Labor

The UAW's Health-Care Dreams

Union has best health care in the world, wants better.

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It is not within the power of United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger to save GM, Ford and Chrysler. But it is certainly within his power to kill them. Whether he chooses to do so will soon become clear. What are arguably the most critical contract negotiations in the history of Motown's auto industry began this week.

America's former Big Three auto makers are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy—Ford's second-quarter profit notwithstanding. And one big reason for their dire state, apart from collective amnesia over how to make hit cars, is their ever-escalating health-care expenses. Every car they produce, they plaintively assert, contains $1,500 in health costs that their Japanese competitors don't face.

But Mr. Gettelfinger has already declared that he is not in a "concessionary mood." UAW workers at Ford and GM agreed to a health-care cost-sharing deal during an unusual round of mid-contract negotiations in 2005. Closing the competition gap with Japanese auto makers now, Mr. Gettelfinger insists, requires not more concessions by auto workers—but a Japanese-style government health-care system for all workers.

"We pay more, but get less," he thundered to roaring applause at a recent NAACP luncheon.

Doubtless, some of Mr. Gettelfinger's tough talk is posturing, calculated to extract the best possible deal from auto companies. Yet his perennial calls for a national health-care system—echoed by leading Democratic presidential candidates—affect the dynamics at the bargaining table: By feeding the notion that Japanese workers are getting a better health-care deal than UAW workers, they make it harder for Mr. Gettelfinger to make reasonable compromises and sell them to his rank-and-file.

But do Japanese workers really live in some single-payer, health-care heaven where all their medical needs are covered by general taxpayers with no cost to them? Hardly.

The Japanese system comprises three basic insurance plans: one for the self-employed and the unemployed, including retirees under 70; one for the elderly over 70; and one for all private- and public-sector employees. The employee plan is not just completely self-financed, with no taxpayer support. It actually subsidizes the other two, an arrangement that is becoming increasingly unsustainable as Japan's population ages. (Both Toyota and Honda declined to give an estimate of their current or future health-care premium burden.)

The employee plan requires a premium equal to 9.5% of a worker's annual income. Employees themselves pay about 45% of the premiums from their paychecks, their employers the rest. This works out to $1,557 for an employee with an annual income of $36,500—average wages for a blue-collar Japanese auto worker—according to figures provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Labor Welfare.

But that's not all Japanese workers are on the hook for. Working families also face a 30% co-pay—capped at $677 per month for a mid-income family—for medical expenses such as in-patient and out-patient hospital charges, drugs, doctor's visits and diagnostic tests. Because these services are exceedingly cheap, thanks to massive price controls, in practice the average Japanese family pays only about $720 a year in co-pays. This adds up to total out-of-pocket annual expenses of about $2,300 for every Japanese household, which is comparable to what active UAW workers pay after the 2005 deal in absolute dollars. But relative to their income, Japanese workers bear a far bigger burden than UAW workers.

Even that isn't the full story. In the event of a catastrophic or chronic illness requiring prolonged hospitalization, a UAW worker faces no further expenses. A Japanese worker who hits his co-pay cap each month would be out of pocket up to $10,000 a year—about 25% of his annual pay-check and five times more than a UAW worker under similar circumstances. This puts a huge strain on some Japanese families, forcing them to default on their hospital bills. Asahi Shimbun, Japan's respected national daily, reported that Japanese hospitals lost $180 million in unpaid patient bills in 2004.

UAW workers get a better deal not only than Japanese workers, but other American workers as well.

Before the 2005 "givebacks," the Detroit Three companies picked up the entire health-care tab for all their hourly workers—active, retired, dependents and, incredibly, even laid-off workers till they found other jobs. Workers were not required to pay any premiums, deductibles or co-pays-except for routine physical exams and prescription drugs. The 2005 deal left these benefits virtually untouched for retirees with pension incomes below $8,000. But for the first time ever it began requiring more well-off retirees to cough up $252 in annual premiums for family coverage and another $500 in total annual deductibles. In short, for a grand total of $752 in out-of-pocket annual costs, UAW retirees and their spouses get full medical coverage for life. Given the huge retiree population that the Big Three support—GM has three times more retirees than active workers—this has saddled them with a combined unfunded health-care liability exceeding $100 billion.

By contrast, 90% of retirees in other American companies don't get any employer-provided coverage after 65, when they become Medicare-eligible. Such couples, according to an analysis by Fidelity Investments last year, are typically on the hook for $10,000 in out-of-pocket annual costs for Medicare co-pays and other expenses not covered by the program, or 10 times more than UAW couples.

