Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
Rick Wagoner, ex-CEO of GM (a private company) fired by the President of the United States
Let me say at the outset that I have no idea whether Rick Wagoner was or wasn't an effective CEO at General Motors. Maybe he deserved to be canned from the top position in a company for which he had worked for 32 years. For all I know, he may be the biggest villain in the whole auto industry mess. However, I am bothered greatly by the manner he was forced out. Doesn't it bother anybody in America that a CEO of a private company was fired by the Federal Government, specifically, the Treasury Department and the White House? This points out a much greater problem than the future of the auto industry. This goes right to the future of our democratic and capitalistic system.
Of course, one might argue that when a private enterprise accepts government bailout money, the government has a right to make decisions and call the shots. That's what government does when it hands out money. It sets rules.
I won't waste a lot of time pointing out that no one in the federal government knows the first thing about making automobiles, and darn few know how to run a business, let alone a major corporation. That's common sense. As a retired government employee, I know first-hand how inefficient government is, at least when you get into the depths of Washington DC HQs. Now that the government has taken over GM and Chrysler, they can only run them further into the ground. Does anybody seriously think that Chris Dodd (who recently called on Wagoner to resign) has the answers? Speaking of resigning, Dodd probably has too many questions of his own to answer these days without having to worry about the auto industry.
But let's get to the crux of the problem: Since when does a president of the United States and his cronies in the Treasury Department have the legal or constitutional right to fire a CEO of a private company? That is precisely what happened here. One wonders what discussions went on between the White House and Treasury Department with the United Auto Workers. The UAW has spent decades building job protection rules for its members that have greatly led to the auto-industry's financial problems. Do they care that Wagoner was fired by the President of the United States?
Of course they don't. They know that this administration is on their team and will make them and other unions stronger with their card check legislation that is in the works.
But back to the point: In this headlong rush toward socialism, we are seeing the creation of a system whereby the US Government can come in and seize any company or industry it wants-even if no bailouts are involved. What they are designing is the acquisition by the government of any business entity whose failure would impact the US economy. Who in the government will decide which companies are in danger of failing? Who decides if the company's failure represents damage to the US economy?
And once this idea takes effect, make no mistake- corruption is on the way. Right now, these people are thinking about saving the US economy or instituting socialism. How long will it be before members of Congress start taking advantage of their "oversight" powers to start padding their own wallets?
This is scary stuff, indeed.