Has Hell Frozen Over?
Maybe it has; there's about six inches of snow outside tonight, and I find myself in complete agreement with Pat Buchanan.
As you may know, GM's grand plan to revitalize the company includes laying off around 30,000 workers, closing plants, and paying their executives multimillion-dollar salaries. I live in town that will see two plant closings, and like many other residents, I'm sickened that workers, not shareholders or executives, have to pay the price to fix GM.
Apparently, so is Pat Buchanan. Check out these quotes:
"SCARBOROUGH: Pat, if you are the CEO of GM and you see that you are losing money, that you're getting raked out there on the market, don't you have — if you are talking to Wall Street, if really talking to your people, don't you have to fire these people? Don't you have to cut back? Don't you have to become more conservative? Did they have any other choice?
BUCHANAN: Well, first, I don't call it conservative.
But you are exactly right. They sacrificed the workers for the benefit of the corporate guys and for benefit the shareholders. The global economy puts shareholders at war with workers. It puts guys like me at war economically with me with working folks. And, Joe, we shouldn't be. That's not the old Republican politics or economics."
It seems weird to read a Republican arguing against free trade, doesn't it? How about this:
"SCARBOROUGH: Take a look at the money that is being made, Pat, by General Motors` top brass. With bonuses and salaries, CEO Richard Wagoner made $4.6 million last year. Chief financial officer John Devine pulled in almost $3 million, as did GM chairman Robert Lutz.
Now, Pat, I don't usually talking about salaries, but while you are firing 30,000 people Thanksgiving week, it's kind of hard to justify that type of money, isn't it?
BUCHANAN: Yes, Joe, it used to be that the top executives made 20 times what their workers do. It's now in the neighborhood of 400 times, the great big executives, what their workers do... Joe, something is wrong with the board of directors of these companies who are voting those kinds of salaries or tolerating that. And, frankly, that's not terribly high, given what some of them are making."
The rest of the transcript is great, too. Jim Cramer and Pat Buchanan agree that corporate interests are not in the best interests of the American worker. I wonder if American workers will ever start voting their interests instead of their perceived identities?