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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/4/09

Making Sense of a U.S. Owned General Motors

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Obama’s restructuring plan of GM will be spread rapidly to other U.S. corporations, who will pressure their unions to take giant wage and benefit cuts for “the good of the company.”   Sell-out labor leaders will agree with fake hesitation, while distracting their members with denunciations of China, Mexico, and elsewhere. An obvious solution will remain ignored. 

GM’s restructuring plan may close up to 20 plants.   Instead of producing high-speed rail, electric buses, solar panels, windmills, and electric cars, the enormous productive capacity will be sold for scrap metal.   Instead of using these plants to not only keep, but to expand employment, tens of thousands of jobs will be directly lost, while indirectly cities will be devastated.  

These facts are enough for any thinking person to question the validity of Obama’s often praised “market economy” (capitalism).   The brief blip of history where U.S. corporations dominated international commerce — and U.S. workers consequently benefited — is over.   Now we are offered two choices:  a steep, profit-induced race to the bottom or an economy that is put to work for the benefit of workers, not shareholders.  Operating GM for the benefit of people’s needs is no utopia; the government already owns General Motors, it need only put it to good use.  And the only way that such a rational choice will be made is if U.S. workers demand that it happen.


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Shamus Cooke is a social service worker and activist living in Portland Oregon.
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