WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Words haunting GM: "Acceptable business case" ... Pricetag haunting GM: 57 cents

By many accounts, new General Motors CEO Mary Barra - while contrite - did not acquit herself very well while testifying before a House subcommittee about GM's inexcusably long tolerance of ignition-switch foul-ups.

She took fire for speaking "gobbledygook" and came under repeated attack for GM's economically motivated decision to keep the potentially lethal switches in production, knowing full well that they didn't meet GM's own standards.

Considering she's only been CEO for under three months, and considering the legal liability, perhaps it was understandable that Mary Barra couldn't - or wouldn't - answer many specific questions.

(Cynics have already emerged who believe shadowy forces within GM - who KNEW about this scandalous ticking time-bomb - purposely and cravenly chose the a woman CEO who could show compassion and empathy before Congress and the public!)

I think this commentary from The DETROIT NEWS gets to the roots of GM's credibility gap...


According to GM documents, the cost of the replacement switch: 57 cents. That's right. 57 cents (not including labor).

I won't forget that number. My mind races to the use of 57 in the popular culture: Heinz's "57 varieties" for example.

Just 57 cents, and the families (and GM) could have been spared this trauma?

Posted at 8:53am on April 2, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Apr 2, 2014 12:38pm
This hype is silly for several reasons. Number one, the incident took place 10 years ago... Number 2, the same people were not the ones who made the error... Number 3, the largest recall both in vehicles and dollar amounts, has now been undertaken by GM to correct the problems... and, Number 4, the culture then being set by President Cheney (not a misprint) being that corporations could do darn well as they pleased, because the Conservatives controlled the Department of Justice and all other regulatory agencies...

That culture, still prevalent today in all non-Rand Paul Republicans, is what doomed GM, nothing else... Since 2004 was when digital data started being kept through the Patriot Act, expect many more loose e-mails from that time period to resurface indicting many companies.... When you allow corporations to police themselves, they are going to make those decision that best take care of their own interests.

As any person who has ever drank a glass of scotch knows, sometimes one enjoys today and pays the price tomorrow... That is a standard acceptable business practice...

The real failure out of this controversy, is that there was no active governmental regulatory agency to which anyone could appeal back then to investigate GM and see if the accusations warranted further insight....

That is why we need bigger government, not less. This is why we need more regulation; not less.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 2, 2014 3:21pm
Kavips: Sadly, those execs of GM back then won't be held accountable [even if they were, there's a two-tier justice system in the U.S., one for the rich AND their heirs, corporate execs, Hollyweird folks, Sports figures, politicians, etc., and the lower tier of justice for the rest of us.

Good point though, there does need to be a balance of government regulation/agency available to keep the robber barrons from stealing the public blind. This GM situation is just another example of this.

Wed, Apr 2, 2014 4:14pm
Jumping the subject again... here is some music for Mr. Pizza... he's is the only one who will understand the lyrics.. lol. But the rest of you should see it too.


Wed, Apr 2, 2014 8:10pm
Sorry Kavips. My Russian is actually quite limited. I knew just enough to navigate the railway system. Everything else required an interpreter. Thankfully, English is a very popular language over there.

Wed, Apr 2, 2014 8:38pm
There's just one problem with Kavips' assessment of the "Cheney culture". The government didn't own GM back when all this was going on. The bailout didn't happen until 2008 at the end of the Bush presidency and has been "Obama Motor Company" since then.

So I ask this question: What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 11:17am
Pizza... that is a fair question, but unfortunately has no relevance on this occurrance... One could use that question to revisit the Cold War for example. But history is locked down and it wouldn't change a thing...

On the video, I enjoyed the fact that he included his wife on it, that was so touching once one gets past the initial humor, and it goes to show that the bonds of humanity between people scattered widely across the globe are far deeper and consistent, than the petty differences used to drive us apart ....

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 11:23am
"So I ask this question: What did Obama know, and when did he know it?"

mrpizza: I agree with kavips that your question of 0bama's knowledge and when he knew it means nothing in relation to GM but it has everything to do with Benghazi, IRS persecution of the Tea Party, and Fast & Furious.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 11:44am
"When you allow corporations to police themselves, they are going to make those decisions that best take care of their own interests."

I agree with you...but the same is true for Big Government. Less government is the answer (not more,) and corporations should be held accountable to government standards.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Apr 3, 2014 1:10pm
There is a balance, instead of saying Less Government, or Big Government, maybe the better phrase would be Enough Government to insure corporations are held accountable to government standards with realistic laws that would be vigorously enforced.

If that were the case today, we'd not have all those employers hiring illegal aliens for slave wages taking jobs away from legal Americans as just one example.

Thu, Apr 3, 2014 6:16pm
Yep. A little something for everybody here today.

BTW Earl: The Obama/GM question was intended in this case as an exaggeration and I thought since Obama is to blame for so many things, it would be fun to stretch a little bit.

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