Toyota, Honda, and other foreign flag manufacturers are experiencing dramatic decreases in sales as well. Auto sales are down all over the world.
And how is the next to last paragraph a “strawman”? Those are certainly options, in fact they are options that have been and are now being used in industries in other parts of the world.
The real issue here is the private/public dichotomy. The management of GM signed a contract with the UAW. If they can no longer financially honor that contract they have the recourse of bankruptcy. They are a private company and their demise would have a limited effect on the public purse, contrary to the youthful car czar. Public operations, on the other hand, that employ teachers, fire fighters, cops, and others of which you are aware, are on the hook for wages, health and retirement benefits at least as lavish as a UAW worker. I don’t have to buy a GM car and I didn’t have to contribute to the UAW benefits package. Now, apparently, I do. Along with the ignored public employee obligations that make the UAW look truly minor league.