Friday, September 7, 2012

The GM Bailout -- The "Big" Campaign Question of 2012

Hi folks -- as the author of The Automobile and American Life and an Ohio voter I feel that I must weigh in on what has emerged as the Presidential campaign issue in the election of 2012. I confess, that overall I am an independent voter with conservative leanings.  That said, I take issue with some of the arguments that were made by Michelle Malkin in today's Dayton Daily News (Sept. 7, p. A8). Ms. Malkin is a smart journalist whose work I normally enjoy reading.But on the matter of GM and its current state she is on thin ice.
Malkin states that : "GM is once again flirting with bankruptcy despite massive government purchases propping up its sale figures. GM stock is rock bottom."  Malkin may be right, but I would argue hardly anyone, and in particular the public knows where GM stands right now. The company's financial status is obscured by accountants and finance people employing "smoke and mirrors" data control. We know that Gm's leadership is frustrated by that lack of real change within the company and the absence of risk takers emerging as leaders within the organization. We know that consumers have a much longer memory than GM ever thought,and thus people like myself, once burned with a GM car years ago, vowed and will hold to the decision of never to buy a GM car again.I don't care if they make the best car on the planet, I would rather drive a flawed Suzuki first.
And, yes, Ms. Malkin, lots of GM's efforts are now going to create jobs overseas. But that is what you have to do in the global auto business to remain competitive.
Short term, Obama can point to jobs coming back to Ohio and Michigan, and for now saving us from a calamity that would have been catastrophic in 2008-9. Long term, maybe Romney and Ryan are right, that bankruptcy would have made for a desperate GM, one that would have to be totally transformed or die. But in reality, neither side of the political struggle really knows if what was done was good or not.  WE don't have the data!  GM has always played its cards tight to the vest. It might be that Ohio goes for Obama, and then GM dies on the vine.  Or perhaps Romney carries the day,and GM has another 100 years. For both parties to stake so much of their campaign on the fate and future of GM without really knowing the firm's health just makes my voting decision that much more difficult.

No comments:

Post a Comment