Not too long ago, Nat and I were living a fairly good life. We’re not rich by all means but we were able to take a good trip once a year – the east coast, across Canada, Florida, and even home to Scotland once or twice. We did so without too much financial worry but still had to dip into our mutual fund account. We knew that such “dips” would recover themselves sometime afterwards and we continued to live our lives accordingly.
However, with the new year settling in and General Motors having its economic woes, our emotional and financial state is being stretched to the limit. We continuously watch the news for the latest update on GM and whether it will actually declare bankruptcy or pull a huge financial miracle out of its hat.
Things of late have become worse. We’ve both become very depressed and worried, especially Nat. If GM decides to declare bankruptcy and retirees’ pensions are reduced, our lives will be turned upside down and one, if not both, of us for certain will have to return to work. It’s not an option we want to consider, but we’ll have to do whatever it takes to keep our heads above water. I’m sure we won’t be alone in this as there are several thousand GM retirees in the Province of Ontario alone and their lives will be just as topsy turvy as ours.
Nat did all the right things. He took a buyout when offered, despite the fact that he hadn’t completed his 30 years, he invested what he could and has always been a dedicated GM employee. He’s never even looked at other vehicles to buy except GM products. And it’s now that we’re beginning to question our loyalty. Growing up around the Niagara Region it was always a young man’s dream to get a job at GM – the security, the stability and a good wage with benefits. All the things you were taught to raise a family and make a good home. “GM” households are scattered all across this Region, with fathers, sons, daughters, husband and wife, and possibly grandsons all working shift work to make a half decent living.
That dream no longer exists for anyone and so many “Others” (non-GM workers) have now forgotten that each and every one of those men and women are taxpayers too. They’ve contributed to the local economy, they’ve donated to charities, they’ve held fundraisers and they’ve volunteered whenever necessary. Above all, they’ve more than paid their fair share of taxes – local, Provincial and Federal. So when “Others” declare “just let GM go bankrupt”, I get indignant. It’s not their wages that will be cut, it’s not their pensions that will be reduced and it’s not their families that will suffer. They will, however, notice a huge difference in their local economies when those GM retirees can’t pay their taxes, can’t pay their mortgages, can’t pay their utility bills or shop for little extras that everyone seems to now take for granted. Things will only get worse when the HST comes into effect and utility bills get higher, food and household items get higher and even the cost of being buried will increase substantially. I wish for one day that “Others” could know the stress and worry that is going on in “GM” homes across this area. May they never have to wonder where their next dollar is coming from! This is a major case where those that give uninformed opinions know not of what they speak.