Meanwhile, the only concession that active UAW workers made in 2005 was to defer $1 an hour of their 2006 pay raise toward a UAW-controlled Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Association (VEBA) fund. On average, this translates into roughly $2,000 in VEBA contributions per UAW worker per year. Some of the returns from the fund's investments subsidize the coverage of current retirees. But the rest are tucked away for the workers' own retirement coverage. In other words, by setting aside about 4% of their current wages annually, UAW workers secure not just all their medical needs now, but for life. In comparison, salaried workers with families contribute more than twice as much as UAW workers—$2,500 in premiums and another $1,600 in deductibles and co-pays—for just their current health care needs, according to two separate surveys conducted by Kaiser Foundation and Hewitt Associates last year.

What all of this shows is that the so-called competition gap that Motown auto makers and the UAW complain about is created by the lavish health-care and pension deals they wrote themselves—not by Japan's nationalized health care system. Indeed, it is often overlooked that Japanese auto makers import less than 45% of the cars they sell in the U.S., and the percentage will likely drop further, as Toyota plans to expand its share of U.S.-made cars to two-thirds of all vehicles sold in America in the next three years.

Active hourly workers at Japanese "transplants" face out-of-pocket costs not much higher than their UAW counterparts. The big difference, however, is that upon retirement they don't get limitless medical coverage. Instead, they get a fixed amount of money to buy supplemental Medicare coverage.

American auto makers too are hoping to cap their health-care liability to retirees by convincing Mr. Gettelfinger to accept a deal under which they would put a lump sum of money into a fund that the UAW would use to buy coverage for its members. Mr. Gettelfinger signed off on a similar arrangement with Dana, a large auto supplier, when it went into bankruptcy last year, but is reportedly not convinced that this would be advantageous for Big Three retirees.

UAW workers still enjoy a health-care deal that no one else in America or Japan—or quite possibly the planet—does. Yet Mr. Gettelfinger said last week that the 2005 health-care givebacks were the toughest decision he ever made in his entire career. This is a startling admission that reflects the depth of the UAW's entitlement mentality, and its detachment from the world that its fellow Americans inhabit. But such lavish expectations are unsustainable under any system—American or Japanese. This is a reality that Mr. Gettelfinger must accept. Otherwise, he may well push U.S. auto makers over the cliff—and his comrades with them.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at the Reason Foundation. This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

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51 responses to “The UAW's Health-Care Dreams

  1. I haven’t RTFA, but I would think that what would save the US auto industry would be to make a quality product.

  2. If you RTFA you will see that is definitely one part of the problem, but clearly the UAW mentality is another part of the problem.

    That would be an interesting question for the union honcho, “Will you accept a contract that provides the same health coverage workers at Honda get?”

    Good piece.

  3. Funny how “Teh Evil Corporashunz” are some of the biggest boosters of universal health care.

  4. You are 100% correct in all areas but one … State and Municipal workers have it EVEN BETTER. Their overstuffed pensions and retiree heath care will truely bankrupt all of us.

  5. Funny how “Teh Evil Corporashunz” are some of the biggest boosters of universal health care.

    Why is that funny? It’s a sound business decision (unless you are in the insurance or medical business). It’s not as if this position is based on compassion or altruism or morality. It’s because it helps the corporation’s bottom line.

    Most companies don’t want to deal with the hassle of renewing and shopping around for insurance every year nor do they want the expense of providing insurance to their workers.

    Of course there is nothing wrong with a company protecting it’s bottom line, but to pretend that because a fiscally sound position happens to line up with a position that other supporters consider a moral one doesn’t really reflect anything about the “evilness” (or lack thereof) of that company.

  6. Funny how “Teh Evil Corporashunz” are some of the biggest boosters of universal health care.

    Its funny because it makes them allies of liberals, many of whom believe corporations are the source of all evil and oppression in the world.

  7. I haven’t RTFA, but I would think that what would save the US auto industry would be to make a quality product.

    I phrased the same sentiment thusly “Have they tried not sucking?”

