David B.




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April 2, 2009

Rick Wagoner: The $20 Million Lamb


Add one more unfortunate to the millions-long roster of the nation’s unemployed.


Rick Wagoner, steward of the most recent phase of General Motors’s decline from the planet’s largest manufacturing concern to hollow shell, has lost his position and his paycheck, to the shock and horror of Michigan’s governor, the various TV pundits and the legions of failed and overpaid chief executives noting glimmerings of their own potential mortality in his unspectacular fall from grace.


In short, everyone who either hasn’t been paying attention or who has a vested interest in sustaining deep-rooted incompetence in the American boardroom.


You’d expect the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the paranoid wrecks who constitute the on-air staff at Fox News to be foaming at the mouth, and they are in true Pavlovian fashion – no surprise, and no reason for further comment so far as they are concerned. The reaction of one Jennifer Granholm, alleged governor of Michigan, deserves a bit more attention – unusual in and of itself, given the dearth of substance, significance or accomplishment which has characterized her term in office.


What did Michigan’s figurehead-in-chief have to offer in response to Wagoner’s ouster? Only one of the most absurd snippets of political hyperbole to rear its head in recent times: Wagoner, Granholm solemnly intoned, wasn’t just a displaced CEO – he was a “sacrificial lamb.”


Let that sink in for a moment.


According to Michigan’s supposedly Democratic governor, the man whose tenure at GM’s helm will be remembered in terms of shuttered plants, outsourced jobs, bloated SUVs and ruined lives, has been “sacrificed” by the presumably brutal and unfair Barack Obama who, it must be inferred, is attempting to ruin the state’s auto industry even as he shovels tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into its gaping maw. Wagoner, Granholm contends, didn’t fail on his own demerits – he was thrown to the wolves by an uncaring president and an unthinking beaurocracy.


Do you feel the tears welling in your eyes yet?


Well, before we get overly emotional, it probably bears mention that Shifty Rick’s plummet to Earth is to be cushioned by a $20 million severance package coughed up by his bankrupt corporation – coincidentally, the same bankrupt corporation that is currently chewing through federal government largesse to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per hour, and which has proudly announced its intention to shutter yet more plants and axe still more jobs. In fact, it seems feasible to suspect that the withholding taxes paid by GM’s most recently laid-off employees are the selfsame dollars that will soon be lining the pockets of the man who ushered them into economic oblivion.


Or to assess this figure by another yardstick: $20 million equals approximately 400 hourly jobs at a rate of $50,000 per year. Four hundred jobs whose proceeds once went to make mortgage payments, pay for college tuition, purchase vital prescription medication, purchase GM vehicles and otherwise fuel the Michigan economy are dematerialized for the sake of feathering the sacrificial lamb’s nest, assuaging his hurt feelings and compensating him for his utter inadequacy as a chief executive.


Jennifer Granholm’s comments are instructive. For years, Michigan citizens have wondered what Granholm stood for and who she stood beside – impossible to discern in the past, given the paucity of accomplishments her administration has had to offer. Well, now we know. Rick Wagoner, not the working men and women of Michigan, is Jennifer Granholm’s base, and with her utterances lamenting the ouster of the man responsible for the untold misery of countless Michigan families she reveals herself as the Judas Goat leading the real sacrificial lambs to their slaughter.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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