By Rowan Wolf of Uncommon Thought Journal
Shame on CBS and Katie Couric for their report Behind the Sticker Price (5/14/07). Piggybacking on Daimler’s sale of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management, they went straight into the U.S. auto makers’ lack of profitability due to so-called “legacy costs.” Tied into the upcoming union negotiations this summer, the report cited the “excessive” burden of health and retirement plans for current and retired employees. The gist being that the UAW was going to have to “give back” to GM because it was in nobody’s interest to see U.S. automaking go out of the country. LIES DAMN LIES!
I guess that CBS, and likely other “news” media, think that we have forgotten (or perhaps never saw) the Wall Street Journal article “Hidden Burden: As Workers’ Pensions Wither, Those for Executives Flourish.” The article exhaustively reports on corporations (including GM) who are claiming massive burdens and losses due to worker’s (particularly union) health insurance and retirement costs. It is not these costs, but executive plans that are running the companies into the ground. Reneging on commitments to workers on the basis of costs is an outright lie
“To help explain its deep slump, General Motors Corp. often cites “legacy costs,” including pensions for its giant U.S. work force. In its latest annual report, GM wrote: “Our extensive pension and [post-employment] obligations to retirees are a competitive disadvantage for us.” Early this year, GM announced it was ending pensions for 42,000 workers.
But there’s a twist to the auto maker’s pension situation: The pension plans for its rank-and-file U.S. workers are overstuffed with cash, containing about $9 billion more than is needed to meet their obligations for years to come.
Another of GM’s pension programs, however, saddles the company with a liability of $1.4 billion. These pensions are for its executives.
This is the pension squeeze companies aren’t talking about: Even as many reduce, freeze or eliminate pensions for workers — complaining of the costs — their executives are building up ever-bigger pensions, causing the companies’ financial obligations for them to balloon.” WSJ article.
Such reporting is consistent with the continuous presentation of a corporate perspective of the world, and particularly of the work environment. What is stunning is that the corporate media will tell the same lies over and over again.
In CBS’s run-up story to the greedy, over paid, union workers at GM (and other U.S. automakers), was the story of Chrysler’s ongoing failure to be a profitable company. Lee Iacoca was introduced as having pulled Chrysler out of bankruptcy in the early 1980s. Yet another lie. Iacoca did not pull Chrysler out of bankruptcy – the U.S. tax payers did. Chrysler received a massive bailout of $1.5 billion in loan guarantees under the arguments that it was a primary defense contractor and could not be allowed to fail, and the impact of job losses (Carter administration). Now the albatross is back in U.S. hands via Cerberus – an investment firm run by none other than former Secretary of the Treasury John Snow. Snow served as Secretary of the Treasury in the current Bush administration from 2003-2006.
Lies like these are not simply bad reporting. They are outright propaganda.
Here is the email for CBS Evening News
[Of interest: Snow earned his Republican street cred by serving in the Nixon administration, and as an advisor to the Reagan campaign, and then on a series of Reagan commissions.]
Related Article: Schultz & Francis, 4/24/03, Wall Street Journal. Executives Get Pension Security While Plans for Workers Falter