Lack of Motor Skills

From David Welch at Business Week:

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” today, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said that General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner should “move on.” That could mean that Dodd and other members of Congress will ask for Wagoner’s resignation before voting on a loan package for GM and Chrysler next week.

Original DVD cover.

Should Wagoner be fired? The problem with Dodd bringing this up is that Washington doesn’t really know anything about the auto industry. And we really don’t want politicians running car companies or anything else. Dodd isn’t qualified to make that decision. Nor is anyone else in Congress.

At the same time, Wagoner’s record is almost impossible to defend. Since he became CEO, the company blew money on things like a $1.3 billion stake in Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries, which yielded no cars or technology worth mentioning. He spent $2.4 billion to get into Fiat Auto and another $2 billion to get out. GM has also paid more than $4 billion in dividends. That’s almost $10 billion wasted. While squandering that money, GM borrowed some $18 billion to shore up its pension fund.


Wagoner was dealt a tough hand, perhaps tougher than any CEO in the country. But he wasted too much cash. And to say he didn’t transform GM is such an understatement that it seems silly to mention. As basic measures go, he has failed. The stock price that soared above $90 a share a decade ago is now below $5. Market share has fallen eight points to 20% since Wagoner became chairman in 2003. No top executive would keep his job after that.

With a record like that, it is time for him to move on.


Yes, Wagoner should go. But not until the current crisis is passed or someone tells me who the new top dog will be. GM needs leadership right now. Canning Wagoner to show voters a scalp will only make matters worse, especially if there isn’t an experienced change agent waiting to take the toughest job in American business. It’s a big decision. America’s auto industry and, perhaps soon, billion in tax dollars will be riding on it. The call can’t be made lightly.

From the Freep (Detroit Free Press):

WASHINGTON – A compromise pact to provide at least $15 billion in loans to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC could be unveiled within the next 24 hours, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin said Sunday.


Levin said he expected the bill to be introduced in the next couple of days. The Senate is set to come back in session Monday, with the House planning to return Tuesday.

Any bill will likely need 60 votes to pass in the Senate, something Levin couldn’t guarantee.

“That’s a much more complicated question as to whether the votes are there,” Levin said. “What I’m confident of is the bill will be introduced.”

However, Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking, housing and urban affairs committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he believed there would be enough votes to pass the measure, even though congressional leaders are displeased over the situation.

“None of us like this at all, and there’s a lot of reasons to be furious,” Dodd said, noting that more than 2 million auto-related jobs in the United States are at risk if the automakers fail. “But there’s a lot more at stake than Detroit. If this was just about some company in Detroit, I’d let them fail in a New York minute.”

Dodd also noted that General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner might be required to step down.


The White House and congressional Democrats have been working on a deal since Friday night, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dropped her opposition to drawing money from a plan to loan Detroit’s automakers $25 billion over several years for retooling plants.

The bill is expected to include numerous conditions on the auto industry, including appointing an overseer to monitor the automakers’ progress on their restructuring plans. Levin said he believed the bill would name the overseer 60 to 90 days after it passes.


President-elect Barack Obama, Congressional leaders and governors of large states weighed in on the topic Sunday during the national news shows.


President-elect Barack Obama said that he hoped a short-term rescue package for the domestic automotive industry would be passed within the next few days. However, he also said that all stakeholders must be prepared to make sacrifices for the industry to survive long-term.

“We are going to have to figure out ways to put the pressure on the automakers the way a bankruptcy court would,” Obama said. “Demand accountability, demand serious change, but do so in a way allows them to keep the factory doors open.”

Obama continued to say that the domestic automotive industry must put an even bigger emphasis than in the past on developing fuel-efficient vehicles and hybrid vehicles.


“We’re very hopeful,” UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said of the impending bill.


Gettelfinger said he agreed with Obama that all stakeholders in the auto industry must sacrifice, but he said the union should get credit for the sacrifices the union has already made.


Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala, who opposes any rescue, said the automakers lacked the ability to turn themselves around.


Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., told CNN host Wolf Blitzer that he preferred a bankruptcy solution for Detroit, even though the automakers have said it would not work and would result in their companies being liquidated.


However, Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., said he didn’t believe bankruptcy would work, because consumers would stop buying their cars.


Filed under Barack Obama, Carl Levin, Christopher Dodd, Congress, Democrats, humor, movies, Nancy Pelosi, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate Banking Committee, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

15 responses to “Lack of Motor Skills

  1. with several foreign car plants in Alabama – you wonder why the two douchebag senators from Alabama – Shelby and Sessions want to veto/filibuster this bill

    talk about overstaying the welcome

  2. dcAp,
    of course, they don’t mention the millions of dollars those car plants got in tax incentives and how they are paying their employees squat compared to what they would have to pay union members. now, if only shelby and sessions could make slavery legal again, they would be happy as pigs in $hit.

