General Motors has had its share of trials lately – renegotiating worker benefits and now closing plants. The media continue to blame the auto manufacturer’s worries on high gas prices and foreign automakers. The glaring omission in the coverage is the United Auto Workers, the union that has driven GM’s costs to unsustainable heights.
That's not Joe Biden's approach, as CBS's Hannah Storm discovered on Tuesday's Early Show.
Hannah Storm: "Let me ask you about general motors, shifting gears a little bit here. They announced 30,000 job cuts, 12 facilities closing in 2008 because of poor sales and rising healthcare costs. How much does this concern you? What are the implications for other U.S. industries here?"
Joe Biden: "Well it's gigantic and it says two things. One, we're at a competitive disadvantage and we have no national healthcare program in this country. All those countries we're competing with have it. Here we have an employer-based health system, putting every general motors car that's sold competitively at about a 14% disadvantage, number one. And number two, the automobile industry in America has been unwilling to make the kind of changes that needs to be changed that needs to take place, to deal with the cost of oil, with competitive pricing on oil and the ability to build hybrids and move to alternative automobiles. This is very poor management. It's not the laborer's fault."
Hannah Storm: "And very quickly Senator, what can you say to the communities devastated by this?"
Joe Biden: "What I can say is, pray God, this will be a wake-up call to the industry to help support the call for national healthcare proposal, as well as begin to make products that in fact are consistent with the environment today. That is, the economic environment we're in. In the meantime, we've got to go in and make sure we provide a cushion for these people losing a job. These middle class, I just heard the economy is growing. Where I come from middle class economy is not growing. That's how I measure growth. Are middle class people growing? They're not."
PS: There’s a lot to be thankful for this year. Americans have pulled through two devastating hurricanes, and the economy has rebounded and continued growing. And there are people working hard to bring jobs to hurricane victims. But the media aren’t grateful for charity and opportunity. They’re focusing on government handouts – which are running out.
On the Free Market Project website, read about these stories plus The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and a list of links to outside commentary and research and upcoming events by free market think tanks.