In southwest Ohio yesterday, President Obama once again failed to explain his administration’s role in slashing pensions for thousands of non-union auto workers in the Buckeye State and across the country.
President Obama often claims his taxpayer-funded bailout helped “save the U.S. auto industry.” But “in a growing scandal,” Liz Peek at the Fiscal Times says, “Obama’s former auto czar and two Treasury officials appear implicated in the decision to eliminate the pensions of 20,000 non-union workers at GM’s Delphi unit, while protecting benefits for UAW members.”
An op-ed by two economists in the Wall Street Journal notes that government-owned GM “gave $1 billion of bailout funds” to “the pensions of Delphi's UAW retirees.” But “Delphi's nonunion retirees and retirees in other unions did not fare so well. GM gave them nothing.” While the president’s union allies got a sweetheart deal, non-union workers at Delphi saw their pensions cut by as much as 70 percent.
Delphi retirees, their families, and taxpayers deserve to know why – and they deserve to know what role the Obama administration played in the process.
In 2010, then-Republican Leader John Boehner and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) asked the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the Delphi pension scandal. The GAO agreed and issued its first report in early 2011. Speaker Boehner said the GAO report made it “more evident than ever that there was preferential treatment given to the unions at the expense of Delphi retirees.”
House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) is demanding that the Obama administration release all documents about its involvement. But so far, the White House is stonewalling.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, “a Daily Caller FOIA request suggests that the Treasury Department and White House may have played a decisive role” in “the decision to wipe out the non-union pensions.” And one of the president’s chief strategists “seemed to admit that President Barack Obama played a role in the lopsided deal.”
“It is time the Administration comes clean about the role it played in the slashing of the pensions of 20,000 Delphi employees,” says Chairman Camp. And if the White House fails to cooperate, “they may well find themselves on the receiving end of a subpoena…”
The Delphi pension scandal underscores the danger of government officials picking winners and losers in the private sector. And it highlights the importance of the nearly 40 House-passed jobs bills that are focused on helping create new jobs by removing government obstacles (like the president’s small business tax hike and health care law) that make it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.
The president needs to level with the workers in Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere whose pensions were decimated while his union allies were made whole. And his administration needs to provide Congress with detailed answers about its involvement in this scandal at once.