President Obama is kicking ass and taking names. In fact, he took the name right off GM CEO Rick Wagoner's office door.
This troubles me.
Not because I do not like our government making hiring and firing decisions for industry. (I don't.)
And not because I think Rick Wagoner is being made a sacrificial lamb at the altar of populist rage (he is, but don't feel too bad, since the price of lamb these days is somewhere north of $20 million.)
And not because our president is whacking the auto industry in the head while seemingly tickling the bank industry's ass with a feather (Tim Geithner has a firm grip on the plumage.)
It troubles me because I am experiencing mild feelings of sympathy for GM and Chrysler.
I know, I know. They had it coming. They have been building the crappiest cars for the better part of the last four decades. And even if their cars are getting better, that is only a relatively recent phenomenon. Trust is quickly lost and not easily earned and Detroit has been violating its customers' trust for years. No wonder that the April 2009 annual auto issue of Consumer Reports ranks GM and Chrysler at the bottom of all automakers.
So it bothers me that I am feeling sorry for these companies. Because they deserve to die. They don't deserve another dime in taxpayer money and if the collapse of GM and Chrysler sends this country's economy into a deeper hole, well, I guess that's the price we collectively pay for buying garbage cars manufactured by incompetent executives and overpaid workers who are represented by unions that have politicians in their hip pockets.
Maybe next time we are the world's dominant player in some other industry (if there is a next time), we the people won't be enablers for mediocrity and dysfunction.
Did I mention how bad I feel about all this? I'm sure you could tell.