The WSJ‘s Paul Ingrassia writes:
GM CEO Rick Wagoner said he wouldn’t resign to secure federal aid for his company. This was like Louis XIV saying, “L’État c’est moi.” Mr. Wagoner explained that he didn’t see “what purpose would be served.” Well, the same one served by the presidential election in this country three weeks ago: to bring in somebody new to try some fresh ideas to fix things.
There are multiple benefits to be obtained through Chapter 11–such as the restructuring of union agreements and the reduction of creditor claims, to name only two. But such a process’s ability to clean out management thoroughly and completely shouldn’t be underestimated. This group couldn’t even sell a rescue plan in a recession to a Democratic Congress. (Indeed, they set back their cause through stupidity and arrogance.) They have not made the case that, even with billions from the taxpayers, they would do any better selling cars.
Like President George W. Bush, whose mere appearance has regularly sent the stock market sliding, the Big Three’s management would have been better served staying home and under cover. But in coming out of the shadows, they made the case for bankruptcy. In that sense, they deserve our gratitude.