Real people, jobs

December 26, 2008 

It pains me to see how smug some politicians are about peoples’ lives.

I read both Mr. Shields’ recent column and the letter by Mr. McKoon and frankly, I found Mr. McKoon’s letter self-serving.

An article in this week’s Newsweek stated that U.S. automaker wages and benefits in the north and central U.S. averaged $19.03 and $8.32 an hour, respectively, while in the South the wages and benefit packages were $14.53 and $5.85 an hour, respectively. You have to do a lot of creative math and inclusions to get to the $70-an-hour mark. Shelby, Sessions, Rogers, Chambliss and their ilk are in a win-win situation. After all, they can talk about holding the line, support their party and make the Democrats look bad when the Big Three collapse, because we’re not talking about the livelihoods of their constituents. The Big Three operate only four plants south of the Ohio River (none in Georgia or Alabama) while there are nine (soon to be 10 with Kia) foreignowned plants operating in the South. If these Southern foreign-owned plants were in trouble, would Mr. McKoon and his fellow Republicans be so smug?

Mr. McKoon says Americans are fed up with “bailouts.” Alabama offered Mercedes-Benz a $253 million incentive package, and Georgia offered a comparable incentive to Kia. What’s the difference between “incentives” and a “bailout?” It’s still taxpayer money.

Congressional Republicans talked trash, but supported President Bush spending hundreds of billions to bail out Wall Street and the bankers. Now they won’t spend one penny to save oughly 83,000 American automakers’ jobs and the eight or nine jobs tied directly to that worker’s product. Are we so blinded by political ideology that we don’t see that these are our fellow Americans’ lives and families we’re talking about?

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