Chrysler bankruptcy 'gives consumers confidence,' anonymous person declares on eve of GM bankruptcy

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People who go through bankruptcy should be so lucky as Chrysler and GM. Bloomberg News, relying on what it calls "a person familiar with the matter," says today that Chrysler's "swift bankruptcy process will give consumers confidence" that GM can do the same when it officially capsizes in the next few days. This anonymous but optimistic person who no doubt works for either the auto industry or the government offers more spin:

Chrysler's May sales were similar to those in April, showing consumers have taken President Barack Obama at his word that he intends for a retooled company to survive, the person said. That leaves consumers feeling more optimistic that if GM goes through a similar process, warranties and service will be provided, the person said yesterday.

Unbelievable leap in logic and unwarranted certainty that the stats "show" this. If you believe it, then you're someone who takes the salesman's word that paying for undercoating is a smart move.

When GM's bankruptcy does happen, the U.S. government could own about 70 percent of the automaker, but nobody from the government will move into the boardroom, even for a brief period, according to reports. More from Bloomberg:

U.S. ownership would be for the shortest period of time possible and, as a stockholder, the government would participate as minimally as would be responsible, the person familiar told Bloomberg. No government employees will serve on GM's board.

At least Rick Wagoner won't still be there either. While GM was sputtering toward its total breakdown, Wagoner garnered a 167 percent raise and a $1.8 million bonus. And then he was allowed to keep his huge pension package with no cuts even though he "retired early," as the company spun news of his exit last month.

Compare that with the way laid-off employees of the Tribune Co. were denied severance when they were laid off shortly before the big Chicago-based media conglomerate filed for bankruptcy this past December.

Anyway, back to GM: Thankfully, news outlets are no longer buying the bull that Wagoner "retired." As Bloomberg notes:

Former GM Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner had said that bankruptcy should be avoided. GM, in its Feb. 18 restructuring plan for the government, cited a study saying 80 percent of consumers wouldn't buy a car from a bankrupt company.

Wagoner said as recently as March 17 that a bankruptcy "might not work." He was forced out by the Obama administration later that month.

GM's workers, on the other hand, have had no choice but accept huge cuts during the bankruptcy process, and the UAW will wind up, in return, with an estimated 17.5 percent of a company sharply reduced in size and still faced with continuing and massive layoffs.

Arlen Specter plays kissy-face with unions

Arlen Specter's playing kissy-face with unions, and it might even earn the Pennsylvania senator hugs from his new party, the Democrats. It's certainly gotten him some prominent press.

The GOP's Benedict Arnold is suggesting compromises on a union-organizing bill that business interests strongly oppose.

As the Wall Street Journal noted over the weekend in a story whose headline, "Specter Suggests Changes to Union Bill," may earn him a few points from organized labor:

Sen. Specter has played a bigger role in formulating a compromise since he switched to the Democratic Party this month.

In a broader sense, maybe Specter wants to tap into union resentment that must be at all-time post-WWII high now that Detroit's Big Three are cutting jobs and running.

In Europe, the global financial crisis has sparked massive protests, many of them led by unionized workers who have taken to the streets a hundred thousand at the time, especially in France. The U.S. hasn't yet seen anything close to that from an organized-labor sector whose various limbs have been methodically broken by Capitol Hill and the White House for decades.

Democrats who are hopeful about their new guy Specter might want to recall that the Pennsylvania senator, as the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, harshly questioned Alberto Gonzales in January 2005 after George W. Bush nominated him for attorney general. But Specter limited questioning of Gonzales to one day only, and as I noted at the time:

[Specter] clearly had cut a deal with the Bush regime and its Senate allies: They would allow the relatively moderate, non-ideological Specter to succeed the hidebound Orrin Hatch as chairman of this crucial committee if he wouldn't press Gonzales (in addition to not hassling the administration's right-wing judicial nominees). But as [Ted] Kennedy noted in frustration earlier in the hearing, the panel had grilled Dick Kleindienst for 22 days before allowing him to become a disastrous attorney general for Dick Nixon. Kleindienst, by the way, was later convicted of perjury for lying at his confirmation hearing.