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|Joe is right about the wage issue. The figure of $75 to $85 per hour is loaded with retiree costs. I really don't know the true wage rate (net of benefits) of the top tier wage earners. I suspect it is more in the $30 range. But new hires go in the second tier and make $16 to $18 per hour. Hardly an amount that will make someone rich.
What is being missed in this dialogue is what will happen to the retiree pensions if the automakers go bankrupt. The thinking is that is this will allow the auto companies the opportunity to restructure contracts with employees and auto dealers to make them more competitive. But there is a huge cost for us taxpayers. All the pensions are guaranteed by the Pension Guarantee Act. In other words the government picks up the cost! These pensions may be less but they do not go away!