A Philosopher's Blog

Banks & Cars

Posted in Business, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on March 30, 2009

The Obama administration recently began holding at least some corporate leaders accountable for their failing companies. Of course, by “some” here I mean “one”, specifically Rick Wagoner of GM.

The fact that the Obama administration requested that Wagoner step down has struck some as a bit odd. While it is sensible and ethical to remove a failed leader, it seems a bit odd to single Wagner out. After all, while GM has taken some taxpayer money in the form of loans and GM is not doing well, the company seems to have had no roll in the massive economic meltdown. Strangely enough, the corporate folks who bear the greatest responsibility for the meltdown have been untouched by any punitive actions. In fact, some of these folks have been paid bonuses (although some decided to return the money).

Naturally, there is speculation about why the Obama administration has not been as severe with the financial folks as it has been with the (once) Big Three US automakers. The more cynical have suggested that the key difference is that the financial folks bought the politicians. For example AIG seems to have donated generously to both Obama and Dodd in the past. While the Big Three (especially GM) once wielded considerable influence in Washington, those days seem to be over. Perhaps it is because the Big Three no longer have the money to give generously to the politicians. A truly cynical person might see the folks in government acting a bit like a mob: “pay us, and you’ll be fine; don’t have the cash for us…well, some things might get broken…”

It has also been suggested that some of the folks in the Obama administration are just a bit too closely connected to the financial folks that are being bailed out. This, one might contend, would bias the Obama administration. This is, of course, well worth considering. For all the talk on the right about Obama’s administration being socialist, they all seem well connected to capitalism. But, I could be mistaken about this.

Of course, perhaps it is the case that the Obama administration is yielding to the public desire for CEOs to be punished and Wagoner just happened to be th unlucky fellow to be dragged up on the alter to be sacrificed. But, this merely raises questions as to why he was selected.


One Response

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  1. kernunos said, on April 2, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I would have dug in and told him to go to hell. Forcing the issue would see where this train is going.

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