The Rich — They Are Out Of Touch With America
by James Glaser
November 20, 2008

It costs $288 to fly on Northwest Airlines from Detroit to Washington, but Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors, had the company pay an estimated $20,000 for a round trip ride on one of the corporation's jets to get him to his talks with Congress.

Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford, works in Detroit, but he lives in Seattle. So the company jet takes him home every weekend, and then flies him back to work on Monday morning.

Mulally and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler both had company jets fly them to Washington, too. They and Wagoner were in Washington trying to beg $25,000,000,000.00 from the American taxpayer, so they could keep flying around the nation like their companies were making money.

The problem is that these three CEOs are rich, or they were rich, and they don't understand what things cost. Washington politicians keep complaining about how much the "Big Three" automobile makers have to pay their union workers, but nobody talks about how much management sucks out of those corporations. Everyone is talking about cutting workers' health and pension benefits, like there is something wrong with an average American getting a good deal for trading their whole adult working life for a decent retirement. No, those CEOs and our rich politicians want these auto workers to get the same as foreign car company workers get — way, way less. Rich Americans don't want average Americans inching up to a better standard of living.

Rich people in America live behind high walls so they don't even have to see the older, less shiny cars and trucks that many Americans have to drive. Heck, they don't even have to see Americans who are not in the same "class" as they are.

Let's take hunting as an example. The average auto worker or construction worker takes a week off, buys a state permit, and goes to some state or national forest to hunt deer. They might or might not get one. The rich manager or CEO goes to a private game farm, where a farm-raised deer is let out in a small forest for them to shoot. Yes, the rich pay more, but they are guaranteed a deer, and they don't have to mix with the average Joe.

That is how America is these days. There are restaurants for the rich and restaurants for the rest of us. Oh, we can go to the rich ones, but it might cost us a few days' pay. Many Americans do that on their wife's birthday or their anniversary, but for the rich, those restaurants are where they eat all the time. When the rich eat where we do, they call it "slumming."

The United States of America is the richest nation in the world, but that does not mean everyone is rich. Many Americans work two or more jobs to keep their family going. Just this week it was reported that over 600,000 children in America did not have enough to eat last year.

Yes, there are two classes in America today. There are the rich, and there are the rest of us. The rich are so far ahead, that the difference between the rest of us isn't really that much. The truth is that millions of Americans are one pay check away from being homeless.

So, when the rich and powerful CEOs and politicians start telling us that the reason the Big Three auto companies are going downhill is because their workers are doing a bit better that the average American worker, you know they don't want anyone to catch up with them and they will say and do anything to make sure it doesn't happen.

As you can probably tell, it irks me that Washington and the media are trying to use the union workers in Detroit as the fall guy for the problems our three American auto companies are having. On some media programs I hear that auto workers are getting up to $75 dollars a hour. Well, that might be on paper, but they get nothing close to that on their check, but even if they did, why is that wrong?

Many CEOs get hundreds of times that much money, and nobody seems to kick at that. Union and non-union workers give their whole life, and believe me, their health to the company they work for. They should get a decent pay, as should the workers at the non-union foreign car plants in this country.

Washington and those in the power in America want to keep hourly working Americans down at the lower end of the income ladder. I think that is wrong.

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