Unfortunately, I’m becoming numb to things like this lately, but today’s Washington Post front page headline is still rather alarming:
GM Chief to Resign at White House’s Behest
This is, of course, the same issue we’re confronted with whether it comes to the banks, AIG, or any other entities that are coming to Washington, hat in hand. Once taxpayer money is put on the line to save these companies, it gives the government the ability to make unprecedented interventions into the way private businesses are run. It’s rather disturbing that the President of the United States is the one pressuring an executive to step down. In this case, it’s hard to argue that General Motors chairman and CEO Richard Wagoner Jr. has performed well, but at the same time, Obama’s reasons for dismissal seem more cosmetic than anything else. An anonymous administration official told the Post that, “We felt that having a change of leadership would be consistent with the clean-sheet approach.” Whatever Wagoner’s faults, it doesn’t make sense to change management just for the sake of it, unless you have a replacement in mind who you think will be able to do better.
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