  8. Actually, the same question is starting to apply to German makers, as well.

  9. this article does not reveal all the facts. uaw workers have made concessions more than once. there have been repeated deferrals of cost of living raises to pay for health care. the total contribution now stands at over $2 per hour. so the minimum cost to employee is $40 per week. if working overtime, which I have done on a regular basis for the last 15 years, the cost is in the $60 to $200 per week depending on how many hours worked. plus, the often repeated “no out of pocket” expense is false. for an office visit that is “reasonable and customaary” $65, I pay $63.20 there are numerous other co-pays and there are deductibles that have to be met if you go out of network. so I find the numbers to be grossly uninformed at best. more likely they are dis-information and propaganda that are spread for the corporate agenda.

  10. correction. $80 per week minimum. range up to $200+

  11. why doesn’t Shikha think of the children of UAW workers (redundant?) who need to learn to water ski at the summer cabin on lake Michigan?

    without it they might resort to smoking pot, or worse (is anything worse?)

    adrian

  12. UAW workers (redundant?)

    Oxymoron.

  13. more likely they are dis-information and propaganda that are spread for the corporate agenda.

    The corporate agenda is to promote state-run socialized medicine… as it means that corporations no longer have to pay health benefits.

  14. I haven’t RTFA, but I would think that what would save the US auto industry would be to make a quality product.

    To make a quality product at prices competitive with Japanese brands, the Big Three would have to go non-union and ditch their retirement benefits. Which won’t happen. Which is why the Big Three are losing market share year after year, and likely to go under one by one.

    I won’t buy any more shoddy union-built cars, period. I’ve owned Fords and Chevys, and they were always breaking down and squeaking and rattling. I thought that was just what cars did. Then I bought a Toyota. And loved it so much I bought another.

  15. I won’t buy any more shoddy union-built cars, period. I’ve owned Fords and Chevys, and they were always breaking down and squeaking and rattling. I thought that was just what cars did. Then I bought a Toyota. And loved it so much I bought another.

    After seeing my parents Ford’s engines overheat all the freaking time while growing up, my first car was a Volkswagen. And its been thus ever since, never had a problem with VW.

  16. The corporate agenda is to promote state-run socialized medicine… as it means that corporations no longer have to pay health benefits.

    Well, if the corporations are for it, and the majority of American people are for it, who exactly is keeping it from happening?

  17. “What all of this shows is that the so-called competition gap that Motown auto makers and the UAW complain about is created by the lavish health-care and pension deals they wrote themselves-not by Japan’s nationalized health care system…”

    Does the UAW qualify as a corporation? …is it okay to call this corporate welfare?

    ….corporate welfare not entirely justified?! Shocking!

    I hate what much of my tax money pays for, but I would hate, hate, hate it if my tax money went to pay for the health benefits of the UAW.

    Yuck!

  18. At the risk of sounding trollish, I’ll once again repeat that I’m puzzled at how anti-union Reasonoids seem to be. I don’t quite understand why people consider collective bargaining to be a bad thing.

    Case in point: in the linked article Shikha Dalmia writes that the UAW has an “entitlement mentality” because they expect the auto industry to live up to the agreements that both parties freely entered! That seems like the exact opposite of an entitlement mentality.

    It’s this sort of thing that has led me to the conclusion that Reason often is not in favor of liberty, but rather is in favor of unfettored corporate power. It makes me wonder exactly who contributes to the Reason Foundation.

  19. The auto workers negotiated for their (admittedly generous) health care in lieu of higher wages. The auto companies were quite happy to provide health care instead of higher wages when they thought that it would save them money. Now, with skyrocketing health care costs, they’d like to have a ‘do over’.

    UAW workers have made concessions time after time over recent years in order to save workers’jobs, but they can’t do it alone. The auto makers need to make cars and trucks that we will want to buy.

  20. To answer my own question, at least according to SourceWatch the following companies donated to the Reason Foundation in 2000:

    3M
    American Forest & Paper Association
    American Petroleum Institute
    Bank of America
    Bayer Corporation
    California Association of Realtors
    California Water Service Company
    Ken and Colleen Butler, Capital Partnerships
    Chevron Corporation
    Coca-Cola Co.
    Consulting Engineers & Land Surveyors of California
    Council of New York State, Inc.
    Continental Airlines
    Corrections Corporation of America
    DaimlerChrysler Corp.
    Dart Container Corporation
    Delta Air Lines
    Dow Chemical USA
    Eastman Chemical Company
    Eberle & Associates, Inc.
    Edison Electric Institute
    ENRON
    ExxonMobil Corporation
    Ford Motor Company
    Freedom Communications
    General Motors Corporation
    LCOR Incorporated
    Lehman Brothers, Inc.
    Eli Lilly and Co.
    Microsoft Corporation
    National Air Transportation Association
    National Beer Wholesalers Association
    Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliott
    Pfizer, Inc
    Philip Morris Companies
    PricewaterhouseCoopers
    Privatized Emergency Services Association
    Procter & Gamble
    Shell Oil Co.
    Southern California Water
    Techcentralstation.com
    Union Carbide Corporation
    Virco
    Wackenhut Corrections Co.
    Watson Land Company
    Western States Petroleum Association

  21. Well, if the corporations are for it, and the majority of American people are for it, who exactly is keeping it from happening?

