in a jam — either they face exorbitant rates for insurance or expose themselves to potentially catastrophic health costs.

The little-noticed ObamaCare program was supposed to encourage companies to continue offering this benefit until 2014 — when ObamaCare fully kicks in and will solve everything — by reimbursing companies for a chunk of their retiree health costs.

But lift the hood a little and this program looks more like a slush fund for Friends of Democrats.

Almost as soon as the program was announced, thousands of well-connected unions and government agencies rushed in to apply for the free money. As a result, the agency running the program had to stop accepting applications in May or risk running out of funds.

And just look at who made the cut.

According to figures obtained by IBD, 10 of the top 12 recipients are either unions or public employee groups. In fact, the biggest single recipient was the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which alone grabbed more than 8% of all the funds handed out so far. Other union beneficiaries include the United Food and Commercial Workers, the United Mine Workers and the Teamsters.

Meanwhile, almost half of the money doled out has gone to state and local governments, the GAO found.

Other big beneficiaries are giant companies such as AT&T and Verizon that, combined, have received more than a quarter-billion dollars under the program.

The problem is that these groups are the least likely to drop their retiree health benefits, calling the lie to the Obama administration‘s whole “stabilizing” excuse.

In fact, over the past 10 years, the share of state and local governments offering retiree benefits increased — climbing to 83% from 80% in 2001, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation health benefits survey.

That’s at a time when private companies have been dropping retiree health plans to cut costs, with the share of large firms offering such benefits falling to 26% this year from 37% in 2001, the Kaiser survey shows.

So this ObamaCare money is really being used mainly to pay off unions and governments that would have provided these benefits anyway.

While the law forbids employers from using the funds for anything other than retiree health costs, money is fungible, freeing up union and government resources for other uses like, say, helping Obama get re-elected.

Even if the government weren’t running record deficits and drowning in debt, wasting billions of dollars like this would be unacceptable. But with the country on the fiscal edge, it’s an outrage. Is anyone on the debt-reduction “supercommittee” paying attention?

Occupy Oakland’s Dangerous “Strike” Follies – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

ILWU logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Occupy Oakland’s Dangerous “Strike” Follies – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

The next stage of the Aimless Occupation of America is upon us: On Wednesday, rabble-rousers in the San Francisco Bay Area will walk off jobs they don’t have and encourage everyone else around the country to abandon work to protest high unemployment.

The Occupiers are calling their organized day of inaction a “Mass Day of Action.” The Carpenters Local 713, the Service Employees International Union, the United Auto Workers and the Industrial Workers of the World have all endorsed the “general strike.” Longshore workers and their union agitators are rooting for the shutdown of the Port of Oakland. Teachers unions will push students and educators to play hooky. Their posters urge: “No Work. No School. Occupy Everywhere.”

A city suffering from chronic poverty, out-of-control crime, a $76 million budget deficit and a 15 percent unemployment rate (nearly 50 percent for Oakland’s youth) can hardly afford such social justice follies. But a pushover Democratic mayor and an overwhelmed police force have left what’s left of gainfully employed Oakland taxpayers at the mercy of professional freeloaders and anti-capitalism saboteurs.

Instead of unequivocally condemning efforts to paralyze downtown commerce, Oakland city officials have all expressed sympathy for the protesters. For a brief moment, the city council president fretted meekly about the city’s image after a violent clash between Camp Chaos inhabitants and law enforcement officers last week. Nevertheless, city leaders — or rather, city enablers — have informed public employees that they can use vacation or other paid time to ditch their offices and raise their fists in solidarity with the Occupiers.

Instead of targeting local bank branch managers and private-sector entrepreneurs, the protesters should be camping out at government offices and asking where all the tens of millions of dollars in federal Obama stimulus funding went over the past two years — including $40 million from the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly $30 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, $26 million from the Department of Justice, $24 million from the Transportation Department, $15 million from the Department of Education, and $5.3 million from the Environmental Protection Agency.

One local analysis found last year that the Oakland Housing Authority squandered nearly $11 million in federal project renovation and clean-up stimulus grants to create a measly 10.7 jobs.

