So, Ford, Chrysler, and GM walk into a bar...
No, that's not it. Or maybe.
Anyway, GM testified to Congress today that (1) if GM is allowed to collapse, there will be widespread damage to the US economy, (2) GM needs $12 billion to keep afloat, including $4 billion right away, (3) GM plans to cut 20,000 to 30,000 jobs, and (4) GM plans to get concessions from UAW. Like Ford, GM plans to pay its execs a buck as salary, and to quit flying corporate jets around. That, apparently, is management's concession.
Prior to 2005, GM employed 181,000 people in the US. Back then, if anybody remembers, GM had a problem because of rising oil costs and their ridiculous insistence on building gas-guzzlers. But they had a plan to correct their bad financial strain - laying off 25,000 workers. So now, the plan is, with $12 billion from all of us, GM will - do the same goddamn thing again.
In corporate America, incredibly bad foresight is always rewarded by somebody helping you out. It looks like good business, apparently, to cut jobs instead of executive compensation (if you pay your top exec 300 times what a line-worker makes, you effectively cut 300 jobs right there).
All this raises serious question whether the major premise of this (so-to-speak) argument is at all plausible. GM now employs far less than half the people it did when it was a significant part of the US economy. Now that so much of auto manufacturing has been outsourced, GM doesn't really contribute much to employment. Let's take the $12 billion GM wants to spend, while throwing an addition 30,000 people out of work, and instead divide the money among all the potentially affected employees, except executives, should GM go belly-up. $12 billion divided among the remaining 156,000 or so. In fact, I'll round that up to 200,000 people. That gives them all a $60,000 severance package, which they can use to go to college or trade school, live off of while they look for work, pay moving expenses, whatever. GM is out of the taxpayers' hair, no more corporate jet flights because there won't be a corporation, and a handful of failed execs in the street with tin cups.