Bailout Watch 116: Forbes' Jerry Flint Quotes Shelley, Votes Aye

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 116 forbes jerry flint quotes shelley votes aye

Does anyone edit Jerry Flint’s columns? And yes that’s a trick question. If I were the editor in question, I would sit in awe of any curmudgeon brave enough to argue that GM deserves an extra long root in the federal taxpayers’ trough by admonishing readers that “we should remember Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem.” Ozymandias? That particular poem is about hubris and inevitably of death and decay. And yet our man Flint’s uses the work to suggest that U.S. taxpayers should bail out General Motors because we don’t want a great empire to, uh, decay and die. Here’s the deal: we owe them. “I have a long memory,” Flint opines, synapses firing like mad. “I remember World War II, when the president of GM– his name was William Knudsen– headed the successful effort to build our great war production machine. GM helped save America then.” That would be the same GM that aided and abetted the Nazi war machine. “I remember the great GM pay, pensions, health care and dividends that made life good for millions of Americans.” And the union corruption, intransigence and feather-bedding that made GM a sitting duck for transplant attack. But wait ’til you hear what Flint has to say about GM’s current management. You’re not going to want to miss this. Right after the break.

And we’re back. Thanks for joining us. Before the break, we were examing Jerry Flint’s florid argument for a GM bailout. Not only does the Forbes’ scribe think Americans owe GM another shot, but he’s also come to bury– and praise– the company’s leadership. “If there is a great weakness at GM, it is management. For too many years GM’s financially oriented managers ignored or mishandled the car business. I call it arrogance matched by ignorance. On the other hand, these executives were not thieves. They did not enrich themselves like the leaders of the financial service companies that the government is so eager to rescue. GM’s managers just did not understand why Americans love their cars.” Hello? CEO Rick Wagoner $15.5m annual salary? As Bryon once famously remarked, “for real?”

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  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Oct 15, 2008

    BostonTeaParty : Nope. Travel snacks? Maybe...

  • Matt51 Matt51 on Oct 15, 2008

    Can GM be saved even with a bailout? The British tried to save British Leyland but it was beyond saving. Are we throwing good money after bad? Would it make more sense to let one of the little three go, rather than try to save them all? Chrysler has the least debt and might be the easiest to save. Would it be more cost effective to provide incentives for foreign companies to add engineering centers to the US? Would it make more sense to back winners rather than losers? The largest problem at GM is their corporate culture. Is the only way to kill their bean counter management to let GM die? On the other hand, GM has some good product now. Should we let them die when they finally start getting product right? No easy answers here, but it looks like President Obama will turn the cash tap on for Detroit. It may or may not work.

  • Lorenzo Back in olden times, I stopped reading the Superman comics for the stories. It was worth the dime to just read the letters to the editor, with all the letter writers trying to trip up the comics writers with discrepancies, mostly caused by the 4-color printing process, and others arguing the physics of of sn imaginary cartoon character who wore his underwear over his tights. I now find the same thing is hppening here. I'm beginning to shift my interest in TTAC from the articles to the comments section!
  • SCE to AUX Faraday Future shouldn't even be here, and they won't make it. Other ultra-expensive EVs are fun projects for companies who can fund them from other revenue.The Lucid Air is a strange one because it starts at $87k but can run to over $250k. Most cars jump only around 50% for top trims, not 300%.As for EVs - don't give me more power (easy); give me more range (hard). And quicker filling time.
  • Dukeisduke It's funny how stuff like this crosses over between sites nowadays - there's an article about it today on MacRumors: Polestar 2 Software Update Brings Wave of New Apple CarPlay Features - MacRumors
  • Fahrvergnugen "If you’re itching for an ultra-exclusive EV – and who isn’t – "Me...
  • Dukeisduke Tim, once all this foam is everywhere, how do you get rid of it? Does it take a while to break down? I think of the scene in the 1963 James Garner / Doris Day film "The Thrill Of It All", where boxes of soap end up in the swimming pool, creating mountains of foam. The Thrill of It All (1963) - IMDb