Was this a Michael Moore April Fools joke?

I am on his mailing list, and I just got an e-mail saying that Obama fired the president of General Motors:eek

True? or April Fools joke. I’ve heard nothing on the news

I don’t think he can do that.

Here is the full e-mail Friends,
Nothing like it has ever happened. The President of the United States, the elected representative of the people, has just told the head of General Motors – a company that’s spent more years at #1 on the Fortune 500 list than anyone else – “You’re fired!”
I simply can’t believe it. This stunning, unprecedented action has left me speechless for the past two days. I keep saying, “Did Obama really fire the chairman of General Motors? The wealthiest and most powerful corporation of the 20th century? Can he do that? Really? Well, damn! What else can he do?!”
This bold move has sent the heads of corporate America spinning and spewing pea soup. Obama has issued this edict: The government of, by, and for the people is in charge here, not big business. John McCain got it. On the floor of the Senate he asked, “What does this signal send to other corporations and financial institutions about whether the federal government will fire them as well?” Senator Bob Corker said it “should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise.” The stock market plunged as the masters of the universe asked themselves, “Am I next?” And they whispered to each other, “What are we going to do about this Obama?”
Not much, fellows. He has the massive will of the American people behind him – and he has been granted permission by us to do what he sees fit. If you liked this week’s all-net 3-pointer, stay tuned.
I write this letter to you in memory of the hundreds of thousands of workers over the past 25+ years who have been tossed into the trash heap by General Motors. Many saw their lives ruined for good. They turned to alcohol or drugs, their marriages fell apart, some took their own lives. Most moved on, moved out, moved over, moved away. They ended up working two jobs for half the pay they were getting at GM. And they cursed the CEO of GM for bringing ruin to their lives.
Not one of them ever thought that one day they would witness the CEO receive the same treatment. Of course Chairman Wagoner will not have to sign up for food stamps or be evicted from his home or tell his kids they’ll be going to the community college, not the university. Instead, he will get a $23 million golden parachute. But the slip in his hands is still pink, just like the hundreds of thousands that others received – except his was issued by us, via the Obama-man. Here’s the door, buster. See ya. Don’t wanna be ya.
I began my day today in Washington, D.C. I went to the U.S. Senate and got into their Finance Committee’s hearing on the Wall Street bailout. The overseers wanted to know how the banks spent the money. And many of these banks won’t tell them. They’ve taken trillions and nobody knows where the money went. It certainly didn’t go to create jobs, relieve mortgage holders, or free up loans that people need. It was so shocking to listen to this, I had to leave before it was over. But it gave me an idea for the movie I was shooting.
Later, I stopped by the National Archives to stand in line to see the original copy of our Constitution. I thought about how twenty years ago this month I was just down the street finishing my first film, a personal plea to warn the nation about GM and the deadly economy it ruled. On that March day in 1989 I was broke, having collected the last of my unemployment checks, relying on help from my friends (Bob and Siri would take me out to dinner and always pick up the check, the assistant manager at the movie theater would sneak me in so I could watch an occasional movie, Laurie and Jack bought an old Steenbeck (editing) machine for me, John Richard would slip me an unused plane ticket so I could go home for Christmas, Rod would do anything for me and drive to Flint whenever I needed something for the film). My late mother (she would’ve turned 88 tomorrow if she were still with us) and my GM autoworker dad told me in the kitchen they wanted to help and handed me a check for an astounding thousand dollars. I didn’t know they even had a thousand dollars. I refused it, they insisted I take it – “No!” – and then, in that parental voice, told me I was to cash it so I could finish my movie. I did. And I did.
So on that March day in 1989, as I was driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, my 9-year-old car just died. I coasted over to the curb, put my head down on the steering wheel and started to cry. I had no money to take it in to be repaired, and I certainly had nothing to pay the tow truck driver. So I got out, screwed the license plates off so I wouldn’t be fined, turned my back and just left it there for good. I looked over at the building next to me. It said “National Archives.” What better place to donate my dead car, I thought, as I walked the rest of the way home.
Though it wasn’t easy for me, I still never had to suffer what so many of my friends and neighbors went through, thanks to General Motors and an economic system rigged against them. I wonder what they must have all thought when they woke up this Monday morning to read in the Detroit News or the Detroit Free Press the headlines that Obama had fired the CEO of GM. Oh – wait a minute. They couldn’t read that. There was no Free Press or News. Monday was the day that both papers ended home delivery. It was cancelled (as it will be for four days every week) because the daily newspapers, like General Motors, like Detroit, are broke.
I await the President’s next superhero move.
Michael Moore
(Go State!)
P.S. Please know that it has not been lost on any of us from the Rust Belt how our corporate bigwigs were treated (remember, the auto companies wanted a loan, not a handout) compared to how the titans of Wall Street got trillions of free cash, lunch at the White House and a photo op with the Prez. Trust me, we get it. And, if there is a God in heaven, the thieves of Wall Street will soon pay. Also… the sight of our president having to promise that he would back every GM warranty and give consumers a bonus if they trade in their old Grand Am for a hybrid, was alternately sad, hilarious, and just plain weird. This is what it’s come to: the Commander in Chief of the Free World is now Mr. Goodwrench. Jeesh.

from my understanding gm got a new ceo

The President cannot fire the President of General Motors. GM is a publicly traded company, meaning a group of individuals sit on a board of directors which is selected by the majority stock holders of the company. President Obama is not a majority stockholder in GM. Therefore he gets no say in how the company is ran, did he put pressure on the GM President to step down? Yes. Did he fire him? No.

