1. In 1935, the US Government passes the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This act forces every employer and his employees to recognize a labor union—a coercive gang of laborers not ethical and competent enough to associate with employers by mutual consent—as the sole bargaining agent for all employees if as little as a majority of workers votes for the union. Any minority of employees—needless to say, any individual employee—is prohibited by law from bargaining with the employer if the union wins a majority. The law, violating the employer’s right to liberty and property, prohibits the employer from ending his association with employees for their joining the union; moreover, the law gives the union the power to fire the employer’s employees for not joining the union.
“Jane, you are not allowed to break up with John if you want to, but you must break up with John if both Sally and Mary want you to.”
(The current controversy of “secret ballot” vs. “card check” is a false alternative. The notion of some employees voting—secretly or not—to force a union onto all employees and the employer is an obscene assault against freedom.)
The law forces the employer to bargain with the union “in good faith” as interpreted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a government gang that supports union gangs. Through this means, the government/union gang forces automobile companies to pay exorbitantly high wages and expensive benefits to union members, and prohibits the companies from firing incompetent union members and from giving higher pay to especially good employees.
2. In the 1970’s, Japanese automobile companies introduce robotics into their factories, and thus fewer laborers are needed. American companies would like to do the same, but the labor union won’t allow it; the union members want the companies to provide a guaranteed lifetime job (like a guaranteed lifetime concubine) even if the union members never think a new thought or learn a new skill their whole lives. Thus, not only do the American companies have to pay much higher hourly wages and benefits than Japanese companies do, but the American companies also must keep many more employees, employees who have less skill and reliability than—and as much initiative as—mindless robots.
3. What talented and hardworking engineer or executive would work for a company stifled and bled dry by the government/union gang? What talented and hardworking laborer would do so? The American auto industry suffers a brain drain to foreign auto companies and other industries.
4. All of this persecution is on top of the usual persecution that the government inflicts on all industries: income tax (personal and corporate), environmentalist laws, anti-trust laws, OSHA, etc.
5. At this point, the American auto industry is a carcass, killed by government’s fascist policies. Recall that fascism is a variant of socialism in which the property “owner” keeps ownership in name only; the government decides what the “owner” can and cannot do with his “property.” (See, for example, my post “Fascism: Controlling Capitalists, for Socialist Goals.”
6. The government, having dictated policy to the auto industry for years, now says: You incompetent fools for having done what we forced you to do! We will bail you out; but, in return, we own you, and we will run your company even more completely than we used to.
The government’s behavior in the financial industry—see “AIG is Left Holding the Government’s Bag”—and now the auto industry is revealing a pattern. The government acts like a mob boss. First, the mob boss uses violence and coercion to destroy a business. Then the mob boss poses as a benefactor who offers to save the business—but only if he becomes the man in charge.
The Pay for Performance Act of 2009, recently approved by the House Financial Services Committee (chaired by Barney Frank), would allow the government to be such a mob boss more broadly and more completely: the government would have the power to control the pay of all employees in companies that the government has “invested” in.
But perhaps Obama does not see himself as a crass mob boss. Perhaps he seeks a loftier moral reputation. Perhaps he is more like an angel of death.