Saturday, August 21, 2010



Have Obama’s Policies Failed? Let Us Count the Ways
It isn't only the president's economic policies that are dragging the nation down.

August 13, 2010 - by Rick Moran

“Time to Admit Obamanomics Has Failed” is the title of a Washington Examiner editorial from Sunday that brings out in stark relief the monumental failure of the $1 trillion stimulus bill to stimulate anything except the greed glands in Democratic constituencies like labor unions and government workers.
The money graf:
The economy is stalling, unemployment seems stuck at European levels of idleness, the federal deficit and the national debt are at historic highs, public confidence in Congress is at its lowest-ever level and big majorities of Mainstream Americans say Obama has the country on the wrong path. Obamanomics has failed miserably and it’s time for everybody in this town to admit it so we can move on.
That’s only the half of it. Add on the following from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and you begin to get the complete picture of how much this government has spent to “rescue” the economy and how little good it has done.
* $85 billion to prop up GM and Chrysler, as well as auto suppliers. GM is still “Government Motors” despite crowing about “repaying” the government loan that kept them afloat. Not only was the $6.7 billion GM gave back to the government only about $42 billion short of what they owed, they had the temerity to use part of the bailout money to do it. GM claims a healthy profit this past quarter, but taxpayers — who still own about 70% of the preferred stock in the company — shouldn’t be checking their mailboxes for dividend checks. This gift to the UAW has spawned the next adjective to describe product failure: the Chevy Volt.
* $70 billion for consumer and business lending initiatives. This was a program designed to jumpstart business and consumer lending. As with every other program that was supposed to shock the economy back to life, it has failed miserably.
* $75 billion to help those with mortgages that were underwater to stay in their houses. A recent study shows that the centerpiece of those efforts — the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) — has a miserable success rate of 32%. That means that “about a third of the trial mortgage mods begun will be successfully converted to permanent ones, and won’t redefault.” Granted, if it were you or I who was helped by the program, we would declare the effort a success. But a redefault rate of 2/3, if looked at rationally, has to be considered an abject failure.
All of the above came out of the $700 billion TARP program signed by President Bush. Of course, no one who voted for the bill could have imagined the monies being used to bail out GM, throw money at lendees drowning in bad mortgages, or jumpstart the commercial and consumer loan industries. The bill may have originated with Bush — a desperate attempt, we were told, to buy up toxic paper from banks in order to stave off economic calamity. But Obama made this program his own, eschewing its original intent by vastly expanding the reach and power of the federal government, taking it into areas of the economy it had never ventured before. TARP’s failures are Obama’s failures.
And what of the hundreds of billions of taxpayer monies used to bail out banks? Much of that money didn’t go to eliminate the problem that caused the meltdown in the first place. Some estimates place the amount in toxic assets held by banks — still hovering in the background despite massive efforts to hide, write down, or otherwise resolve the value of these worthless securities and derivatives — at several trillion dollars face value. If another meltdown were to occur — a possibility not out of the question — we’d be back at square one with the big banks, risking depression and a blowup of the Western industrialized world’s financial system unless taxpayers repeated the agony of massive bailouts.
One federal program, the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP), promised to buy $1 trillion worth of those troubled assets. To date, the program has purchased $12 billion — another failure that can be laid at the doorstep of Treasury Secretary Geithner.
Nothing the Obama administration has tried to get the economy back on track has done what they promised. The only positive out of all of this seems to be that the big banks are profitable again and are back to paying their executives enormous bonuses. The question of ownership — whether the banks are owned by the government or whether the government is owned by the banks — is open for debate after all the wheeling and dealing done by Democrats in Congress and the administration in getting their “financial reform” package passed.
These are failures that are statistically quantifiable. But even with the evidence of incompetence and catastrophe, including anemic economic growth, high unemployment, massive uncertainty, and the growing possibility of the United States falling back into recession, we should calculate the failure of President Obama on a much more fundamental level.
President Obama has failed to inspire the American people. He has failed to ignite the native optimism that is part of our patrimony, and which is vital to America regaining its self-confidence in order to overcome this economic inertia and start the engine of democracy rolling forward.
You don’t have to be an expert economist to understand how this singular failure by the president is holding us back. Everyone from corporations, to small businesses, to ordinary folk are holding onto their money and playing it safe. Businesses aren’t hiring because not even the government knows how new laws like national health care and financial reform, as well as new regulations from every department of government, are going to affect their bottom line.
For someone who got elected largely because of his supposed golden tongue, the president’s efforts to lift up the American people and instill the kind of optimism and confidence that just might overcome the uncertainty caused by his policies have been dismally lacking in inspiration. He lectures rather than lifts up. His rhetoric fails to connect because it has distanced itself from reality. Few are buying what he’s selling.
Both Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan also came to office at a time when there was a lack of hope and belief that things would get better. Then as today, America’s detractors were circling like vultures overhead, predicting the end of the “American century” or the “death of capitalism.” America as a superpower was finished, we were told. The U.S. was down for the count never to rise again.
Never underestimate the power of the spoken word in a democracy, because both Roosevelt and Reagan picked the country up off the floor by the sheer zest and sunniness of their words and their dispositions. President Obama’s disposition is sometimes dark and foreboding. His threats promising catastrophe if his stimulus and financial reform bills weren’t passed hardly contributed to elevating the national mood. And his words, while pretty things that listeners allow to envelop them in good feelings, end up floating above his audience, untouchable and unreachable, not zeroing in on their hearts where the soul is touched and thoughts transformed.
Obama’s calls to action fall flat because his attempts to connect our past with the present in order to build a brighter future fail on the fundamental level of believability. He has made it clear that he wants to cut America’s umbilical cord with our treasured traditions and first principles. His desire to “remake” the country, by definition, abandons the past in order to create his new America. Hence, President Obama’s rhetoric that seeks to use America’s past as a touchstone for patriot hearts engenders a titanic disconnect between his actions and words. There is no “there” there when Obama seeks to inspire the country.
It isn’t only Obama’s economic policies that are dragging the nation down. It is his inability to extend a hand to a dispirited people and help them pull themselves out of the doldrums and look with confidence to the future once again. He doesn’t seem to have it in him. Perhaps he doesn’t believe it himself. Whatever the reason, unless he can find it within himself to begin to reinstill the native optimism and confidence of the people, voters will look elsewhere for inspiration in 2012.
Rick Moran is PJM Chicago editor; his



