The First Draft: End of an era for GM
Even though it was expected, it was still a jolt: GM declared bankruptcy this morning, the third-largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and the biggest ever in U.S. manufacturing.
Unthinkable a decade ago, now General Motors is yet another casualty of the cratered U.S. economy, with taxpayers putting up $30 billion for a 60 percent stake in the company. The GM filing followed just hours after a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of virtually all of automaker Chrysler’s assets to a group led by Italy’s Fiat SpA.
Within minutes of the filing, the headlines were rocketing around the Web:
The Washington Post: “Filing Marks the End of Financial Independence for Industrial Icon”
The New York Times: “A Risky Bet to Save an Icon of American Capitalism”
The Drudge Report led its page with a photo of the GM logo under a U.S. flag, headlined: “Government Motors.”
It wasn’t a total blue Monday for the U.S. economy, though, as consumer spending eased and personal income rose in April, the largest increase in almost a year.
President Barack Obama, fresh from a slightly controversial “date night” in New York City over the weekend, will be talking about the automotive industry at the White House around midday, before an afternoon visit to the National Naval Medical Center. The Senate returns from recess today, with the House still out.
Moving back to work after a gorgeous weekend in the Washington DC area, the morning television shows led with the disappearance of an Air France passenger jet over the Atlantic on its way from Brazil to Paris. There was condemnation of the fatal shooting of Dr. George Tiller, one of very few U.S. physicians who performed late-term abortions, who was gunned down at his church on Sunday. And there was also the inevitable post-mortem of the “Britain’s Got Talent” contest result on Saturday, in which sudden media star Susan Boyle sang well but not well enough to ace out Diversity, the winning dance troupe.
Photo credit: Photographer: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook (‘Buy American’ sign, in support of Detroit’s auto industry, is seen in the back of an auto scrap yard in Detroit, Michigan May 18, 2009.)