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Monday, December 22, 2008

Republicans and the auto bailout: a collective bargain

The Votemaster is providing post-election news and analysis, and this one's a doozy.   Ever wonder why there were quite a few Republicans behind the bank bailouts but almost none willing to back the automakers?
It is increasingly clear that what southern Republicans really want is to break the back of the UAW (which habitually supports the Democratic Party). Thus while demanding lower wages and benefits as part of the $17 billion loan to the auto industry (where labor costs are 10% of total expenditures) is crucial to them, they didn't make a peep about lowering salaries as part of the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry (where labor costs are 70% of the total). In other words, the $1.7 billion worth of labor costs in the (unionized) auto industry are a big deal but the $490 billion worth of labor costs in the (nonunionized) financial industry is a nonissue. [emphasis mine]

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