The Great Twinkie Famine of 2012: There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

Don’t you know that the Twinkie died because of bad management, not union intransigence?

Michael Hiltzik writes in the LA Times:

Let’s get a few things clear. Hostess didn’t fail for any of the reasons you’ve been fed. It didn’t fail because Americans demanded more healthful food than its Twinkies and Ho-Hos snack cakes. It didn’t fail because its unions wanted it to die.

It failed because the people that ran it had no idea what they were doing. Every other excuse is just an attempt by the guilty to blame someone else….

The record shows that Hostess’ unions were willing to talk with management at virtually every stage to keep the firm alive. There are plenty of companies and industries in which such talks have been fruitful, including the auto industry. But they can succeed only when everyone is confident that the guys at the other side of the table are committed to the same goals.

In this case, the unions finally realized that the Hostess strategic plan started and ended with extracting yet another round of cutbacks from employees. To argue that capitulating might at least save thousands of jobs is to accept the corrosive mind-set that manufacturing workers should be glad they’ve got any job at all and take what they’re offered.

Even TNRL’s resident court jester, melfamy (aka Imam Greg), while totally ignoring that I stated in the post that management clearly played a role, chimed in:

In court papers, the creditors say testimony from Hostess’s executive vice president of human resources indicates that “in the run-up to bankruptcy”–when Hostess had already hired bankruptcy attorneys–it was also working to shift its compensation structure. Hostess slashed bonuses payable only if certain performance goals were met and, on July 26, the company’s compensation committee signed off on “substantial salary increases for numerous senior executives,” the creditors said, calling the jumps “dramatic.”

Hostess’s then-CEO, Brian Driscoll, saw his salary rise to $2.55 million from $750,000–a 300% increase.

“Other executives’ salaries were increased by from 35% to 80%,” the creditors said.

This was not a case of an unreasonable union, this was a case of the Operators of the company looting it from the inside out.

Not that I’d assume that you didn’t have any idea what the truth was, but did you have any idea what was the truth behind your idealistic rant? The Unions have conceded, twice, in good faith. Your corporate buddies took that faith and rammed it up the workers rest area.

So, for the sake of debate, let’s agree to the proposition of these fine gentlemen and stipulate that management was, in fact, the sole cause of the Great Twinkie Famine of 2012. If we accept that as true it causes one to wonder – if these leftist, anti-business, anti-capitalist, useful idiots can see so clearly when management fails in the private sector, why do you think that it is that they can’t see this?

One would think that these people would be able to apply the same analysis to the actions of government that they do to private business – but they won’t because they are already slaves to the almighty state and think you should be, too. The feign concern about the public good but when reduced to the lowest common denominator, all of their energy is behind forcing people provide for them under penalty of law, reserving a special acrimony for those who don’t subscribe to their view that indentured servitude to government is beautiful and something to be aspired to. They know that you have to be part of the equation because they need your productivity to pay for their Free Sh*t Army stuff – if they didn’t, they would have no interest in you at all.

After the elections are over, they could care less about the poor, blacks or immigrants. The fact that Johnson’s Great Society War on Poverty hasn’t ended poverty after trillions have been spent, that black unemployment is still twice as much as the average rate after 50 years of affirmative action programs and there has been no legitimate immigration reform since Reagan granted amnesty in exchange for promises of reform that were never honored by the Democrats is absolute proof that they don’t give a shit about you – unless you vote the wrong way, then you all are Uncle Toms or racists.

The left is right when they say that we can’t call them communists or socialists – because that isn’t what they are.

These people, including our own melfamy, are not Marxists, they are simply practitioners of statolatry. If they were good little Marxists, they would be organizing work camps for the poor and unemployed instead of demanding that “the rich” pay them to sit on their asses. Any good commie knows that everybody must work for the glory of the state – even if they have to be forced to do so.

At its root, it isn’t about collectivism or communism for them, it is about worship for the state to replace a God that they have rejected, some entity more powerful than themselves that they can swear their fealty to in order to receive blessings…crumbs from the table…as long as it isn’t God.

These are the same morons who are concerned that a CEO making $2.5 million in exchange for his services assures the destruction of the nation (never mind that he pays an effective rate of around 27% on that salary) and yet they show no concern for a government that spends $3.7 billion a year, 1480 times the CEO’s salary, or has created a public debt of $16.3 trillion, 4406 times more than that CEO’s salary.

At the time of dissolution, Hostess Brands had a direct labor, delivery and workers comp expense of around $12.5 million a week, the total unionized labor expense was $650 million a year and that doesn’t count the insurance expenses that are rolled into overhead costs.

