I had a hard drive that broke...hopefully Western Digital will fall into dire straights so the government will ensure me a warranty.
“But just in case there are still nagging doubts, let me say it as plainly as I can — if you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always. Your warrantee will be safe.
In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been. Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.”
Those were President Obama’s words today as he rolled out his new plan for helping General Motors and Chrysler slow down their inevitable slides into bankruptcy. Criticized by many as being overly harsh, probably by the same amount as would be chastising him had he been generous in his proposals, the plan in in all fairness, the most practical approach to the failing companies.
The interesting part of this is the bizarre guarantee of car warranties by the federal government. It seems like a bit of a stretch for Washington to reach into such a sector of private industry, although at this point, everyone will eventually either have a federal gremlin in their gears or be Wal-Mart.
Wagoner displaying the number of GM cars sold last year.
Rick Wagoner, the former CEO of General Motors, is on the outs. This should come to little surprise, given his general ineptitude and the general failure of GM to do much of anything successful. The company’s market share has been dwindling for years, and there was little indication, given Wagoner’s track record from his previous nine years as CEO, that he would be able to change this.
This comes as a shock for two reasons. One being that someone high up in the hierarchy of a multinational corporation is facing such an inglorious end as a result of failure (the indignity!) and the other being that he was fired by President Obama.
Sure, Obama won’t be handing Wagoner the pink slip, he’s far too busy preparing for his appearance on “Ellen” or something. But his administration has effectively pressured and apparently blatantly requested Wagoner’s departure.
Tomorrow, Obama will be announcing his plans for the auto industry, which hopefully won’t include a series of bailouts similar to the banking industry. Then on Tuesday, GM and Chrysler are scheduled to prove to the government that they can be eventually profitable, and if not, the $13.4 and $4 billion already respectively loaned to them will be retracted.
Right now, big government fanboys and Ayn Rand acolytes should be chomping at their bits. Dreams of government involvement in or dismissal of the auto industry will be flourishing during their sleep tonight. Whichever wins will signal a huge shift in U.S. policy, one that will shape the relationship between private industry and governmental policy for years to come.