Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Let's be clear: auto bailout is a union bailout

One of the talking points du jour is that gas-guzzling SUVs caused the domestic auto companies' current woes when people stopped buying them.

The truth is just a little bit more complicated than that.

The Big Three automakers struggled to transition out of SUVs when gas prices killed demand for them because union-negotiated retirement benefits had already wiped out any financial flexibility the companies once had. Decades ago.

This latest speed bump wouldn't have wrecked the companies if union contracts hadn't already caused the companies to rust through from the inside out.

People still need cars and they will continue to buy cars from someone. But taxpayers don't need to throw good money after bad to prop up a labor system that went bankrupt a long time ago.

Let the companies re-organize and toss the United Auto Workers overboard.

Make no mistake: if we bail out Detroit's car manufacturers, we are paying for fat lifestyles of union thugs. No thanks.