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Irony Alert: Michael Moore Cheers GM Cutbacks

John on April 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

If you had any doubts that Michael Moore was a raving idiot, this post should put them to rest. Yesterday, Moore offered his reaction to the GM bailout/takeover. His comments are a lesson in everything wrong with American liberal thought processes.

You may recall that Moore comes from Flint, MI and got his big break making a movie about GM. So he has some skin in this particular game. But read his list of complaints about the company and then we’ll analyze it a bit:

I write this letter to you in memory of the hundreds of thousands of workers over the past 25-plus years who have been tossed into the trash heap by General Motors. Many saw their lives ruined for good. They turned to alcohol or drugs, their marriages fell apart, some took their own lives. Most moved on, moved out, moved over, moved away. They ended up working two jobs for half the pay they were getting at GM. And they cursed the CEO of GM for bringing ruin to their lives.

Not one of them ever thought that one day they would witness the CEO receive the same treatment. Of course, Chairman Wagoner will not have to sign up for food stamps or be evicted from his home or tell his kids they’ll be going to the community college, not the university. Instead, he will get a $23 million golden parachute. But the slip in his hands is still pink, just like the hundreds of thousands that others received—except his was issued by us, via the Obama-man. Here’s the door, buster. See ya. Don’t wanna be ya.

[...]

I await the president’s next superhero move.

So Moore is essentially celebrating the firing of one executive as payback for all the ruined lives GM has supposedly left in its wake. And in Moore’s view, Obama is the hero (the superhero!) in this little morality tale.

That sort of schadenfreude makes a sort of twisted, visceral sense I suppose. But what does Moore think about the broader action Obama is taking, i.e. beyond making Wagoner a sacrificial lamb? More to the point, what does he think is about to happen to all those poor people still working at GM?

Time magazine offers a clue:

The task force has made it clear that GM can’t afford the renegotiated wage-and-benefits package the UAW agreed to in 2007. Even using GM’s best-case scenario, the company projected a negative net cash flow of $14.5 billion over the next six years. Most of that deficit can be accounted for in retiree health and pension benefits — which means that one way or another, the hundreds of thousands of UAW retirees are probably going to get a lot less health coverage. The outlines of a plan are likely to be drawn up by Bloom, a pioneer in the voluntary employee beneficiary association (VEBA) approach. In a VEBA, the union agrees to accept a cash payment to fund a new health-care system that trustees administer, thus taking future liabilities off the company’s books. That’s what happened at Ford, where the company negotiated a deal in which half the VEBA will be funded in the form of stock rather than cash. GM may need even more help.

Understandably, neither the union nor the bondholders are happy about the task force’s approach. The UAW feels particularly aggrieved because it has agreed to an unending series of givebacks over the past 20 years. Even before this latest crisis, the UAW had assented to the 2007 contract, which would have put Detroit’s labor cost per car within a couple of hundred dollars of Toyota’s and the other transplants’. That isn’t enough, in the view of the task force, because consumers are willing to pay more for the foreign badges, and the Detroit Three need to earn more on domestic car sales to become viable for the long haul.

In other words, the real secret of Obama’s “superhero move” was to break the stranglehold the UAW had on the cost of producing a new car. To make GM profitable, they will have to close plants, fire workers, give remaining workers something less than the 2007 contract, and make cuts to health coverage. These are all things Michael Moore has previously become apoplectic over.

So why is Moore celebrating Obama’s move? Because he never really cared about those poor people losing jobs. They were just the emotional pivot of his anti-American lever. His real interest is in seeing America as we know it destroyed and replaced with a European style socialist-lite state. And in that regard, Obama really is a superhero.

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Category: Energy & Economy |

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