In a long awaited and some say inevitable move, struggling automaker General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection this morning. President Obama said he hopes it will be a quick process. When it is all said and done, U.S. taxpayers will own 60 percent of the new GM. While Obama said the federal government will be a "reluctant shareholder," others say his actions do not look very reluctant. Here's what people are saying:
"Our goal is to help GM get back on its feet... and get out quickly. (Auto executives) will call the shots and make the decisions about turning this company around... What I am not doing, what I have no interest in doing, is running GM."
-- President Obama "The only thing it makes clear is that the government is firmly in the business of running companies using taxpayer dollars. Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multinational corporation to economic viability? It's time for the administration to fully explain what the exit strategy is to get the U.S. government out of the board room once and for all."
-- House Minority Leader John Boehner, (R) Ohio "(The President's) decision to take a short-term stake in General Motors is driven by our nation's shared interest in ensuring the American auto industry can survive."
-- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D) Nevada "The new GM will be run by the politics of the Obama Administration, not economics. That means it will be run to serve the interests of the UAW and the environmentalist groups that are major players in Obama’s political coalition, not consumers... The new politically driven GM will never return to profitability, and will stay alive only with a permanent taxpayer pipeline."
-- Peter Ferrara, Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy for the Institute for Policy Innovation, and General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union
"The GM that many of you knew, the GM that in fact had let many of you down, is history. Today marks the beginning of what will be a new company. A new GM dedicated to building the very best car and trucks."
-- Fritz Henderson, General Motors CEO
"Our biggest concern ... is the potential for governments and unions to influence production, product, workforce and management decisions in ways that could jeopardize the automakers' chances for survival, put politics and special interests above sound business strategy, and disrupt our nation's trading relationships across the world,"
-- Thomas Donahue,U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive