The Obama Administration continues to find ways to funnel taxpayer funds to General Motors and the UAW. A hidden bailout was recently uncovered buried within the Obamacare bill. This latest giveaway goes by the name of "Early Retiree Reinsurance Program" or ERRP for short. Washingtonexaminer.com reported last week that the program was discovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
General Motors will pay its factory workers bonuses of $4,000 each. AP reports that more than $189 million will be paid to UAW workers in addition to salaried workers (management and engineers) bonuses of up to 50% of pay. It is interesting to read the decidedly negative view of GM's actions in comments that are submitted by readers at the end of the AP article. It remains a "tale of two cities", however, when it comes to media coverage (particularly from television journalists) with many commentators refusing to acknowledge the public outrage as GM spends millions of dollars on bonuses while taxpayers and GM bondholders continue to have their rights subordinated to the politically powerful UAW.
The New York Timesreports that the auto industry "overhaul" (AKA General Motors' bankruptcy) is about to "pay off handsomely" for UAW workers at GM. GM, along with Ford, is expected to announce profit-sharing checks for hourly workers this month. UAW president, Bob King, states that workers expect to get a piece of GM's profits.
Most news we hear regarding General Motor's IPO this week proclaim the event as a huge success. It would be prudent to consider whether the process leading up to and following the auto industry restructuring should be a template for future restructurings, as Al Koch (head of Motors Liquidation or "Old GM") has stated. While some may argue the positive aspects of the GM bailout, it is more than just sour grapes or GM hating that contributes to a desire to have a continuing dialogue on the precedent setting procedures that may lead to a subversion of contract law that has governed for over 200 years in this country.
The term "wealth redistribution" has been used by political pundits on the right who accuse Democrats of having a misguided agenda wherein the wealthiest Americans will be able to subsidize a government spending spree in order to redistribute wealth to the less affluent populace. General Motors, through its reorganization plan, has contrived its own version of wealth redistribution. This action was orchestrated by the Obama Administration as it took control of the GM bankruptcy process. Old GM shareholders and bondholders, along with taxpayers, lose out as new wealth is created for bankruptcy attorneys and advisers, investment banks and the politically connected UAW.