Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Oye Vey

A colleague of mine is excited about a news item he saw on the 700 Club which argued that the problem with the US auto industry -- versus the foreign companies in, say, Alabama -- is unions.

In fact, what the 700 Club is arguing for is national healthcare. The difference between a company like Toyota and a company like General Motors is that Japanese National Health Insurance picks up the medical and retiree tab for Toyota's workers in Japan, whereas GM has been legally and contractually obliged to do this itself. This puts US firms who employ Americans at a disadvantage with companies from other industrialized nations, who do not have the same "legacy costs."

Of course, you can always blame the people who show up for work everyday for expecting that they would have some way to survive after 30 years of creating wealth for an employer. That is easy: working people do not own news outlets. They only have unions.

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