In 2008, at the height of the recession, Mitt Romney declared that government should “let Detroit go bankrupt” rather than providing federal aid to automakers. President Obama was a lot smarter than that. As a result of federal assistance, General Motors (GM) posted record profitsand paid back its loans early, Chrysler paid back all its loans and hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers are on the job who otherwise would be out of work.
Karen Eusanio, a UAW Local 112 member and second generation autoworker, is one of those workers. Speaking last night at the Democratic National Convention, Eusanio recalled her struggle to support her children after GM laid her off, and the unpopularity of Obama’s plan to save the auto industry. Yet, President Obama didn’t think about the polls or the politics, said Eusanio.
He thought about the people. Because he put himself in our shoes, we’re back on our feet. Obama believed in us, he stood up for us.
Speaking next, UAW President Bob King said, in the face of tremendous political venom, President Obama met the test of moral character.
He stood up for not what was popular and easy but what was right. He stood up for workers, not just autoworkers, but all workers.
King said President Obama’s strong leadership saved 1 million jobs—jobs in the auto industry and throughout communities where autoworkers live and work. King also gave a big shout-out to Obama for strongly backing working people and their unions.
Generations of working people fought for, and in some cases died for, the right to organize and the right to collectively bargain. President Obama strongly supports these basic human rights because these rights are good for all Americans. Strong unions and collective bargaining have lifted millions of people out of poverty and built the great American middle class, and it’s a middle class that keeps America’s democracy and economy strong.
In contrast, King said, Republicans:
just want to take us back, back to a time when…workers couldn’t speak out for fairness, justice and middle-class opportunity. That’s why unions matter.
Not only would Romney have let Detroit go bankrupt, as CEO of Bain Capital, he “often didn’t build companies up but took them apart,” King said.
In ripping apart already profitable companies, Romney’s actions laid off those like Randy Johnson, who worked for American Pad & Paper in Marion, Ind., when Bain bought out the company and laid off thousands of workers. Addressing the convention, Johnson said he does not fault those who want to make a profit. But he faults Romney for:
making money without a moral compass. Putting profits before people like me. America cannot afford Romney economics. Romney will stick it to working people. Obama will stick up for working people.
DNC speaker and Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren reminded the delegates that as it stands now, the “game is rigged” against working people and a Romney/Ryan economy would make it worse:
People feel like the system is rigged against them, and here is the painful part, they’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down the billions in profits. Billionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, and Wall Street CEOs, the same ones who direct our economy and destroyed millions of jobs still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.
Check out “The Romney Economic Agenda and Its Effect on the Middle Class and Growth,” which shows that Romney’s 59-point “jobs plan” includes six proposals that would directly eliminate jobs from the U.S. economy.