OUR OPINION: Take a deep breath

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

More than a few people of late have considered the possibility that General Motors Corporation may have to enter Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection to try and save itself by restructuring.

When the company’s auditors trumpet the news, everyone needs to stand back and take a deep breath.

The biggest torchbearer of America’s fading smokestack economy is on the ropes, and according to auditors, there is “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

GM is having its worst time selling cars since the recession of 1982, but it is unlikely that GM has ever been scorned by the car-buying public with the disdain it is experiencing today.

If gas-guzzling and below average quality cars were not enough to turn the public off, the site of company executives flying to Washington in corporate jets to receive bailout money and a rumored merger with fast-fading Chrysler corporation certainly was.

This is the company of “Roger and Me” fame that abandoned a major American city, Flint, Michigan, by relocating elsewhere.

It is also the company that gave us the ‘57 Chevy.

Certainly people have mixed feelings about General Motors, both good and bad. In the end, GM has been “Like a Rock” in the public eye for many generations.

Watching the company fall has not been pleasant. Even detractors wanted to see GM evolve on a level that matched America’s evolution to a higher awareness of quality and environmental issues.

But, GM never really seemed interested in changing its way of doing business. At its core level, GM management would probably still like the bailout to work so it can keep operating as it always has.

With the auditing doomsday report, fewer people will stroll into GM dealerships, and less and less of the general public will support more bailout money for the company. If the company enters Chapter 11, declining vehicle sales are expected to plummet.

Unfortunately, if GM fails, so too will its suppliers. Then, other car manufacturers who depend on the same suppliers as GM to build their own cars will be unable to build vehicles. The job market will further contract.

Will the government continue the GM bailout? How much longer is the public going to allow the bailout to proceed?

There do not seem to be any easy answers, and there will not likely be any strong leadership emerging from the blur of executives, lawyers and lobbyists at General Motors.

The sad part of the story is that this mess could have been avoided if GM had simply manufactured quality cars on a regular basis.

But, at this point, all the public can do is take a deep breath and hope for the best.