Story by Remy Robertson
It’s not a question as to whether GM CEO Rick Wagoner ought to step down from his position in the best interest of the company. Sure, GM has had its ups and downs under Wagoner, but I think most American taxpayers would give him the boot. The problem with this situation is whether the federal government ought to be able to “ask him to step down,” as was reported.
The federal government bailed out GM a few months ago, so granted, the feds do actually own GM. Because the feds own GM, sure, they have the judicial right to fire the CEO. What bothers me is the robust expansion of the federal government into the private sector.
The CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were forced out after their bailouts, as well as Robert Willumstad, former CEO of AIG. The federal government takes over and controls these companies that need bailouts, then reorganizes their management and contracts.
If I were a worker (at any level) in any of the aforementioned companies, I’d be scared shitless about my job. Why? Not just because my company may be going bankrupt, and may be having huge layoffs, but because the federal government can decide if they want to fire me—and they need no justification for it.
We are seeing an unusual display of the federal bureaucracy in this day and age.
People hate to say it, but this is what socialist and the then-later fascist governments did. They started by controlling the means of production—by making the industries part of the federal government—and then set wages and standard market relations. What did this do? It killed entrepreneurship, and denaturalized the market systems. Leftist Europe then retreated from the governmental regulation and decided to control the market with tax and management reform (they realized their mistake, will we realize the one we’re making?).
I’m not speaking as an anti-Marxist, anti-socialist, or anti-fascist writer. Simply, within the democratic and capitalist systems of the United States of America, I see the federal government working within socialist and fascist tactics. Is that wrong as a political ideology? I’m not going to discuss it.
Is it wrong in the United States at this moment? Yes.
The movements by the federal government, if they continue, will filter down to the state and local levels, causing restrictions upon the free-market space that our capitalist market is based on. I don’t want to see that happen, because it limits the economic market.
Did those companies need the bailout? It looks like it.
But if the federal government is going to control every aspect of the big corporations, set regulations to how they see them fit, change management (which means firing people) in the time of an economic recession, I say go bankrupt.
Wagoner was politely (I assume) asked to step down from the CEO position of GM, so he was not technically fired…but does it take too much imagination of the mind to see the federal government coming into your private business asking you to go into retirement?
I don’t think so.
But that’s not the worst part. If the feds came in and asked you to step down, and you said no, they would make it happen, in one way or another.
This isn’t democracy; this is fascism.
This is the federal government intervening in the somewhat-not-free-market and controlling it entirely.
I think, especially today, we need to have a better reserve on our relationship with the federal government.
The federal government should not have intervened with Wagoner’s job, even if they technically own the company.
Story by Andrew Dornon
Dear readers: In a move that some are heralding as big brother inching closer to total control of our lives, the Obama administration forced General Motor’s CEO, Rick Wagoner, to resign. Could this be a step towards Stalinist authoritarianism? Or is it perhaps simply the logical end to the career of a man who guided the titanic automaker into a financial iceberg? And how should we, as citizens of the empire, respond to this?
Personally, I think a toast is in order. To congratulate our government for finally stepping up in this economic crisis and punishing those who wreaked such havoc on our economy and livelihoods. How could this man, along with two dozen or so other bigwigs, cause this financial shitstorm and not only stay out of prison, but also keep his job? That’s preposterous. How many lives has this man ruined? How many has he negatively affected? And corporate-fascist apologists have the gall to complain about him losing his job?
Not only are the free-market fundamentalists going to complain about it, but they are also going to try to tie in some sort of American sensibility in an attempt to rile up some good old patriotism. They will remark about the federalist roots of American government and probably say something about Reagan. But I would venture to say, that even though I generally don’t care about historical American ideals, there is something about community responsibility in our nation’s values. That sense of obligation to those around oneself is surely something that Wagoner lacked, and who wouldn’t if they were getting paid almost fourteen and a half million dollars.
Which brings me to my next point, why on Earth was this guy getting paid that much for being a complete failure? I don’t know. But this outrageous figure is just another reason why the government should wield more executive power over corporations that it has to save from failure. Obviously, these capitalists can’t even play their own game very well. They are very good at giving themselves large salaries, but they can’t keep the companies that they run afloat.
I’m not proposing totalitarianism here, but I am saying that the only entity I trust less than the government is big business. The government actually has some interest in the economy not collapsing, whereas GM, in its infinitely shortsighted laissez-faire perspective, doesn’t really. Although I don’t think the economy is really something that should be continued in its present form, but for the general population’s well-being it should be kept relatively stable.
What Wagoner did was definitely destabilizing to the national economy, and his actions should be viewed as criminal. If I were to go out and blow up a building, then I would be treated as a criminal, and my action would have only affected at most a thousand people. However, this individual who effectively destroyed one third of the automotive industry has merely lost his job.
This debate about governmental power is merely a diversionary tactic by the media conglomerates to avoid the real issue in this crisis; these men, such as Wagoner, are criminals. They willfully destroyed our economy, crushed entire industries and ruined many lives. Yet the mass media has been completely silent about this. They want you to talk about whether or not him losing his job is too strong of a government intervention. This is a joke. This man, along with many of his buddies in the car industry and the financial industry, should be tried for treason and for threatening national security. Hell, for threatening global security. And I’ll be pretty surprised if someone doesn’t realize this and take drastic action. Look out for vigilante justice to come.