Records show that four out of Obama's top five contributors are employees of financial industry giants - Goldman Sachs ($571,330), UBS AG ($364,806), JPMorgan Chase ($362,207) and Citigroup ($358,054).
“Obama's rhetoric covered the whole financial industry, but the key changes will affect only a few high-profile players, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., while sparing investment banks like Goldman Sachs Group Inc.”
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Thursday, July 9, 2009
And Harvard economics professor JEFFREY MIRON will weigh in on the state of the U.S. economy—and why the only plausible argument for bailing out banks crumbles on close examination.
"There is a populist and conservative revolt against Wall Street and financial elites, Congress and government," Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg warned in an analysis this week. "Democrats and President Obama are seen as more interested in bailing out Wall Street than helping Main Street."

August 21, 2010
Janet Tavakoli.President, Tavakoli Structured Finance
August 15, 2010

How to Thwart the Assassins of the American Dream
Arianna Huffington's new book, Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, paints a grim picture of the State of the Union:
"Every day, Americans, faced with layoffs and tough economic times, are forced to use their credit cards to pay for essentials such as food, housing, and medical care -- the costs of which continue to escalate. But, as their debt rises, they find it harder to keep up with their payments. When they don't, banks, trying to offset losses in other areas, turn around, hike interest rates, and impose all manner of fees and penalties..."
Third World America, (P. 77)

Our mediocre grammar school and high school educational system continues its downward slide. The Great Recession is squeezing school budgets. We are failing our children, our most important resource of all.

