12/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How Bankruptcy Would Benefit GM

Is the Midwest about to tumble into Lake Erie?

Sure sounds that way. With General Motors teetering at the edge of insolvency, the company's backers argue that a bankruptcy filing would basically wipe out the entire U.S. auto industry. All of GM's 125,000 employees would supposedly lose their jobs, along with many times that number at suppliers, dealerships, and other companies. A congressional analysis suggests that nearly 4.9 million jobs could be at stake. I guess we should start hoarding food and fuel, because the entire U.S. economy might implode.

At least that's the dreadful scenario that auto executives, union leaders, and the Michigan congressional delegation say justifies a government bailout that would start with $25 billion and surely go up from there--with dubious provisions meant to ensure that the sprawling automaker somehow gets religion and becomes a competitive car company.

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