  3. They do need to fire that douchebag as a condition of receiving bailout dough.
    He’s an arrogant prick who did a bad job.

  4. Darren7160

    Not just the auto industry but what about all these companies that are “hurting”?

    What I want to see is an accounting of the pay and bonus of not just the CEO, but also all Presidents and Vice-Presidents and other types of “executive” employees.

    The press always talks about the CEO, but that is just the tip. Multiply it times all theexecutives and you are talking serious money!!!

    Yet, they tell use that they need to let go 20 or 200 employees. They can’t stop withdrawing from the ATM, they just lay off workers so there will be money for them to pay themselves.

  5. karen and darren (oh, that was adorable!!),
    amen and amen. keep the workers, replace management.

  6. You gotta love how the Repugnicans are trying to pin this all on UAW employees getting paid too much with too many benefits.

  7. Yeah, it is a mess. UAW, Execs, Gob’ment, can’t go anywhere good. Not like the trustworthy Banking and Insurance industry that we helped out. It’s always interesting how it is quiet until all of a sudden we have a major disaster. I think the Big 3 should start using Quicken Books and it might give some indication that they are in trouble, not the regular trouble they are in, but the big big trouble causing them to put a tin cup out. Btw, UAW not off the hook either, they have as much to do with some issues as the idiot Exec’s that run the place, no one should be let off the hook.

  8. karen,
    the rethugs are dying to bust the union and move all the auto manufacturing to southern states where they can pay crappy wages and offer no benefits.

  9. sandy! 😀
    it is a mess, indeed! there are no clean hands. i am sure of that. i think it’s just a matter of time before the next industry shows up to say that they are going under, too. i don’t know that there is any good answer right now. the government sucks, big business sucks, and nobody can be trusted. all i know is that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.

  10. Nonnie, check this rare glass half full comment out –

    At least gas prices are under 2 bucks for the most part 😉

    Nonnie, I’m interested in the part where you say the rich get richer, how do I move up from ‘Upper Middle Class’ to ‘Rich’ so I can make it finally to ‘Richer’ as I think that I might just be willing to give that change a try 😉

    I guess I had better start investing in the Lotto seems like a good bet these days…

    BTW, Hope your holidays have kicked off well!


  11. sandy,
    i will let you know how to get to rich when i figure out how i can get from poor back to middle class. 😉 gas prices are down to around $1.70 here. it looks rather strange on the signs after not seeing anything lower than almost 4 bucks for so long. the good news, though, is that, even though gas prices are down, people still seem to be driving less. of course, the bad news is that they might be driving less, because they lost their jobs and have no place to go, or they still have jobs, but everything is so expensive, they can’t afford to go anywhere.

    i don’t know if my glass is half full or half empty. i suspect it might be cracked, and it keeps leaking. 😦

    i hope your holidays are going well, too, sandy. i always love to see you comment here! 🙂

  12. Well, going well so far! Have been very busy at work to the point where I have not done anything fun with the cars for a long time. Did you son end up getting a new ride? Seems like 0.0% and cash back is all the rage. And My favorite is ‘Employee Pricing’ but shouldn’t it read ‘Former’ or ‘Laid Off’ Employee Pricing 😉

  13. sandy,
    he ordered a dodge charger. it is supposed to be built in january. i told him that there might not be a company by january, and his attitude is that, if that happens, he’ll look for something else. oy! in the meantime, he is using my car, and i am stuck at home during the day.

    i’m glad that you are busy at work. there are a lot of people who are not lucky enough to be.

  14. Yes, I am fortunate to have a nice place to come to work.

    January? Boy I would imagine they would be cutting him a deal with anything in stock. You should have him go in and say he has changed his mind and see the scramble to do a better deal 😉

    Well at least (stereotype coming) your mini-van will keep him hot with the ladies, so you have that going for you 😉

    BTW seems it was your B’day the other day, Happy BDay!


  15. hey sandy! 🙂

    they don’t have any chargers in stock with all the stuff he wants on it. i just read that chrysler is closing their factories this friday until january 19th, so it looks like a couple of weeks might turn into much longer.

    p.s. and, no, no minivan. so sorry to shatter that illusion. 😉

    p.p.s. yes, the bday was yesterday. thanks, sandy! 🙂