    Because some of us don’t want Canadian-level taxes and have to wait months for basic surgery?

  22. Man, I wish it was only a few months’ wait standing between me and the surgery I need.

  23. Actually, the same question is starting to apply to German makers, as well.

    Starting to apply? VW/Audi and BMW have been near the bottom of Consumer Reports reliability ratings ever since I can remember…yes, they’re always below American cars. That’s not the public perception, though.

  24. You shouldn’t lump VW and Audi products together like that. Same corporate ownership, but very different products.

  25. i Well, if the corporations are for it, and the majority of American people are for it, who exactly is keeping it from happening?

    And some of us are against it becuase we have had national health service before (live in UK 15 years) and found out that it sucked.

  26. You shouldn’t lump VW and Audi products together like that. Same corporate ownership, but very different products.

    You obviously don’t remember the late, unlamented Audi Fox/VW Dasher.

    I think even the modern ones share a fair amount of stuff under the skin.

  27. “That’s not the public perception, though.”

    The “Volvo effect”. the effect on a person after they pay so much extra for a car becuase of the name that they are loath to admit that the cars are not enough better to have justified the extra cost.

    I bought a Subaru a year or so back because it wasn’t made by the UAW*. I sent a copy of the window sticker and of the article reporting that the UAW wouldn’t let Marine Reservists Park in the UAW national office parking lot on the weekends if the Marine’s car was foreign or had a Bush sticker on it. UAW’s right to decide who parks on their property; my right to decide where I spend my money.

    *also becuase I had been so happy with the WRX I had had before the divorce (B*tch!!!!).

  28. “UAW workers have made concessions time after time over recent years in order to save workers’jobs, but they can’t do it alone. The auto makers need to make cars and trucks that we will want to buy.”

    To what extent does covering the cost of retired workers determine what sort of cars are on offer?

    …if I have to focus on sectors with a higher profit margin in order to cover the costs of retired workers, might that not have something to do with the kind of cars I choose to build?

    My understanding is that the quality control on American made cars has never been better.

  29. Hey, VW has worked fine for me.

  30. Chris O,

    The Fox was an Audi product. They just put a VW tag on it. Actual Volkswagons, like the Jetta and Passat, have very good reliability records.

    Saying the Fox shows that Volkswagons are unreliable is like saying that the Honda Passport (a rebranded Isuzu Trooper) shows that Honda’s reliability has declined. No, it shows that Isuzu makes crappy cars. The Pilot is very reliable.

  31. Ken Shultz,

    I’m supposed to consider the UAW bad guys because they actually want to collect on the money they gave up in wages in exchange for health care and retirement?

    The Big Three has had that extra money in their pockets for decades, and have seen this cost coming for decades.

  32. After seeing my parents Ford’s engines overheat all the freaking time while growing up, my first car was a Volkswagen. And its been thus ever since, never had a problem with VW.

    Funny that, only my mother’s car was a VW Rabbit. That fucking piece of shit was the devil’s own car. Blowing it up, then setting it on fire, blowing it up again, chopping it up into little pieces, burying it and then setting it on fire again is not even close to a fitting end to that wretched machine. Not that I’m bitter.

    I’m more of a Honda man now, but currently I own a Ford. It’s OK, not great, but OK; I bought it for safety factors. Certainly not VW level of evil.


  33. I’m more of a Honda man now, but currently I own a Ford. It’s OK, not great, but OK; I bought it for safety factors. Certainly not VW level of evil.

    I’ve been driving VW for about 7 years now, as I said I haven’t had any problems. Maybe they’ve gotten better in the quality department.

  34. I’ve been driving VW for about 7 years now, as I said I haven’t had any problems. Maybe they’ve gotten better in the quality department.

    Weirder is that I really like the Passat. If I had the money, I would seriously consider one.

    But the Infiniti M35x is on my almost attainable dream list. My boss has one and took me for a ride once…ooooohhhhsweeeeeeeet. He got rid of his older Passat and bought that instead.