In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation's infrastructure a near failing D rating:

"Flip on a light switch, and you are tapping into a seriously overtaxed electrical grid. Go to the sink, and your tap water may be coming to you through pipes built during the Civil War. Take a drive, and pass over pothole-filled roads and cross-if-you-dare bridges. The evidence of decay is all around us." (P. 95)

The over-hyped American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 earmarked only $72 billion of the $787 billion appropriation of taxpayer dollars to projects to improve the country's infrastructure.

Meanwhile, multi-national corporations avoid taxes, sheltering $700 billion in foreign earnings to end up with a measly $16 billion (2.3%) tax bill. GM is among those companies, yet it took almost a half billion dollars in bailout loans. Boeing and KBR Halliburton are among the defense contractors that avoid taxes, while enjoying government contracts worth tens of billions.

Banks (not Fannie and Freddie) Crippled the Housing Market

Fannie and Freddie do not make loans. They purchase mortgage loans and earn fees for guaranteeing payments on the loans. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, in 2006, Fannie and Freddie accounted for 33% of total mortgage backed securities issuance. In the first half of 2010, they accounted for around 64% of new issuance. They were forced to pick up the slack and buy more when Wall Street's private label securitization Ponzi scheme blew up.

Fannie and Freddie are Wall Street's dumping ground. They would have had problems on their own, but their problems would not have been close to their current scale, and they did not create the housing bubble.

Congress twisted arms to make Fannie and Freddie buy more than $300 billion of phony "AAA" rated mortgage-backed securities from banks, not counting loans that didn't meet their stated requirements. Today Fannie and Freddie want banks to repurchase tens of billions of these loans, since they fail to meet representations and warranties, and the banks are fighting this obligation.

Top subprime lenders included Wells Fargo; Countrywide, purchased by Bank of America; Washington Mutual, now part of JPMorgan Chase; CitiMortgage, part of Citigroup; First Franklin (now closed), purchased by Merrill Lynch, which was purchased by Bank of America; ChaseHome Finance, JPMorgan Chase; Ownit, partly owned by Merrill Lynch, which was later purchased by Bank of America; and EMC, part of Bear Stearns, which was purchased by JPMorgan Chase. Most of the rest depended on massive loans from Wall Street. Many of these lenders were sued by states for fraud and paid billions in settlements.

According to Inside Mortgage Finance, the top mortgage backed securities underwriters during 2005-2006, only two of the subprime abuse years, included now defunct Lehman Brothers ($106 billion); RBS Greenwich Capital ($99 billion); Countrywide Securities, which is now part of Bank of America ($74 billion); Morgan Stanley ($74 billion);Credit Suisse First Boston ($73 billion); Merrill Lynch ($67 billion); Bear Stearns, which is now part of JPMorgan Chase ($61 billion); and Goldman Sachs ($53 billion).

The above doesn't even include the credit derivatives, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and structured investment vehicles (SIVs) that amplified losses. Yet, Arianna notes how America imploded while bankers soared:

"Someone like [Robert] Rubin is able to wreak destruction, collect an ungodly profit, then go along his merry way, pontificating about how 'markets have an inherent and inevitable tendency -- probably rooted in human nature -- to go to excess, both on the upside and the downside.' This from the man who, as Bill Clinton's Treasury secretary, was vociferous in opposing the regulation of derivatives -- a key factor in the current economic crisis -- and who lobbied the Treasury during the Bush years to prevent the downgrading of the credit rating of Enron -- a debtor of Citigroup." (P. 150)

Robert Rubin operated an economic wrecking-ball from prestigious positions of influence including former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, director of the National Economic Council, former Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, board member and senior "risk wizard" counselor at Citigroup, member of the President's Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations, member of the SEC's Oversight and Financial Services Advisory Committee, unofficial econmic adviser to President Obama, and co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rubin is just one example of the many bankers, who helped destroy the economy while creating a connected financial oligarchy.

Hide Billions of Losses, Take Bailouts, Collect Billions, Skip Jail

Instead of apologizing for screwing up, the banks demanded the Great Bailout. At the start of the meltdown, the IMF and the U.S. administration estimated losses of $2 to $2.5 trillion. Unemployment and the losses are now shockingly worse. What was merely a recession escalated into the Great Recession.