That’s BS… It can’t be! That’d mean he could fire ANYONE from any corporation.

At the beginning of the year, General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner stood onstage at the International Auto Show in Detroit alongside a sign that read “Here to Stay.” It was, as it turned out, wishful thinking.



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Not even four months later, the Obama Administration has told Wagoner to go, making him the first high-level casualty in what is sure to be a painful and perilous restructuring process for GM, a fallen corporate giant whose name was once synonymous with U.S. industry. White House officials have determined that the viability plan Wagoner submitted in February — a condition of the billions in aid the government loaned the company late last year — lacks credibility. As such, President Barack Obama has decided on a “clean-sheet-of-paper approach” that will involve new management and significant losses for the company’s creditors, suppliers, dealers and workers, according to senior Administration officials. “Even greater sacrifices will be required from all stakeholders,” one official said. (See the 50 worst cars of all time.)
At the same time, the White House has determined that Chrysler, another struggling automaker, will have to find a way in the next month to come to a partnership agreement with the Italian automaker Fiat, or face a likely dissolution; the White House has no plans to request the resignation of Chrysler’s CEO, Robert Nardelli. Since late last year, both GM and Chrysler have sustained themselves on $17.4 billion in U.S. government aid. The third major U.S. auto company, Ford, has thus far declined any bailout funds, saying it has enough cash and credit to continue operations through 2009, despite an industry-wide collapse in car and truck sales.
On Sunday, the White House made clear that it is taking steps to soften the blow on both the workers and consumers who will be affected by the restructurings. The Treasury Department plans to sponsor a program to insure the warrantees on any new GM or Chrysler car purchased during the restructuring period, even if the companies collapse. In a speech on Monday morning, Obama is expected to announce the appointment of Edward Montgomery, a labor economist, as the new Director of Recovery for Auto Workers and Communities to help funnel government aid to those areas most affected by the fallout, from plant closings to salary and benefit cuts. (See 25 people to blame for the financial crisis.)
The package of proposals amounts to tough medicine for an industry that has long enjoyed significant influence among Washington lawmakers. But Obama has consistently maintained that he is unwilling to subsidize a failing industry indefinitely. In an interview broadcast on Sunday by CBS News, Obama called for a “set of sacrifices from all parties involved,” including creditors, suppliers, dealers, labor and shareholders, that would lead to “serious restructuring steps.” “They’re not there yet,” the President added, of the automakers’ turnaround plans.

Yeah pretty much he forced him to resign from what I hear. And despite Moore’s take on it Corker wasn’t speaking in support of Obama’s actions.

Yes he was asked to step down, but he’s pocketing $20 mill.(when he retires) So it’s not like he really cares.