Which do you think is more likely to spell the end of America, a CEO making 0.38% of the union salaries or a union demanding higher pay from a bankrupt company in an abysmal economy?

They are already chained by statism and the decline that it brings – but they don’t care because they think that they are going to benefit from it. They actually think that giving more control of their lives to government is an increase in freedom and never consider that the government will exact a price in exchange for this “freedom” through regulation, restriction and rationing.

These are the kinds of sycophantic fellow travellers who will turn into the informers that will happily turn you in to the local politburo for putting an extra potato in your soup at night for the reward of an extra potato for their pot.

As much as I hate to say it, these people are not fellow Americans, they are my enemies.

The very actions that they demonize the Hostess Brands management for, i.e. asking the unions to contribute more to the success of the business, are the same actions that they are championing for the government to do – raise taxes. I think it is sadly ironic that Hiltzlik so cluelessly writes:

The union members could see that their supposed management “partners” hoped to rescue their own investments by placing workers on a glide path to life on a minimum-wage existence, without pensions and without healthcare, after they had given and given again. You want to claim that they should have accepted the latest management demands as better than nothing instead of voting it down, OK. But you should ask yourself two questions: Where do you think this trend would have ended, and how much would you take?

If people like Hitzlik had even one ounce of self-awareness they would be asking the question, “Where do you think this trend would have ended, and how much would you take?”, about the government, Obama’s redistributive policies and the borrowing and taxation required to continue with them.

How much will they take and where will it end, indeed…

With such clear vision and certitude about the Hostess situation one would think it would be easy for them to recognize where the problem is in America.

It failed because the people that ran it had no idea what they were doing. Every other excuse is just an attempt by the guilty to blame someone else.

Exactly, Mr. Hiltzik, exactly – it is the management.

11 thoughts on “The Great Twinkie Famine of 2012: There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

  1. It’s my experience that at least in CA folks are being taught that biz and biz owners are intrinsically bad, greedy people who want to take advantage of workers. Why? For many reasons. Government wants workers to distrust management so they look to unions for safe harbor, which is pretty funny at this point. For full disclosure I should say that my father and grandfather were both union members and I think there were and are good reasons for private sector workers to form unions. Unfortunately, the unions that protected 10 year olds from 12 hour days in mines and factories are long gone. Today, unions are much more likely to make stupid rules to ‘make work” so the company has to hire more workers so some can load Twinkies in the truck and others who will only load Ho Hos. This is “make work” and actually cuts profits for both workers and companies, but it grows unions and union power.

    What to do? If I were in charge I would immediately put as many employees, companies as possible on commission based pay. Having worked on commission most of my life I know that it forces you to focus on serving your customers as efficiently as possible. Attention to detail, ability to discern customers needs, sense of urgency, you will learn all these important ways of making your customer happy if you work on commission and if you don’t, your competition will. Commission based pay is fair, it doesn’t discriminate regarding race, sex, creed or anything but performance. If you please the customer first, you get the $.

    Many years ago in Paris I realized almost immediately that French waiters are not paid on discretionary tips. Instead, a pre-determined amount is automatically added to every bill. I remember one night at a fancy restaurant, I ordered a steak well done. Atrocious, I know, I blame it on my Midwestern upbringing. Anyway, the waiter was obviously offended by my peasant ways and proceeded to dress me down in front of our whole party. Completely rude and uncalled for. For years, I told every friend, relative, client who was going to Paris not to visit that particular restaurant. I can only imagine how many customers one really bad waiter can cost a restaurant. If French waiters were on commission, this would never have happened.

    I would also make it illegal for public employees to form a union. Public unions are problematic because workers can exchange votes for money, perks, benefits, etc

    • I agree with you. I definitely worked harder when it was commission-based sales. I think it also helps if an employee believes in the product they are selling. You got me giggling about the French waiter…..I had a funny experience….I think just about every profession over there has a union.

  2. Pingback: Statolatry: The Liberal Religion | The Rio Norte Line

  3. Well said. This post really strikes a chord with me. “As much as I hate to say it, these people are not fellow Americans, they are my enemies.” Yep. I know a couple of these types, and I unfriended them on FB the day after the election. I’ve suffered their lunacy, and maintained civil tone even when they do not, long enough. One of them was carrying on with my spouse about the Twinkie famine in the very same way as Hitzlik. Rather than bother with all the logic you so deftly display here, he just went on his own unfriending spree. Viva la bubble!


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