While I may not agree with everything the UAW is asking for in its current strike, I do think it has a lot of important points on its side. Two key points are Bidenflation and President Biden’s completely unbalanced, insane climate policies.
On Bidenflation: Remember, when President Obama negotiated the auto bailout back in 2009, the UAW agreed to forgo cost-of-living adjustments in its contract. Hat tip to Breitbart’s John Carney for reminding me of that one. So, it hasn’t had a COLA increase in more than 20 years.
That was okay until recently, when Mr. Biden came into the White House and launched a left-wing spending frenzy — with the Federal Reserve playing along, at least until recently. The Consumer Price Index has increased almost 17 percent since Mr. Biden took office. Prices for necessities like food and gasoline have spiked 20 percent and more than 60 percent, respectively.
So, the UAW members’ real wages have plunged, and they’re not happy about it. Can’t blame them. Not surprisingly, one of the key union demands is the return of cost-of-living adjustments.
The Big Three carmakers are so far holding out on this point, along with on outsize union wage and benefit demands, and the UAW has gone on strike in factories in Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan.
Then, there’s the issue of Mr. Biden’s lavish subsidies for electric vehicles, as embodied in the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act. Nobody knows how much those subsidies are going to be worth over time, but it’s going to be at least $500 billion and probably a lot more, as there are no monetary or time caps. So, auto workers are asking the guy who says he’s the most pro-union president in history: “Where are our subsidies?”
Don’t take it from me. Take it from Pro-Union Joe himself: “I intend to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history,” he said. “I meant what I said when I said I’m going to be the most pro-union president in American history. And I make no apologies for it. … I’m proud to be the most pro-union president.”
The key point here is that Mr. Biden’s EVs could spell the end of the UAW, and union leaders know it. Studies have shown that EV manufacturing requires only 40 percent of the hours worked when compared to gas-powered cars. The entire auto industry — including the knock-on effects for dealers, repair shops, gas stations, diners, and who knows what else — could see a half a million jobs obliterated. Maybe even more.
Plus, of course, the UAW faces stiff competition from right-to-work states in the south and elsewhere, where a lot of the EV car and battery subsidies are being invested.
So, between the combination of Joe Bidenflation and his crazy climate policies, all this sets up a huge doom loop for the car business as it exists today. And, remember, Bidenomics is jamming these climate policies down our throats, taking away consumer choice.
People do not want to be told they can’t drive gas-powered cars. Does any of this save the UAW? I don’t know, but I don’t think they bargained on Mr. Biden’s price hikes and EVs and Chinese batteries. So, maybe people should think twice before they bash the UAW’s positions.
Now, here’s a final point: Take a read of President Trump’s Agenda47 whitepaper, “Rescuing America’s Auto Industry from Joe Biden’s Disastrous Job Killing Policies.” The former president pledges to end the assault on the internal combustion engine and cancel harmful emission regulations for trucks and cars. In addition, he would end Mr. Biden’s insane CAFE fuel-economy standards.
Mr. Trump would also revisit some USMCA cheating on regional auto parts content. Of course, the former president would reopen the spigots for liquid gold and drill, baby, drill. And he intends to seek new reciprocal fair trade legislation.
As far as I know, no other candidate in either party has a policy prescription to deal with any of these problems. So far, the UAW leadership has held back on a Biden presidential endorsement, but I suspect in the end it will throw in with the Democrat Party.
On the other hand, I’m taking the over on rank-and-file auto workers voting for Mr. Trump. You can bet on it.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.
Larry Kudlow was the Director of the National Economic Council under President Trump from 2018-2021. His Fox Business show "Kudlow" airs at 4 p.m &. and his radio show airs on 770 ABC from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.