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February 20, 2006

The G.M. Welfare State

By Brian

Everyone read this.

Now then, here are some interesting quotes:

"At the city's peak, 35 years ago, one of every three people in Anderson worked for G.M. Now there is not a single G.M. plant left, and just two parts plants that G.M. once owned still survive. Anderson, about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, had 70,000 people in 1970 and now has fewer than 58,000."

"And even though G.M. stopped offering retiree health care coverage to new workers 13 years ago, it still covers 679,000 retirees, their spouses and eligible dependents — on top of the coverage it gives to 435,000 active workers. This costs the company an average of $5,000 a year per recipient."

Ok. Some fuzzy math. (I'm sure this points been made before, but here we go.) One third of Anderson, Indiana's 58,000 residents is about 19,000 people on G.M.'s benefit rolls. At $5,000 a pop, that makes $95,000,000. Interesting.

But here's something more mind boggling: 679,000 + 435,000= 1,114,000 people. At $5,000 a pop, that's $5,570,000,000. But if we estimate that G.M. makes $10,000 each time it sells an S.U.V. and divide that right back out, that means it pretty much dumps all its profits from S.U.V. sales into employee and retiree benefits. So if you own one of those behemoths and one of your annoying friends says something glib and annoying--like that you're single handedly responsible for aligning our country with nasty autocrats and basically writing a personal check to Osama Bin Laden--you can look right back at him and say, just as truthfully, "That's where you're wrong! I'm actually covering  medical expenses for two feeble old G.M. retirees, ok?! What have you done for the neediest among us lately, hmmm?! Where's your welfare suburban?"

February 20, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

You haven't heard the jokes yet? G.M is really a very large health care delivery company with a not-for-profit side business in auto sales.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Feb 20, 2006 11:34:14 AM

Yeah, Uwe Reinhardt thought it up, I like this formulation: GM is a social insurance company that sells cars to defray costs.

Posted by: Ezra | Feb 20, 2006 11:58:31 AM

So what's the point here? Be socially responsible; buy a gas guzzler? A better fix might be to institute a national health care system.

Posted by: sparrow | Feb 20, 2006 12:38:16 PM

"I'm actually covering medical expenses for two feeble old G.M. retirees, ok?!"

And fucking up the environment for countless generations! A twofer!

Posted by: Rob G | Feb 20, 2006 1:28:47 PM

i live about 10-15 miles from anderson. i knew many people whose fathers worked there.

very, very interesting approach to the issue.

thanks for reprinting it.

Posted by: harry near indy | Feb 20, 2006 10:22:54 PM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 1, 2007 4:44:14 AM

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