Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama fires GM's Wagoner

On the heels of the news yesterday that the White House is requiring the CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, to step down as part of any restructuring needing federal funds, there's this news this morning:

The White House says neither GM nor Chrysler submitted acceptable plans to receive more bailout money, setting the stage for a crisis in Detroit and putting in motion what could be the final two months of two American auto giants.

US President Barack Obama and his top advisers have determined that neither company is viable and that taxpayers will not spend untold billions more to keep the pair of automakers open forever.

In a last-ditch effort, the administration gave each company a brief deadline to try one last time to convince Washington it is worth saving, said senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to more bluntly discuss the decision.

Obama was set to make the announcement on Monday in the White House's foyer.

This bothers me, but not in some kind of conservative capitalist let-the-market-work kind of way. Bailing out AIG and the Citi and B of A while they pay everybody bonuses is "OK", but bailing out companies that manufacture a product isn't?

The auto manufacturers and their suppliers employ millions of Americans in living-wage jobs with good benefits. The afore-mentioned money managers employ millions of Americans with about 90% of those jobs being low-wage clerks and customer service personnel, and 10% white-collar executives who expect executive compensation tied to performance no matter how badly they perform.

One of these things is just not like the other.

On the other hand, if Obama fires a couple of bank presidents in April, I might feel a little better about it.

Update (4/5): Heh.

The government may require new faces in executive suites at banks requiring “exceptional assistance” in the future, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday.

Critics of the Obama administration’s move last weekend to force out the chairman of General Motors Corp., Rick Wagoner, as a condition for possible additional federal loans say that strong government intervention contrasts with measures placed on the financial industry in return for billions in infusions.

Geithner denied there was a double standard and put banks on notice that they may need to change leadership teams in exchange for accepting more money in the future.

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