We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
WRT graph one, a large part of the problem of the Big 3 is that even they don't accurately know how much they are compensating their production workers. Due to the rich retirement and buyout packages, much of a production worker's total compensation will come after they have ceased being productive to the company. In effect they are still paying workers to build the Dondge Darts, Plymouth Volares, Ford Falcons, and Chevy Caprices of the '70s and '80s, from funds that were never factored into the price of those cars.
The UAW agreements have created the perverse case where the way to maximize total compensation is not to increase one's skills or individual productivity, but to retire early (ideally while young enough to take another job, possibly in the "informal economy") and live long.
The National Labor Realations Act has frozen the relationship between 'labor' and employers as if the global economy did not exist. Post war dominance of global manufacturing is no longer the case. Coercion by the Federal Government has created the mess in American manufacturing and the poster child for these market distortions is the American automobile industry, i.e. the big three and the UAW, both shadows of their former selves. Central bank control of interest rates and kow-towing to the short term interests of the political class in combination with the supervised banking system is at the root of the current economic turmoil. Malinvestment through higher yielding structured vehicles in such an environment was inevitable. Not one recommendation has been heard out the the central authorities about facing these basic causative issues. Attempts at confusing the populace are running at full steam with the daily drumbeat of misidentifying a plain failure of government policy as some kind of 'market failure'. Very dangerous stuff even though we've been there before.