  35. Rex Rhino | August 3, 2007, 2:23pm | #

    The corporate agenda is to promote state-run socialized medicine… as it means that corporations no longer have to pay health benefits.

    This would be almost completely unsustainable would it not? Citizens have to pay for the insurance and Corporations will add it in to other benefits to attract employees – either the full premium or a portion of it.
    I’m not a fan of the unions at all, I agree that the Companies should have seen this coming – coverage for life – they should be ashamed of themselves. That said though, the UAW should have seen the same thing and they are now faced with giving something back or face lay offs and other unpleasant ways the company tries to save money to stave off Bankruptcy. They are both guilty of creating these conditions.

  36. Actual Volkswagons, like the Jetta and Passat, have very good reliability records.

    Up through 2005 at least, the Jetta, Golf and Beetle (all three cars on the same platform) were on Consumer Reports “Used Cars to Avoid” list. I remember that distinctly because I owned a Jetta at the time (a 2003 TDi) and was disheartened.

  37. Ken Shultz

    The retired workers whose health coverage is provided under contract performed their part of the agreement. U.S. automakers should have set aside money to cover this provision. The fact that they did not is the result of poor/nonexistant regulation of retirement funds. The weight of this problem should not fall on the backs of retired workers who fulfilled their part of the agreement.

  38. Ken Shultz

    The retired workers whose health coverage is provided under contract performed their part of the agreement. U.S. automakers should have set aside money to cover this provision. The fact that they did not is the result of poor/nonexistant regulation of retirement funds. The weight of this problem should not fall on the backs of retired workers who fulfilled their part of the agreement.

    You are so right on this! Everyone, including UAW officials want to sacrifice the struggling retirees.
    Check out this piece and pass it on
    UAW OFFICIALS BETRAY AMERICA’S RETIREES AND MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1855402/posts

  39. As I have always said, Public schools are destroying America’s future and Unions are destroying its present. Just Say No to unions!

  40. I don’t know about the rest of the people on Reason.com, but I don’t like unions because they tend to produce shoddy, overpriced goods and services, generally for the government (the private sector unionized workforce is down to 7% or so). I don’t have such a problem with the private sector unions, because I don’t have to buy their stuff, but the public sector unions — bah. That, and unionized workers tend to vote overwhelmingly for the most statist politicians on the ballot.

    Other than those minor little caveats, I agree with Dan that libertarians shouldn’t have a problem with collective bargaining.

  41. The auto makers need to make cars and trucks that we will want to buy.

    GM vs. Toyota: By the Numbers

    Health Care Costs per Vehicle in 2004
    ?GM: $1,525
    ?Toyota: $201

    Average Labor Cost per U.S. Hourly Worker
    ?GM: $73.73
    ?Toyota: $48

    Average Hourly Salary for Non-Skilled, Assembly Line Worker
    ?GM: $31.35/hour
    ?Toyota: $27/hour

    Production Time per Vehicle
    ?GM: 34.3 hours
    ?Toyota: 27.9 hours

    So for GM to make a car it costs $2,600.30 in labor
    Where as for Totota to make a car it costs: $954.30 in labor

    So how does GM compete with Toyota on price with this difference per unit in labor costs? It cheapens the materials of the car.

  42. The author leaves out the best part: many Japanese actually buy private insurance to help them cover the 30% “deductible”.

    Also, that 30% is up from 20% just a few years a go, and 10% a few years before that.

    The center cannot hold, eh?

  43. I also have no problems with private unions, since I can choose to purchase from a competitor.
    However, public employee unions and government backed private monopolies really sicken me. They are a scourge on all of us!
    I hear a lot about the “big, bad corporations,” but at least I have choices on where I spend my money.
    Unions now exist for one main reason: protect the below average worker at the expense of the good workers. If you are good, you will always be employable, but if you are not an efficient worker…hitch your cart to someone who is! Eventually the good workers realize they don’t have to work as hard and the product suffers. Many companies fail quickly and even good ones disappear after a generation…the same thing is happening to Unions.

  44. “The retired workers whose health coverage is provided under contract performed their part of the agreement. U.S. automakers should have set aside money to cover this provision. The fact that they did not is the result of poor/nonexistant regulation of retirement funds. The weight of this problem should not fall on the backs of retired workers who fulfilled their part of the agreement.”

    I’m sorry, maybe I’m not following…

    Are you saying that U.S. Automakers aren’t covering the costs to retirees? …I thought that’s what the automakers were complaining about?

