Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And Now GM

GM, which is burning through billions of dollars a month, believes that the government should give it another $20 billion or so to throw down the sinkhole with the rest of its shareholder's money. It says, with a straight face, that it just needs some money to get it through this rough patch. This from a company which has been steadily losing market share for years, is saddled with terrible products, redundant models, impossible labor contracts, and most importantly, has a management group that got it into this mess by being good at only one thing: asking the government for help. 

Its CEO is a man who gambled away the future of the company on gas-guzzling trucks, refuses to consider the possibility of resigning (believing that he is the only one who is capable of solving their problems), and likewise refuses to contemplate the possibility of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which is the only hope the company has without a government bailout (and, in all likelihood, even with one.)

It's management says that bankruptcy will hurt sales even more, as people will be unsure if the warranties on their cars will be honored (as if those warranties can't be insured), and they say this as if the sales numbers that have gone over a cliff don't point to a loss of confidence already. 

Its union, which has secured paychecks for over 8,000 people who don't go to work (!), and whose members make over 50% more than Americans who work at foreign-owned factories in the US and have benefits packages that average Americans can only dream about, complains that the hardship that their employees will suffer is so great that taxpayers making far less should be required to pay billions to support a company that is losing money so that they don't lose the jobs they believe they are entitled to.

GM is no longer a financially viable company. It must go through bankruptcy. Its shareholders must be wiped out. Its management must be replaced. Its debt must be restructured. Its labor contracts, more than anything, must be abandoned. None of this can happen without Chapter 11, and we should not contemplate government help in any form until the company agrees to all of these things. 

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