How big are the actual losses? No one knows.

After destroying the value of major banks, culprits used their enormous political influence -- funded with taxpayer dollars -- to get Congress to force the accounting board to change accounting rules (as of April 2009) so banks don't have to recognize losses until they sell the assets.

According to William K. Black, after the much tinier S&L crisis, there were over 1,000 successful felony prosecutions, several thousand successful enforcement actions, and roughly 1,000 successful civil actions.

This time Congress gave us the Great Cover-up. Bank officers dodged jail time and collected billions in bonuses. As one of my South American friends observes, he's witnessed this third-world corruption before, and this time it's in English.

Banks Stall the Recovery and Prolong the Great Recession

Unemployment marched upward, delinquencies soared, and banks stalled foreclosures. The longer banks delay foreclosures and sales, the longer they can avoid acknowledging losses. Phony accounting and zero cost funding from taxpayers created an illusion of recovery.

Stalling helps banks while they pressure Congress to bail out failed mortgages with taxpayer dollars. Instead of working out mortgages with homeowners, they can wait for a government program to buyout or subsidize their failing loans. The markets aren't recovering, because banks own colossal chunks of mystery-meat assets.

It's a black hole of debt. If banks were forced to price these assets at market values and sell them, the market would clear, and the market would make a faster recovery. When Japan did this, it stalled its economy for twenty years, and it still hasn't recovered.

Voters Must Demand the Solution

Voters must demand that Congress uncovers and publicizes facts and prosecutes the financial system's massive multi-year frauds. This will mean thousands of felony prosecutions, enforcement actions, and civil actions.

Congress completely failed in genuine regulation and enforcement. It must start over on financial reform, regulate derivatives, commodities trading, update Glass-Steagall, and more. It will have to break-up the Too Big to Fail financial institutions.

CEOs of our Systemically Dangerous Institutions (SDI's) fail to manage them, because no one is capable of doing it. Like a morbidly obese junk food addict, banks won't even get on a scale. Our banks refuse to properly measure (account for) the problem.

Third World America elegantly summarizes the way forward. Arianna Huffington names the culprits and gives a roadmap for solutions. The rest is up to us. We deserve better than a third world economy divided by ultra-rich on one side and debt-ridden middle class and dirt poor citizens on the other. Citizens must demand a clean-up of corruption and a foundation for healthy growth.


Immigration Reform Caucus Challenge Pres. Obama on Amnesty Through Executive Actions
Wednesday, July 7, 2010, 11:51 AM EDT - posted on NumbersUSA

Thirty-nine Members of the Immigration Reform Caucus sent Pres. Obama a letter addressing the reports of an attempt by the Administration to provide an Amnesty to the nation's 11-18 million illegal aliens through the use of Executive Orders. The Members called on the President to articulate his opposition to any such plan.

NumbersUSA first reported on a letter written by several Senators asking the President for clarification on a plan that would provide a safe harbor to illegal aliens through the use of deferred action or parole. Since the Senate currently lacks the votes to pass a mass Amnesty bill, this approach would prevent the deportation of illegal aliens and provide permanent residency cards while the Administration worked on securing enough votes for a mass Amnesty bill.

In the letter, the 39 House Members state...

While it is not our intention to question the Administration's legal authority to examine individual cases, we unequivocally oppose any attempt to grant deferred action or parole to large groups of illegal immigrants even if each case is examined. . .

The illegal immigration issue is extremely complex and requires legislative action by Congress if we are to do anything to secure our neighborhoods and borders. The failure to effectively secure our borders does not mean that the Administration is able to, in effect, grant amnesty to those that have violated Unites States law. . .

Immigration to the United States is a privilege, not a right. We believe that rather than reward those who have broken our laws, we should enforce existing immigration and employment laws and secure out neighborhoods and borders . . .

Read the full letter sent to Pres. Obama. (PDF file)

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ReportNew Nils6996 of NC: In regards to immigration, Obama is guilty of dereliction of duty and is such because he is a racist and wants to manipulate the Hispanic vote to his political benefit. While its possible he was born in the US, its obvious to see his patriotism and spirit belong to other nations.

