RUSH: Back to the phones to Flint, Michigan. This is Suzanne. It's great to have you on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. It is an honor and a pleasure to speak with you and thank you for getting the truth out to the American people.
RUSH: Thank you very much, madam. I appreciate your acknowledgment.
CALLER: The reason for my call is, I am from Flint, Michigan, and I want it to be known: I am a strong conservative Republican. I am livid at the announcement of our so-called president, Barack Obama, of firing Rick Wagoner. Rick Wagoner is the man that has not only done wonderful things for General Motors, he is a man of integrity and well respected and could have put GM back in the black. And Barack Obama, as a huge sacrifice, has put him up and said, "He must go." Now, I am the daughter of a UAW union worker. I am also the wife of a salaried worker at General Motors, so I have an interest on both sides of this here. Okay?
CALLER: And it's like I am so tired of our government trying to take over. They are basically trying to bankrupt this company and put us in the worst depression ever. What needs to happen is they need good men like Rick Wagoner who can step up, make the proper cuts. Because I'm tired of all these cuts being made that are ridiculous and insane. It's not going to do any good.
RUSH: Well, but they had to get rid of Wagoner because he's a big SUV guy. He led the charge. He's been at the company 31 years, you people know this? He's been with the company 31 years.
RUSH: He essentially started in the mail room. Not really, but essentially. He led the move into SUVs and doing hybrids and so forth, and that's another reason he had to go. Nobody is ever going to say this, other than some of the media might speculate, but it is one of the reasons. People will look at this, Suzanne, and they'll say, "What management? I mean, this industry has been going in the toilet for who knows how many years? The US auto industry is lagging behind all of the Japanese manufacturers and even some German manufacturers. What do you mean these are the people to run the company?" Look, there's no question that some strategic decisions that should have been made weren't, and some incorrect decisions have been made, but there are ways of dealing with this that do not involve the government taking over, and one of them is bankruptcy.
That is Chapter 11. That's what it's for: when something's going wrong and you're no longer viable, and you can't pay your debts, and you have payroll problems. But look, folks, the union contracts that were negotiated by these companies are just unrealistic. I know, they negotiated them, and a contract's a contract. But no, it's not. See, a contract is not a contract anymore. Because the Obama administration told the AIG bonus executives, "Your contract doesn't mean anything to us. That's a bad deal for AIG. It's a bad deal for the taxpayer. We're canceling that, and we're going to tax your bonuses 90%." So looking at that, the UAW contracts with Chrysler and General Motors are just as worthless if anybody in the Obama administration wants to say so. A CEO at one of these companies could also say, "Hey, look, you just invalidated some contracts for bonuses at AIG. Well, we're going to invalidate our own contracts with the United Auto Workers.
"We're going to get rid of this heavy pension burden. We're going to get rid of all these health care and retirement benefits for people don't even work here anymore, and we're going to renegotiate our hourly wage here because we can't compete! We simply cannot compete against our competitors who have much lower labor costs because of contracts that we have with the autoworkers." Notice the autoworkers and the UAW is not being asked to sacrifice. They're not being asked to make any concessions here. This whole thing is about people like Obama -- ultra-leftists, radicals -- getting hold of the corporate engine of this country and we making it in their own image. You know that leftists have always hated corporate America. Folks, look at the Democrat Party's enemies list. And look at it for years: Big Oil, Big Pharmaceutical, Big Retail, Big Sugar.
Any corporation, any business, any industry has been the enemy of the Democrat Party. They have used not just class envy, but they have stoked hatred against corporations -- "the multinationals," all the terms that they use to describe these people. When the AIG bonuses hit, this government lied to you. The Congress and the White House were fully aware of those bonuses to be paid to AIG executives. It was in legislation that this Congress passed and this president signed, that those bonuses were to be paid -- and they put on a shameless, near criminal political dog-and-pony show for a week, acting outraged and upset, and asking, "How did this happen? Who are these sneaking, lying cheats on Wall Street that paid themselves bonuses like this so we didn't know, with taxpayer money?"
