At the moment of high anxiety in the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, George Bailey convinces the shareholders in his bankrupt Union Building and Loan to take only the money they need to get by. Sure a few want all their shares and you get the feeling the greedy in life are always the weaker ones but the lady that only wants just enough to get by, now she is a hero. It appears as GM is cut up, sold off, consolidated and left a mere shadow of its former self, there are few heroes around but no end to the greedy. Least of all those telling us that this is a good thing, it was a bad company that needed to be taught a lesson. Kind of like cursing your lame right leg as you run in a marathon. Think how far you would be running without it!
Well America, you are about to get the chance to find out as we begin to see the lists of factory closings GM is sending out. Apparently new factories tooled elsewhere other than America will make cheaper and better cars. Retooled mind you without American workers and their unions, health care packages and pension programs. One quickly gets the feeling that GM isn’t going bankrupt but in a certain way is bailing out and without these basic costs of business has hit the lottery! As for their promise that now the company will come out of this better than ever, it doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to fuel efficient nor greener cars, it just means better able to turn a profit from units sold.
With GM and Chrysler now mere shadows on the automobile market, you and I will turn to foreign automakers to get our next car. Surprisingly, now GM & Chrysler will fall into that category even though you and I still own large stakes in both companies. As to what that ownership really means one can only think of the past and ponder how ironic that the government now owns two car companies. Government making cars, yikes! Thinking back to those Russian cars of the sixties and seventies the worst cars in the world were built by governments in my lifetime. How quickly we forget that competition from our side and foreign carmakers keeps car quality high. Now that it is gone, there is no telling what we will end up getting. Sadly, green may come in car color only!
Dealerships got the word a few weeks ago they were getting the “ax” and to most that is old news. Those miracle miles of car headlights just shrunk into miracle half miles. This week, as factories begin to close and hundreds tied to the auto industry go jobless overnight we find ourselves at another phase of the retooling of industrial America and we take one step closer to going from a country that made its own to a country that now has to buy what it wants. The meaning of a global economy and village becomes a lot clearer to main street America, while exactly what our place in that village will be still remains a mystery.
To the money eaters on Wall Street the whole bankruptcy will be viewed in dollars, cents, losses and gains. To the workers it will for sure be seen as a major loss and for government just another item added to a long list of items they had no idea they would have to deal with when elected a few short months ago. Which brings us back to those anxious faces facing good ol George Bailey. He knows that if he can just get to closing time, that tomorrow will look a whole lot better and he is determined to do whatever it takes to do so. One has to wonder if we do