ReplyPosted Thu 07/08 10:10am
ReportNew Gary3222 of AL: Impeachment is long over due after the november elections. EVERYBODY READ ARTICLE FOUR SECTION 4 US . CONSTITUTION .

ReplyPosted Thu 07/08 5:03am
ReportNew Vince0041 of PA: … Agree, but that will require enough Republicans to make it work. This requires a majority in the house and 2/3 in the senate. Unfortunately, that is probably wishful thinking, and I'm not sure that strong of a republican majority would be good for the country. Sorry, but I have not forgot how they ran the country... So we're probably stuck with BHO until 2012, but at least the Senate won't have 60 seats in line with him.

Show LessReplyPosted Thu 07/08 8:16am
ReportNew Kathleen8164 of CA:

Show LessReplyPosted Thu 07/08 2:32am
ReportNew Jennifer3014 of WA: We need enforcement and an end to birthright citizenship. If we stopped this absurd interpretation of the 14th amendment, with law, we would discourage illegals from coming across our borders in droves to have their children (for free no less!!) in our hospitals. It is obvious that Obama has a poor pulse on the wishes of the American people. We want enforcement of law!

ReplyPosted Thu 07/08 12:19am
ReportNew Lenore8493 of FL: … It's still a little while before Nov. They're trying to do everything slickety quick underhanded, overhanded, forward, backward whichever way they can jam it down our throats. Obama and his minions are obviously against Americans. I've never known a government to turn on it's people like this. If this amnesty gets through we'll have many many years of heartaches. We MUST in the future scrutinize our candidates regardless of WHAT OFFICE THEY'RE Running for. I don't know what makes them think they'll turn all these illegals into citizens or even that these illegals want to become citizens. They've already shown us what they think of America by breaking our laws, everyone of them. Do you think they'll give up their Mexican citizenship? Where will they run to when they break our laws? To Mexico, of course. Do you think they'll give up that they can go to any hospital seek medical aid for nothing. We the taxpayer will pay, and pay, and keep paying. If he doesn't get in for another term he doesn't care, the damage will have already been done that's why the big push. This, NOW, this term, is his chance. But you must watch every candidate from any party running for anything in ALL the states, who you choose. Don't vote willy-nilly, because HOW you vote will affect America and its future. Amnesty is only one of the problems. Don't be taken in by Campaign Speeches. It's all Marketing to sell themselves. We/there must find a way to stop this madman and his cronies from bringing America down. There has to be a loophole in this Executive Order somewhere, somehow, from going forward. Where are the GREAT MINDS? Is there anybody watching out for us? I guess not!

Show LessReplyPosted Wed 07/07 10:19pm
ReportNew John2508 of PA: Please listen to the people, No amnesty for these law breakers, What is the matter with our government condoning these people who have no respect for our laws, Send them home, no more free health care and welfair checks, Build the wall, block the boaders, If they wish to come here, do it legally

ReplyPosted Wed 07/07 10:18pm
ReportNew Mark8960 of IL: These are totally despicable actions, even the threat of executive order should NOT be brought up. I believe there exists a "party of the socially elite" who feel they know what is best for this country and will try to force thru their agenda whether by Repubs or Dems. The ONLY thing that can come from this is ANARCHY or civil war.



United States

That's right, every other modern Developed nation in the world has gotten rid of birthright citizenship policies.

Yet, most of U.S. news media and politicians the last two weeks have ridiculed the comments by some other politicians that it is time for the U.S. to put an end to birthright citizenship for tourists and illegal aliens.

Folks, the U.S. stands alone.

ACTION: Send faxes to your Members of Congress and urge them to immediately sponsor legislation to change the law that currently grants birthright citizenship.

Find the faxes to send on your customized Action Buffet

There used to be all kinds of Developed countries that gave away their citizenship as freely as we do in the U.S. But one by one they all have recognized the folly of that policy.

Canada was the last non-U.S. holdout. Illegal aliens stopped getting citizenship for their babies in 2009.

