Putting aside the hubris and lack of self-awareness of the automobile CEOs -- reminiscent of the Congressional appearance of the tobacco companies -- what do we do with the moribund bodies that are their business models?
Ask for a plan? Not even close. Current leadership is blinded. Let them become bank holding companies as thousands of companies are trying to do? No way. No oversight is good enough.
Treat them as a bank would treat a favorite small business client or a private equity firm would treat a favored investment: get all the stakeholders in a room and set the non-negotiables for receiving any more money -- new leadership, new strategy, new agreements and contracts with unions and employees and retirees (sacrifice by all for the sake of sustainability). Simulate bankruptcy but much, much faster and without the same "taint." Then put them on a watch list as if they were radioactive. And make sure there is transparency to the U.S. taxpayers who are the investors.
Figure out how the Feds should guarantee/underwrite warranties so consumers will trust these are real. Re-think how to deal with and re-vamp the health benefits and pensions awarded over a decade without regard to sustainability; do so without assuming no sacrifice by the recipients. But also do so recognizing that foreign manufacturers with plants in the U.S. are subsidized by their home governments in terms of national health programs. And bring to the table independent experts who know how to execute. Do it right, do it quick and let there be sustainable jobs.
This is not the first industry to be insolvent and affect millions of employees of small businesses. But this approach will be far better than pouring in tax dollars with no real viability of the body.
That's my view. What's yours?
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