In a briefing of reporters on Sunday night, senior Administration officials, who requested anonymity, laid out the fundamentals of the new restructuring plan, which will take place in a compressed time line of just 60 days for GM and 30 days for Chrysler. They said both companies may undergo a controlled bankruptcy proceeding, which one official described as a “surgical process” that would provide a “quick rinse” of outstanding liabilities, without a dismantling of the company. GM currently has about $35 billion in debt, while Chrysler owes about $6.8 billion; the officials suggested that a significant chunk of this money would have to be renegotiated. In a white paper released on Sunday night, the White House said the goal of the GM restructuring had four points: a sustained model for profitability; a healthy balance sheet; operational competitiveness with foreign automakers; and a leadership position in developing technology for cost-effective, fuel-efficient cars.
The Treasury is prepared to provide “adequate working capital” to keep the companies going while they are being restructured, the officials said. Though they did not specify the cost of this process to taxpayers, one senior Administration official indicated that the money to pay for ongoing operations would come from the existing bailout funds that Congress has already appropriated to the Treasury. In February, the two companies requested $22 billion more in taxpayer-funded bailouts.
At GM, Wagoner will be replaced as CEO, at least temporarily, by Frederick (Fritz) Henderson, the company’s current chief operating officer — though Washington expects an outside turnaround specialist to eventually take the reins. A former Northrop Grumman executive and current board member, Kent Kresa, will take Wagoner’s position as chairman of the board of directors, which is expected to eventually be turned over. The White House has ruled out a formal government takeover of GM as part of the restructuring. “This is and will remain a private company,” said an Administration official, who added that the White House was optimistic that the company would survive the transformation.
GM spokeswoman Katie McBride said on Sunday that she could not confirm or deny the reports that Wagoner, GM’s chairman for the past eight years, was prepared to step down as the company’s top executive. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on any of the speculation,” McBride said. “We’re just waiting to see what the [presidential] task force will announce tomorrow,” McBride said.
“It’s going to be an interesting day,” said another GM executive, when contacted by TIME.
Wagoner’s sudden fall from power was the most striking development of the new plan, but one that made political sense. In the wake of populist cries of outrage over AIG bonuses and billions in aid to Wall Street, it’s easier for the Administration to justify giving more money to the floundering carmakers if GM’s longtime top executive doesn’t get to stick around. (See pictures of the world’s cheapest car.)
A lifelong GM employee, Wagoner joined the company after graduating with a business degree from Harvard in 1977, starting in the New York Treasurer’s office before taking executive postings for the company in Brazil, Canada and Switzerland. He became president of the company’s North America operations in 1994, and then the entire company’s chief executive officer in 2000, making him the youngest CEO in the company’s history at the age of 47.
His tenure at the company was a rocky one, with Wagoner often failing to meet his own benchmarks for profitability and market share even as he expanded the company’s global footprint. In the first half of the decade, Wagoner had joined other automakers in pinning much of the company’s hopes for sales growth on large pickup trucks and SUVs, a strategy that became politically (and financially) poisonous last year, when gas prices spiked north of $4 a gallon. In 2008 Toyota surpassed General Motors in total car sales for the first time in 77 years; over the past four years, the company has lost $82 billion.
In Detroit, Wagoner inspired admiration. He was a guy who appeared to work selflessly for GM, someone who understood and respected the culture of the union and never talked down to its leadership. Among GM managers, he was seen as a hard-liner, vigilant in his defense of the company against outsiders who diminished its traditions and didn’t understand the financial pressures it faced while trying to take care of employees and compete against cheaper labor.
During Wagoner’s tenure, GM succeeded in obtaining a series of concessions from the United Auto Workers. Just last week, GM wrapped a buyout in which 7,500 hourly employees quit or retired after accepting the company’s offer of $20,000 cash and a $25,000 voucher to buy a new car. In 2006 approximately 34,000 hourly employees left the company through a special-attrition program, and in 2008 another 19,000 hourly employees followed suit. Overall, GM hourly payroll has been cut in half over the past three years.
Outside of Michigan, though, Wagoner was cast as the architect of his company’s demise. Several times he had the opportunity to take extreme measures that might alter GM’s trajectory — by allowing the union to strike and demanding concessions that might reduce the incredible amount of revenue devoted to employee pensions. Each time he blinked, and each time Washington and Wall Street looked at Wagoner in faint disbelief. He was criticized as being a slave to an antiquated corporate culture.
In recent weeks, Wagoner contemplated whether GM should file for bankruptcy. Letters were drafted and a midweek filing date and announcement targeted, but an associate says Wagoner remained unsure of whether such a dramatic step was really necessary and whether GM could ever recover from the negative publicity of a bankruptcy filing.
On Friday, Wagoner met in Washington with members of the President’s task force on autos. He was asked to step down, and he later agreed to the request. A senior Administration official said there was no negotiation over the point, and no specific quid pro quo offered in exchange for Wagoner’s resignation.
With reporting by Bill Saporito and Joseph R. Szczesny

Very Interesting…

Will it make any difference though?

GM and Chrysler both came back to the government asking for more money. But they were asked to provide a plan to get themselves out of this mess if the money was given to them.
Chrysler was told they have 30 days to finish working out the deal they had with Fiat before they could get more money and GM was told to work out a new plan within 60 days and the CEO along with some of the board needed to step down before they would get any more money.
Both companies were given enough money to get them through until they came back with their new plans.

So everyone complained when the government gave bail out/loans to these companies without asking for any sort of viable plan of sustainability, and now that they are, they’re wrong to do it… Is this the damned if you do, damned if you don’t thing?

I’m surprised this is the first you guys are hearing about this… It was all over the news the night it happened

Does nobody have a problem with the government officials asking the CEO of a company to step down?

I’ve heard about all the trouble GM and Chrysler are in, but hadnt heard about the “sacking” until I got the e-mail

I don’t want the government to give them money at all, didnt when Bush did it and dont now. Don’t want the government guaranteeing the auto makers warranties either. I know it makes sense to say the government threw them enough cash to have a say in how they run things and thats probably true…which is why I wish they’d never been given any money by either President. But I’m a dumb shit.


He didn’t have to step down. Nobody forced him to… so what’s the problem?

The administration suggested it was time for him to go and he agreed. He could have told the administration to fuck off and Obama couldn’t do anything about it.

You guys all make it sound like he was fired… :24:

The ABC news affiliate on the radio here reported it as Obama forcing him to step down. I wondered what authority he had to make such a move…bailouts hanging in the balance or not.

[quote=“RecklessTim, post: 1082989”]He didn’t have to step down. Nobody forced him to… so what’s the problem?

The administration suggested it was time for him to go and he agreed. He could have told the administration to fuck off and Obama couldn’t do anything about it.

You guys all make it sound like he was fired… :24:[/quote]

You seem to miss the point. The administration is over stepping it’s bounds by even suggesting that he should step down. Yes, Wagoner didn’t have to listen to them. The fact that they went into a meeting and he comes out resigning and then GM gets more money obviously shows the Obama administration flexing their muscles. It just shows that there is no end to interfering with free market.