March 29, 2009

"Maybe I’m old-school, but 'President fires CEO' looks as wrong as 'Pope fires Missile.'"

Lileks.

The headline.

35 comments:

peter hoh said...

When the Pope is paying for missiles, then the Pope gets to fire them.

BTW, the Pres asking the CEO to step down as a condition of the company's receiving more federal money is not the same as firing the CEO.

hdhouse said...

One could rightly assume there is more to this story than the headlines. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

Peter V. Bella said...

Barak "Hugo Chavez" Obama" What next, a total take over of all industry? We are in deep trouble. The shredding of the constitution is about to begin.

peter hoh said...

I suspect I missed Lileks' earlier tweet: "Maybe I'm old-school, but CEO asks for government bailout looks wrong."

peter hoh said...

Yes, Peter Bella, Obama should do like Bush and give money to companies without insisting that they change anything. That's the American Way, right?

Lem said...

Its not old school.

It's the ACORN School of Business.

hdhouse said...

Peter:

Try reading for a change. GM didn't live up to its plan. There is also nothing in the constitution that addresses this so your "shredding" statement is yet another knee-jerk reactionary soundbite.

Geeze, who writes your stuff? Trooper York?

Joe M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy said...

How "old school" is it to suggest suicide?

And can I assume everybody here is against the AIG bonuses being paid back?

Jeremy said...

Many here complain about Obama not being tough enough.

Well, maybe this is his way of showing you what "tough love" really is and what a real leader does to make sure tax payer money is not given to those who underperform or do not live up to the responsibilities expected for such a "bailout."

I can't wait to hear what the American public thinks about this.

Does anybody want to bet who they agree with?

Derek Kite said...

Why do GM cars have 4 seats?

One for the driver, one for the mechanic, one for the electrician, one for the computer tech.

Get used to it.

Derek

PatCA said...

Classic tweet!

save_the_rustbelt said...

My latest conspiracy theory.

Obama wants to bring the auto makers so close to collapse that he can effectively do a takeover.

He then installs a "green" regime and uses the auto makers in an attempt to satisfy his green fantasies.

And the auto makers muddle along for years sucking up huge amounts of federal cash.

(Six months ago this would have been unthinkable to the point of being funny - now, not so much.)

Invisible Man said...

I love this. Reagan was practically deifed on the Right for firing a bunch of air-traffic controllers and many of you carped on the salaries of the auto workers' salaries, but how dare Obama take on a CEO and ask him to do the responsible thing. It's funny how on the Righ, CEO's are some sacred cow that must not be tampered with because of all of their benevolent gifts and accumulated wealth destruction, but regular union guys should be purged as quickly possible to save capitalism.

I know most of the people are just criticizing for criticisms sake, because they have nothing constructive to say about getting out of this situation. But Wagoner is truly incompetent at his job, and if you want to save GM, removing him is a good beginnings of a strategy for that company.

Peter V. Bella said...

Um, invisible man. Reagan did not defy the right when he fired the controllers. They violated the law by going on strike. They fired them selves. Their leadership was lucky it was not imprisoned.

sg said...

save_the_rustbelt:

I'm with you. I think Obama wants to force Detroit to make eco clown cars instead of trucks and SUVs.

Detroit can't make money on small cars, and maybe never will be able to. So if Americans still want to buy trucks and SUVs (which they will), they won't be able to purchase them from Obama Motors, they'll be forced to buy Japanese ones. How does that make sense?

That's the real problem: government-directed industrial policy. Not so much the firing of the CEO--he probably deserved it. Had GM gone through Chapter 11 (like it should have done months and billions of taxpayer bailout dollars ago), the CEO would have been a goner anyways.

MadisonMan said...

I think it would be so much better if the Government just threw the money at GM, no strings attached. It's pretty obvious that GM has a crack management team in place. I'm so sure GM'd do the right thing with the money and make the company even more of a juggernaut than it is now!

fcai said...

The UAW has a good track record too - they need a raise.

Jim said...

@ hdhouse:

Well, if GM failed to live up to the requirements of the "plan", weren't there supposed to be consequences? The Obama administration is changing the requirements of the "plan" after the face. Might as well get used to that, as there will be a lot of it coming.

ElcubanitoKC said...

It's a scary thought...

Henry said...

What did Fiat do to deserve this?

fcai said...

Obama can fire Wagoner.

Obama cannot fire Gettlefinger. The inverse is more likely true - the UAW spent the money to elect the president and they own Obama.

Pogo said...

What's that gummint control of industry stuff called again?

Oh, yeah.
National Socialism.

peter hoh said...

Peter V. Bella, I think you confused "deify" with "defy." Go back and read Invisible Man's 7:11 comment more closely.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Latest speculation from Detroit....

Obama tossed Wagoner as a gift to Gettlefinger, who prefers the #2 guy.

