Jump to content


The Fictitious $70/hr Meme


BullDurham
 Share

Recommended Posts

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/marke...0-per-hour-meme

 

The Return of the $70 Per Hour Meme

 

You might expect it from right-leaning commentators like Will Wilkinson. You wouldn't expect it from someone like Mark Perry, who lives in Flint, Michigan. And you certainly wouldn't expect to see it in the New York Times, from the likes of Andrew Ross Sorkin. But all of them are perpetuating the meme that the average GM worker costs more than $70 an hour, once you include health and pension costs.

 

It's not true.

 

The average GM assembly-line worker makes about $28 per hour in wages, and I can assure you that GM is not paying $42 an hour in health insurance and pension plan contributions. Rather, the $70 per hour figure (or $73 an hour, or whatever) is a ridiculous number obtained by adding up GM's total labor, health, and pension costs, and then dividing by the total number of hours worked. In other words, it includes all the healthcare and retirement costs of retired workers.

 

Now that GM's healthcare obligations are being moved to a UAW-run trust, even that fictitious number is going to fall sharply. But anybody who uses it as a rhetorical device suggesting that US car companies are run inefficiently is being disingenuous. As of 2007, the UAW represented 180,681 members at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors; it also represented 419,621 retired members and 120,723 surviving spouses. If you take the costs associated with 721,025 individuals and then divide those costs by the hours worked by 180,681 individuals, you're going to end up with a very large hourly rate. But it won't mean anything, unless you're trying to be deceptive.

 

So, why are the Republicans trying to push this meme? Easy: they want the auto industry to collapse, thus painting the Democrats as "the party that let Detroit die". In other words, it's not about the "free market" to them; it's all about politics. Why else would they help out their white-collar buddies while sticking a shiv in the blue-collar workers? A top-recced diary at DKos explains this here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/11/20/3.../218/119/663984

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You aren't seriously suggesting that the American auto-industry has been run responsibly, are you?

 

All of you who want to trust the jet-set CEOs to responsibly use your money to save their industry, please, pass a collection tray around and pay for it.

 

Nobody wants any industry to collapse. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And plenty of Republicans support this nonsense, and plenty of non-Republicans oppose it. Those of us who do oppose the bailout do so for a few reasons:

#1 - We do not believe that it will save the industry. It won't correct their problems.

#2 - We do not trust the people in charge of those companies with our money.

#3 - Creating inflation (or taxing more) to give these companies this money, to many of us, amounts to robbing people and businesses who have been responsible and productive to give to businesses that have been irresponsible and unproductive.

#4 - It doesn't solve the problems that these companies have.

 

I find it silly when I hear "conservatives" also saying that we need to get both sides to the table (management and the unions) and work something out. Why do "we", the people, need to spend our money to get two entities to do something that is already in their best interest? It's like that whole moronic situation of us interjecting between the Palestinians and the Israelis - why in the world would either side need us to come up with an agreement that will give both sides peace? As dumb as any of the other aformentioned parties may be - I think one thing we've learned in the last 8 years is that our government really isn't so smart that we should believe it can solve all these problems any better.

 

I thought I'd add in a clip of one of those Republicans supporting this bailout. His rationale for justifying spending this money to "save" these businesses?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You aren't seriously suggesting that the American auto-industry has been run responsibly, are you?

 

All of you who want to trust the jet-set CEOs to responsibly use your money to save their industry, please, pass a collection tray around and pay for it.

 

Nobody wants any industry to collapse. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And plenty of Republicans support this nonsense, and plenty of non-Republicans oppose it. Those of us who do oppose the bailout do so for a few reasons:

#1 - We do not believe that it will save the industry. It won't correct their problems.

#2 - We do not trust the people in charge of those companies with our money.

#3 - Creating inflation (or taxing more) to give these companies this money, to many of us, amounts to robbing people and businesses who have been responsible and productive to give to businesses that have been irresponsible and unproductive.

#4 - It doesn't solve the problems that these companies have.

 

I find it silly when I hear "conservatives" also saying that we need to get both sides to the table (management and the unions) and work something out. Why do "we", the people, need to spend our money to get two entities to do something that is already in their best interest? It's like that whole moronic situation of us interjecting between the Palestinians and the Israelis - why in the world would either side need us to come up with an agreement that will give both sides peace? As dumb as any of the other aformentioned parties may be - I think one thing we've learned in the last 8 years is that our government really isn't so smart that we should believe it can solve all these problems any better.

 

I thought I'd add in a clip of one of those Republicans supporting this bailout. His rationale for justifying spending this money to "save" these businesses?

 

Well this is great news!!! One of the guys in charge of making decisions of what to do with OUR MONEY! doesn't believe it is ours to begin with... some kind of representation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You aren't seriously suggesting that the American auto-industry has been run responsibly, are you?

 

All of you who want to trust the jet-set CEOs to responsibly use your money to save their industry, please, pass a collection tray around and pay for it.

