Maybe it is Time To Redistribute the Wealth ... Back to the Taxpayers!
Maybe the chart above offers one reason that 61% of the American public oppose a bailout of the troubled U.S. auto industry. According to data from Chrysler, a UAW assembler earned $64,100 in monetary wages in 2006 (not including benefits), and a UAW electrician earned $74,800 in monetary wages. According to BLS data (available here from Economagic), the average manufacturing wage in mid-2006 was $16.78 per hour, meaning that the average manufacturing worker earned cash income $33,560 in 2006, or about half of a UAW worker.
Stated differently, a UAW assembler earned 91% more in monetary wages than the average worker in the manufacturing sector, and a UAW electrician earned 123% more in wages than the average manufacturing worker. Moreover, there's been a lot of discussion lately about how "unions built the American middle class, and the middle class is what makes America run." But is a typical UAW worker really "middle class"?
Consider a married couple, both UAW workers, one assembler and one electrician, making a combined household income of $139,000 in 2006. Is that a "middle class" household? Hardly, it would be an upper class household, since that household income would put them close to being in the top 10% of American households (see 2005 data here, I'm assuming that UAW wages in 2005 would be comparable to 2006).