Steven Rattner, the New York financier who headed Barack Obama's auto task force in 2009 and was credited with helping rescue the car business, took a crack at the resurgent auto industry in a New York Times opinion piece titled: "The Myth Of Industrial Rebound."
"Breathless headlines" about the return of manufacturing in the country are off base because not enough jobs have been created and too many of them are low-paying, Rattner wrote. He added: "This disturbing trend is particularly pronounced in the automobile industry."
When Volkswagen opened its plant in Chattanooga in 2011 and hired 2,000 workers, Rattner says, "little attention was paid to the fact that the beginning wage for assembly line workers was $14.50 per hour, about half of what traditional, unionized workers employed by General Motors or Ford received."
With benefits, Rattner says that the workers cost VW $27 per hour but that in Germany the figure for the average auto worker is $67 per hour.
"In effect, even factoring in future pay increases for the Chattanooga employees, Volkswagen has moved production from a high-wage country (Germany) to a low-wage country (the United States.)"