Thursday, November 20, 2008

GM’s Personal Crisis

Actual quotes from General Motors’ CEO:

This is all about a lot more than just Detroit. It’s about saving the U.S. economy from a catastrophic collapse. (November 18)

The societal costs would be catastrophic — three million jobs lost within the first year, U.S. personal income reduced by $150 billion and a government tax loss of more than $156 billion over three years. (November 18)

This is an issue of the whole auto industry, if that becomes under severe pressure, the impact on the whole U.S. economy will be devastating. (November 16)

I don’t believe we have the luxury of a lot of time. (November 19)

It is to be expected that anyone seeking help tries to make their predicament seem bigger than just themselves, but GM has gone too far. The truth is, the collapse of GM is mostly behind us, and although it’s been a serious problem, it hasn’t been a catastrophe for the world.

And by so exaggerating their own importance, GM executives have given up not only their own credibility, but that of their company. The more GM executives go around talking about how the sky is falling, the more it seems like a personal crisis rather than a global one.

No one seems to have a workable bailout plan for GM, and as long as GM keeps pointing fingers and trying to avoid responsibility for its own mistakes, that’s a political reality that is not likely to change.