about saving the auto industry? (Jim Young/Reuters)
IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.Mitt Romney, 2012: Ignore that the American automotive industry is doing pretty well, because it was saved the wrong way, and also, union bosses! That's basically the message of Romney's op-ed in the Detroit News today, which lavishly mentions how Romney would have done things three years ago without ever having a word for the "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye" part of what he said at the time.
Much of the message is that President Obama's way did not hurt unionized auto workers enough. If longtime workers had only had their contracts broken, lost their pensions, and had their wages and benefits cut, things would have been so much better. To Romney, the fact that auto workers and their union made concessions including a years-long pay freeze and more for longtime workers and accepted a much lower wage for new hires is not enough.
To take Romney's point of view, you're going to have to ignore the current strength of the American auto industry, and the fact that Romney's desired approach was not viable in 2008, and that what Romney wanted was to bankrupt a generation of auto workers and leave a low-wage industry in place of the one that helped create the American middle class. But if Mitt Romney keeps saying the words "union boss," maybe you'll see things his way.