First Draft: sputtering autos

March 30, 2009

President Barack Obama gives his verdict on auto industry restructuring plans at 11 a.m.

Apparently GM and Chrysler, both seeking government money, did not pass with flying colors. White House forced GM chief Rick Wagoner out and wants Chrysler to work out a partnership with Italy’s Fiat — could that spawn a PT Cruiser Panda? OBAMA/

Lots of chatter on the ousting of Wagoner. Two main questions being raised — why was the White House tougher on automakers than bankers on this front and is it the proper role of government to depose the head of a private company?

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm told NBC’s “Today” show that it was clear that Wagoner was a “sacrificial lamb.”

Don’t drink and drive. Beer wholesalers and brewers holding a conference in Washington this week, wonder what’s on tap… 

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (GM’s Wagoner wipes eye during meeting)

One comment

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Timothy Geitner wants control of the remaining financial industry not under FDIC or SEC. The White house has forced out Rick Wagoner. I do not believe the Federal Government, specifically the Executive Branch, should be hiring and firing CEOs or determining what companies stay in business and what don’t. Germany, Japan, India and other nations are providing assistance to their auto industry with out such draconian measures as we are seeing here in the U.S.. There is a power grab by the Executive branch that is unprecedented in U.S. history. Congress seems unfazed. I believe no such parallels can be found even during the war time economy of the 1940s here at home.

A quote from George Washington’s farewell address to the nation concerning the distribution of power in government seems appropriate. “But let there be no change (of power) by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed”. Perhaps a review of the 1930s global economic collapse and the subsequent rise of fascism will provide us with much needed lessons to learn here at home.

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