Maybe the most disturbing news in “American Turnaround,” Ed Whitacre’s new book that describes his stint as head of General Motors, is how naïve he was about what it means to run a company that’s been bailed out by the federal government, and is now regulated by the anti-business types who populate the Obama administration.
As Whitacre takes the job back in 2009, he thinks that the automaker’s government masters are rational people looking to help the company survive and thrive. Along the way, he finds out that they’re not.
In fact, their true goal wasn’t to maximize profits to ensure GM survives for the long term, but to keep control of the company as long as possible (the feds still hold a 26 percent stake today) to both keep its union allies fat and happy and to please its green buddies by forcing GM to produce hybrid vehicles that the vast majority of Americans can’t afford now, and never will.
You have to read between the lines to learn this, but it’s pretty clear to anyone who knows what was going on.