There’s no doubt in my mind that Monday’s airwaves will be filled with vitriol from the Right about how GM‘s CEO, Rick Wagoner, being asked to step down by the Obama administration is a clear indication that Obama wants to take the country fully into socialism. They’ll paint it as an administration that’s secretly happy to take control of GM instead of letting it find its way through this without the government control.
The fact of the matter is that I’m not buying it for one second. General Motors could have avoided this with the simplest of solutions. They could have not taken money from the public. Once they did it they did so knowing full well that they were getting into something that would have major strings attached.
This is no different from a company, no matter how historied, going to investors to ask them to bail them out. The new investors make demands in return for their investment in the name of protecting their investment. If you don’t like the terms you don’t take the funding.
Nothing prohibited GM from skipping the funding except for greed. They figured they’d get a free hand-out and it backfired. Ford chose not to take the risk and they’re in control of their own fate. Should things not improve there they will know full well what the best path is if they want to avoid government oversight or control.
GM could have opted for bankruptcy. They felt it better to avoid that and it’ll be interesting to hear Rick Wagoner’s insights once he gets his footing under him and starts showing up all over the talk show circuit. I’m curious to hear why he felt it was more important to let the government in risking his own skin over going into bankruptcy and keeping control of the entity. Frankly, I respect Wagoner for the choice. I’m not saying I think it was the right choice but it seems to me that he believes that this path was ultimately better for GM as a whole regardless of his personal outcome in it. In this environment that’s an incredibly selfless act that, if true, deserves utmost attention.
Here’s hoping all of that isn’t lost in the rhetoric.