Obama is setting up the UAW for a really hard fall, and he needs to keep Gettlefinger happy for 60 days or so.

The board is going to be changed, filled with Obama guys who know nothing about cars.

Such a plan.....

George Grady said...

I think that quote shows a lack of knowledge both about the history of presidents and the history of popes.

Cedarford said...

think Peter Hoh got the right flavor of this:

peter hoh said...
I suspect I missed Lileks' earlier tweet: "Maybe I'm old-school, but CEO asks for government bailout looks wrong."


Yes it would be wrong if there was the luxury of America not having a pack of CEOs and union bosses flying in on private jets asking for taxpayer bailouts. And we could pretend that there was this this Great Wall between the Gummint and the Freedom-loving leaders of the Free Market best left untrammeled by evil Gummint regulation of their Wall Street machinations, 3rd-tier derivatives of bundled bad housing loan debt, and irrationally plush union contracts.....

But that is not the case.

Nor is it the case that America would be well served to let the same "invisible hand" now move to destroy our entire financial system, critical economy components, and perhaps our currency be destroyed by letting the banking and critical industries fail - Simply to see them replaced by the Chinese. Or not see them replaced at all.

In the Dark Ages, the Pope did indeed have Armies and a Judiciary because the secular sector had failed so badly that Ecclesastical Order and Courts were deemed better than nothing at all.

And in extraordinary times, in America's past, it was necessary to check the same laissez faire "freedom-loving" idiots. Not just with "laws" the lawyers in the same socioeconomic class concocted - but with executive gov't or the military issuing diktats.
The executive demanded and got "rogues and speculators" fired in two early 1800s banking crises. In the Civil War, Lincoln 'fired' execs of railroads and other industries and Grant famously wanted to go past that when he asked for permission to execute a couple dozen "Jewish war profiteers" he believed were badly harming the Army of the North.
In WWII, the War Production Board, with no law behind them - also demanded and got various CEO heads for failing to deliver.
Overseas, capitalism failed so badly in other times and in other nations on incompetent leaders and pervasive corruption that governments were forced to step in, and frequently made things worse - Bolsheviks, UK state nationalisation, Chavezism..and dozens of other fiascos. But do not overlook that events and poor incompetent leadership of capitalist sectors forced it to happen..

Now we are in extraordinary times again. I guess the appropriate attitude is that government must step in to save tens of millions of worker jobs but always remember that we must return to the more efficient capitalist model..hopefully a model free of voodoo economics and far better regulated than the 1980-2008 one was when it failed us.

Big Mike said...

Here I am a rock-ribbed conservative and I'm about to defend Barack Obama. I may have to drink lunch instead of eating it today. I'm certainly going to have to wash my hands and sterilize my keyboard.

I've felt for any number of years that removal of the CEO, Chairman of the Board, all of the executive VPs, the CTO, and everybody on "mahogany row" except, probably, the CFO and CIO should be the price of getting federal bail-out money. This should cut back on the raid on the treasury, by seeing to it that companies only show up with their hands out when the situation is totally in extremis. So my only kvetch with Obama's action is that he didn't go far enough or cut deeply enough.

Peter V. Bella said...

Hey House,
I can read. I also know that GM had the money for less thime than Obama has been in office. I guess the Messiah expected a miracle!

bearbee said...

Don't know anything about Wagoner competency level but after the AIG debacle, it appears the administration needs a fall guy to look 'decisive' and 'tough' while continuing to dole out more taxpayer money to a 'zombie' automaker.

Does this make O Chairman of GM Board of Directors?

Yahoo GM message board is interesting.

madawaskan said...

What's weird is Obama seems to think he's

Super Saviour!

they've nationalized Bank of America, and Citigroup.

Now they think they can do the auto industry better!

Meanwhile his powers of diplomacy tell me he doesn't know how to delegate.

Let's see if the auto industry fails does Obama get the blame?

Nope. The 90% Democrat journalist media will COA.

AJ Lynch said...

I looked at a Pontiac G8 GXP yesteday with a manual transmission. Sweet ride- I think I am gonna buy one. Was looking at a Mustang GT but the GXP looks as fast and maybe more functional for long rides.

Peter V. Bella said...

Lynch,
Better buy it now. It may be illegal soon.

Anthony said...

This was an entirely predictable outcome of the bailout money. GM management made a deal with the devil, so one can't really pity them when the devil takes his due. My basic opinion:

-- Waggoner and the Board should have gone a long time ago

-- They should have gone for managed bankruptcy instead

-- Since they took the money, this was to be expected

-- It should be scaring the bejeebus out of any organization that takes Federal money of any sort

gbarto said...

It's not a question of whether Wagoner needed to go. The problem is that if the Obama team ousted Wagoner, they'll be obliged to oust the next guy if he's not polling well. Not a good setup for drawing in the sort of talent who will do what needs to be done.