The House is set to vote today on a $15 billion loan and restructuring plan for the Detroit auto industry. Democratic leaders and the White House have reached an agreement, but it is unclear whether it has the votes to pass. Commentator Joe Conason contends that one reason there isn’t more support for the loan is that the media coverage has been biased against it. He thinks the worst example has been media reports that autoworker compensation exceeds $70 per hour. “That $70-plus figure, which actually includes pensions and health benefits to retirees, grossly distorted what Detroit’s assembly mechanics receive in their weekly paychecks,” he wrote. “And it most certainly stoked hostility to those workers and the industry among Americans who listened to the crude propaganda.”
Conason noted that comparisons between U.S. and foreign autoworkers also are misleading, as some foreign governments provide health care, child care, pensions and a host of other benefits.
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