Chrysler is experimenting with a two-tier pay system – high wages for experienced older workers and about half that salary for new, young recruits. Economists are excited because it brings in jobs without overburdening the company’s payroll; Via Meadia, on the other hand, sees the arrangement as just another battlefield in the war against the young. As the NYT reports:
With the economy slumping and job creation once again a pressing issue in the White House and Congress, the advent of a two-tier wage system in Detroit is spiking employment for one of the country’s most important manufacturing industries. The new jobs, which are seen as long term, are being watched closely by economists, executives in other industries and Washington policy makers eager to increase employment in manufacturing and other areas.For many, the opportunity for steady employment is welcome, even at a lower wage and with no certainty when it might increase.
The prospect of a job – any job – is a big draw for unemployed young people. So they take what they can get.The reality is that American auto workers are not productive enough (and Detroit’s management is not creative enough) to justify their high wages. (Don’t get me started on the outrageous salaries that management gets for running their companies into the ground.) That’s sad but it’s a fact of life. But when it comes to adjustments, the union movement and the older generation at large makes sure that the pain falls on the young rather than spreading it around.It’s a shame, especially since the young workers will also be paying taxes into Medicare to fund health care for seniors today that the country won’t be able to afford when today’s twenty-somethings want to collect.One of the big questions in American politics: will America’s young people realize they are being systematically scammed and organize to stop it, or will the older generations continue to pull the wool over those adorable little eyes?