As GM Goes, So Go Your Tax Dollars

You may recall that last year Detroit came to Washington, hat in hand, looking for another bailout using taxpayer dollars. At that time, some of us questioned whether or not this was a good idea. GM had been on the skids financially for some time and their problems seemed more endemic than temporary. Might they not, we wondered, be better off going into bankruptcy and reorganizing as the airlines did during their dark days? (And you will note that there are still no long lines of people at airports waiting for planes that never arrive.) Also, the bankruptcy option might allow them to relieve themselves of some of their legacy costs and remove the crushing weight of the albatross around their necks by the United Auto Workers.

Nay nay, we were told! Not only is GM too big to fail, but they are an American icon, right up there with the Statue of Liberty and the original Betsy Ross edition of the Stars and Stripes. All they need is a bit more time and some of our money to reorganize and begin producing lean, green cars that people actually want.

Well… so much for that plan.

General Motors’s new chief executive told CNBC that filing for Bankruptcy may be the best option for the struggling automaker.

Henderson’s comments came after President Obama bluntly rejected turnaround plans by GM and Chrysler and demanded that both companies make fresh concessions in order to get more federal aid.

Now I only have one question for the table here. What happens to the money we already gave them? Do the taxpayers get paid back as part of the bankruptcy reorganization, or does this turn into another lump of debt piled on with the rest, left to us to pay off? “Oh well, you put your money in a bad investment and now it’s gone, just like your 401K.”

And, not to be one of those “we told you so” people, but… couldn’t we have done this last year?