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As Expected: Obama to "Consult" with GM Regarding New Board Members

The US government will "consult" with GM to replace its board of directors. We all know who the government will put on this board. UAW heads, environmentalists, and others who don't give know anything about making a profit. They're more concerned about pushing their agenda and telling us what to drive.

The president's auto task force plans to consult with the company as it replaces a majority of its board, a White House official said. The board today largely consists of the current and former chiefs of major U.S. corporations such as Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, Pfizer and Eastman Kodak. It is not known which of the 12 board members will leave.

The president said Monday that "the United States government has no interest in running GM." But in practice it is already exerting tremendous influence over it, a situation that has triggered fierce debate over how much power the government should wield over the companies that it aids.

Kent Kresa, 71, GM's new chairman, said yesterday that company officials will seek to replace a majority on the board by August, as the automaker moves to restructure operations.

"There will be continuing coordination as decisions about the leadership of the company are made," a White House official said yesterday. "Folks from the autos task force will be involved in those decisions."

...

Some critics characterize the White House's removal of Wagoner as a move toward European socialism. In addition to forcing leadership changes at GM, President Obama on Monday said that Chrysler must strike a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat, and that GM must further cut its already shrunken workforce and product lines.

"They have opened Pandora's box -- the U.S. government has decided they know better than the private company," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) "There is no question that this country is moving down a very different and foreign path. We have crossed this threshold: We own this company and we are telling it what to do."

But defenders say the government must make changes at the ailing companies to safeguard the billions of dollars being invested by taxpayers.

"There's a new CEO and new chairman of the board," said Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.). "The government will play an active role as with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other institutions with a major investment from taxpayers."

And we all know how well that worked out.

Another government tried to get into the car making business. This is what it came up with:

trabant.jpg
This is the car that gave Communism a bad name. Powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a hollow lie of a car constructed of recycled worthlessness (actually, the body was made of a fiberglass-like Duroplast, reinforced with recycled fibers like cotton and wood). A virtual antique when it was designed in the 1950s, the Trabant was East Germany's answer to the VW Beetle -- a "people's car," as if the people didn't have enough to worry about. Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals. But history has been kind to the Trabi. Thousands of East Germans drove their Trabants over the border when the Wall fell, which made it a kind of automotive liberator. Once across the border, the none-too-sentimental Ostdeutschlanders immediately abandoned their cars. Ich bin Junk!

Peter Robinson, host of Uncommon Knowledge, interviewed Richard Epstein, who said this about Obama's attempt to let government restructure GM:

[W]e take them away from bankruptcy judges, who are experts, and give them to a collection of congressional individuals who are charitably called clowns. When you bring commercial decisions to Congress they become politicized, and politicized decisions become destructive decisions.

Not only that, but this sets a terrible precedent where no precedent exists at all, while there is over 200 years of bankruptcy law that dictates exactly how a bankruptcy of a corporation is supposed to proceed. This new CEO needs to get his head out of his a$$ and pull this entire thing out from underneath Obama by filing a petition for Chapter 11; otherwise, Barack Obama will not only guide GM through a make-believe bankruptcy, but also he will guide America through the iron-fisted gates of statism.

Update: Hot Air informs us that Car and Driver has what looks like an April Fool's joke. What's really sad is that Obama has so overreached that it's very easy to take Car and Driver's joke seriously, which I did at first: Obama has just ordered GM and Chrysler to stop participating in NASCAR because it's an unnecessary expenditure. If GM and Chrysler keep going along with this faux bankruptcy, they deserve to die a long, painful death:

In a move sure to spark outrage, the White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government. Companies around the globe--Honda and Audi, to name two--have drawn down racing operations, and NASCAR itself has already felt the pinch in the form of reduced team spending. A complete withdrawal from America's premier racing series is expected to save more than $250 million between GM and Chrysler, a substantial amount considering the drastic measures being implemented elsewhere.

What sad, little fools:

Both Chevrolet and Dodge see the move as only temporary, and fully expect to resume racing in NASCAR as soon as they have stabilized and the government's hand in their operations is minimized. "There is nothing really to say at this point," said one representative, who wished to remain anonymous. "We've been doing this since the beginning, and we always assumed we'd be doing this until the end. Heck, nobody ever thought to think that there would be an end. But we ain't done. As soon as this is over, we're taking back our spot at the top."

