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Buying time for GM

June 2, 2009 - Jim Anderson
The attempt to save GM has plenty of critics on both the left and the right.

Fears that President Obama is stepping far too deeply into private enterprise could prove devastating if the new GM falters.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has called Obama’s plans for GM “nothing more than another government grab of a private company and another handout to the union cronies who helped bankroll his presidential campaign.”

From the left, there are arguments that simply preserving GM as a car company is short-sighted and offers little in the way of a long-term solution to our energy and transportation needs.

Progressives complain that it’s foolish to outsource thousands of jobs to China or Mexico while the U.S. government holds a majority share of the company. The deepest cynics on the left charge that Obama is a Trojan horse of the plutocracy.

Michael Moore, meanwhile, argues that the money could be better spent retooling manufacturing plants in the U.S. to produce solar panels, windmills and bullet trains.

With GM in such straits, any attempted remedy is a gamble. The president has played only a first card and I suspect there’s going to a lot of flexibility ahead.

In the end, Obama is buying some time for the U.S. automobile economy. It may be too expensive for what it delivers or it might be a bridge to better times.

The president has gained the support of U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., whose district has been battered by the auto industry’s troubles. She has called Obama's plans for GM “the only responsible step forward.”

I would guess that it’s only a first step, intended to prevent what some have described as an "economic holocaust" for the Midwest. The time that Obama is buying may likely be used to change strategies once again.


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