    Are the retirees’ checks bouncing? Why haven’t we heard about this?

    Didn’t set aside the money? Didn’t set aside the money! What are you talkin’ about?

    If the suggestion is that the rest of working America should have to fund these ridiculous benefits ’cause the union is killing its host, well that’s just ridiculous. Why don’t we just get rid of the parasites?

    Here’s a little secret. I, like just about everybody else in working America, don’t care about auto workers. …unless I have to pay for their pensions myself, in which case I hate auto workers.

    These people must believe their own spin! …why would working class people want to fund somebody else’s pension plan? Why would anyone want to do that?

  45. Found this little chart by the way:

    Average profit per North American-made vehicle (US$):

    * Nissan: $1,603
    * Toyota: $1,488
    * Honda: $1,250
    * Ford: $620
    * DaimlerChrysler: $186
    * General Motors: ($2,311)

    Source: 2005 Harbour Report

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/autos/bigthree.html

    How was GM supposed to fund its current workers’ pensions? …maybe they were supposed to make it up in volume?

  46. At the risk of sounding trollish, I’ll once again repeat that I’m puzzled at how anti-union Reasonoids seem to be. I don’t quite understand why people consider collective bargaining to be a bad thing.

    I don’t either. I don’t agree with the current labor regulation system, but I think the current system actually hurts unions more than helps them. While it’s good for a few docile unions, the unions that could really put a dent in business are barred thanks to bans on different types of strikes. In a free market, labor gets a lot more power.

  47. In the “I sh_t you not” category, I’d like to present an excerpt from this gem taken directly from the front page of USA Today recently.

    Titled “Ailing GM looks to scale back generous health benefits”
    —————————————
    Taking a cigarette break outside a GM assembly plant in Lansing, Mich., last week, Mike O’Driscoll admits he has problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.
    But his arteries are cleaned out thanks to $160,000.00 heart by-pass surgery a few years back.
    “I ate too many steaks and not enough veggies,” says O’Driscoll with a laugh.
    For as long as O’Driscoll has worked at GM, he hasn’t had to worry about health care costs. He paid nothing for his heart surgery and he estimates that during the past 5 years he has paid his cardiologist a total of $500. GM doesn’t take anything out of his paycheck for health insurance.
    ———————————-

    Now if that doesn’t explain to everyone the core issue with this kind of problem, I don’t know what will. This is inevitably what happens when you uncouple the person getting a service with the person paying for that service. Now, you’ve got this D-bag who has multiple risk factors for vascular disease and who has already required coronary artery bypass surgery STILL F__KING SMOKING, and even laughing about his predicament. Unbelievable. Who is going to pay for his CCU stay when he has his first(2nd and 3rd) MI, who is going to pay for the fem-pop bypass surgery when his PVD becomes so severe he can’t walk out to the “smoking area” anymore, who is going to pay for the treatment of his lower extremity chronic wounds and then finally his amputations? His health care costs will certainly be in the millions, and almost all attributable to irresponsible behavior.

    At first I thought this article was some kind of joke. It’s not. Just imagine a whole country full of these types of people whenever the subject of socialized medicine comes up.

    “It will cut costs!!!”, yeah, right.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2005-06-22-gm-healthcare-usat_x.htm

  48. “At the risk of sounding trollish, I’ll once again repeat that I’m puzzled at how anti-union Reasonoids seem to be.”

    I can’t speak for Resasonoids. …can’t really speak for Hit & Run commenters either.

    …but if this piece is a response to the suggestion that the average working joe should have to pay for the healthcare costs of some clique, the same clique that made Detroit the place it is today, then I’m apt to assume that your bewilderment is…um…fake, quite frankly.

    “I don’t quite understand why people consider collective bargaining to be a bad thing.”

    Putting me on the hook for union benefits–is that what you mean by “collective bargaining”?

  49. Actually, the same question is starting to apply to German makers, as well.

    So Daimler’s problems won’t evaporate once it unloads Chrysler, eh?

    I don’t think so either.

    But, frankly, I though the 1980s bailout ranks up with the biggest boondoggles ever. They should have just let it sink then.

  50. The “it” in the last sentence being “Chrysler”, that is.

  51. Very good article, but I think the situation could get even worse, especially for taxpayers. Here’s my two cents, on CEI’s blog:

    http://www.openmarket.org/2007/08/06/detroit-mulct-city/

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