 

Nobody wants any industry to collapse. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And plenty of Republicans support this nonsense, and plenty of non-Republicans oppose it. Those of us who do oppose the bailout do so for a few reasons:

#1 - We do not believe that it will save the industry. It won't correct their problems.

#2 - We do not trust the people in charge of those companies with our money.

#3 - Creating inflation (or taxing more) to give these companies this money, to many of us, amounts to robbing people and businesses who have been responsible and productive to give to businesses that have been irresponsible and unproductive.

#4 - It doesn't solve the problems that these companies have.

 

I find it silly when I hear "conservatives" also saying that we need to get both sides to the table (management and the unions) and work something out. Why do "we", the people, need to spend our money to get two entities to do something that is already in their best interest? It's like that whole moronic situation of us interjecting between the Palestinians and the Israelis - why in the world would either side need us to come up with an agreement that will give both sides peace? As dumb as any of the other aformentioned parties may be - I think one thing we've learned in the last 8 years is that our government really isn't so smart that we should believe it can solve all these problems any better.

 

I thought I'd add in a clip of one of those Republicans supporting this bailout. His rationale for justifying spending this money to "save" these businesses?

 

First off, if you had RTFA, you would have seen that labor HAS BEEN doing something about it. Health-care costs are being moved to a UAW-run trust, thus taking one of the biggest liabilities off the hands of GM. Second, did I say anything about the bailout? No. I'm trying to say that the "it's all the union's fault" meme is BS. If you want to compare apples to apples (as many in the conservobot circle-jerk here don't want to do), then you need to tell me what the average wage of a Toyota, Honda, or VW worker is when you add in pension benefits and health care. If the health-care contribution of the foreign automakers is $0, well, that explains a bit, but it's also downright disgusting.

 

And no, I'm not saying that GM is being run well. Heck, I find Rick Wagoner to be a huge boil on the face of Duke University. I didn't like that Duke invited him to speak at the 2007 commencement, and I am even more adamant about it now. The next good idea he has about producing cars will be his first. It's a shame GM decided DeLorean (pre-drug bust) wouldn't make a good CEO, because if he were, he would have never been involved in that drug bust and would have actually stimulated innovation at GM. Instead, GM decided on Roger Smith, and it's been downhill ever since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You aren't seriously suggesting that the American auto-industry has been run responsibly, are you?

 

All of you who want to trust the jet-set CEOs to responsibly use your money to save their industry, please, pass a collection tray around and pay for it.

 

Nobody wants any industry to collapse. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. And plenty of Republicans support this nonsense, and plenty of non-Republicans oppose it. Those of us who do oppose the bailout do so for a few reasons:

#1 - We do not believe that it will save the industry. It won't correct their problems.

#2 - We do not trust the people in charge of those companies with our money.

#3 - Creating inflation (or taxing more) to give these companies this money, to many of us, amounts to robbing people and businesses who have been responsible and productive to give to businesses that have been irresponsible and unproductive.

#4 - It doesn't solve the problems that these companies have.

 

I find it silly when I hear "conservatives" also saying that we need to get both sides to the table (management and the unions) and work something out. Why do "we", the people, need to spend our money to get two entities to do something that is already in their best interest? It's like that whole moronic situation of us interjecting between the Palestinians and the Israelis - why in the world would either side need us to come up with an agreement that will give both sides peace? As dumb as any of the other aformentioned parties may be - I think one thing we've learned in the last 8 years is that our government really isn't so smart that we should believe it can solve all these problems any better.

 

I thought I'd add in a clip of one of those Republicans supporting this bailout. His rationale for justifying spending this money to "save" these businesses?

 

First off, if you had RTFA, you would have seen that labor HAS BEEN doing something about it. Health-care costs are being moved to a UAW-run trust, thus taking one of the biggest liabilities off the hands of GM. Second, did I say anything about the bailout? No. I'm trying to say that the "it's all the union's fault" meme is BS. If you want to compare apples to apples (as many in the conservobot circle-jerk here don't want to do), then you need to tell me what the average wage of a Toyota, Honda, or VW worker is when you add in pension benefits and health care. If the health-care contribution of the foreign automakers is $0, well, that explains a bit, but it's also downright disgusting.

 

And no, I'm not saying that GM is being run well. Heck, I find Rick Wagoner to be a huge boil on the face of Duke University. I didn't like that Duke invited him to speak at the 2007 commencement, and I am even more adamant about it now. The next good idea he has about producing cars will be his first. It's a shame GM decided DeLorean (pre-drug bust) wouldn't make a good CEO, because if he were, he would have never been involved in that drug bust and would have actually stimulated innovation at GM. Instead, GM decided on Roger Smith, and it's been downhill ever since.

You're missing my point - I don't care if it's 90% the union's fault and 10% management or vice versa. It is 0% the fault of the rest of us who will have to pay the bill for this, and paying for this won't solve anything. You're focused on something that is irrelevant, which is external perceptions. These problems need to be solved INTERNALLY, and as politicians profess that they are "too big to fail" they take away the only motivation that the company(both management and labor) have to correct their problems, whatever they may be.