It would all be an amusing object lesson on the impotence of the welfare state, if not for the looming shadow of violence that hangs like stubborn Bay Area fog over the movement. In 2003, a like-minded mob of police-provoking anarchists, anti-war organizers and progressive activists descended on the Port of Oakland to coordinate a “Day of Action.” They hurled concrete, wood and iron bolts at cops while attempting to block military shipments to soldiers in wartime — and then whined about police brutality.

Fast-forward eight years. This week’s “Day of Action” is spearheaded by the likes of Oakland rapper Boots Riley, a militant, self-declared “communist” who penned “5 Million Ways To Kill a CEO” (“Toss a dollar in the river and when he jump in/If you find he can swim, put lead boots on him and do it again”) and “Lazy Muthaf**kas” (“You ain’t never learned to drive or tie your shoe/I got my ear to the street and my eye on you/… You’re a lazy **********! Lazy **********!). After the 9/11 attacks, I reported on Riley’s appalling album cover depicting him partying in front of a doctored image of the World Trade Center being blown up.

Like fellow Occupier, 9/11 conspiracy theorist and Oakland community organizer Van Jones, Riley has long stoked anti-police grievances. In “Pork and Beef,” he rapped: “If you got beef with c-o-ps/Throw a Molotov at the p-i-gs.”

Add to this toxic mix the thugs of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The planned march on Oakland’s port is being billed as an expression of “solidarity with longshore workers in their struggle” against grain importer EGT. In Longview, Wash., wildcat union workers cut train brake lines, smashed windows, dumped grain and took hostages earlier this fall to protest the company’s decision to employ not non-union workers, but workers from a competing shop. A federal judge fined the ILWU $250,000 after it defied a court restraining order. Even Obama’s National Labor Relations Board was forced to issue a complaint against the union’s “violent and aggressive” actions.

The unapologetic local union president vowed: “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Mark those words.

As President, Obama Acts as Shop Steward in Chief – Michael Barone – Townhall Conservative

As President, Obama Acts as Shop Steward in Chief – Michael Barone – Townhall Conservative.

Barack Obama has been at pains to convince voters that he cares about jobs. It seems to be a hard sell.

But he certainly can demonstrate that he cares about certain jobs — the 7 percent of private-sector jobs and 36 percent of public-sector jobs held by union members.

During his two years and nine months as president, he has worked time and again to increase the number of unionized jobs. As for nonunion jobs, who wants them?

Some pro-union moves have a certain ritual quality. Democratic presidents on taking office seek to strengthen federal employee unions, just as Republican presidents on taking office seek to weaken them.

Other steps are more important. Fully one-third of the $820 billion stimulus package passed almost entirely with Democratic votes in 2009 was aid to state and local governments.

This was intended to keep state and local public employee union members — much more numerous than federal employees — on the job and to keep taxpayer-funded union dues pouring into public employee union treasuries.

It was just last year that, for the first time in history, public employees came to account for a majority of union members. This is a vivid contrast from the peak union membership years of the 1950s, when more than one-third of private-sector workers but almost no government workers were union members.

Which is not to say that the Obama administration has not looked after the interests of private-sector unions. In arranging the Chrysler bankruptcy, the Obama White House muscled aside the secured creditors who ordinarily have priority in bankruptcy proceedings in favor of United Auto Workers members and retirees.

That’s an episode that I labeled “gangster government.” Former Obama economics aide Lawrence Summers protested that his White House colleague Ron Bloom had made similar arrangements before. But in those cases, Bloom was working for the unions, not for a supposedly neutral government.

The 2009 stimulus package also contained Davis-Bacon law provisions requiring that construction workers be paid “prevailing wages,” which under the bureaucratic formula turn out to be union wages. That means the public pays a premium for government construction.

It also means that Labor Department bureaucrats must calculate “prevailing wage” rates for as many as 3,141 counties. That takes time, and it’s one reason there were not nearly so many shovel-ready projects as presidential rhetoric led some, including the president, to think.

In the meantime, the administration has gone to great pains to promote union representation in private-sector companies even where there’s no indication employees want it.

It appointed pro-union stalwarts to the board supervising airline industry unionization elections. That board changed longstanding rules on what counts as a majority in an attempt to get unions approved at mostly non-union Delta after it absorbed mostly unionized Northwest.

The problem is that the employees kept voting against unionization anyway.

