Keith Crain, publisher and editorial director of our sister newspaper Automotive News, wrote a very strong column this week about the U.S. government takeover of General Motors Corp. He starts by saying that he is "surprised and disappointed that corporate America has been painfully silent as the government usurps more and more authority at General Motors."
The White House and the Treasury Department fired the CEO and appointed an "interim" CEO and an "interim" nonexecutive chairman. They decided that the UAW will have a large block of the stock in whatever company emerges and have told the bondholders exactly how many billions of dollars they will lose. All this from folks who have never run a manufacturing company. They are mostly politicians and regulators with a smattering of Wall Street financial types. This scenario should never have happened. There has hardly been a peep from anyone that perhaps this is a formula for disaster. The UAW is made up of good people, but the idea that the government and the UAW will make any decisions about an auto company is ludicrous.The White House types might argue that they can't do a lot worse with GM than the previous management. But the fact is, they can do worse -- and they probably will. What part of the car business with thrive under Washington's tutelage? Manufacturing? Product development and design? Marketing? I don't think so. So, corporate America, let's hear it. Why hasn't there been more of an outcry against the White House takeover of "Government Motors"?