 

And I morally reject the notion that somehow these industries are more important than any other American business, beyond the point where we simply feel a need to keep them in business, but to where we are willing to take money away from successful and viable businesses and give it to the automakers whose management we have so much faith in.

I don't know how much each hour of work should cost the car companies and niether does Washington.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's called an opinion, numbnuts. Also, I don't see Portfolio.com being a "bastion of Commie/pinko/Socialist action".

 

As for whose fault it is? You're damn right I'm going to blame the government. Bush told us to spend, spend, spend, get the biggest things, spend the biggest dollar, and GM responded by pumping out gas-guzzler after gas-guzzler. After all, the demand for SUVs and low-gas-mileage cars had to come from somewhere. The beginning of the Bush administration was about the time the Big Three abandoned their search for alternative fuels and engines, and they're paying the price for it right now, even as the perceived "demand" said to build more SUVs. So again, management takes the bulk of the blame, but don't discount the effect of the government encouraging the buying habits and taking a laissez-faire attitude to fuel efficiency, supposedly because it would be "too expensive" to do it (oh, and it isn't worth it now?).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's called an opinion, numbnuts. Also, I don't see Portfolio.com being a "bastion of Commie/pinko/Socialist action".

 

As for whose fault it is? You're damn right I'm going to blame the government. Bush told us to spend, spend, spend, get the biggest things, spend the biggest dollar, and GM responded by pumping out gas-guzzler after gas-guzzler. After all, the demand for SUVs and low-gas-mileage cars had to come from somewhere. The beginning of the Bush administration was about the time the Big Three abandoned their search for alternative fuels and engines, and they're paying the price for it right now, even as the perceived "demand" said to build more SUVs. So again, management takes the bulk of the blame, but don't discount the effect of the government encouraging the buying habits and taking a laissez-faire attitude to fuel efficiency, supposedly because it would be "too expensive" to do it (oh, and it isn't worth it now?).

Laissez-faire is the right approach for government to fuel efficiency. Nobody in Washington has a clue about consumers and the value they place on fuel economy, and having them run the auto-industry won't help either.

Yes, Bush & co. were/are idiots. You'll hardly find anyone here who disagrees. But should I be sympathetic to someone who screwed up because they listened to an idiot? Should we all have to pay for their mistakes? I mean its not like Bush was stopping them from making the same kinds of cars that foreigners were/are making in the South.

 

Why should the government have a role in forcing companies to produce fuel efficient cars? Why should the government have to force a company to do the things it needs to do to survive anyway? It's like passing a law that makes skipping meals a crime. Yes, it's that ridiculous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

$28 an hour is still too much for an assembly line worker, btw and why I buy Japanese cars.

Agreed. I never heard this $70/hr figure in my life so the validity of this thread is questionable. However, I was under the impression the wage was $32, not $28.

 

Nevertheless, pre-tax you are looking at close to $60,000. That is an incredibly fair pay rate for an assembly line employee without a college education.

I work in education with a four-year degree and I only make $16/hour.

 

The Big 3 wouldn't be in this mess if they didn't make crap cars. I'd rather buy a Corolla or Tacoma manufactured in Fremont, California; a Tundra manufactured in Princeton, Indiana, or San Antonio, Texas; or a Camry manufactured in Georgetown, Kentucky.

 

It's a perfect storm of union overpayment and foreign market restrictions, but the root of the problem is that they manufacture crap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TNR also chimes in on the supposed "disparity" between wages at the Big Three and the foreign automakers (in other words, cue Queen, as another urban legend bites the dust):

 

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=...f2-56dfc3323682

 

More important, and contrary to what you may have heard, the wages aren't that much bigger than what Honda, Toyota, and other foreign manufacturers pay employees in their U.S. factories. While we can't be sure precisely how much those workers make, because the companies don't make the information public, the best estimates suggests the corresponding 2007 figure for these "transplants"--as the foreign-owned factories are known--was somewhere between $20 and $26 per hour, and most likely around $24 or $25. That would put average worker's annual salary at $52,000 a year.

 

So the "wage gap," per se, has been a lot smaller than you've heard. And this is no accident. If the transplants paid their employees far less than what the Big Three pay their unionized workers, the United Auto Workers would have a much better shot of organizing the transplants' factories. Those factories remain non-unionized and management very much wants to keep it that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"More important, and contrary to what you may have heard, the wages aren't that much bigger than what Honda, Toyota, and other foreign manufacturers pay employees in their U.S. factories. While we can't be sure precisely how much those workers make, because the companies don't make the information public, the best estimates suggests the corresponding 2007 figure for these "transplants"--as the foreign-owned factories are known--was somewhere between $20 and $26 per hour, and most likely around $24 or $25. That would put average worker's annual salary at $52,000 a year.

 

So the "wage gap," per se, has been a lot smaller than you've heard. And this is no accident. If the transplants paid their employees far less than what the Big Three pay their unionized workers, the United Auto Workers would have a much better shot of organizing the transplants' factories. Those factories remain non-unionized and management very much wants to keep it that way."

 

Ok, if you say so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...