It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years ago this week that I was part of an incredibly intense debate about whether General Motors, Chrysler, and the American auto industry could survive on Fox & Friends with host Gretchen Carlson and Dan Calabrese, shortly after writing Why GM Matters.
I was tense because I expected an ambush on the subject of the United Auto Workers, which was the only prism that Fox understood. Their premise was that unions were bad–therefore GM was bad, and didn’t need to be saved. But I was ready for the question and I was right that the UAW had given up very tangible earnings.
Back then, some otherwise intelligent people were saying to let GM file for bankruptcy and “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But more rational minds knews that it made sense to try to save GM. I, and many others, knew GM had been working overtime on fixing itself. Now it’s clear that GM has transformed itself and that GM and the auto industry are at the absolute heart of the American economy.
One other argument was whether GM consisted of only dirty manufacturing jobs or made real contributions to the American technology base? Now years later, it’s clear that GM has innovated, big time, with the Volt and the new Bolt, hiring thousands of software engineers and other tech jobs. It is at the cutting edge of enhanced driving safety features and many other aspects of creating vehicles for the next century.
A possible mistake of mine was about Chrysler. I said it could not survive. But the Obama Administration decided to literally give it to Fiat of Italy. It never occurred to me that you could give a company away. But that’s what Obama did and Chrysler has, in fact, survived as part of Fiat.
If my friends at Fox News would like to have another discussion about how it all turned out, I would love that opportunity.