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GM: Government Management?

The news that the White House has forced the resignation of GM's chief executive and wants to see more change at both Chrysler and GM if they are to get additional government help has stoked a strong debate among our Readers Who Comment.

Some think federal intervention is appropriate; others think it's the end of constitutional government. Many worry that workers are taking it on the chin; several think the unions are to blame for the industry's problems. Others wonder why the government is propping up banks but tearing down the auto industry.

Peter Whoriskey's article outlines the demands and expectations of the Obama administration as the nation ponder whether what's good for General Motors is still good for the nation.

We'll start with SuzanneM5, who wrote, "... Do I object to the government intervention that is going on now? How can I, when GM and Chrysler have made a royal mess of things on their own? At least with government intervention, and taxpayer money, there's at least a chance that the American owned auto industry can survive... Of course, I AM wondering why none of those financial geniuses at the banks that are being bailed out have been asked to fall on their sword like Rick Wagoner?..."

NMremote wondered too, asking, "So WHY was this not policy for the financial institutions that received federal aid? All the executives should have been forced to resign for letting their companies go belly up. Instead, our government selectively rewarded these clowns and allowed them to be paid bonuses. This is outrageous!!!..."

myopinion1added, "...Obviously, the politicians' pockets are lined more lucratively with banker dollars that that originating from Detroit."

And glenjo said, "...SO we can force the UAW workers to break their contract and take wage and benefit cuts when most of these people make $50K a year, but we cannot break the sanctity of a contract when a finance guy that wrecked his company, and screwed the WHOLE WORLD, gets a million dollar bonus..."

yokosuka1985 was blunter, writing, "It looks like obama is telling the UAW to get lost."

But Bitter_Bill said, "If GM had filed bankruptcy from the start it could have canceled those burdensome union agreements. This is just more fooling around."

And straighttalk observed, "I'm sure Wagoner will be fine. No one seems to be getting the message however. GM line workers do not need to make more sacrifices. We've seen cuts in our hourly salary, holiday and vacation pay and benefits... Taking more of the line workers and supervisors' pay away from us is not the answer here."

lindakinne wrote, "Getting Wagoner to resign is a step in the right direction. And hopefully, it will cast a pall on the faces of Wall Street's greedy bigwigs. For exactly what have they accomplished with their bailout dollars? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero..."

EVR1 said, "Unfortunately, GM and Chrysler just never understood the American consumer as did Toyota, Honda, et al. At this juncture, the US Govt. finally read the tea leaves and it is now time to usher GM and Chrysler into a graceful exit into oblivion."

To which pali2600 replied, "So tell us: How are the balance sheets of Toyota and Honda as of late? How the sales of Toyota Tundras, Sequoias, Land Cruisers, Pathfinders, Tacomas, Highlanders? How is Lexus doing?..."

postfan1 wrote, "It's not perfect, but it's a start...GM can't move ahead with the same people who got them here. In the private sector, you fire the current management if you want to move in a new direction..."

morningglory51 said, "So, does this mean that anytime the government doles out taxpayer money to private busienss that the government gets to decide who runs that business? Airlines? Banks? I think we're going down a slippery slope,especially involving a President who has no prior business experience."

To which swatkins1 replied, "No one is forcing this on GM. GM has a choice. GM is accepting the money. So why do you have a problem with companies who take federal assistance having some rules placed on them?"

And raynecloud wrote, "...Ummm, it's no longer a "private company" when the Government is (taxpayers) throwing billions at it to keep it going. It's ours, so we should get a majority vote."

iacitizen said, "It seems to me that when it comes to actual jobs that produce a product, the Obama administration can play tough guy and force workers to take less and less, but when it comes to banks that don't produce anything and only serve to make the CEO's rich, the corporations get a free ride..."

demtse wrote, "...GM is a fail entity. Its old business model of "planned obsolesence" should be thrown on the junk pile. A new, more innovative business model of fuel efficiency, alternatives to the internal combustion engine and reliability and better trade-in value, most be adopted."

pelham1861 said, "Finally, Obama has done something right and agreed with GOP conservatives and the American people. Let these companies go into bankruptcy...and if they cannot reorganize...they'll be gone..."

navyman wrote, "This is WRONG!! The executive branch of the government has NO authority to dictate to a public corporation who should be hired or fired. Loans or not. The US government does not negotiate what it is allowed to do, its power is described by the Constitution. Obama is trampling on the Constitution..."

We'll close with kubrickstan, who wrote, "If Obama did nothing and let the companies fail the republicans would be screaming, "why is he doing that, this is socialism." If Obama gave the auto's more money with no strings attached the republicans would be shouting, "this is socialism." If Obama didn't make Wagonor resign, the republicans would be screaming, "why doesn't he get rid of Wagonor, this is socialism."..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  March 30, 2009; 7:29 AM ET
Categories:  Auto Industry , Bailout , Economy Watch , Obama  | Tags: Auto Industry, Bailout, Economy Watch, Obama  
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Next: GM's Salvation or Carmageddon?

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