President Obama gave a campaign-style speech at a suburban Detroit auto factory Monday afternoon, enlisting the support of the United Auto Workers union for his attack on basic social programs at the heart of the deficit-reduction deal he is negotiating with congressional Republicans.
Union officials standing behind the president and packing the audience served as extras in this latest stage-managed effort to package a historic assault on what remains of the social reforms of the 1930s and 1960s as a defense of “middle class” working Americans. The president’s fig leaf of “fairness” and “shared sacrifice” consists of a pledge to impose a token—and temporary—increase in tax rates for the richest 2 percent of households. The UAW officials roared their approval of this reactionary farce.
Speaking at Daimler’s Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan, a working class town bordering Detroit, the poorest big city in America, the president claimed the economy was going “in the right direction.” He hailed the UAW for its role in the supposed revival of the auto industry. He praised Detroit Diesel for its plan to hire 115 workers—in a metropolitan area where 217,000 workers are officially unemployed and the real number of jobless is probably twice as high.
To be clear, not ticked off with White. Ticked off with the UAW. I'm so sick of our unions betraying us. I grew up in a union family. My husband's a union member. My kids? One son and one daughter are in unions or guilds. The rest? Nope. (I'm counting Mike who's an attorney, so I'm skewing the results.) That's because unions don't do a damn thing for the workers anymore.
They steal your money. Then they treat you like their slave or serf. They order you to vote for this or that politician and they use you on the membership rolls to go play in DC and advance themselves. If they're trying to help workers in DC, then the unions have wasted all the money.
Unions need to return to being about the workers. Until that happens, no one's going to want to join. Nor should they. Why should you fork over money to an organization that will always undercut you and sell you out? You shouldn't.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Wednesday: