Auf Wiedersehen, Rick: Exercising Our Ownership Responsibility

President George Bush pushed the government into taking ownership stakes in major portions of private corporations. Think banks, unclassifiable financial institutions, and auto companies.

Bush saw the role of government as one of simply giving these private companies tons of taxpayer money.  No controls. No strings. Just a mega-sized Christmas gift from Uncle.

CEO’s said “Thanks,” and pledged to do better in the future.  Yet, they didn’t change the way they did business: performance bonuses, parties, perks, kept flowing.  Super-sized Las Vegas junkets — far more lavish than required for mere meetings or constructive work — remained on the agenda.  Executive penthouses were remodeled, and the free market continued to, uh…, “flourish”. 

The government seemed to expect the same corporate leaders to do the same things, but get a different financial result.

The assumptions were insane.  Or, at best unsustainable and illogical.

Losses continued to mount, and the corporations have come back again and again.

The anger at AIG and its “contractually required” bonuses was spawned from pure frustration over the continuation of upper-class arrogance. 

Now President Obama’s administration has laid down specific terms for continued support of the automobile companies.  It will be smeared by charges of socialism and overreaching government control of private enterprise.

We cannot fall for the arguments of verbal hacks claiming class warfare against the rich or creeping socialism.  President Bush and the Republicans, not President Obama and the Democrats, injected government into the private sector.  The difference in actions is that President Obama is ordering appropriate change of policies so that these profligate corporations can eventually succeed. 

Rick Wagoner, auf Wiedersehen.  And, good riddance. 

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One Response to Auf Wiedersehen, Rick: Exercising Our Ownership Responsibility

  1. allanh says:

    Bonuses are for doing positive things.

    Not only do IAGWTP, I think that AIG should have provided NO bonuses to ANY employees, regardless of contractual agreements, because the company was, at that point, technically insolvent. Nobody should get a bonus for running a dead company into the ground.

    Now … wou want to talk about bonuses for AFTER AIG pays back all of the taxpayer money in a lawful fashion? That, I’m OK with.

    Wagoner has needed to go for some time. Auto industry people made fun of Alan Mullaly when he went to Ford several years ago because he junked a bunch of old programs and started a bunch of new ones, and was doing things “Not The Car Industry Way”.

    Well, Ford is the only one of the Big Three in anything approaching good shape. Maybe we need new non-car-industry leadership at both of the other companies, too.

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