Australia's birthright citizenship requirements are much more stringent than those of H.R. 1868 and took effect in 2007.

New Zealand repealed in 2006

Ireland repealed in 2005

France repealed in 1993

India repealed in 1987

United Kingdom repealed in 1983

Portugal repealed in 1981

The United States is the laughing stock of the modern world. Only the U.S. values its citizenship so lowly as to distribute it promiscuously to the off-spring of foreign citizens visiting Disney World on tourist visas and to foreign citizens who have violated their promises on their visitor, work and student visas to stay illegally in the country, as well as to those who sneak across our borders.

Click on my blog to join the discussion about this.

Notice we are asking to change the "law" and not the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

H.R. 1868 by Rep. Gary Miller of California would merely change the federal law (passed by Congress) that currently requires giving U.S. citizenship to these babies.

We and many Constitutional scholars do not believe a Constitutional Amendment is required. But we also know that as soon as H.R. 1868 is passed there will be suits taking it to the Supreme Court. We believe the Supremes are likely to agree with us that H.R. 1868 does not violate any part of the Constitution.

Go to our "5 Great Immigration-Reduction Bills" page to see all the Members of Congress who are attempting to move the U.S. into the 21st century by co-sponsoring H.R. 1868.


Roy Beck, President, NumbersUSA

THIS HAS GOT TO STOP - An American Sees & Speaks!

this has got to stop

I've worked for both a County Welfare Dept and a County jail in the Central Valley of Calif. Average American's have no idea how much aid illegal immigrants are really costing this state. They say (well they don't get welfare)...Oh, but their children do and medical and food stamps. Also every time they have those children the American taxpayer is paying for them. See in Calif., you don't even need I.D. to get FREE prenatal care. Or proof of age either. So we are also paying for their children to have children. And if the Parents can get a Doctor to say they suffer from culture shock they can also get SSI.

Then when I worked at the Jail later I learned that a very high number of crimes committed in Calif. Are committed by illegal immigrants. That’s why our jails and prisons are over populated. And why the number of gangs in Calif. Have increased so drastically. The number of pedophiles is also shocking.

They hire out in crews; one person who has papers receives the payment, and then splits the money in cash between the illegal workers. They can get credit cards from American companies, and also buy houses. If they hit your car your just out of luck, as they have no insurance, because of course they are illegal and cannot get a drivers license. So they just bail out and run like hell away from the scene.

Now all those who were legalized the last time we had immigration reform are working in businesses and taking jobs form American born college kids, undereducated and even handicapped people that use to fill those positions. They say they fill the jobs no one wants, that might be true, EXCEPT when they become legal they take our jobs. They don’t want those jobs any longer. If you have ever visited CALIF. try ordering from a lot of the fast food restaurants, you can not ever understand them half of the time.

OBAMA - Endlessly Fucking Over the American Worker For ILLEGALS & HIS CORPORATE PAYMASTERS LIKE G.M.

Indianapolis GM workers face abysmal working conditions
By Andre Damon
21 August 2010

A portion of the sprawling 2.1million square-foot plant
The Indianapolis General Motors stamping plant, where workers are being told to accept a 50 percent wage cut, is a run down and hazardous workplace, where sweltering heat, overwork, and the constant threat of injury are all part of the job.

“It’s a hellhole,” said Carla, a worker at the plant. In the summer, temperatures at the plant reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Workers often pass out from heat exhaustion, and certain parts of the plant have no air circulation whatsoever.

Yet despite the abysmal conditions, the United Auto Workers and GM are determined to force workers to accept 50 percent wage cuts. GM is seeking to sell the plant to JD Norman, which would mean cutting base wages to $15.50 per hour, from nearly $30. The sale will only worsen conditions, as JD Norman is determined to overhaul operations to extract maximum profits.

Workers showed their opposition to the GM/UAW proposal at an August 15 meeting, where they shouted down UAW International officials and drove them out of the hall, forcing the UAW to cancel a vote on the concessions they hoped to hold the next day.

