Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Absolute Power

President Obama urged GM CEO Rick Wagoner to resign. The request was complied upon.
Wagoner, 56, who spent 32 years with GM working all over the world, stepped down effective immediately. He was replaced as CEO by Fritz Henderson, the company’s vice chairman and chief operating officer.
Obama did so with out any advice from Congress, according to Carl Levin (D), Michigan’s senior senator.
“He didn’t ask us about it, he informed us,” Levin told reporters in a conference call Monday afternoon. “The president said he’d already decided.”
According to reports, Levin said he and three other lawmakers were informed of the decision in a phone call Obama made from the Oval Office. Obama told the members of Congress that Wagoner needed to resign so that his administration could show the public it was making an effort at a fresh start with the auto industry.
Does that not sound strange to anyone but me? Is the president supposed to be in the business of firing people whom aren’t in government?
Does that mean if your business receives money from a bank which received money from the government, Obama can have you fired?
Granted, Wagoner’s company had lost $82 billion the last four years and is a recipient of billions in taxpayer money, but shouldn’t he be judged by the board and shareholders?
In Wagoner’s defense, he was making a difference. He had cut GM’s U.S. work force from 177,000 to roughly 92,000; closed factories; shed the unprofitable Oldsmobile brand; globalized GM’s engineering, manufacturing and design; led a resurgence in quality and performance; and ushered in a more affordable $14-per-hour wage for new hires, about half that of a former wage. These measures saved the company billions.
What really sunk Wagoner was the GM’s focus on larger SUVs and trucks instead of smaller fuel efficient automobiles as fuel prices climbed.
By the way: GM’s stock was down $.92 Monday ... down to $2.70 a share. That’s a pretty good slip.
In fact, it’s safe to say the market reacted poorly to the Obama-Wagoner news. Investors are probably worried about the prospect of the president handing pink-slips out.
Here’s what worries me. The government is getting far too close to the private sector.
If a company is not viable, let it fail. If it is viable but needs to be restructured, let it enter bankruptcy.
What ever happened to the anti-trust legislation? They used to use it when a company was deemed too big. Anyone thinking that should have been the case with AIG?
Mr. President, I implore you, run the country, not businesses. Please protect our Mexican border, take out North Korea’s missile and make sure Congress spends OUR money WISELY!
If Obama wants to reach beyond his powers and start firing people, he should start with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank - as they know nothing about business but plenty about spending OUR money poorly. I bet the markets would react great to that news.
And before you Democrats get the rope for me and you Republicans begin praising me, here is something else to chew on.
At least there is leadership on the left. There is virtually no voice coming from the GOP. Where’s the leadership? Who is going to step forward and become the new face of this downtrodden party?
It’s a fact - one party rule in this country stinks. The GOP proved that and it cost them dearly. The Democrats continue to prove that point by spending like coeds on spring break with Daddy’s credit card.
Our current economic situation and the government’s reaction - dating back to the Bush Administration, make me want to puke.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2009