Then there’s the Boeing case.

Obama has called for doubling American exports over the next five years. But when America’s No. 1 exporter, Boeing, built a $1 billion Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, Obama’s appointee as general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board brought a case to force it to shut down.

The theory is that Boeing needs to build the airliner in pro-union Washington state rather than in South Carolina, whose right-to-work law bars requiring employees to join unions. Maximizing union membership evidently comes first, before all other goals.

The Obama White House won’t comment on the Boeing case, just as Obama himself had no comment when Teamsters President Jim Hoffa, introducing him at a Labor Day rally in Detroit, said of tea party backers, “Let’s take these sons of bitches out.”

The president’s eloquent and apparently heartfelt pleas for civility voiced after the Tucson shootings apparently don’t apply to union leaders.

Obama’s partiality to unions is apparently rooted in a conviction that we would be better off if every employee were represented by a union.

The marketplace says otherwise. Private-sector unionism has produced the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies, while states with strong public-sector unions, according to a Harvard study, have to pay higher interest rates to borrow money.

But unions do have one positive characteristic from Obama’s point of view: They funnel taxpayers’ or consumers’ money to the Democratic Party — $400 million in 2008. So they get one payoff after another in return.

NUGENT: Laborious Day, 2011 – Washington Times

Nugent in concert

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NUGENT: Laborious Day, 2011 – Washington Times.

Unions are no bargain for Americans

By Ted NugentThe Washington Times

With 1 in 5 men not working and collecting unemployment benefits and who knows how many other Americans working for less pay than before, Labor Day 2011 should be called Unemployment and Underemployment Day.

The real purpose of Labor Day is a day for the Democratic Party to celebrate. Labor unions and their members are solidly in the Democratic camp. At every Democratic campaign rally, Big Labor is there.

The National teachers union (NEA), one of the nation’s largest unions, is a rock-solid supporter of the Democratic Party, as is every other large union. The NEA cares more about maintaining taxpayer-provided benefits for its members than ensuring our kids get a world-class education. On the NEA’s watch, test scores have plummeted and dropout rates have skyrocketed.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) has been a solid supporter of the Democratic Party for decades and has had automobile management under its thumb. The end result: Automotive plants have closed all around country. What was once the envy of the world, the American automobile industry has been totaled.

Al Capone-wannabe Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-See-I’m-Sleeping, has been recently grumbling about giving less money to the Democratic Party because the party has not given labor unions everything they want. Mr. Trumka knows, however, that when push comes to shove, the AFL-CIO will provide Democrats with stacks of cash as they always have.

Mr. Trumka knows that much of the trillion-dollar stimulus package is nothing more than President Obama using our tax dollars to provide artificial employment for union workers. It is a giant, taxpayer-funded payoff for labor unions to vote for Democrats. What a scam.

It’s clearly a conflict of interest when Big Labor provides Democratic candidates with stacks of cash during the campaign season and then once these candidates are elected, labor sits across the table from these officials and “negotiates” with them for raises and increased benefits. This is not competitive bargaining, as there is nothing competitive about it. It is a wholesale fleecing of the taxpayer.

Public-sector employees are the largest block of union members in America, as labor membership in the private sector has been falling for years. Public-sector employees typically enjoy higher pay, more benefits and more time off than private-sector employees. This is unconscionable and is yet another example of the fleecing of the taxpayer by our elected officials and labor unions, which are joined at the hip.

Public-sector employees should be banned from joining a union, paid a wage commensurate with the private sector and provided with the same benefits as their private-sector peers. Only a goon would think otherwise.

The purpose of a business is to make money. In order to make money, businesses need smart, hard-working, competition-driven employees. Businesses compensate the best employees and need to be able to get rid of employees who do not produce. Labor unions work to destroy that time-tested model.

The result of the labor movement has been a disaster. Labor unions have not sustained labor but rather have destroyed it. Unions, labor bosses and negotiators bargained themselves out of jobs through decades of forcing unrealistic and unsustainable wages and benefits on businesses.

There will be parades, pep rallies and speeches on Labor Day. But there is a real feeling in the air among American workers that something has gone terribly wrong. Ultimately, you get what you bargain for – an unemployment check.

Ted Nugent is an American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is the author of “Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns & Rock AE’N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).

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