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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Giant Sucking Sound

The pundits declared a major victory in the assault on labor, with yesterday's announcement that GM would cut health care benefits for workers and retirees by 25%. Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh rejoices that GM and the UAW have "stopped living in Fantasyland," while his colleague Susan Tompor notes that Wall Street cheered the deal, causing GM's stock to rise 7.5% yesterday, despite announcing a $1.6 billion loss for the third quarter. What they're all cheering is the death of decent wages and benefits for blue-collar workers.

Fortunately for the GM bosses, the pundits, and the politicians, lots of people, including the victims, have drunk plenty of globalization Kool-Aid:
"I think all of us are nervous, but we know the global economy is changing and we have to adjust."

-- A GM accounting department employee
Of course, the pundits aren't going to declare victory and go home--no, they want more, always:
The measures announced Monday are a good start at reducing costs, but they don't go far enough and don't address major risks ahead for GM, Wall Street analysts said.
The whole system is broken--a giant corporation dedicated to making things we don't need (and that may actually be killing the planet) struggles to figure out how to keep going. But the general consensus seems to be that it will all work out if only the workers get screwed enough first.