The heat is compounded by lack of drinking water. Several years ago, GM replaced the plant’s water fountains with five-gallon containers containing water that workers say is undrinkable. “There are things growing in there,” said Angela, another worker. The plant is infected with cockroaches, which congregate by the water containers. “You can’t go a day without stepping on a cockroach,” said Carla.

The plant recently added bottled water and ice, which workers have to leave the assembly line in order to get. However, management even keeps the water bottles locked up unless the outside heat index reaches 90 degrees. “Often they’ll only bring it out for the first shift, and close it back up for the second and third,” said Jennifer, an auto worker.

“I’ve been in the plant at 2 am in the morning and the temperature is 102 degrees; but the outside temperature is under 90, so the bottled water stays locked up,” said Mark, another worker.

Plants are notoriously overheated, particularly ones as vast as the one in Indianapolis. “For employers, it’s not economically feasible to cool these facilities,” said Marquita Walker, an assistant professor of labor studies at Indiana University.

When told about conditions of the plant, Dr. Walker said she had never heard about a US factory that does not provide water for its workers. “That’s just crazy; that’s just insane; those are slave conditions. Workers have to be hydrated.”

Because of the sweltering heat and lack of water, it is not unknown for workers to pass out on the production line. “When someone passes out because of the heat, they shut down the line for five minutes, take them up to medical, and then the line starts back up,” said Angela.

The sprawling 2.1 million square foot plant used to employ 5,600 workers, but is now down to 650. It was built in 1930, and has been retooled countless times. Only a portion of the plant’s capacity is used. Machinery and whole areas of the plant have been left to rust.

“The plant’s roof leaks,” said Angela. “In the winter, the snow comes through the roof.” This creates pools of water on the floor, mixed with oil. “When you’re driving a forklift through the plant and hit a pool of water, it’s easy to just hydroplane.”

The plant’s oily floors create an even greater hazard. The plant processes parts that must be coated in oil, and when they are transported, they drip oil onto the entire floor. “We have an outside contractor who is supposed to take care of the floors, but it doesn’t ever get done,” said Angela.

Within the last few weeks, one of the workers lost a finger when a heavy die fell on his hand. “He just pulled his hand out; he figured he’d lost his finger already, and he didn’t want to make the operator lift the die again,” said one worker.

Stories abound of auto workers losing limbs, falling, and getting cut. Angela related one horrific incident. Several years ago a worker lost his finger, which was never found. Afterwards, the cleanup team picked up a pair of gloves, which were sent to be washed and redistributed to workers. About a week later, another worker tried to put on a pair of gloves and found a human finger inside.

Workers have virtually no mechanism for forcing management to address safety problems. “Our grievance procedure has dissolved. We don’t even write grievances any more,” said Carla. The only way for workers to protest a safety violation is to say that they will not do the job. However, this is no guarantee that the problem will be fixed.

“If you report a minor problem, they might fix it,” said Angela. “But if you report something that will hold up production, they’ll say ok, no problem, go back to your toolbox, and they’ll have someone else do it.”

“Safety used to be the overriding priority in auto plants,” said Jenn. “But this is not the case any more. All they care about is shaving an extra minute off of production times.”

The sweltering heat and constant pressure to speed up work takes an immense toll on the human body. Among the worst affected are temporary workers, who lack the most elementary benefits necessary to deal with their taxing work.

One worker has been a “vacation temp” for three years, making $15.60 per hour. When she fell sick recently, she could not even get the medical leave that she had put off for two years.

Her leg went totally numb because of a work-related nerve injury. When she went to get treated, doctors told her that her blood pressure was so high it was a wonder she had not had a stroke already. However, because she missed work to get treated, management told her she was fired.

These disastrous conditions are one product of the decades of betrayals carried out by the UAW, which now does nothing to protect even the most immediate and life-threatening safety concerns. On the contrary, the UAW is working actively to increase the exploitation of these same workers.

Amid all this, GM, the UAW, and JD Norman continue to put pressure onto workers to accept their proposed contract. GM has called in about 30 additional temporary workers to take drug tests next week, and workers suspect this is to “pad the vote” and skew the results toward accepting the contract.