The stinking lying cheats happened to be called politicians, and they are elected by the people of this country. They no longer serve the people; we serve them. So when this all hit, guess what happened? ACORN and Obama's support network went to work harassing, protesting, and threatening these people and their families. "Yes, because they're from eeeeevil corporations, multinationals!" They have been told to hate these people. "These corporations are stealing America blind. They are not providing adequate benefits and salaries for their 'workers.'" Meanwhile, check the number of TVs in your house today compared to your grandfather's house. Check the number of cell phones your kids have compared to the number of TVs in your house when you were a child.
Tell me that corporations have stifled the growth of this country and penalized people. It's absolute BS! Until the election of Barack Obama, this was the most prosperous country in the history of the world, and that is under assault now, and that is going to change. Because too many Americans have been duped into believing and behaving with all this class-envy stuff and the hatred for corporations. I read a liberal columnist today. You know why he was happy that Rick Wagoner got canned? So he can find out what it's like to get fired. He said, "I know Wagoner's going to get a large golden parachute. He's going to get a large settlement, but he's still going to walk out of there with the shame of knowing he was fired." This is all about getting even.
I watched a Democrat commentator on the Fox News Channel this morning say that this was a good thing that Wagoner got canned because he had the audacity to fly his company jet to the bailout hearings last year. So we're going to fire CEOs for flying on corporate property. We're going to fire 'em for what may be a PR blunder, but had no substantive impact on that company and its day-to-day operations than the number of paper clips they keep in stock. It scares me to death to see all of this hatred, all of this envy that has successfully been created and ginned up by Barack Obama and his same kind of thinkers in the Democrat Party. This has preceded Obama, by the way. This is who the Democrat Party has been for years.
I just mentioned their enemies list, and it's corporate America, and Obama clearly believes it. Corporate America has stolen the wealth of the nation's "rightful owners," and it is now going to be turned to them. So this is extremely... It's going to get uglier, as more -- and it will happen -- excesses by corporate CEOs and their employees will be revealed, steadily reported in the future over the coming weeks and months, and more people will get outraged and ACORN will organize protests at their houses and so forth. "Yeah! It's good Rick Wagoner got canned so he can know what it's like to walk out the door fired, so he can feel like we feel. It's about time!" They may have made some mistakes., but they are so regulated by the government already...
If you want to know a partial reason why an American-made automobile costs more than a comparable model made by a foreign maker, it is because the costs of making that car are much higher. You know, General Motors is a sponsor here. The new Malibu has been rated by somebody, Automotive News or Consumer Reports, as better than its Lexus competitor. It costs $2,000 less in fact. It reviews favorably against its Lexus competitor, and I heard this Democrat commentator on Fox today point this out, and he said, "That's another reason why Wagoner needs to go. He's making better cars than the Japanese are, but nobody knows it. That's a brand problem; that's a marketing problem. He's gotta go." So even outdoing your competition and underselling the same type of car, same size and so forth for $2,000, that still doesn't get you praise with the Democrats because you're not branding properly or what have you!
This, to me, is not the end of anything. This is dangerous. This is very, very dangerous, what happened today. And what makes it even more so is the unilateral support Obama has from most of the people who voted for him; for reasons that have nothing to do with substance, nothing to do with the auto industry, nothing to do with anything other than raw emotion of resentment, envy, and hatred that has been spawned, sponsored, built, and created by the Democrat Party for decades. By the way, Wagoner's bailout package, or his retirement package is $20 million. The Treasury department has barred General Motors from paying severance to Wagoner or any other executive. Wagoner is eligible to collect millions in retirement benefits, according to documents reviewed by ABC News.
