Monday, September 07, 2009

Who Is Ron Bloom?


A lot of attention is being brought to bear on all of these so-called czars that Obama is now making an integral part of his administration. It is a tactic that has proven to be effective since these appointments avoid scrutiny from congress, like they really scrutinize anybody, and also allows him to proceed unworried by any sort of probing by the so called fourth estate, the media.

There shouldn't be any Pulitzer prizes awarded for investigative journalism for a while, but I forget they still have plenty of make believe hit pieces involving conservatives to pat themselves on the back about and hand out their "Hey, look at me" trinkets.

Anyway, the name Ron Bloom is one that we need to start paying attention to. He has a long history of being the negotiating face of unions in a suit. He is a Harvard Business School graduate who has worked for the unions beginning with SEIU for decades. The most recent union he represented was the United Steel Workers (USW) before becoming a part of the automotive team that Obama put together. You know the one that had the head Steven Rattner having to resign over some questions about his personal finances mixed in with a little fraudulent money gifts.

Rattner was replaced by Ron Bloom, and voila the United Auto Workers (UAW), got a sweetheart deal backed up by the power of the federal government to try and stave off bankruptcy.
Both inside and outside the USW, Mr. Bloom is known as a financially savvy negotiator — with a tendency to spout profanities.

Today Obama is going to go make a speech at a gathering of the AFL/CIO, supposedly to try and push his healthcare agenda, which nobody can seem to figure out, and at this union picnic he is going to announce that Mr Bloom is now going to be the senior advisor for manufacturing. In other words another czar.

Even to the casual observer it is impossible to miss the numerous connections between Barack Obama and the unions. He brings the unions in to act as his muscle, not only against his political opponents, but allies also.

Do you remember this from the automotive bailout plan?
Also at the hearing, Bloom denied that the government had coerced Chrysler's debtholders into dropping a legal protest that they were being treated unfairly in court. Some holders of $6.9 billion in secured Chrysler debt initially protested that they were being pushed behind unsecured creditors such as the United Auto Workers union's retiree health care trust.

But the debtholders dropped their protests after receiving $2 billion in cash to wipe out their debt.

In what can only be termed a serious case of deja-vu over at the Planet Gore portion of NRO (National Review Online), we have this piece from February of 2009.
But most significantly, Bloom (and Keilin) made their reputation battling steel companies which, burdened by excessive union costs, suffered through a very similar experience to the Detroit Three thirty years ago. In fact, as the New York Times’s David Streitfeld points out in this superb article, five U.S. steel companies received over $300 million in bailout loans from the Carter Administration in the 1970s.

“If they were allowed to go under, their partisans warned, the consequences would ripple through the economy at a cost too high to bear,” writes Streitfeld of Big Steel’s predicament in the Carter years. “The old saying, ‘As steel goes, so goes the nation,’ was as much a threat as a boast.” Sound familiar?

Yet, despite that government rescue — the domestic steel industry continued to whither because its unions would not make the concessions necessary for Big Steel to become competitive against foreign competition. In the late 1980s, Keilin and Bloom — representing steelworkers with Bethlehem Steel and LTV — even proposed a national solution with labor, industry, and government involvement.

Yet, as Prof. Richard Fruehan, a steel industry expert with Carnegie-Mellon points out, it was only bankruptcy in the early part of this decade that finally saved U.S. steelmakers. Suffocated by their union and pension overhead costs, Bethlehem & Co. went into Chapter 11. And they emerged only when venture capitalist Wilbur Ross told labor that the mills would re-open if the unions took the concessions they had resisted for years.

The Democrats, who for years have pandered to the unions and rely on their infusions of cash into their campaign coffers every election cycle will find it hard to go against the unions desires on this health care issue, which has now boiled down to one major sticking point, that being the "public option".

The definition of public option continues to change. Is this an option at all or a mandate dictated by federal requirements?

Today's meeting with a powerful union, while announcing yet another veteran of unions to a high level position all under the guise of furthering the health care reform debate appears to be more of message to those Democrats in congress that not giving Barry O what he wants on this issue, which he will supposedly outline on Wednesday, could have some unfriendly consequences for those wishing to continue to draw a taxpayer paycheck.

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