When are these people going to get it. The government's hand won't ever be minimized, at least not under Obama's rule. Once government bureaucrats get their first taste of making the car of their environmental dreams, it's over. The government will not get out of the business until a president who understands the free market wins the office and sets GM and Chrysler free again.


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Comments (25)

GM needs to file Chapter 11... (Below threshold)

GM needs to file Chapter 11 now, before the Obama administration can stack the Board of Directors.

I hope they have already interviewed DIP lending candidates because if their only source of post petition financing is the US government then the game is already over.

The NASCAR bit is an April ... (Below threshold)
James:

The NASCAR bit is an April Fools joke from Car And Driver magazine

Fabricate a strawman argume... (Below threshold)
BobDog:

Fabricate a strawman argument, that Obama is going to stack the GM BOD with anti-business interests, then attack it?

I guess the real news of the day is just too depressing so it's easier to make the news up and then complain about the news story between your ears?

Since the administration had an opinion on Wagoner it makes sense for GM to run the future top picks past the administration and not risk further wrath down the road, that's true. The rest of what's written here is pure fearmongering fantasy.

You're right Hugh. I hope G... (Below threshold)

You're right Hugh. I hope GM has had this working in the background.

Why are we not seeing Repub... (Below threshold)

Why are we not seeing Republicans every day at every opportunity holding press conferences demanding answers from Change, Inc.'s office as to how he can so blatantly sidestep the Constitution? It frustrates me to no end when I see no response from our side when these fools go beyond their constitutional constraints.

Jonathan,The answe... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Jonathan,

The answer is simple. Sticking up for business that come to the government for bailouts is not good politics right now. If and when it comes to business that are not asking for taxpayer money, then Republicans will speak up. It's a keep your powder dry strategy.

BobDog: starts with... "... (Below threshold)

BobDog: starts with... "Fabricate a strawman argument, that Obama is going to stack the GM BOD with anti-business interests, then attack it?"

and ends with:
"Since the administration had an opinion on Wagoner it makes sense for GM to run the future top picks past the administration and not risk further wrath down the road""

Wowser! Actual beautiful in the simplicity of its illogic.

If GM (and other companies) need to "run their picks past Obama" to avoid his "WRATH!"...then how is that NOT Obama having the ability to "stack the board"????

Yikes. This is one time wh... (Below threshold)
James H:

Yikes. This is one time when we need an unelected judge making the tough decisions.

"The NASCAR bit is an April... (Below threshold)
MikeNC:

"The NASCAR bit is an April Fools joke from Car And Driver magazine"

The sad thing is that it is entirely believable.

Why are we not see... (Below threshold)
Why are we not seeing Republicans every day at every opportunity holding press conferences demanding answers from Change, Inc.'s office as to how he can so blatantly sidestep the Constitution?

Because Republicans are generally stupid, and, in particular, RNC chair Michael Steele is completely ineffective at communicating any kind of a conservative agenda to counter the Obamites' full-tilt boogie into socialism.

Sticking up for bu... (Below threshold)
Sticking up for business that come to the government for bailouts is not good politics right now. If and when it comes to business that are not asking for taxpayer money, then Republicans will speak up.

They will? Dude, you have a lot more confidence in the GOP than I do. Based on the record, I have little or no.

I get why you're ups... (Below threshold)
suhnami:


I get why you're upset, but how does attaching a joke article add any weight to your cause?

Chrysler is gone. The One h... (Below threshold)

Chrysler is gone. The One has basically told them to go away.

The remaining automakers, Ford and the transplants, have to be wondering what sort of legislative and regulatory burdens they will have to bear as competitors of Government Motors. To say nothing of how they will have to compete with government subsidized production and tax credited sales for GM cars.

I think that the argument a... (Below threshold)

I think that the argument about business taking bailouts and it being bad politics to come to their defense right now is a good point, although I think the argument could be framed around the Constitutional violations and the potential rather than....wait....never mind. People don't even believe in the Constitution anymore.

In all seriousness, I agree that they need to hold off for the moment, the leadership, when they come forward needs to be aggressive and convincing if they want to make the biggest impact against this socialist mess.

"The president said Mond... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"The president said Monday that "the United States government has no interest in running GM.""