And even in this story, they go out and find a critic that says "the multimillion-dollar retirement package for Wagoner is a perfect example of frustration with the industry." Excuse me. Whoever the critic is, why in the world is it wrong for a guy that's been there 31 years in management and CEO to have a retirement package that pays him $20 million, but it's perfectly fine for the line workers to have the same thing? It may not pay them 20 million, but why is one okay and one not? "Because he's a CEO and he's evil, and he's mean, and he destroyed the company! He hates people, and he's robbed Americans of the genuine wealth that they had."
That's what they think -- and even in this story, from ABC News by Michelle Leder and Justin Rood, announcing Wagoner's $20 million retirement package. They have a paragraph on his private jet trip to Washington last year, which just again reminds me of this -- and GM sold it, by the way. GM sold the jet fleet, which is stupid! Look at what Wagoner did. Wagoner bent over and grabbed the ankles I don't know how many times, and what did it get him? Nothing! He got $20 million and a retirement package that he already had. Treasury said he doesn't get a severance. The government, Obama, says he doesn't get a severance. "We're not running a company. No, no, no," says Obama. "We're not running the company. We just fired the CEO."
RUSH: Let's listen to the governor of Michigan react to all this on the Today show today, Jennifer Granholm on with Matt Lauer. Matt Lauer said, "So here we've got the government not only bailing out General Motors, but actually taking an active role in running the company. You think that's a good idea?"
GRANHOLM: Rick Wagoner has worked for that company for 31 years, and he is a good man. He clearly is a sacrificial lamb. But I think that he would say that he's doing what is important for the future of the company and for the future of jobs. And that's what this is about. It's about jobs in Michigan and jobs across the country.
RUSH: Come on, governor, do you think that's what's in his mind? Did he quit? He was forced out, he's a sacrificial lamb, but even he would say he's doing what's important for the future of the company and the future of jobs. Wagoner is responsible for the loss of jobs, Governor Granholm? Look, I don't know. He may not be that good a CEO. Actually, these guys need to get rid of finance CEOs and put car guys in there. They need CEOs that love cars, love designing, building, making, selling cars. But you gotta have a finance guy running the automobile company today because of the union deals, the health care plans, and all the other costs of doing business that have nothing to do with making the damn car. You don't have car guys running these companies. Bob Lutz is a car guy, and he's leaving in December, he's leaving at the end of the year. This is about jobs in Michigan and jobs across the country, and that's why? That's why Rick Wagoner had to go? This is the governor of a state that presided over a single-state recession for years before the national one would kick in? Then Matt Lauer said, "So what you just told me is he's not part of the problem, he's a sacrificial lamb. Is coming up with a sacrificial lamb really going to help the problem?"
GRANHOLM: I think what the Obama administration is saying is that there's going to have to be sacrifices all around, including the other stakeholders to this industry in order for us to move forward. When you were there, Matt, you drove, or you saw the Volt. That is a clear example of the quality of vehicles that GM is going to be producing and has been producing.
LAUER: Yeah, but its business model is set up in a way that's not allowing it to succeed.
GRANHOLM: Well, but why isn't it succeeding? They were in the middle of a massive restructuring plan, and nobody can tell me, as governor of Michigan, where we've lost almost 600,000 jobs as a result of the restructuring in the auto industry, no one can tell us here that we haven't sacrificed or that there hasn't been restructuring, because there has been.
RUSH: Aw, now, what the hell is that about? They've lost 600,000 jobs as a result of the restructuring of the auto industry? She gonna blame the auto industry for the loss of 600,000 jobs in Michigan alone? And of course Rick, he's a sacrificial lamb. Notice liberals, whether it's Granholm or Obama, they want every one of us to make sacrifices. We have to suffer and that's their version of life, suffering. We must all suffer. We must pay for the consequences of our prosperity. The only way to fix things is with mass sacrifice, mass suffering. Well, let me translate and define that for you. Mass sacrifice is tax increase upon tax increase upon tax increase upon loss of freedom upon loss of freedom. That's what they mean by sacrifice. You give up a little bit of you for the sake of the government growing large over you.