There is some good news though, at least for GM. An article in the NY Times reports the "government may seek to ease General Motors into what it calls a “controlled” bankruptcy, somewhere between a prepackaged bankruptcy and court chaos, by persuading at least some creditors to agree to a plan that would cleave the company into two pieces."
This is how it would work:
Under a plan being worked out by the administration, G.M. would file for prearranged bankruptcy, according to these people. It would then use a sale authorized under Section 363 of the bankruptcy code to quickly sell off the desirable assets to a new company financed by the government. These good pieces might include Cadillac and Chevrolet, as well as assets the company needs to run the business.I mentioned Section 363 bankruptcy the other day. The goal the administration seeks is to create a new, healthier, competitive G.M. by leaving behind its liabilities and less valuable assets, which is also similar to the way the government handled Lehman Brothers last year.
Less desirable assets, brands like Hummer and underperforming factories, would be left in the old company. Proceeds from the sales, including stock in the new company, would be given to the old G.M., helping to settle claims.
The administration would also have to win support from some of G.M.’s creditors, "notably the United Automobile Workers, which would be forced to pare its health care benefits and whose pension obligations would probably remain in the old company." That's bad news, but...
There will be pressure to keep plants open, to keep employment in communities high, he said, “because typically G.M. or Ford or Chrysler are very substantial contributors to the local tax receipt flow.”They're telling us something we already know all too well. Experts are also saying history offers almost no precedent for a G.M. bankruptcy simply because no other company ever matched their size and interconnectedness.
The news for Chrysler isn't as good. Obama is prepared to let Chrysler go bankrupt and be sold off piecemeal if they can’t form an alliance with Fiat.
Bankruptcy is only at a possibility at this point, but it's looking likelier by the day - or at least within 30-60 days, and there's no doubt Michigan will suffer more pain if it happens. All we can do is trust Obama. He said he would direct a comprehensive effort to lift the hardest hit areas "by using the unprecedented levels of funding available in our Recovery Act and throughout our government to create new manufacturing jobs and new businesses where they are needed most – in your communities." He also said he would fight for us and help put us back on our feet. Things look bleak now, but not hopeless. With Obama helping us, we can come through this and be made whole again.