No. They just want to fire who they want, dictate what salaries will be, "consult" on a business strategy and have a say in who occupies seats on the board. Other than that, no, they don't want to interfere. What ever gave us that idea?

I have driven General Motor... (Below threshold)
Tom Kelly:

I have driven General Motors cars for 32 years. I will never ever buy a Government Motors car and I hope lots of others don't either.

GM currently has 20 differe... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

GM currently has 20 different models,iirc, (aggregate total among the different badges), 9 of which return a profit.
The result of the forthcoming regulations will be the discontinuance of each, in favor of an "environmentally responsible model group"i.e. removing any profitability. This will result in the complete nationalization of GM--being "too big to fail".

Chrysler/Fiat will be allowed to fail, and be discarded. I give Ford about 2 more years before they follow GM's path, and we have, for real, Government Motors.

For what it's worth, looks ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

For what it's worth, looks like GM's possibly pulling out of their Test Track sponsorship down at EPCOT...

Darn shame, that...

Car and Driver has now pull... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Car and Driver has now pulled the story and you get this.

Car and Driver has a proud tradition of April Fools' Day jokes stretching back 30 years. We regret if this year's went too far.


http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/high_performance/motorsports/sorry_car_news

GM CEO Rick Wagoner was a d... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

GM CEO Rick Wagoner was a disaster for GM shareholders. The value of GM stock fell by 90% during his helm at GM and the company lost as much as $82 billion dollars And much of this damage was way before any talk of a recession as well. It was surprising that GM stockholders didn't demand that Wagoner be fired long ago. Few company CEOs can do this much damage to a company and still survive so many years like Wagoner did. Not many corporate CEOs can take one of the largest world corporations and completely ruin it and drive it to the brink of bankruptcy and possibly take down several hundred thousand jobs, yet Wagoner managed all of this.

I think that Wagoner's work as GM head is pretty indefensible here. As head of some sort of other company, this guy might have succeeded. But he sure failed here. The White House merely forced what shareholders or others didn't do, finally fire Wagoner for his terrible record of poor performance and losing buckets of money.

The BBC show Top Gear did a... (Below threshold)
PC:

The BBC show Top Gear did an episode about the cars that communism turned out during their last season. All of them were crap. Utter crap. Beyond crap. Look for Series 12, Episode 6. Wikipedia

My father has always purchased Chevrolets. I have always purchased GM products. Unless they get out from under the thumb of the government, my current vehicle is the last one I will buy from GM.

Kim, you lost me right here... (Below threshold)
Bob Conway:

Kim, you lost me right here

"We all know who the government will put on this board. UAW heads, environmentalists, and others who don't give know anything about making a profit."

And the heads of GM know how to turn a profit? What on earth is wrong with you people????

And the heads of ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
And the heads of GM know how to turn a profit? What on earth is wrong with you people????

The heads of GM and the labor leaders have both made mistakes, so maybe everyone should be fired. However, let the board and the union membership do it. One wonders how they would do if they were not losing money due to labor contracts and pension funds.
This is why GM should have filed for bankruptcy. .
I know the Government has done wonderful at all the projects it runs or oversees.
We know how well the government handles money.
Social Security is how many Trillion in debt?
Amtrak has never been profitable
FM/FM are at the root of the finical meltdown?
The post office lost how many billions of dollars?
How much money does Medicare and Medicare bleed?
How many trillions have we spent on public education and we have horrible education rates.


I lived in Eastern Europe b... (Below threshold)
Chris:

I lived in Eastern Europe before the fall of Communism. There were Trabants everywhere. You could outrun them actually. When they needed repairs, the owners would simply lift them up and set them on their side and get to work. They were so light, this was a one person job. When people parked them, they took their windshield whippers with them, otherwise they would be stolen. There was a constant shortage if whippers. Also, since they were made out of fiber board, they would shatter in an accident.

There was also a 3 wheel version of the Trabant.

The other car you saw all the time was the Lada, which was a knock off of a 1950s Fiat. At least it was metal.

And then there was the Skoda, which was basically an incredibly ugly tank. I think Ford owns Skoda now, because I see them all over the UK.

happy belated April fool's ... (Below threshold)

happy belated April fool's day...

i don't think pulling funding for Nascar would have been so inappropriate in any case, desperate times and all




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