General Motors is one of the most iconic companies in the United States and across the world. From cars like the ’59 Cadillac, to the Pontiac GTO and Chevrolet Trucks, GM has had a massive impact on our culture and economy for over a century. GM was known for building great cars with style, comfort and reliability. However, over the past decade(s), it seems that GM has lost its way, building poorer quality cars with inflating price tags, and losing customers to both domestic and foreign competitors, hand over fist.
Then, in 2008, facing a complete collapse for GM and potentially the entire economy, the U.S. government made a move to “save” GM, giving it billions of taxpayer dollars and leaving stockholders high and dry. The stimulus allowed the worker’s unions to have first shot at money and re-negotiate contracts and pensions.
Now Obama and Big Government supporters proudly display bumper stickers that say, “GM is Alive, Bin Laden is Dead.” However, GM’s life seems to still be on some massive life-support. After issuing stock and enjoying some small success, the stock price has plummeted again, and now hovers at around $21 per share, leaving we the taxpayers nearly $25 billion in debt due to this one issue. The government simultaneously pulled GM up and pushed it down; pulled it up by giving it money, but pushed it down. GM can’t compete with its competitors because of the red tape. For example, CAFE and electric car standards force it to make the Volt and other hybrid cars== which cost an arm and a leg to make, but aren’t as popular as the government wants you to think.
To give you some perspective; I am not a GM hater by any means. My grandfather still has the 1972 GMC Pickup he bought new, and has been buying GM cars nearly his entire life. I am on my 3rd GM car, and forsee buying more in the future. Instead of coddling it through tough times, the Government should have let GM fail, file bankruptcy, and build itself back up based on its own merits.
President Obama said that successful people didn’t build their businesses; I disagree. Men with vision and passion built GM to the iconic level that it reached. Government bureaucracy and regulation since the 1970’s killed GM. He tried to rebuild it, and is watching it fail.
General Motors once stood for everything that was great about America. Now, it is another example of what’s wrong with America. Conservatives, we need to band together and change our business climate, so that GM may once again be our shining city on a hill, or at least make us proud of the shining Chevrolet in our driveway. We need to change our business and regulatory climate so that more businesses can start, and rise to a status of productivity and success. America is about the ability to succeed and fail on your own merits, not let the government pick winners or losers. As much as America may love GM, the Government picked a losing strategy for them, and it shows.
Edward Peichel | St. John’s University | @EdwardPeichel